Secret Lives of Great Composers (Paperback)

What Your Teachers Never Told You about the World's Musical Masters

By Elizabeth Lunday, Mario Zucca (Illustrator)

Quirk Books, 9781594744020, 288pp.

Publication Date: August 1, 2009

List Price: 16.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


True tales of murder, riots, heartbreak, and great music.
With outrageous anecdotes about everyone from Gioachino Rossini (draft-dodging womanizer) to Johann Sebastian Bach (jailbird) to Richard Wagner (alleged cross-dresser), Secret Lives of Great Composers recounts the seamy, steamy, and gritty history behind the great masters of international music. You’ll learn that Edward Elgar dabbled with explosives; that John Cage was obsessed with fungus; that Berlioz plotted murder; and that Giacomo Puccini stole his church’s organ pipes and sold them as scrap metal so he could buy cigarettes. This is one music history lesson you’ll never forget!

About the Author

Elizabeth Lunday is a journalist specializing in music, architecture, and culture. She writes the “Masterpieces” column for mental_floss magazine and lives in Fort Worth, Texas.