“An illuminating introduction to the trials and triumphs of the classical musician.” — Michael E. Ross, New York Times Sunday Book Review
“Informative, perceptive, lively and accurate.” — Gary Graffman, Curtis Institute
“For twenty years, I've assigned these profiles to my students as a means of understanding themselves and their art. Epstein has a gift for making the sometimes remote world of classical music seem familiar without sacrificing its majesty and mystery.” — Jonathan Baldo, Eastman School of Music
“I use her book as a model for my students in teaching them both the profile form and how to provoke subjects into revealing themselves on the page.” — Megan Marshall, Emerson College, Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing
Born in Prague in 1947, Helen Epstein grew up in New York City, where she graduated from Hunter College High School in 1965. She studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and became a journalist after the Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia of 1968 when her personal account was published in the Jerusalem Post. She became a university correspondent for that newspaper while still an undergraduate. Subsequently, she studied at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and began freelancing for diverse publications including the New York Times.
Her profiles of legendary musicians such as Vladimir Horowitz, Leonard Bernstein and Yo-Yo Ma are collected in Music Talks that, like Children of the Holocaust and Where She Came From, has been translated into several other languages. She herself is the translator of Heda Kovály's Under A Cruel Star and Vlasta Schönová's Acting in Terezín. Her biographies of Joseph Papp and Tina Packer grew out of her journalistic work. She has an active speaking career and has lectured at a wide variety of venues in Europe, and North and South America. She blogs for The Arts Fuse, a New England cultural web site.