She writes: “From the age of eight onwards, I was performing as soloist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in Massey Hall; the Toronto Philharmonic at the ‘Prom Concerts’ in Varsity Arena; the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in the Eastman Theatre, and the New York Philharmonic in Carnegie Hall. I held t…more
What happened to Patricia, in the early part of her life, would be considered child abuse, by today’s standards, or at least I hope so. But, as I told her, there are still stage mothers who are out there, trying to get their child to practic…more
Although framed as a musical memoir, Patricia Parr’s book (implicitly) poses the following question for her readers to consider: “How do you raise a prodigy?” Or, in her words, how do you support your gifted child without pushing them into a life they don’t necessarily want?
We live in ambitious times. You need only to go through the New York preschool application process, as I recently did for my son, to witness the hy…more
From the age of eight onwards she performed as a soloist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Philharmonic, the Rochester Civic Orchestra,…more
Cut to 2017. My husband and I are attending…more
While I did find the beginning of the book more interesting than the second half — particularly as it was the “child prodigy” dimension of the book that caught my attention — I enjoyed reading about how her…more
Interestingly, the emotional distance in her writing is offset by the incredibly intimate musical performances on the CD, consisting mostly of unedited recordings. So, reading and…more
The book is accessible and entertaining. Musical child prodigies often suffer neglect at the hands of their parents – and the author was no exception. I found the early chapters on her privileged, but emotionally unsupportive upbringing, both heart breaking and awe-inspiring. Somehow, despite all the pressure, and isolation, and being shipped away to study the piano at the famed Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, she emerged not only a world-class musician but a more fully formed and well-adjusted person.
In the Toronto music world, the name “Patricia Parr” is practically a household name – especially for those who grew up attending concerts at the Royal Conservatory, Massy Hall, and Varsity Arena. But I had no idea she’d endured so much on the way to becoming Canada’s premiere chamber music pianist. Hers is the rarest of prodigy stories – one with a happy ending (spoiler alert!). I particularly enjoyed the epilogue