Jeremy Denk Signs Book Deal with Random House
Jeremy Denk – "one of his generation's most eloquent and thoughtful interpreters"(New York Times) – has signed a deal with Random House for a book based on his article "Every Good Boy Does Fine," which appeared in the April 8 issue of the New Yorker. Also to be titled Every Good Boy Does Fine, the forthcoming memoir is due for publication in 2015 or 2016 and will paint a broader picture of Denk's years as a piano student, interspersed with his reflections on the piano repertory.
The pianist explains:
"Piano lessons are a weekly ritual, like laundry or church; they are moments of discovery and exploration; they are occasions for the passing of wisdom from one generation to the next; and they are also a form of psychological torture, spread out bit by bit for more devastating effect."Inspired by more than three decades of lessons, Every Good Boy Does Fine will offer both comic and serious meditations about obsession, posterity, classical music, and life. As he describes it,
"The book will be partly memoir – the care and feeding of a pianist – but will keep pivoting away from my own story, and depictions of my piano teachers, to quasi-essays about music, trying to get at the heart of certain pieces I have obsessed about for years, unattainable works from hundreds of years ago that still seem to want to be solved today."
Every Good Boy Does Fine will weave together the very relatable thread – of taking lessons, studying with teachers that we both admire and fear, and the unease of then facing the world as a performer without that mentor – with the distinctively personal explorations of classical music that Denk has become known for. As he puts it:
"Each piano lesson has a key piece of advice, a moral lurking in it; they're like fables scattered through your life. Sometimes you need to search out clearer expression, sometimes you simply need to get your fingers to move faster, sometimes you need to listen and breathe with the harmony: what you need always changes, from lesson to lesson. What's more, the morals of the various fables often seem to contradict each other, and you must choose, somehow weaving the contradiction into an artistic personality, into meaningful or truthful performance."