With a lifetime of experience, profound knowledge and understanding, and heartwarming appreciation, an internationally celebrated conductor and teacher answers the questions: Why should I listen to classical music? How can I get the most from the listening experience?

A protégé of Leonard Bernstein--his colleague for eighteen years--and an eminent conductor who has toured and recorded all over the world, John Mauceri helps us to reap the joys and pleasures classical music has to offer. Briefly, we learn the way a musical tradition born in ancient Greece, embraced by the Roman Empire, and subsequently nurtured by influences from across the globe, gave shape to the classical music that came to be embraced by cultures from Japan to Bolivia. Then Mauceri examines the music itself, helping us understand what it is we hear when we listen to classical music: how, by a kind of sonic metaphor, it expresses the deepest recesses of human feeling and emotion; how each piece bears the traces of its history; how the concert experience--a unique one each and every time--allows us to discover music anew. Unpretentious, graceful, instructive, this is a book for the aficionado, the novice, and anyone looking to have the love of music fired within them.
“Eloquent and inspiring. . . Mauceri skillfully incorporates his musical experiences, from his youth to the present. . .  The perfect companion for those who are already well versed in classical music and for those ready to take the plunge.”—Carolyn M. Mulac, Library Journal 

"Mauceri’s love letter will provoke newbies to give classical a whirl and inspire fans to listen with fresh ears.” — Publishers Weekly

“Classical-music aficionados will enjoy Mauceri’s discussions of composers and their works. Newbies will find them instructive, but the author would caution all readers to not just take his word for it, but to experience the music and hear for themselves.”—Joan Curbow, Booklist

“The author’s joy for music is infectious . . .  Even those who know classical music well will learn something from this lively and enthusiastic primer.”  —Kirkus

"John Mauceri has done it again with this wonderful book. I learned a lot, at my advanced age, and am thankful for the pleasure it brought me. I recommend it to all.” — Marilyn Horne, opera singer 

“Any amateur for whom music is one the chief pleasures in life, but who longs always for a deeper understanding of the language of the classical concert than can be had from liner notes and his or her own intuitions, will be grateful for John Mauceri’s new book—it makes understanding how music works almost as pleasurable as listening to it.” – Adam Gopnik, author of A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism 

“Having grown up with a father whose passion for music was tsunami-like in its intensity, I quickly recognized and welcomed a similar joy in John Mauceri's meditations on the repertoire he loves so much. Every page warms us with the fires of his lifelong devotion. His book gives us precisely what Mauceri tells us the music itself will provide: ‘a most rewarding journey.’” —Jamie Bernstein, author of Famous Father Girl: A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein

“This delightful book is not so much the opening of a door as an affectionate hand on the arm, guiding the reader with enthusiasm and intelligence into a world of beauty which reaches to the very heart of what makes human life of value." —Stephen Hough, pianist and composer