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Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music

by Blair Tindall

From her debut recital at Carnegie Hall to performing with the orchestras of Les Misérables and Miss Saigon, oboist Blair Tindall has been playing classical music professionally for twenty-five years. She’s also lived the secret life of musicians who survive hand to mouth, trading sex and drugs for low-paying gigs and the promise of winning a rare symphony position or a lucrative solo recording contract. In Mozart in the Jungle, Tindall describes her graduation from the North Carolina School of the Arts to the backbiting New York classical music scene, a world where Tindall and her fellow classical musicians often play drunk, high, or hopelessly hung-over, live in decrepit apartments, and perform in hazardous conditions. (In the cramped confines of a Broadway pit, the decibel level of one instrument is equal to the sound of a chain saw.) Mozart in the Jungle offers a stark contrast between the rarefied experiences of overpaid classical musician superstars and those of the working-class musicians. For lovers of classical music, Mozart in the Jungle is the first true, behind-the-scenes look at what goes on backstage and in the Broadway pit.

Having recently been made into a mini-series on Amazon Prime starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Malcolm McDowell, and Bernadette Peters, Mozart in the Jungle has received widespread acclaim. In 2016, it won two Golden Globes, one for Best Television Series in the Musical or Comedy Category as well as Best Actor for Garcia Bernal’s performance.

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