Harvey Sachs, writer and music historian, has published nine books—of which there are now nearly seventy editions in seventeen languages—including what have long been the standard biographies of Arturo Toscanini (1978) and Arthur Rubinstein (1995); a history (Music in Fascist Italy, 1988); two collections of essays on musical subjects (Virtuoso, 1982, and Reflections on Toscanini, 1991); The Letters of Arturo Toscanini (2002), which he compiled, translated, and edited; his most recent, The Ninth: Beethoven and the World in 1824 (published by Random House in the US and Faber & Faber in the UK in June 2010, and with Dutch, Brazilian, and Japanese editions also scheduled; an Italian translation and UK and US paperbacks are available); and, as co-author, the memoirs of Plácido Domingo (My First Forty Years, 1983) and Sir Georg Solti (Memoirs, 1997). Sachs has written for the New Yorker, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Times Literary Supplement (London), La Stampa, and dozens of other newspapers and periodicals (his published items now number over 650), as well as for the BBC, Arte, PBS, CBC (Canada), RAI (Italy), RSI (Switzerland), and other radio and television networks.
Sachs is on the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia; he was the New York Philharmonic's Leonard Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence throughout the 2011-2012 season and holds the position once again through the 2012-2013 season. He has lectured at some seventy North American and European universities and cultural institutions, including Harvard University, University of Chicago, Juilliard School, University of California at Los Angeles, Boston University, Loyola University in Baltimore, McGill University, University of Toronto, Freie Universität Berlin, University of Warsaw, Università di Siena, Université de Fribourg (Switzerland), Smithsonian Institution, British Institute of Recorded Sound, Aldeburgh Festival, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, and the Italian Cultural Institutes of New York, Chicago, Toronto, Vancouver, London, Budapest, Warsaw, Copenhagen, and Tel Aviv. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and a Fellow of the New York Public Library's Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, and he was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship for 2010-11 in order to produce a completely new biography of Toscanini that will make use of all the information that has emerged since the 1978 biography was published.
Harvey Sachs was born on June 8, 1946, in Cleveland, Ohio. He received much of his musical training in his home town and he holds an honorary doctorate from the Cleveland Institute of Music, but he has lived all of his adult life elsewhere, including substantial periods in Toronto, London, Milan, Tuscany, Lugano, and New York (his home since 2006). He holds United States, Canadian, and Swiss citizenship. He was active as a conductor from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s but gave up conducting to devote himself entirely to writing and other music-related pursuits. From 2004 to 2006 he was Artistic Director of Italy’s most prestigious concert organization, the Società del Quartetto di Milano. His son, Julian Sachs, lives and works on cultural projects in New York City, and his daughter, Lyuba Sachs, is a high school student in Lugano, Switzerland.