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Nicolas Slonimsky, pianist, composer, conductor, author, and lexicographer, was born in St Petersburg, Russia, in 1894. Pronounced a genius by his mother, he seemed destined for a professional career in music, but the 1917 revolution brought an end to his hopes, and his errant life took him south to Kiev, Yalta, Constantinople, and finally Paris, where he was hired as rehearsal pianist by the renowned conductor Serge Koussevitsky. He went to the United States in 1923, spending many years in Boston where he gained a dazzling reputation for conducting first performances of difficult works by such composers as Ives, Varese, and Cowell.;Since 1937 Slonimsky has developed an international reputation as a writer on music, especially of reference works such as "Music Since 1900" and "Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians", of which he has edited the last three editions. His "Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns", an exhaustive compendium of modernistic melodic patterns, unexpectedly became a bible to jazz and rock musicians, bringing him into contact with, among others, Frank Zappa.;"Perfect Pitch" is an ironic commentary on a life in which failure to fulfil the highest expectations of an over-ambitious mother is never allowed to obscure a story of real achievement in music. It is a book crowded with anecdotes, personal letters, and vignettes of his remarkable family and of the many famous men and women he has encountered.