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Why Beethoven Threw the Stew
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Why Beethoven Threw the Stew: And Lots More Stories About the Lives of Great Composers, by Steven Isserlis, is an enlightening and hilarious history of some of our favourite classical composers.

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Steven Isserlis' whole family was musical - his father plays the violin, his mother played the piano, and his two sisters play the violin and viola - so he took up the cello because he didn't want to get left out. He soon decided that playing the cello was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life(partly because it meant that he wouldn't have to get up too early in the morning to get to work). These days, he travels all over the world, playing concerts to whoever wants to listen (and to a few who don't too) and making recordings. He studied in England, Scotland and America; his main teacher was a wonderfully eccentric lady called Jane Cowan, who convinced him that he had to become friends with the composers whose music he played. In 1998, he was awarded a CBE, for 'services to music'; and in 2000, he was awarded the Schumann prize.

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