Publisher’s Weekly reviews Chopin and Beyond-My Extraordinary Life in Music and Beyond


Chopin and Beyond: My Extraordinary Life in Music and the Paranormal 
Bryon Janis with Maria Cooper Janis, Wiley, $26.95 (288p) ISBN 978‐0‐470‐60444‐1

Classical pianist Janis discusses more than just music in this intriguing autobiography. Born in Pennsylvania in 1928, Janis, a musical child prodigy, portrays himself as an attentive diamond in the rough refined by remarkable family sacrifices and influential patrons, including his mentor Vladimir Horowitz. A Carnegie Hall debut at 20 marks the prelude to a glamorous life of meeting celebrities and royalty while performing, recording, and touring Europe, Israel, and the Soviet Union. Only when arthritis slows his busy pace and threatens his career does Janis allow self‐doubt to cloud an otherwise inspirational narrative. Throughout, Janis balances daily living against his developing inner consciousness. Each milestone‐‐musical, personal, or romantic‐‐exacts its emotional toll and pushes Janis to explore the affinities between his artistic sensitivity and the paranormal. As retold here, those experiences encompass the superstitious (Janis often bows to an imagined co‐performer after playing a concert), the spooky (a closed piano plays on its own), and the mysterious (a death mask of Chopin sheds tears), among others. Janis and his wife, coauthor Cooper Janis, are not effusive about these incidents. References to synchronicity and Jung, experiences with Janis's friend psychic Uri Geller, and recommended readings at book's end allow readers to appreciate Janis's conviction while coming to their own conclusions. (Dec.)

Byron Janis is a living legend of the classical music world that went from child piano prodigy at 4, overcoming a rigid and numbed finger due to an accident at the age of 11, becoming the first student of Vladimir Horowitz at 16, debuting at Carnegie Hall at 20. Today he gives lectures and performances, along with teaching master classes and composing, and writes regularly for the Wall Street Journal. His wife Maria Cooper Janis, the daughter of actor Gary Cooper, is a talented painter, a researcher in parapsychology and has collaborated on three television specials. They live in New York City.

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