Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Interview with Rena Fruchter, author of The Orchestra Murders

Rena FruchterABOUT RENA FRUCHTER

Rena Fruchter is the author of three books—two critically acclaimed books in the biographical genre—Dudley Moore—An Intimate Portrait, and I’m Chevy Chase…and you’re not. And now, her exciting and soon to be released book: The Orchestra Murders—A Cynthia Masters Mystery Ms. Fruchter is a renowned pianist, writer and educator, and director of an arts organization. Her performances have taken her throughout the United States, Europe, Australia and the Far East in both solo and ensemble appearances. She made her solo debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of six, performing the Haydn Piano Concerto in D Major. Appearances with other orchestras and on radio and television followed. At age eleven, she gave her first performance with the Boston Pops under Arthur Fiedler at the Esplanade, later returning to perform the Schumann Piano Concerto with the Boston Pops in Symphony Hall. For twelve years, Rena Fruchter was a music columnist for the New York Times. She was also a music critic and an arts commentator for New Jersey Public Television, the London Music Correspondent for the Boston Herald and a contributor to many other publications. Her radio interview series, “Backstage Portraits,” was broadcast throughout the United States. A graduate of Brandeis University, Rena also holds degrees in both piano performance and pedagogy from the Royal College of Music in London, England, where she studied with Louis Kentner and Lamar Crowson. She also studied with two distinguished Nadias–Nadia Boulanger in France and Nadia Reisenberg in New York. Rena is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Music For All Seasons, an organization that presents musical programs for people confined in institutions including hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and special facilities for children. The organization also runs “Voices of Valor,” which provides workshops for veterans to write and record their own songs. The organization was co-founded by Rena and her husband, Brian Dallow. Dudley Moore was the Founding Advisory Board President of Music For All Seasons, which is now in its 21st year. Rena is CEO of Martine Avenue Productions, a company co-created with Dudley Moore to bring his musical works to the public. The company has produced seven CDs, the latest, the two-CD set Dudley Down Under—unabridged, the complete live Dudley Moore Trio concert at Sydney Town Hall (Australia) on May 2, 1978. This CD is produced in honor of Dudley on the tenth anniversary of his death. The company donates a portion of its proceeds to two charities designated by Dudley—the international research fund of the US-based “Cure PSP” and “Music For All Seasons, Inc.” With long-time friend and colleague Dudley Moore, Rena toured the United States and Australia, New Zealand, and the Far East in two-piano performances. Rena Fruchter is the author of the critically acclaimed book Dudley Moore—An Intimate Portrait, published in 2004 by Ebury/Random House/UK and subsequently published in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. Her popular book I’m Chevy Chase…And You’re Not, an innovative biography presenting the American comedy icon in a fascinating and revealing look at his life and work, was published in the UK and US. The only authorized biography of Chevy Chase, it provides a comprehensive view of the brilliant and complex actor, comedian and writer. Her new book has just been published and is called The Orchestra Murders—A Cynthia Masters Mystery. Rena is married to Brian Dallow, and they are the parents of four adult children, including a set of triplets. They live in New Jersey. www.renafruchterbooks.com WEBSITE | TWITTER FACEBOOK | Could you please tell us a little about your book? The Orchestra Murders—A Cynthia Masters Mystery is a ‘murder mystery’ surrounding the exciting, high-profile, and cut-throat world of classical music.  The musical world includes many extreme characters, and some of them inspired the characters in my book.  The story is set both in Philadelphia and London, two cities I know very well. I was born and raised in Philadelphia, and lived and studied in London.  In this book, the first of a series featuring the brilliant Detective Cynthia Masters, a famed British conductor, Sir Gregory Langhorne (conductor of the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra) and his celebrity violinist son Jonathan Langhorne, were close—until a series of murders in the Philadelphia Symphony raised questions about how the brilliant Langhornes might have been involved in these crimes. Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?
This book was inspired by my background as a musician and writer.  I had a child prodigy career as a pianist and made my debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra (name just slightly different from the orchestra in my book!) at the age of six.  I went on to perform as soloist with orchestras in the United States and toured internationally as a pianist. I also spent many years as a journalist, writing about music for publications including the New York Times, Central New Jersey Home News, Boston Herald, and many others. My first two books were in the biographical genre—Dudley Moore—An Intimate Portrait, and I’m Chevy Chase…and you’re not. This is my first work of crime fiction.  Cynthia Masters will be back for a sequel later this year.
Who is your biggest supporter? My husband, Brian Dallow, is my biggest supporter.  Most authors tend to torment their loved ones to some degree or another—spending endless hours writing and re-writing; worrying that it’s not good enough, or getting up in the middle of the night to fix a passage that wasn’t flowing quite right. In addition to being a perceptive reader and managing to make suggestions just when they are needed, my husband is patient with the time that’s needed to complete a major project. Your biggest critic? This must be a cliché, but I’m definitely my own biggest critic. I wonder how it’s possible to read one’s own writing for the hundredth time and still find things that need to be fixed and re-written. And how is it that right up until the day of publication—even after the professional editors have gone through it six times—there are still typos, missing commas, missing end-quotes? It’s because nothing is ever perfect.  But we authors expect it to be perfect!  Yes, definitely, I’m my own worst critic. On the other hand, having been a professional music critic, I’m able to take criticism from others without over-reacting. What cause are you most passionate about and why? The other part of my life is devoted to an organization called “Music For All Seasons,” which takes the joy and healing power of live music into all types of institutions where people are confined.  The healing power of music is one of my biggest passions.  As part of this non-profit organization (which I run with my husband), we provide the “Voices of Valor” program in which veterans are aided with the process of reintegration to civilian life through original song-writing and recording. (They don’t need musical experience to participate, and it’s free through the generosity of several funders.) It’s an incredibly successful project that changes the lives of veterans. What do you feel sets this book apart from others in the same genre? This is partly for my readers to decide, but one of my goals in writing the book was not to provide a superficial murder mystery.  I wanted to delve deeply into the characters, and to have my readers really get to know all the characters, whether minor or major players in the story.  It wasn’t enough for me to gloss over the details, and I wanted people to understand what goes on in the minds of each of the characters.  In that sense, it combines some of the elements of the fast-paced crime fiction story, and some elements of the more in-depth novel. What is the most important lesson you have learned from life so far? This is an interesting question, but there isn’t just one most important lesson. I’ve learned to take things in stride, and not to take life too seriously.  As a writer, I’ve learned that words aren’t sacred.  You can throw them in the trash if they aren’t the right words (and even if they are the right words but there are just too many of them)! I’ve learned that if you help someone you will also benefit. I’ve learned to appreciate the success of other people, not just my own. Okay—most important, I’ve learned that my family and friends are more important than anything else.     ————————————————————–  

