Maurice Peress leads an unusual American musical life. Born to a Baghdadian father and Polish mother, his first music was Arabic and Yiddish songs. He grew up in New York's Washington Heights, became a busy dance band and symphonic trumpeter, and was drafted towards the end of the Korean conflict, landing him in a newly integrated Negro Regimental Band. In this memoir, he shares what he learned from an enormous range of American works and musicians. In his first book, Peress explored America's music and its African American roots. A musical mission emerges, a lifelong commitment to "give concerts that reconstruct delicious mixed marriages of music, black and white, Jazz and classical, folk and concert, Native American and European; works that bring people together, that urge us to love one another."

chapter 1|18 pages


chapter 2|18 pages

A Young Musician

chapter 3|7 pages

On My Own

chapter 4|12 pages

Seize the Day

chapter 5|25 pages

The New York Philharmonic

chapter 6|9 pages

Are You Jewish?

chapter 7|18 pages

A Music Director in Texas I

chapter 8|27 pages

Opera and Music Theater

chapter 9|28 pages

Composers and New Music

chapter 10|8 pages

A Music Director in Texas II

chapter 11|24 pages

Kansas City The Roads Taken

chapter 12|4 pages

The Academic Life

chapter 13|7 pages

American Music The Re-Creations

chapter 14|8 pages

On the Road

chapter 15|12 pages

The Road Ahead, The Academic Life II