Jonathan Pegg
Literary Agency

the Lives and Bizarre Deaths of the Great Composers

Stephen Pollard the Lives and Bizarre Deaths of the Great ComposersWhen it comes to dying, classical composers are in a class of their own. Many have led especially interesting lives, but so too have many writers, painters and film directors. It’s the dying that makes many of their lives memorable.

Take the French composer Charles-Valentin Alkan, who, as urban legend has it, reached for a copy of the Talmud and died when the bookcase toppled over and crushed him. Or Alexander Zemlinsky, who was feted in Europe as a genius but died, almost unknown, of pneumonia in New York, where he had fled to escape the Nazis.

Deaths of the Great Composers (the proposed title is a reference to one of the bestselling classic music books ever published, Harold C Shonberg’s The Lives of the Great Composers) would use the bizarre and unusual deaths of classical composers as an introduction to their life and work – an amusingly written but fundamentally serious guide to many of the greatest names in music, and some of the more obscure but fascinating composers.

This book will be a timeless, entertaining, international, dip-in book.


UK Publisher: The Robson Press. Anticipated publication: 2013


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