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  • Aug 31, 2013
Rating:
+5
Naked On the Bench: My Adventures in Pianoland
Robin Spielberg
2013 / Spobs Music
367 pages

Naked On the Bench: My Adventures in Pianoland is the delightful memoir of pianist/composer Robin Spielberg, one of my favorite artists ever. Robin and I have been friends for many years, so although there were not a lot of surprises for me in the book, reading it was like getting to know Robin all over again. An extraordinarily positive and upbeat person, Robin tells her stories with humor, wisdom, and total honesty. The book is divided into six parts plus a prologue, so the stories aren’t always in chronological order, but jumping back and forth in time allows the book to read like a compelling collection of short stories grouped by common themes.

The book begins with a recurring childhood dream where Robin discovers secret rooms inside her piano and is able to meet regularly with a grandfather she had never met and to hear him play. From those magical moments, we travel through the life of a budding artist from her hyperactive childhood thinking everyone must have an orchestra playing in their heads like she did to the poised and polished concert artist she is now. Quite a few chapters recount the years in New York City when Robin played in upscale piano rooms during much of the day and acted in theater productions by night. One of the founding members of the Atlantic Theater Company, she was able to juggle her pianist and acting selves for an impressive period of time, and many of those stories are enlightening, laugh-out-loud funny, and tear-jerking - some all at the same time! Robin also tells her very human stories of love lost, true love found, and the miracle of her daughter, Valerie.

What makes Robin Spielberg’s concert performances truly exceptional is the way she is able to draw her audience into her music with the stories behind each piece and her very personal and “naked” style of playing. As a writer, she is able to do the same thing, letting us see inside her head and get to know the heart and soul of a true artist - the ups and downs of a life that chooses you rather than the opposite, the joys and sorrows, the insecurities that plague all artists as well as the experiences that bring confidence and stage presence. If you love Robin’s music, this book is a must-read. If you don’t know her music, I can guarantee that the book will seduce you into Pianoland.

"Naked On the Bench" will be released on September 22, 2013. It is available for pre-order from www.RobinSpielberg.com and the softcover, ebook, and audiobook will be available from Amazon and iBook on the release date. Very highly recommended!

Kathy Parsons
MainlyPiano.com

8/31/13

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August 31, 2013
Great music I'm sure!
 
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About the reviewer
Kathy Parsons ()
Ranked #2
I have been a private piano teacher since 1981. I have been writing reviews for a long time, and have my own review and interview site, MainlyPiano.com. I teach piano in person and online, so now I can … more
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About this book

Wiki

"A debut memoir of one woman’s quest to become a successful concert pianist, and the setbacks and triumphs she meets along the way.

As an energetic toddler brimming with creativity, Spielberg was left to play in a closed room for hours into the night. However, what her parents mistook for hyperactivity was, in fact, the budding of a musical prodigy. In this memoir, the author chronicles a series of events from her first touch of a piano key to her later multi-album success. She highlights the highs and lows of an artist journeying toward a career in music and doesn’t leave out personal mistakes or humiliating moments. In one chapter, she misjudges a friend’s verbal support and subsequently blasts an email with his endorsement to her fans. In another, she meets a man whom she confused for a fellow artist, who later became a stalker and scorned antagonist. These darker moments balance the book’s predominantly positive mood and give the story complexity, depth and a bit of relatable, raw reality. Spielberg’s commitment to straightforward storytelling allows her to avoid the sentimentality sometimes found in other memoirs. She allows events to speak for themselves, and the book reads like a series of episodes—a well-paced, readable collection of anecdotes that delicately leaves gaps of time between its chapters. Although an artist must appear flawless when onstage, the lifetime preceding that moment is anything but unblemished, ...

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Tags

Music, Piano, Memoir, Steinway, Robin Spielberg, Atlantic Theater Company

Details

ISBN-13: 9780970563354
Author: Robin Spielberg
Genre: memoir
Publisher: Spobs Music Inc.
Date Published: September 22, 2013
ISBN: 9780970563354
Format: soft cover
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