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The Pope’s Maestro. Gilbert Levine. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010. 456 pp. + DVD. ISBN 978-0-4704-9065-5
Reviewed by John T. Pawlikowski
At the beatification of the late Pope John Paul II on May 1, 2011, a Brooklyn-born Jewish orchestra conductor had an honored seat in the audience. How this came to be for a traditional Jew with little prior contact with Catholic religious leaders is the basic narrative of this volume told from a first person perspective by Levine.
Levine’s grandparents emigrated to the United States from Poland. His mother-in-law is a survivor of Auschwitz. He has been a distinguished conductor who has performed with leading orchestras in North America, Europe, and Israel. In 1987 Levine was invited to serve as a guest conductor of the Krakow Philharmonic for one week. This is where his story begins. Read the rest of this entry »