Zoom Event: The Lost Pianos of Siberia: a talk by Sophy Roberts, Online, Wednesday, 16. September 2020
About this Event
by Sophy Roberts is an unusual book: part history, part travelogue, part eccentric quest. Through the history of an object, she tells the story of Russia's relationship not only with piano culture, but also Russia's neighbours: Mongolia (where her search begins), Germany (which kickstarted Russia's early piano making industry), and China (the former 'Russian' city of Harbin was flooded with Siberian musicians in the aftermath of Revolution). In this talk, Sophy will be showing unseen images, music and video from her three years of travels in Siberia and its borderlands — material that goes beyond what readers will encounter in her critically acclaimed book.
‘This is an amazing journey, the ultimate quest for the oddest objects - pianos - in the most unlikely place - Siberia. But Sophy Roberts makes it much more than that, an elegant and nuanced journey through literature, through history, through music, M**der and incarceration and revolution, through snow and ice and remoteness, to discover the human **** of Siberia. I loved this book.’ - Paul Theroux
‘An extraordinary, cadenced journey into music, exile and landscape.’ - Edmund de Waal
‘A sparkling debut by an outstanding and gifted author. A brilliant guide to Russia of the past and the present, set around an extraordinary search for the heart, soul and lost keyboards of centuries gone by.’ - Peter Frankopan
‘A masterpiece of modern travel literature with words that sing from its pages. A definitive exploration of Russia’s wild east.’ - Levison Wood
“If you only read one book this year, it needs to be this masterpiece.” — Vivien Godfrey, CEO of Stanfords bookshop
“Unique... unusual ... a cultural history explored like few others.” — FT How To Spend It
Sophy Roberts is a British writer whose work focuses on the wild places from Papua New Guinea to the Congo. She began her career assisting the writer Jessica Mitford, and trained in journalism at Columbia University in New York. She regularly contributes to the Financial Times and the US edition of Condé Nast Traveler, among others. The Lost Pianos of Siberia is her first book.
Photo credit: Vladimir Biryukov, the president of the Siberian Piano Tuners Association and head tuner at the Novosibirsk Philharmonic, with a Steinway grand © Michael Turek