Nicholas Kenyon explores the enduring appeal of the classical canon at a moment when we can access all music—across time and cultures
“Nicholas Kenyon is an amiable and enthusiastic guide to a thousand years of classical music.”—Neil Fisher, The Times
“A wonderfully engaging survey. . . . It is what every music lover needs close by. . . . We are left in no doubt about music’s extraordinary power.”—Ian Thomson, Financial Times
Immersed in music for much of his life as writer, broadcaster, and concert presenter, former director of the BBC Proms Nicholas Kenyon has long championed an astonishingly wide range of composers and performers. Now, as we think about culture in fresh ways, Kenyon revisits the stories that make up the classical tradition and foregrounds those that are too often overlooked. This inclusive, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic guide highlights the achievements of the women and men, amateurs and professionals, who bring music to life.
Taking us from pianist Myra Hess’s performance in London during the Blitz, to John Adams’s composition of a piece for mourners after New York’s 9/11 attacks, to Italian opera singers singing from their balconies amidst the 2020 pandemic, Kenyon shows that no matter how great the crisis, music has the power to bring us together. His personal, celebratory account transforms our understanding of how classical music is made—and shows us why it is more relevant than ever.