In the tradition of Anthony Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential" and Gelsey Kirkland's "Dancing on my Grave" comes an insider’s look into the secret world of classical musicians.
From her debut recital at Carnegie Recital Hall to the Broadway pits of "Les Miserables" and "Miss Saigon," Blair Tindall has played with some of the biggest names in classical music for twenty-five years. Now in "Mozart in the Jungle," Tindall exposes the scandalous rock and roll lifestyles of the musicians, conductors, and administrators who inhabit the insular world of classical music.
Tindall's "Jungle" travels around the globe, from performances in Vienna's Staatsoper, Rio's Teatro Colon and a remote Brazilian rainforest, then on to New York City, where she and her musician colleagues live in the squalor of a decrepit west side tenement. A metaphor for the classical music business, the building has fallen from glory, its elaborate stone carving chipped, windows patched with cardboard, and its elegant décor plastered over by a greedy landlord and her predatory handyman. Outsiders have never looked farther than the ornate facade…until now.
Inside, music transforms a schoolteacher into a beautiful diva, and sustains a renowned pianist who endures two heart transplants to perform with the stars who pay him a pittance. An American goddess of the arts struggles to fulfill a dream, her ominous future mirrored by an older musician whose fantasies drain away in her lonely apartment upstairs. A stunning cellist becomes an AIDS-infected crack addict and prostitute; a Metropolitan Opera violinist is jailed for selling cocaine; and an African-American virtuoso becomes so lost inside the elitist white arts world that he smashes his $185,000 eighteenth-century French violin into splinters.
The drama of "Mozart in the Jungle" opens during America's Cold War-era optimism, and follows four musicians as their world dissolves into a culture of entitlement for a new generation of classical musicians, who are deaf to changing American tastes and demand. By weaving memoir with investigative arts journalism, Tindall shatters rhetoric about the arts in the United States -- in an real-life tale from a musician whose career paralleled America’s late twentieth-century culture boom. As "Mozart in the Jungle" races to its dramatic conclusion, Tindall reveals music as a simple, spiritual gift accessible to all.