Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Ben, the homeless kid.

Ben, the homeless kid, is an important character because he's present at the crime and gives Henry crucial information about the killer. Ben's not based on any specific person. I constructed him as a statement of what can happen to fragile creative people when too much pressure is placed upon their egos. Sometimes harsh treatment by teachers can yield horrible results. I suppose I was thinking in part of the character David, in David Lean's film, David and Lisa, though David's psychosis was brought on by harsh parenting rather than harsh teaching, but there's a parallel. There was a pretty popular film a few years ago by now about a pianist who cracked under the pressures of preparing for performance Rachmaninov's 3rd Piano Concerto. Sometimes harsh pressure can bring a positive result. I've been told that the parents of Nicolo Paganini, the great 19th century Italian virtuoso violinist and composer, used to lock him in his room and not let him out until he'd practiced for 8 hours. The Paganini story may be some sort of music's world the equivalent of an urban myth, I don't know. In Paganini's case the result came out well. Anyway, the character Ben had been a talented teenager when he came to Kearney but cracked under the pressure of harsh teaching. We don't know what role his parents played in all this but we can assume that they pressured him to stay. They either did not know how extreme his teacher was or if they did, they thought that such methodological extremism was necessary. The teacher on which that model was based was a real teacher who taught at the Curtis Institute many years ago. And Ben will talk to Henry and to no one else because Henry is very solicitous of him.


Ian Kearney, the director of the Kearney Music School, an elite musical training school in Philadelphia, dies after a fall from a balcony during a recital. World-famous cellist, Henry Harrier, recently forced from the faculty, returns to investigate Ian's death when his prized former student is arrested. Henry shows through his brilliant and single-minded pursuit of the truth that, as usual, they have it all wrong. This Sherlock Holmes-type mystery leads the reader through the world of classical music and lays bare the conflicts which dominate the lives of talented adolescents when placed under the pressure of studying for a demanding, stressful, and often elusive career as a classical music performer. Henry Harrier is part John Le Carre's George Smiley, part Arthur Conan Doyle's Holmes, and part Orlando Cole the beloved teacher, renowned chamber musician, and until his own retirement, the premier cellist of the Curtis Institute.

Author Profile:

Tim was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, on January 30, 1946. In 1951 he moved with his family to Schenectady, New York, where he lived through high school. He attended Baldwin-Wallace College, Berea, Ohio, from 1964 to 1968. He graduated in 1968 with a B.A. in history and philosophy. He received his Ph. D. in history in U.S. history in 1980 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison after spending 2.5 years in the U. S. Army. Most of his army service was completed in Wuerzburg, Germany, from 1969-1971. In 1972 he returned to Madison to complete his doctoral study. His dissertation, Those Who Moved; Internal Migrants in American 1607-1840, combined the statistical analysis of genealogical and biographical data with the study of traditional literary diaries, letters, and journals.

Tim was a market and survey research consultant from 1983 to 2000 and a smoking cessation researcher from 2000 to 2003. His consulting practice focused primarily on conducting community health needs assessment. He authored hundreds of market research reports and published a number of his assessments in Community Health Needs Assessment published by McGraw Hill in 1996 and in a revised volume published in 1999. In 2000 he joined the staff of the Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he conducted smoking cessation research. He published several articles in peer-reviewed journals and spoke at national smoking cessation conferences.

In 2003 he moved to Philadelphia and earned his real estate license. He now practices real estate, works on publishing his novels, and studies and teaches entrepreneurship.Tim has written a dozen novel-length stories, a volume of short stories, and about a 3-foot stack of pages poetry. He is currently working on earning his 4th million in real estate sales, publishing his novels, and working on an entrepreneurish handbook as a support for his students.

Tim is a trained violist and an experienced string quartet player. He is an avid listener to classical music and regularly attends classical music concerts. He has two grown children by his first wife and a stepdaughter with his second wife. He likes to cook, read, write, entertain, develop relationships, and help other people. Formerly Tim used to travel frequently. He doesn't so much anymore. Now he regards the combination of real estate practice, writing and publishing, and the teaching and studying of entrepreneurship as enough of a trip.