Shoot the Conductor: Too Close to Monteux, Szell, and Ormandy

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Product Details

$19.95  $18.55
University of North Texas Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 0.9 X 9.0 inches | 1.0 pounds

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About the Author

After a long and distinguished career in music, ANSHEL BRUSILOW retired from conducting the Richardson Symphony and lives in Dallas. ROBIN UNDERDAHL holds an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University and writes fiction, nonfiction, and memoir. She also lives in Dallas.


"Shoot the Conductor: Too Close to Monteux, Szell, and Ormandy by Anshel Brusilow and Robin Underdahl starts out good and rapidly moves to Great, with a capital "G." Any individual who enjoys classical music will thoroughly enjoy this autobiography. . . . This is a book to be inhaled not just read. Its humor, poignancy, and disappointment crackle through every line in the book. This one belongs on every bookshelf, whether the reader is an aficionado of the classics, or one who enjoys listening just doesn't know why--this book will educate and amuse."--New York Journal of Books
"Brusilow captivates with stories of conductors Leopold Stokowski, Pierre Monteux, George Szell, Eugene Ormandy; composers including Dmitri Shostakovich and Leonard Bernstein; and numerous legendary performers. . . . Page after page, Shoot the Conductor prompts the reader to listen to more classical music, and to go attend concerts by our fabulous orchestras."--Philadelphia Inquirer
"Hilarious and heartbreaking, this memoir is a real page-turner as well as a remarkably accurate account of one extraordinarily gifted musician's professional ups and (alas!) downs. Anshel Brusilow tells it like it was, con brio and molto vivace."--Gary Graffman, pianist

"Don't start reading this memoir by an inspired and inspiring concertmaster, conductor, and teacher too late in the evening, or you may not get much of a night's sleep. I found it unputdownable, and read the whole book in one sitting. I don't know which impressed me more: the profound dedication to music evident from first page to last, or the delightfully light and modest touch with which it's presented. I learned a great deal, too, about the educational process that turns promise into achievement."--Bernard Jacobson, music critic

"Leading an orchestra of 60 or more musicians is not a job for the meek. Anshel Brusilow tells how he did it, with good humor, and that makes for entertaining reading."--Bernard Garfield, principal bassoon, Philadelphia Orchestra, retired

"I grew up listening to my father's classical record collection. Szell, Monteux, Ormandy... these were our household idols. (My father trimmed his mustache after the style of Toscanini). Thank the gods of music, then, for Anshel Brusilow--for his robust humor, his sharp insight into character, and above all for his love of music and music-makers. In this wonderful memoir, the titans leave the podium and step down to earth, allowing us to observe through the eyes of Maestro Brusilow--seated only a few feet away in the concertmaster's stand--their foibles, pettiness, tantrums, but also their greatness."--Bill Marvel, writer for The Dallas Morning News and co-author of Islands of the Damned

"While carrying us along with information about these celebrities [Ormandy, Szell, and Monteux], Brusilow simultaneously gives us a good hard look at the day-to-day grim reality of the life of a professional musician."--Wayne Gay, music critic, D Magazine

"Brusilow has a remarkable way of telling a story that is conversational and easy to read."--Brian A. Shook, author of Last Stop Carnegie Hall: New York Philharmonic Trumpeter William Vacchiano (UNT Press)