Told through a searingly honest narrative, James Rhodes recalls the physical and sexual abuse he suffered as a child, his ensuing struggle with drugs and alcohol and the nervous breakdown that led him to spending months in a locked ward. But there is a bright, broad beam of light piercing through the darkness: James’ passion for classical music – a passion that enabled him to get through his tumultuous upbringing, to resign from his mind-numbing job and to become a renowned concert pianist, as this memoir reveals.

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ISBN: 9781782113393 Category: Tags: ,


James Rhodes’ passion for music has been his absolute lifeline. It has been the thread that has held him together through a life that has encompassed pain, conflict and turmoil. Listening to Rachmaninov on a loop as a traumatised teenager or discovering an Adagio by Bach while in a hospital ward – such exquisite miracles of musical genius have helped him survive his demons, and, along with a chance encounter with a stranger, inspired him to become the renowned concert pianist he is today.

This is a memoir like no other: unapologetically candid, boldly outspoken and surprisingly funny – James’ prose is shot through with an unexpectedly mordant wit, even at the darkest of moments. An impassioned tribute to the therapeutic powers of music, Instrumental also weaves in fascinating facts about how classical music actually works and about the extraordinary lives of some of the great composers. It explains why and how music has the potential to transform all of our lives.

Additional information

Weight 0.205 kg
Dimensions 19.8 × 12.9 × 1.8 cm






xx, 275






786.2092 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K