Star Turns and Cameo Appearances

Star Turns and Cameo Appearances

Memoirs of a Life among Musicians

Bernard Jacobson

Personal eBook

University of Rochester Press



Up-close and personal views, by the renowned music critic and orchestra administrator, of musical luminaries from Alfred Brendel to Jessye Norman and beyond.
Star Turns and Cameo Appearances is the entertaining and insightful memoir by veteran music critic Bernard Jacobson. Its pages are populated by eminent composers ranging from Hans Werner Henze to Andrzej Panufnik and by renowned performers, including Georg Solti, Daniel Barenboim, Sviatoslav Richter, and Jessye Norman.

As a music critic and orchestra administrator, Jacobson has had the opportunity to observe these outstanding musicians and many of their colleagues at close quarters. Assisting Riccardo Muti at the Philadelphia Orchestra for eight years, he saw sides of that maestro not visible to the music-loving public. Throughout Star Turns and Cameo Performances, Jacobson adds his own sensitive and sympathetic view to public perceptions of musical luminaries of yesterday and today, helping to explain and illuminate their artistry.

Bernard Jacobson has worked in the music field for over fifty years, including stints as recording executive, music critic of the Chicago Daily News, artistic director and adviser for international orchestras in Holland, and visiting professor at Roosevelt University's Chicago Musical College. He has also performed and recorded as narrator of concert works and opera.


15 black and white illustrations
326 pages
9x6 in
Hardback, 9781580465410, December 2015
Personal eBook, 9781782046622, December 2015
Library eBook
University of Rochester Press
BISAC BIO004000, BIO026000, MUS006000
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Table of Contents

"Till Ready," to 1960
Inside the Record Industry, 1960-64
Freelance in London and New York, 1964-67
Chicago Years, 1967-73
Exchanging Criticizing for Supporting, 1973-76
The Pastoral Dream, 1976-79
Inside Music Publishing, 1979-84
Philadelphia, First Installment, 1984-91
Back to Holland, 1992-95
Philadelphia, Second Installment, 1996-2005
West Coast Years, 2005-14
Philadelphia, Yet Again, 2014-?


I have admired and continue to admire the great musical culture of Bernard Jacobson, whom I have known since my time in Philadelphia in the 1980s. His deep understanding of the world of the arts and his wit and elegant writing make Star Turns particularly interesting and charming. --Riccardo Muti, conductor, music director, Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Bernard Jacobson's remarkable memoir is a musical journey from the perspective of a writer, music critic, music publisher, and a man who has been intimately involved with the classical music world. His extraordinary life's work, knowledge, and integrity have been a great inspiration to me, and this beautifully written memoir now affords others a window into his lifelong devotion to and love of music on the deepest level. --Gerard Schwarz, conductor and composer

An extraordinarily vivid and intriguing glimpse of the humans inside the classical music giants, of the last fifty years --an invaluable and rare account from a man who's heard it all. --Roxanna Panufnik, composer

Bernard Jacobson delights in telling us of his life with music and musicians. His rich trove of anecdotes will amuse, enlighten, and entertain any reader fascinated by the art and business of classical music. --Garrick Ohlsson, pianist

Bernard Jacobson has been one of the most illuminating writers about classical music over the past decades, a critical intelligence to reckon with -- the sort of critic (all too rare) with whom performers can engage in fruitful dialogue. His memoirs of a life in music are fascinating stuff. --Ian Bostridge, tenor

A fascinating look at the life of this distinguished writer. I was especially touched by Jacobson's description of his youthful enthusiasms, and all the great stories about legendary figures of music in England. --Emanuel Ax, pianist

A fascinating tour through the classical music world from the 1960s to today. Jacobson has worked with and has stories to tell about most of the major and minor figures of music in England and America of the last fifty years. His analysis of Riccardo Muti as a man, a conductor, and a leader is worth the whole book. It's an involving book, and I feel privileged to have read it. --Speight Jenkins, general director, 1983-2014, Seattle Opera