Paul Emond's Reviews > Above Parr: Memoir of a Child Prodigy

Above Parr by Patricia Parr
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Patricia Parr, a celebrated Canadian pianist, professor, and chamber musician, recalls her musical life in her new book "Above Parr: Memoir of a Child Prodigy." Growing up, Pat’s mother wanted her to be a soloist so badly that she plucked her daughter out of school in the fourth grade, making her stay home and practice the piano. And Patricia did.

From the age of eight onwards she performed as a soloist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Philharmonic, the Rochester Civic Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic. She played at Massey Hall and Carnegie Hall. She performed Bach, Clementi, Handel, Schubert, Beethoven, and Hayden — pieces advanced for someone twice her age.

And yet, she was incredibly lonely.

Patricia grew up without many friends. Her parents were affluent but they weren’t tuned into her emotional needs, like friends and childhood play. They wanted fame.

So, at the age of fourteen, Patricia moved in with relatives she barely knew to study piano at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. While there, amidst a flurry of lessons and practice under the esteemed Isabelle Vengerova and Rudolf Serkin, she formed a trio with a cellist and a violinist. Patricia discovered chamber music, and the trio kept playing together just for the pure love of making music. For the first time, she had found friends. Hers is a story about the joys of collaboration, and how music can create a sense of family and belonging.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
July 30, 2017 – Shelved

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