What’s on a maestro’s bookshelf?

Posted on: January 21, 2015

The Sunday (1/18) New York Times Book Review includes an interview with Alan Gilbert, music director of the New York Philharmonic, about the books he reads. “I’ve been reading two books that I picked up in an airport bookstore during my last trip. One is called Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar…, by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein. It explores philosophical topics that I’ve dealt with in the past, mostly when I was in college, but in a way that finally makes the subject understandable to me. It happens to be extremely funny at the same time. I also have got Bill Bryson’s book One Summer: America, 1927; I’ve read almost everything he’s written, and once again this one has totally captivated me. It’s full of fascinating information, but it is also presented in a kind of humble, optimistic way that makes one proud to be part of the America that he’s describing…. The one book that leaps to mind that I think is truly incredible in the way that it treats not only music but the world surrounding it is Mann’s Doctor Faustus. Of course it is a great, great piece of literature … but the way it brings the creative musical explosion of Leverkühn/Schoenberg to life is unbelievably powerful.”

Posted January 21, 2015