Praise for Debussy's Paris: Piano Portraits of the Belle Époque


"A wonderful book, a kind of total immersion in the Debussyan magic and in the endless fascination of fin-de-siècle Paris. The writing fizzes with the excitement of connecting the countless different strands of the composer's artistic influences and inspirations. I was entranced and delighted throughout."

- RICHARD GOODE, Grammy Award-winning concert pianist and teacher


“…gorgeously written, colorful prose that is vividly presented immerses the reader in the Parisian Belle Époque and the culture that inspired Debussy.” (Read full review here)

- Ann DuHamel, Clavier Companion Magazine


"Debussy's Paris presents a unique and panoramic view of this remarkably rich time in the history of both music and a changing world. It will delight musicians and nonmusicians alike."

- GILBERT KALISH, pianist, distinguished professor at Stony Brook University, and artist member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center


"With her exceptional gift for bringing to life the context of this great composer's work, Catherine Kautsky succeeds brilliantly in offering new and arresting perspectives regarding Debussy, Paris, and the extraordinary world that defined them."

- ROBERT MCDONALD, award-winning concert pianist and professor, the Juilliard School and Curtis Institute of Music


“In this fascinating fusion of music, literature, and social history, Kautsky, a pianist and piano professor, transports us to the milieu of a composer whose music captured the spirit of the times…
"Setting a number of his compositions in the context of the times, Kautsky explores a glittering world of music, dance, art, and poetry as well as its less appealing underside of racist minstrel shows, colonization, and nationalism. Her graceful and erudite prose is embellished with period illustrations and bolstered by a carefully selected bibliography. Kautsky has also recorded the complete Debussy Preludes (Centaur, 2014), a work that figures prominently in these pages. A treat for music lovers, Francophiles, and anyone who appreciates the arts.”

- Booklist


"Seamlessly weaving musicology, social history, literary analysis, art criticism, politics, and religion together in a wonderfully novelistic narrative, Catherine Kautsky brings Debussy and his Paris to scintillating life.  As a poet, I admired Kautsky’s lyrical and accessible style, her deft explications of Baudelaire’s, Mallarme’s, Proust’s, and Poe’s influence on the composer. As a student of humor, I reveled in her lively evocation of Debussy’s debt to the Commedia dell’arte, the circus, and the minstrel show. DEBUSSY’S PARIS is that rare scholarly work that embraces, as Debussy himself embraced, what E.M. Forster called “the inclusion of merriment,” appealing both to the serious student of musical and social history and to the general reader. This is a wide-ranging, rich and richly textured, big-hearted book of marvels.  A marvel of a book."

- Ron Wallace Felix Pollak, Professor of Poetry, Emeritus, UW-Madison, Poetry Editor of the University of Wisconsin Press, Author of God be with the Clown: Humor in American Poetry and the book of poems, For Dear Life


“Kautsky (Lawrence Univ.) writes with enthusiasm and energy in her descriptions of Paris during Debussy’s lifetime...any Debussy lover will enjoy time spent thinking about the man, his music, and the era.”

- Choice, AprIL 2018


“This book is a must-read for Debussy aficionados…the author’s brilliant mind sparkles with a profusion of ideas and interpretations.”

- American Music Teacher, April/May 2018