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James Rhodes talks to Stephen Fry


Hay Festival 2015 , 

The unanimous Supreme Court ruling today to lift the injunction on this extraordinary memoir means we are delighted and thrilled to launch the book at Hay on Saturday evening.

'Over the last five years James Rhodes has become my latest addiction...his wit on stage and concentration on the keyboard have earned him a new audience for whom classical music had always appeared stuffy and elitist. As for his life and personality – they transcend the imagination of the most vivid novelist. His story is one filled with unimaginable terrors and unconquerable triumphs. The unforgettable story of an unforgettable and remarkable man.' – Stephen Fry.

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.