The advance praise and media attention listed below discuss The Nightingale’s Sonata. Additional resources related to the book can be found here.
“The Nightingale’s Sonata is a beautifully written, exhaustively researched account of an extraordinary musician and human being—now a legend—who moved through exalted artistic circles in Russia, Europe, and America. For those of us who seek to ensure the future of music, the remarkable life journey of Lea Luboshutz carries a special resonance and inspiration. Pairing the meticulous care of a scholar with the unique perspective of his family connection, Thomas Wolf brings this wonderful artist and teacher to life again in his absorbing biography.”
President and CEO, Curtis Institute of Music
Former Principal Violist, Philadelphia Orchestra
“Not only music lovers but general readers will be drawn to the narrative of The Nightingale's Sonata, which is a history of much of performing music in the last one hundred and fifty years. Beautifully and sensitively written, it transcends the story of one family and enlightens the cultural history of our times.”
Professor of the History of Science emeritus, MIT and Harvard University
Fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Author of Science and Philosophy in the Soviet Union
“What a beautiful book! As vibrant, elegant and absolutely compelling as its extraordinary chief protagonist, concert violinist Lea Luboshutz—who played with the greatest musicians of her day—this stunning book combines a family saga rich with struggle, passion, and several kinds of love and a story of performance art on the highest level. How did a young woman from a poor family turn herself into an internationally renowned musician? With remarkable narrative power, the author moves you through space and time, from Imperial Russia to Europe and the United States, where for decades “Lubo” performed in the top concert halls and taught violin. Against a background of some of the most dramatic historical events of the twentieth century, the book’s propelling intertwined forces—music, performance, ambition and family—drive a tale that will entrance and inspire.”
Kathryn W. Davis Professor of Slavic Studies, Wellesley College
“Fascinating and gripping. Reading about the challenging road Lea faced in her journey was truly moving. Filled with meticulous research and wonderful history, The Nightingale’s Sonata transported me to a new world. I am proud and inspired to follow in Lea’s tradition of excellence as a pedagogue at the Curtis Institute of Music and as an artist.”
“Make room in the annals of violin virtuosity and feminism for the astonishing Lea Luboshutz. The Nightingale’s Sonata is a ‘Star is Born’ from the age of Imperial Russia. A tale of towering artistry and tantalizing scandal set against a backdrop of revolutions, czars, queens, and a glittering firmament of figures—Tolstoy, Gorky, Zola, Prokofiev, Koussevitzky, Casals, Heifetz, Stern, Ormandy, Hurok—who come alive in these pages to escort Lea Luboshutz to her overdue moment on the stage of musical history.”
Author of Hiding in the Spotlight
“As its subtitle suggests, The Nightingale’s Sonata is truly a musical odyssey. This is an explorer’s story—one that takes the reader on a gripping ride from old Russia to the new world in a staggering series of inspiring personal reinventions. Beyond its thrilling narrative, it guides the reader into an even richer odyssey: the journey inward—the one so few of us dare to sojourn—and the excavation of the universal resilience of the human spirit. The secret histories and unuttered murmurings are the lens through which Wolf’s family story is shared. Wolf recounts his saga with curiosity, compassion and heart, yet without a shred of overt sentimentality. The reader is drawn in immediately and never released until the back cover. Wolf’s chronicle begins with the description of a priceless family heirloom. I suspect this rich and vivid volume will become a literary heirloom of its own.”
Star of The Shakespeare Theater’s Camelot
Author of White Hot Grief Parade and After Anatevka
News & Reviews
New England Authors | Kaleem Nasr interviews author Thomas Wolf about his new book, The Nightingale’s Sonata. June 27, 2019.
“Coming from a poor Jewish family in Russia, Lea Luboshutz was a prodigy who began touring internationally before the Russian Revolution. Tom Wolf describes what it was like growing up in a musical house where the famous used to visit. His uncle was the celebrated opera conductor Boris Goldovsky.”
The television interview explores many topics: Russian music history and anti-Semitism, women in the arts at the turn of the century, the intersection of family history and family intrigue, and much more.
A Tempo host Rachel Katz spoke with Thomas Wolf, Luboshutz’s grandson, who has written a book about Luboshutz’s life called The Nightingale’s Sonata. The interview begins at the 2:59 mark.
“At the age of 11, Lea Luboshutz auditioned for Leopold Auer in 1896, who soon invited her to study at the Moscow Conservatory, a major step for a poor Jewish girl from Odessa. She would go on to have a life that stretched through the Russian Revolution, to Europe and the U.S., with a performing and teaching career, including at the Curtis Institute of Music.”
Gregor Benko | Review of The Nightingale’s Sonata posted to the chatroom ‘Pianophiles.’ June 8, 2019.
“Few books are produced these days by the mainstream press that deal with historic classical musicians. I’d like to report on a rare exception, one that isn’t strictly about pianists, although Josef Hofmann, Pierre Luboshutz and Boris Goldovsky figure prominently in the story as do Artur Schnabel, Ernst von Dohnanyi, and Leonid Kreutzer. The book is ‘The Nightingale’s Sonata’ by Thomas Wolf, just published by Pegasus Press. It is the history of the Luboshutz and Goldovsky family, with the author’s grandmother, violinist Lea Luboshutz (1885 – 1965) emerging as a remarkable figure.
“Lea Luboshutz must have been quite a musician, but alas there are almost no recordings. She also obviously was quite a strong woman, prevailing against incredible odds as a female, as a Jew and as a resident of Russia at a very dangerous time. Luboshutz played many duo recitals with Josef Hofmann, who brought her to the Curtis faculty. She was, in fact, the last and only musician with whom Hofmann collaborated in public after WWI. (The two probably had a romantic affair as well). She was special.
“The story of how she emerged in Odessa, sharing plaudits for trio performances with her virtuoso cellist sister Anna and her pianist brother Pierre (later of Luboshutz & Nemenoff fame), as well as maintaining a very successful international career as a soloist is compelling in itself, but there is so much more. She shared a home with the Revolutionary, Onissim Goldovsky, to whom she was not married but with whom she had three children (including her musician son Boris Goldovsky, fondly remembered for his Met Opera intermission broadcasts). We are introduced into Onissim’s world where we meet Tolstoy, Turgenev and many other luminaries as well.
“The book is well-written, deeply researched and a ‘good read,’ as well as good history. There are interesting pages on Hofmann and quite a bit of insider material on musical life, for instance the tension between violinist Carl Flesch and Hofmann at the Curtis Institute, and Luboshutz’s ability to sail above it all. This is a book I think a lot of piano fans will want to read.”
“It is a fascinating story peopled by some of the most famous names in modern world and musical history. . . .Wolf did extensive research and took great care in composing this compelling story of a celebrated artist and her extended family. “
“In this thoroughly researched biography, Wolf, a musician and arts consultant, writes of his grandmother Lea Luboshutz (1885–1965 ), one of the first internationally known female concert violinists. . . . Classical music fans will delight in this astute assessment of an influential performer and academic.”
“[Wolf] grew up hearing tales about his famous grandmother, Lea Luboshutz (1885–1965). Those tales—some incomplete, some contradicted by other family members’ versions of events—piqued the author’s curiosity. Urged by his mother to ‘tell the story,’ he mined boxes of letters and clippings, archival documents, diaries, memoirs, and histories to convey, in a sensitive, perceptive biography, the improbable truth about Luboshutz and her emergence from a tumultuous world. . . . A captivating story of passion and music.”