The true story of an unlikely friendship between a prominent Jewish-American conductor and Pope John Paul II, "The Pope's Maestro" tells the inspirational story of how these two men collaborated in an extraordinary way to begin to help heal centuries-old wounds.
Sir Gilbert Levine is a distinguished American conductor who has led major orchestras in the United States and abroad, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, San Francisco Symphony, London Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, Kraków Philharmonic, and L’Orchestre de la Bastille (Paris). Educated at Juilliard, Princeton, and Yale, Maestro Levine has conducted numerous televised concerts on PBS and for the European Broadcasting Union, and performed for His Holiness Pope John Paul II on many occasions. He has been honored with the highest Pontifical Knighthood accorded a non-ecclesiastical musician since Mozart.
Not all books are worth writing; this one assuredly is, because it tells how peace can happen, one heart at a time. It helps when the hearts beat in people of influence and talent. The hearts in question are, first, that of author Levine, a conductor, Brooklyn-born Jew, and son-in-law of a Holocaust survivor. The other heart? Polish-born Pope John Paul II, who may be headed to sainthood. Levine and the late pope became acquainted when the musician became the conductor of the Krakow Philharmonic in the heady days of the late 1980s, as the Iron Curtain slowly crumbled in Eastern Europe. Levine and the pope became spiritual friends, collaborating on papal-sponsored concerts of reconciliation intended to ease estrangement and pained history between Catholic Christians and Jews, and, post-September 11, among the three Abrahamic religions. This remarkable and little-known story deserves attention. (Oct.) (Publishers Weekly
, August 16, 2010)
"Talk about a baptism in fire. Levine is witty as he tells of his observations of Communist Poland, the intricacies of the Catholic Church, and his first glimpses of the Vatican… He strikes a dreamlike tone as he tells of how he and Pope John Paul II became friends." (The Buffalo News.com, March 20, 2011, by Mary Kunz Goldman)
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