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 ittells how peace can happen, one heart at a time. It helps when thehearts beat in people of influence and talent. The hearts inquestion are, first, that of author Levine, a conductor,Brooklyn-born Jew, and son-in-law of a Holocaust survivor. Theother heart? Polish-born Pope John Paul II, who may be headed tosainthood. Levine and the late pope became acquainted when themusician became the conductor of the Krakow Philharmonic in theheady days of the late 1980s, as the Iron Curtain slowly crumbledin Eastern Europe. Levine and the pope became spiritual friends,collaborating on papal-sponsored concerts of reconciliationintended to ease estrangement and pained history between CatholicChristians and Jews, and, post-September 11, among the threeAbrahamic religions. This remarkable and little-known storydeserves attention. (Oct.) (Publishers Weekly
, August 16,2010)
"Talk about a baptism in fire. Levine is witty as he tells ofhis observations of Communist Poland, the intricacies of theCatholic Church, and his first glimpses of the Vatican… Hestrikes a dreamlike tone as he tells of how he and Pope John PaulII became friends." (The Buffalo News.com, March 20, 2011,by Mary Kunz Goldman)
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