Violinist Anthea Kreston Launches Online Book Club for Music Lovers

June 15, 2022, 12:39 PM · You may know violinist Anthea Kreston for her online teaching during the pandemic or her Inside Music Academy, or as a former member of the Artemis Quartett in Berlin, or a sometimes blogger on Slipped Disc...

But when it comes right down to it, she's really a book worm.

Anthea Kreston, book worm
Violinist Anthea Kreston, in book worm mode.

"I would proudly describe myself as a book worm!" Kreston said. "There is nothing better, I think, than curling up with a good book - just disappearing into a different world for a time."

It's not surprising that she started a "Fortnightly Book Club," featuring books about music and musicians, back in 2018 on Slipped Disc. But now that we have all been through a pandemic and have learned to use the Internet in new ways, Kreston is ready to re-launch the idea as a live and interactive weekly event on Zoom (or on-demand).

Now called the "Inside Music Book Club," this one will start on July 6 and go for six Saturdays in a row, running from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. PST. (Click here for more information - it's $89 for the six sessions - special $75 for "Violinist.com friends.") The first book will be the 2010 mystery Paganini's Ghost, by Paul Adam. (Adam also wrote the Rainaldi Quartet, a book I enjoyed a great deal.)

"It's going to be so much fun to relaunch on Zoom - the platform just cracks it wide open," Kreston said. "Not only will we have a special visit from author Paul Adam, but also music from the book performed by violinists from Amsterdam, Chengdu and New York; a trip to a violin maker’s shop; virtual tours to Rome, Venice and Cremona; and even a private tour of Bein & Fushi to see some rare instruments. It's going to be so much fun - and so much more varied than a regular book club!"

Of course, she does love a regular book club - that's what gave her the idea in the first place. "I have always enjoyed going to book clubs at my local library or at friend’s houses," she said, "it's so cozy, and the conversations always end up in a completely different place than they began."

While practicing and listening to music have a direct bearing on how we play the violin or any other instrument, reading can enhance our music-making in other ways.

"Music and reading have so much in common," Kreston said. "As musicians, we are on a never-ending quest to connect emotionally to different time periods, cultures, stories. A lot of this is instinct, but to gain a deeper understanding of the music we play, I love to draw on the books I have read: the struggles of war, lost loves, tragedy and triumphs. Not to just know where a composer was born, but to understand the world around them, the things that shaped the music, the world as it was or is."

What made her choose the book "Paganini's Ghost"?

"Well, it's just a plain, good, easy-to-read, old-fashioned whodunnit," Kreston said. "Based in Cremona, the protagonist is a violin maker who is also an amateur violinist. It has real historical events wrapped up in a fictional murder mystery. Lots of fun!"

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