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Close to the Flame

The life of Stuart Challender

Richard Davis

Close to the Flame
Stuart Challender was the most talented Australian conductor of his generation, acclaimed in his homeland and beginning to build an international career in Europe and America when he died at the age of forty-four.
After twelve years of study and work in European opera houses, he returned home to join Opera Australia. He was taken up by the ABC and appointed artistic director and chief conductor of our leading orchestra, the Sydney Symphony. He was also a great champion of the music of contemporary Australian composers and responsible for the premieres of many important Australian works. Just as invitations to conduct renowned international orchestras began to flow in, Stuart was diagnosed with AIDS.
His final years, as he struggled to continue to make glorious music while disease ravaged his body, and his decision to become Australiaís first celebrity to go public about his condition bring Stuartís story to a moving conclusion. It is an inspiring story of courage in adversity.

Praise for Close to the Flame:
'Excellent reading.' - Ian Lipke, Queensland Reviewers Collective

'The story of Challender's life can be an inspiration to others who want to follow a different path.' - Helen Eddy, ReadPlus

'Fascinating reading ... This book is a treat for music lovers.' - Lisa Hill, ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

'The first fully detailed account of arguably the most outstanding conductor Australia has produced ... meticulously documented and interestingly written.' - Graham Strahle, Music Australia

'This meticulous biography explores the complexities of Challender's character and pays tribute to his unique contribution to musical life.' - Fiona Capp, Sydney Morning Herald

'[T]his well-researched and readable book is an admirable record of an artist whose legacy is strong despite the shortness of his career.' - Ian Dickson, Australian Book Review

'One of the greatest conductors Australia has ever produced.' - Peter Pinne, Stage Whispers

'This biography should go a very long way toward assuring and cementing into our psyches the vitality and power of Stuart Challenderís monumental body of work.' - Mark Isaacs, Loud Mouth

'Wakefield Press has honoured both Richard and Stuart in a beautifully prepared, written, annotated and illustrated volume that does honour both to Stuart and to Wakefield Press. Itís been well worth the wait and I extend my deepest thanks.' - Peter Burch AM BM

Richard Davis is an internationally acclaimed writer specialising in biographies. Close to the Flame: The life of Stuart Challender is the latest in a series devoted to the lives of famous Australian musicians. Previous titles include Wotanís Daughter: The life of Marjorie Lawrence, published by Wakefield Press, and biographies of pianists Geoffrey Parsons and Eileen Joyce. These have enjoyed international critical success and earned Richard the Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge Award for the Arts. Richard is also the author of some lighter books including the popular Great Australian Ghost Stories. He also teaches creative writing.

Also available

Format Jacketed hardback
Size 234 x 156 mm
ISBN 9781743054567
Extent 264 pages
Price: AU$45.00 including GST
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