An Interview With I Heart Book Reviews

Author Profile: Dr. Warren L. Woodruff

Dr. Warren L. Woodruff holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Piano Performance and a Ph.D. in Musicology with a concentration in Piano Performance. He has a twenty-five year distinguished teaching career and is currently head of the Woodruff School of the Arts in historic Roswell, Georgia. His interests include attending great musical performances across the country, reading books of philosophy, history and science as well as fiction. His favorite pastimes, besides music and writing, are fitness and weight-training. To learn more, please visit

Q: Why did you decide to write this book?
A: Because I wanted to create a fun adventure in a setting very different from anything written before–something totally unique. As a classical musician, I wanted to create an alternate world for immortal composers, but one that any reader could relate to, like our own world, with its own challenges and imperfections.

Q: Do you have any secret writing tips you want to share?
A: Absolutely! Don’t be afraid to re-write several times, and from the first draft, READ EVERYTHING YOU WRITE OUT LOUD!

Q: Tell us a funny, quirky or unexpected story about you.

A: It’s definitely not funny, but unexpected. Since age 13 I’ve been afflicted with a very rare autoimmune inner ear disorder, very similar to what Beethoven suffered. I did all my classical piano training in high school, college, and graduate school with one functioning ear. Since 2000, the other ear became affected and I’ve had to rely on a hearing aid in order to teach and perform. In the past decade the quality of my hearing has deteriorated, but using Beethoven as my inspiration, I continue for the sake of leaving behind what I feel I was destined for–to expose and inspire a whole new generation to the joy and excellence of classical music.

Q: What books are on your nightstand right now?
A: The Ninth, Beethoven and the World in 1824, by Harvey Sachs. A Wish Can Change Your Life, by Gahl Sasson and Steve Weinstein. RareEarth by Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee. And of course, all seven Harry Potter books are proudly displayed on the shelf nearby

Q: What is you favorite quote?
A: As a writer, this is a no-brainer: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!”

Q: Who inspires you most?
A: Recent/Living: Stephen Hawking, award-winning scientist
Dead: Ludwig van Beethoven, immortal composer

Dr. Fuddle's Musical IQ Test 61



 b.  Camille Saint-Saens

 a.  Gioachino Rossini
 c.   Robert Schumann
 a.   Theme 
 a.  Franz Liszt

Simone Dinnerstein's Bach

Simone Dinnerstein communes with the music of J.S. Bach at the NPR studio.

There's something about Johann Sebastian Bach's music that nourishes musicians. Pianist Andras Schiff and cellist Yo-Yo Ma have said that they play Bach almost every day — like having breakfast, it seems essential for them. Pianists Glenn Gould, Angela Hewitt and Rosalyn Tureck (among others) have based entire careers on Bach.

Then there's Simone Dinnerstein. Like Gould, she was rocketed into the public consciousness by Bach. Five years ago, the Juilliard grad was virtually unknown. Then she financed her own recording of the Goldberg Variations. It got picked up by a prominent label, shot up the charts and a career was launched. Dinnerstein still includes Bach in nearly all of her recitals and has recorded his music on each of her four albums

Listen to Simon Dinnerstein Play Bach's Partita No. 1 in B-flat  

Dr. Fuddle's Musical IQ Test 60


a.    Johann Sebastian Bach
c.    Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
c.   The harp
c.    Medium loud
d.    Frederick Chopin    

Dr. Fuddle's Musical IQ Test 59


a.  Jean Sibelius
b.  One
d.  One Hundred and Four (officially catalogued)
c.  A wife of J.S.  Bach’s, mother of many of his famous children
c.  t lifts the dampers from the strings, leaving them to vibrate longer

Every Young Person Needs a Hero

 I remember it as if it were yesterday.

I was eighteen years old, fresh and excited as I could be about majoring in piano in college. My early years of musical study were shaky due to family finances, but the first time I’d ever witnessed an advanced classical piano piece performed in the 8th grade--I knew I’d found my life calling. A future of rags or riches? I couldn’t have cared less. All I knew is that I’d found my true passion. My mother’s influence was enormous, since she’d played classical recordings since I’d been born.

When I first arrived on campus at my small private university and saw this attractive woman in her early seventies, I didn’t realize she soon would become my role model and hero. But the first time I heard her perform a full length recital, I was captivated, aghast in utter amazement and thrilled beyond words. I knew immediately it would be the honor of my lifetime to have her as my teacher. While I watched her perform Liszt’s spectacular Tarantella, I felt as though I’d entered a different dimension. Her hands moved so rapidly they blurred. And her fairly large body lifted, airborne at times, executing Liszt’s extreme pyrotechnic demands. Sometimes she landed on the bench with such force I wondered if either the bench or piano could survive. It was like watching a female Liszt. But then, she could play gently, singing the unforgettable melodies with her fingers like an angel.

As I began my studies with her, every second of our lessons grew more precious each week. Before long, she moved me last in her schedule, so that time was no longer a concern. I was like a sponge, soaking up every drop of instruction she so willingly gave. I remember once she even gave me a five hour lesson on one single piece, the Brahms Ballade in g minor. As she stomped around the room, pounded the piano with her baton, screaming “louder, more forceful!” or “back off now, more, make it lyrical,” I obeyed as though she was the Commander in Chief. But she was so much more than that, she was my Hero and my Idol. Following her musical leadership felt invigorating, like I’d just climbed the highest mountain!

 For four years I followed her instructions precisely. She scolded me gently, and yet brutally, if I slacked off on any given week, but praised me grandly when I performed to her satisfaction. It was the greatest joy of my lifetime when I performed my senior recital with her and to this day, over 25 years later, I still have the card that she wrote to me after the recital, claiming she’d never been prouder of any student in her forty year career. I will treasure that note until the day I die.

I’ve always thought if I can have just a tenth of the impact this woman had on me to my own students, then I would feel I’d achieved more than I could ever have dreamed. And she was funny, too, once I got to know her personally, constantly performing absent-minded actions while rambling on about the wonders of Mozart and her days as an opera diva--something I never even knew until later in my studies with her.

When I created Dr. Fuddle in my novel Dr. Fuddle and the Gold Baton, I had this iconic woman in mind, a being filled with ironies, highly accomplished, yet funny, warm and loving; strict, but generous with praise on a job well done. I will never forget my Beloved Teacher and the memories of the day she passed away, many years ago, still brings tears to my eyes. May she ever live on in immortality through Dr. Fuddle.

Dr. Fuddle's Musical I Q Test 58


d.  All of the above
c.  Giacomo Puccini
b.  The treble clef sign
b.  Sergei Prokofiev
a.  Always

Classical Music and the Movies

 Sous le dôme épais (Flower Duet) from Lakme, by Delibes

Already well known, Delibes’s Flower Duet was made ever-increasingly popular by British Airway’s use of the work in an advertising campaign. This classic piece features a duet between a coloratura soprano and and a mezzo-soprano.

Hear Delibes’s Flower Duet in the movies The American President, Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, and Meet the Parents.