|Susanna Reich is delighted to announce
of her new book, CLARA SCHUMANN: PIANO VIRTUOSO (especially for
ages 8 and up). This book was written in consultation with her
Nancy B. Reich, musicologist and author of Clara Schumann:
Artist and the Woman (Cornell University Press, 1985). It is
written for slightly older readers than Barbara Allman’s Her Piano
Reich’s book includes excerpts from Clara’s diaries and letters, some
before published in English, and is illustrated with over 60 black and
white prints and archival photographs.
Reich, Susanna. Clara Schumann: Piano Virtuoso.
Books, 1999. [ISBN: 0395891191, $18.00] Alphacraze
The Author Susanna Reich: A Short Biography
Writing children’s books is a third career in the
arts for Susanna Reich, author of the highly acclaimed CLARA
PIANO VIRTUOSO (Clarion Books, 1999). Ms. Reich was born in New
and raised in Hastings-on-Hudson. She grew up surrounded by
but her response to music was different from Clara Schumann’s: when
heard music, she wanted to dance!
The author’s first love was ballet. As a teenager she studied at the American Ballet Theatre School in New York and the Royal Academy of Dancing in London, but in college her focus shifted to modern dance. She received a B.F.A. from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and after graduation danced with several modern dance companies in New York. Later she did graduate work in Dance Ethnology at the University of Hawaii, and studied and taught Laban Movement Analysis at the Dance Notation Bureau and the Laban/Bartenieff Institute for Movement Studies in New York.
In 1985 Ms. Reich stopped dancing, and for the next twelve years worked as a floral designer, specializing in weddings. Her business, Flowers by Susanna, was official florist for Lyndhurst, an estate in Tarrytown, New York that is a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Ms. Reich’s floral work was profiled in THE NEW YORK TIMES, the Westchester Gannett papers, and HUDSON VALLEY magazine. Among the special occasions she designed were Julia Child’s 80th birthday party and dinners for five prime ministers and the Emperor and Empress of Japan. In 1994 she was chosen as “One of the Outstanding Women Under Forty in Westchester” by WOMEN’S NEWS.
Ms. Reich’s writing career began in the early nineties with articles on floral design which were published in national magazines, including BRIDE’S. Later she began experimenting with picture book texts. She learned from librarians, teachers, and editors of the need for biographies of women for children. Her mother, Nancy Reich, a musicologist, suggested Clara Schumann. Nancy Reich is the author of the award-winning biography for adults, CLARA SCHUMANN: THE ARTIST AND THE WOMAN (Cornell University Press, 1985.)
“The more I learned about Clara, the more impressed I became,” says Susanna Reich. “She was an extraordinary woman, one of the great musicians of the nineteenth century. This was a time when very few women had public lives. She was a lot more than a child prodigy. She stood up to her father to marry Robert Schumann, championed Robert’s work when he was an unknown composer, and continued her career after her husband’s mental illness and death. Imagine being a world-class pianist AND a single mother to seven children!”
CLARA SCHUMANN: PIANO VIRTUOSO has already garnered several honors, including being named to School Library Journal’s list of “Best Books of the Year,” and to the New York Public Library’s list of “100 Titles for Reading and Sharing,” (their best books of the year list.) It has been also been nominated for the American Library Association’s list of Best Books of the Year for Young Adults and for the Cleveland Public Library’s Children’s Biography Award (both to be announced in 2000.)
Ms. Reich believes that dance, floral design, and writing have much in common. “The principles of all art forms are the same. If you are creative in one art form you can use that creativity in other art forms. The same principles of balance and structure, form and composition apply. And I use the discipline I learned as a dancer every day.”
But the author is happiest, she says, with her latest career. “Writing for kids presents a particular kind of challenge. First, you have to see with the eyes of a child, to capture a child’s sense of discovery, with its wonders, terrors, and excitement. Then, you have to find the right word, the perfect sentence structure, the simplest way to express complex thoughts.”
Ms. Reich will be returning to her first love in her next book, a biography for young readers of the Mexican-American modern dancer and choreographer José Limón. Susanna Reich lives in Ossining, New York with her husband, Gary Golio, an artist and social worker, and their teenage daughter.
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