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Strings Attached
     

Strings Attached

5.0 7
by Joanne Lipman, Melanie Kupchynsky
 

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Strings Attached is a powerful memoir about resilience in the face of unspeakable tragedy, an inspiring and poignant tale of how one man transformed his own heartache into a legacy of joy for his students.

His students knew Jerry Kupchynsky as "Mr. K"-the fierce Ukrainian-born music teacher who rehearsed them until their fingers almost bled and who made

Overview

Strings Attached is a powerful memoir about resilience in the face of unspeakable tragedy, an inspiring and poignant tale of how one man transformed his own heartache into a legacy of joy for his students.

His students knew Jerry Kupchynsky as "Mr. K"-the fierce Ukrainian-born music teacher who rehearsed them until their fingers almost bled and who made them better than they ever expected to be. Away from the classroom, though, life seemed to conspire against him at every turn. Strings Attached takes you on his remarkable journey, from his childhood on the run in Nazi Germany, to his life in America caring for his disabled wife while raising their two small daughters, to his search for his beloved younger daughter after she mysteriously disappeared-a search that would last for seven years.

His unforgettable story is lyrically told in alternating chapters by two childhood friends who reconnected decades later: Melanie Kupchynsky, his daughter, and Joanne Lipman, a former student. Heartbreaking yet ultimately triumphant, Strings Attached is a testament to the astonishing power of hope-and a celebration of the profound impact one person can have on the lives of others.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review
"A very fine dual memoir.... For those who had a figure like Mr. K in their lives, STRINGS ATTACHED will resonate. Everyone else will wish they had been so lucky."
Yo-Yo Ma
"Makes me believe that one man can make a difference.... This book reveals how music can become an anchor, a binding element for creating friendship and support during times of grief, illness, and tragedy.... Mr. K's work lives on and we are all the richer for it."
Smoky Mountain News
"Strings Attached gives us many gifts. It allows us to look into the world of music (Melanie Kupchynsky plays today for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra); it reminds us of the promise of America to immigrants with ambition; it gives us a portrait of a man who struggled against great odds in life, who suffered great adversity, but who always forged ahead in spite of his many trials.... It also reminds us to be thankful for those teachers who made a difference in our lives, those who refused to listen to our excuses, those who terrorized us as did Mr. K., who pushed us to overcome obstacles, who took us out of ourselves and helped carry us toward our dreams."
From the Publisher
"A very fine dual memoir.... For those who had a figure like Mr. K in their lives, STRINGS ATTACHED will resonate. Everyone else will wish they had been so lucky."
The New York Times Book Review "

A wonderful, inspiring story of a teacher who pushed his students to do more than they thought they could—and changed their lives."——Jeanette Walls, bestselling author of The Glass Castle"

A vivid, often tender portrait.... Writing in alternate sections, Lipman and Kupchynsky tell Mr. K's story in plain prose that ends up ripping your heart out."
USA Today
"

Makes me believe that one man can make a difference.... This book reveals how music can become an anchor, a binding element for creating friendship and support during times of grief, illness, and tragedy.... Mr. K's work lives on and we are all the richer for it."—Yo-Yo Ma"

Moving and motivating... While tactics like [Mr. K's] may not have earned his students immediate devotion, they never forgot him and often found they could achieve more than they ever dreamed."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review"

Strings Attached gives us many gifts. It allows us to look into the world of music (Melanie Kupchynsky plays today for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra); it reminds us of the promise of America to immigrants with ambition; it gives us a portrait of a man who struggled against great odds in life, who suffered great adversity, but who always forged ahead in spite of his many trials.... It also reminds us to be thankful for those teachers who made a difference in our lives, those who refused to listen to our excuses, those who terrorized us as did Mr. K., who pushed us to overcome obstacles, who took us out of ourselves and helped carry us toward our dreams."—Smoky Mountain News

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316408899
Publisher:
Hachette Books
Publication date:
09/16/2014
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
576,205
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Joanne Lipman is one of the nation's most prominent journalists and commentators. She founded and was Editor-in-Chief of the National Magazine Award-winning Condé Nast Portfolio, and was deputy managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, where she supervised coverage that earned three Pulitzer Prizes. She advises news and media organizations such as CNN, Yahoo!, and New York Public Radio, and she has appeared as a commentator on CNN, CBS, and NBC among others. Her work has also appeared in publications including The New York Times and Newsweek. She and her family live in New York City.

Melanie Kupchynsky has been a violinist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for more than twenty years, during which time the symphony has won twenty-one Grammys. She began studying violin at the age of four with her father, Jerry "Mr. K" Kupchynsky. Melanie began her career with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra under the direction of John Williams. With the Chicago Symphony Orchestra she has performed around the globe under the world's greatest conductors and with the world's most prominent soloists. She is also an active chamber musician, and she is a participant in the CSO's Citizen Musician community outreach program. She and her family live near Chicago.

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Strings Attached: One Tough Teacher and the Gift of Great Expectations 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this wonderful book after a friend recommended it to me, and could not put it down. Beautifully written, poignant and heart warming, this is a universal story that speaks to all of us, whether we are musicians or not. In this age of celebrity without talent, hard work and instant success, it's refreshing to be reminded that there are those "unsung" heroes of everyone's life who really do make a difference. Those of us who are lucky enough to have had that special mentor or teacher will relate to Ms. Lipman and Ms. Kupchynsky's recollections of this very special man, Mr. K. As I read this fine book, my own personal memories were jolted as I was constantly reminded of my own personal mentor who influenced me when I was young, and I'm very grateful to have had such an inspirational person in my life. The story is personal, and yet universal. I highly recommend this book!!! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was absolutely fantastic!!! I sat down to begin reading it before I went to bed, and without realizing it, had finished the book in one night. I also managed to finish an entire box of tissues because the story was so compelling and gripping; I felt the emotions of the characters as if they were my own. This story reached me on a personal level because I know the author, Melanie Kupchynsky. She is an amazing person and hearing not only her story, but also her father's and her sister's, was a profoundly moving experience. Their journey was at times heartbreaking and difficult, but at the same time extremely inspiring. I am honored to have such insight on the lives of these extraordinary people.
lovelybookshelf More than 1 year ago
Strings Attached was such a personal, emotional read for me. It touched on many things I identify with and hold close as a musician and as a music teacher. I found myself thinking fondly of my own teachers who pushed me, inspired me, and demanded so much from me... many of them felt as tyrannical as Mr. K, and I am just as thankful for that as his former students are. However, you do not have to be a musician to enjoy this book! There are so many layers to Mr. K's story: his tragic childhood (he was born near the start of the Holodomor in the Ukraine), his perseverance, his work ethic, the way he dealt with the many challenges and heartaches life threw at him - and joy! There were definitely joys, too. This is a human interest story. When musical terms do pop up, they are explained in layman's terms; very quickly and simply, never interrupting the flow of the story. Mr. K's voice rang out with such clarity and character I felt I knew him. I laughed at his insults ("Cellos sound like hippopotamus rising from mud at bottom of reever!" and "Who eez deaf in first violins?"), my heart swelled at when he offered praise, and I made notes of his wisdom ("you can't teach children an instrument and then hide them in a hole"). Lipman and Kupchynsky's alternating perspectives segue naturally back and forth, often with one picking up where the other left off. The writing style is easy and conversational. Newspaper clippings and photographs often accompany the narrative. Strings Attached is a moving tribute to a man who made a profound impact on the lives of so many. I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.
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