The Orchestra MurdersABOUT THE ORCHESTRA MURDERS

Superstar conductor Sir Gregory Langhorne and his globe-trotting, violin-soloist son Jonathan Langhorne are the best of friends—until a brutal murder shatters their lives and Jonathan becomes the prime suspect. Six years later, Sir Gregory is now the music director of the world famous Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra and has finally reconciled with his son Jonathan, just as members of the orchestra are being killed off one by one. The challenge for brilliant young hotshot Philadelphia Detective Cynthia Masters is to solve not only the orchestra murders, but the question of why murder seems to follow the Langhornes. Has Masters finally met her match—a case that cannot be solved? Set in London and Philadelphia, this dramatic story of murder, infidelity, and the abuse of money and power establishes Cynthia Masters as a world-class detective in this thrilling and unusual mystery.

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The Orchestra Murders Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule

———————————————————— Tuesday, February 5 Character Interview at Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews Wednesday, February 6 Guest blogging at Bookingly Yours Friday, February 8 Guest blogging at Confessions of a Reader Book spotlight at Melina’s Book Blog Monday, February 11 Interviewed at My Book Retreat Tuesday, February 12 First Chapter Reveal at Parenting from a Child’s Point of View Interviewed at Literal Exposure Wednesday, February 13 First Chapter Reveal at My Devotional Thoughts Thursday, February 14 Interviewed at My Cozie Corner Friday, February 15 Book spotlight at Mary’s Cup of Tea Monday, February 18 Book spotlight at Parenting from a Child’s Point of View First Chapter Reveal at Reader Girls Tuesday, February 19 First Chapter Reveal at Parenting from a Child’s Point of View Interviewed at Review From Here Wednesday, February 20 Interviewed at Parenting from a Child’s Point of View Thursday,February 21 Guest blogging at Parenting from a Child’s Point of View Guest blogging at Curling Up by the Fire Friday, February 22 Book reviewed at Parenting from a Child’s Point of View Monday, February 25 Book reviewed at My Book Addiction and More Book spotlight at Thoughts in Progress Tuesday, February 26 Book reviewed at The Self-Taught Cook Wednesday, February 27 Book spotlight at Free Ebooks Daily Thursday, February 28 Book reviewed at Review From Here

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