David Boyce Piano Services

Piano Tuner in Inverclyde, Renfrewshire, Glasgow, the west of Scotland and beyond.

Tel: 07714959806

This page contains information on biographical books by or about pianists, and other related works. Links in blue take you to the Amazon or other product page.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from any qualifying purchases made via links.


The Madness: Memoir of a Piano Tuner Terence Lowe 2019
This 2019 autobiography by experienced piano technician Terry Lowe gives a vivid portrayal of a Britain and a piano trade now gone.  Starting with his leaving school in the mid 1960s at the age of not-quite-fifteen, the writer recounts not his entire life, but the story of his career, almost all involved with the piano trade in and around London. In those days it was possible to walk into a training in some walk of life, in a way that doesn't really exist today.  Lowe's experience includes training with the main piano  houses and dealers, built up over the years into a vast experience.  The writing style is accessible and the material can be enjoyed by anyone, not just piano technical people.

The Secret Piano   Zhu-Xaio Mei, Translated from French by Ellen Hinsey.  AmazonCrossing 2012

The autobiography of a talented girl in China living through the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution as a young music student. The writer's parents were reckoned to have come from a bourgeois background, and this was held against her.

The description of the music conservatory degenerating under Mao's ideologies is chilling. First to a music institute where you had to be completely politically correct, then to a music school with no music, and finally to a music school with no music and no students. A first-hand description of what it was like at that time when talented professionals were taken from productive work and study and made to live in vile circumstances doing vile tasks. The writer's description is vivid. Later in the book she reflects on the era, and gives her opinion of Mao, his ideas and his refusal to admit any mistake.

The descriptions of the power of music as a rock in her life are moving and music triumphs in the end, along with the writer's spirit.

It's interesting to reflect on how things have changed, with China now being by very far the world's largest producer of pianos.

Tribute must be paid to the translator for a "transparent" translation which never intrudes between author and reader.

A Walk on the Wild Side A Memoir by Virtuoso Pianist Earl Wild Ivory Classics Foundation 2011

Earl Wild was one of the greatest ever masters of the piano.  His very long career saw him teaching up until a couple of weeks before his death in 2010 at the age of 94.  He gave the first televised piano recital, and the first piano recital streamed live on the internet.  His Memoirs are hugely amusing as well as being full of musical insights, and I don't think I can do them justice here.  This must have a place on the bookshelf of anyone with a real interest in the piano.

Stop press: In 2023 a re-edited version was prepared and is now available. The link below is for this new edition. 

A Walk on the Wild SIde

Evenings With Horowitz  David Dubal Robson Books 1992

Horowitz was a phenomenon, regarded by some as the greatest  pianist ever (though Horowitz himself attributed that to Rachmaninov, and also rated Earl Wild very highly).  This book gives fascinating personal glimpses gleaned by David Dubal during many evenings spent with Mr and Mrs Horowitz. 

Evenings With Horowitz

Notes of a Piano Tuner  Denele Pitts Campbell  Pineapple Press, Inc.  1997

A collection of anecdotes and reflections of a piano tuner working in the Ozarks region of Arkansas.  Engaging, wistful and sometimes sad, these stories feature the interface between pianos and the lives of their owners, and the social role of the tuner in sometimes being more than merely a visiting technician. 

Notes of a Piano Tuner

All parts and contents of this website are the intellectual property of David Boyce unless otherwise indicated, and may not be copied without permission.
© David Boyce January 2024.