James Rhodes' passion for music has been his absolute lifeline. It has been the thread that has held him together through a life that has encompassed pain, conflict and turmoil. Listening to Rachmaninov on a loop as a traumatised teenager or discovering an Adagio by Bach while in a hospital ward - such exquisite miracles of musical genius have helped him survive his demons, and, along with a chance encounter with a stranger, inspired him to become the renowned concert pianist he is today. This is a memoir like no other: unapologetically candid, boldly outspoken and surprisingly funny - James' prose is shot through with an unexpectedly mordant wit, even at the darkest of moments. An impassioned tribute to the therapeutic powers of music, Instrumental also weaves in fascinating facts about how classical music actually works and about the extraordinary lives of some of the great composers. It explains why and how music has the potential to transform all of our lives.
'The unforgettable story of an unforgettable and remarkable man' STEPHEN FRY
* The Supreme Court overthrew an injunction unanimously in May 2015, saying: 'A person who has suffered in the way that [James Rhodes] has suffered, and has struggled to cope with the consequences of his suffering in the way that he has struggled, has the right to tell the world about it. And there is a corresponding public interest in others being able to listen to his life story in all its searing detail -- THE SUPREME COURT * "You might expect James Rhodes to have been crushed by his experiences. On the contrary I don't think I've ever read an autobiography which is this exuberant, this full of life, this addictively readable -- MARK HADDON * A poet once said great books help you to live your life. They also help you survive your ruin, and James Rhodes's Instrumental is a masterpiece of creative endurance. His passion is his programme, his heart is his true instrument, and you might not read a more moral or more loving book this decade -- ANDREW O'HAGAN * A searingly honest, moving and compelling account of a life damaged by abuse but saved by music. James Rhodes is a rare and gifted spirit with something vital to tell us all. This is a tough but beautiful book -- VICTORIA HISLOP * The publishing sensation of the year MAIL ON SUNDAY * A mesmeric combination of vivid, keen, obsessive precision and raw, urgent energy -- ZOE WILLIAMS GUARDIAN * Thrilling and harrowing ... Unsurpassed and unsurpassable SUNDAY TIMES * Instrumental is no 'misery memoir' ... I have rarely read so cogent account of the nature of victimhood ... Visceral and palpable ... Among the most powerful pages I've read all year SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY * Bravo to a survivor who refused to be silenced ... What really marks this book out is his confrontation with the unsaid (or rarely said) aspects of child sexual abuse and mental illness ... Some of these thoughts verge on the taboo and it takes clarity, courage and intelligence to say them as plainly and honestly as Rhodes does INDEPENDENT * We're locked inside his head for long periods and it's a manic place to be. But he is brilliant ... and insightful ... James Rhodes writes at full volume -- BLAKE MORRISON GUARDIAN * There is an insight, often startling but always valuable, on almost every page ... a tough, riveting read THE TIMES
James Rhodes was born in London in 1975. A keen piano player, he was offered a scholarship when he was 18 at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, but went to Edinburgh University instead. James stopped playing the piano entirely and dropped out after a year. After twelve months working at Burger King in Paris, he went to University College, London to read psychology. He then worked in the City for 5 years. After a devastating mental breakdown that led him to being institutionalised, he took the piano up again. He is now a professional and acclaimed concert pianist, writer and TV presenter.