What would you give to be able to play classical music?

Pianist James Rhodes(Photo: James Rhodes)
Pianist James Rhodes(Photo: James Rhodes)

Or maybe a better way to put it would be, what would you sacrifice?

James Rhodes has put in the requisite time and effort to become one of the world’s finest musicians.  Daily practice sessions lasting six hours coupled with lessons from, as he put it, “Edoardo Strabbioli, a crazy, angry, almost psychotic Italian teacher.”

He tried to quit…decided he’d had enough.  He took a job making “hideous amounts of money” in the hope that it would make up for giving up his beloved music.

He was wrong.

He did not touch a keyboard for ten years, but the sirens continued to sing.  Returning cost him his marriage and, very nearly, his sanity. Rhodes would spend some nine months in a mental institution.  Even that did not dissuade him.

Anastasia Tsioulcas looks at the burgeoning career of James Rhodes…a musician who is beholden to no one but the music he serves.

Read Do You Have To Nearly Kill Yourself To Become A Classical Musician? (NPR)

Watch James Rhodes play Beethoven’s “Lost Sonata.”