Limelight magazine interview for Girls at the Piano now online

I’m pleased to report that this link is now available to the interview I conducted with Limelight magazine’s Angus McPherson for its May issue. The upside is that the first paragraph is terrific. The downside is that it’s all you can see without a subscription to the magazine.

The print edition was a sumptuous spread featuring images of piano-playing girls including a reproduction of Jane Austen, who practised the piano every morning before making breakfast for her household (sentimentally reimagined for the CD cover illustrating this post); another of the young piano prodigy Clara Wieck, before she married the composer Robert Schumann (to her father’s enduring dismay); and, almost inevitably, a painting from Renoir’s famous series of the early 1890s, Jeunes filles au piano.

I am intrigued to keep reading, in this article and in this review, that I took my title from Renoir, because it’s an assumption that is quite incorrect. I have kept a list of all the titles I considered for my Girls at the Piano during the zigzag course of its writing; this one did not emerge until very late in the day, and was a singular Girl until, reflecting on all the young women I write about in the book, I wanted the title to be inclusive. The Renoir series was of course a happy coincidence but not prescriptive.

Most interviewees fear being misquoted. My experience was that I was quoted all too literally, so that all my slips, pauses and stumbles have been documented for all Limelight readers to see.

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