The Student Conductor by Robert Ford

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In this daring first novel of political, sexual, and artistic awakening, a young symphony conductor travels to Germany in the autumn of 1989, where he falls in love with a recent East German defector, and has a brutal encounter with the prewar conductor who becomes his great life teacher.

Cooper Barrow has returned to the competitive fray of the orchestral world after eight years of exile-bringing his prodigious talent and insecurity into Frankfurt and Berlin just at the moment that the Berlin Wall falls. Barrow is to study under the cruel hand of a capricious maestro, Karlheinz Ziegler-a man who carries boundless shame from his days in a Nazi concentration camp, and who will force Barrow to define himself within a morally ambiguous world.

But when Barrow encounters the beautiful and boldly sexual Petra Vogel, an oboist with poisonous secrets, he sets in motion a complex psychological dance of guilt, music, and love.

With remarkable intensity and physicality, Robert Ford delivers a pitch-perfect debut, brimming with intrigue and revelation, where passion flowers into desire on every page.

About Robert Ford

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Robert Ford earned a Master of Music degree from Yale and an MFA in writing from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin. An award-winning playwright, he has also been awarded a James Michener Fellowship, a James Fellowship from the Heekin Group Foundation for The Student Conductor, and has published fiction in American Short Fiction.
Published September 29, 2003 by Putnam Adult. 304 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Religion & Spirituality. Fiction

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(Sept.)Forecast: Ford, who holds a master of music degree from Yale, writes with rare depth and verisimilitude about music, musicians and student-teacher relationships, which makes his novel well suited to handselling, particularly in college bookstores.

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