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Greg Dawson to read at New Dominion Bookshop June 18

Coming to New Dominion Bookshop:

Greg Dawson will discuss and
sign copies of his biography

Hiding in the Spotlight: A Musical Prodigy’s Story of Survival 1941-1946

Thursday, June 18 at 12:15 PM

The extraordinary story of a young girl whose musical genius enables her to survive the Holocaust

Berdyansk, Ukraine 1931: At the age of six, Zhanna has developed a repertoire of a student twice her age, given her first public performance, and been offered scholarships to the most prestigious conservatories in the Soviet Union that had produced legends like Rachmaninoff and Horowitz.

Then, disaster strikes. The Nazi Army is smashing through the Ukraine en route to Moscow. Zhanna and her family are to be executed alongside thousands of others in the ravines of Drobitsky Yar. A few short miles from certain death, she escapes into the forest with only the clothes on her back and a copy of Chopin’s Fantasy Impromptu in her pocket.

Adopting a new identity and ever fearful of recognition, Zhanna roams the ravaged countryside. One lonely evening, the head of a local Nazi battalion hears her play and is so taken with her exquisite talent that little Zhanna soon becomes the performing darling of the Nazi forces. A nocturne on the strength of the human spirit, Zhanna’s story is powerful, haunting, and unforgettable.

“A true pleasure. The story is unflinching not only in its tales of turmoil and peril, but in its unstinting and never-failing sense of pride, survival, and utter joy that can only be the fruit of musical love.” — Christopher O’Riley, host of From the Top, National Public Radio

“Summoning all the colors of a Chopin prelude, Greg Dawson has painted a vivid picture of his mother from her fairy tale childhood in Ukraine to her triumphant voyage to America. A wonderful, staggering achievement.” — Mona Golabeck, host of The Romantic Hours, Grammy-nominated pianist

Greg Dawson is the eldest son of Zhanna Arshansky. He has been a journalist for over forty years and is now a columnist at the Orlando Sentinel.


One Response

  1. Elizabeth – Many thanks for writing about my appearance at the New Dominion on June 18. I’m especially pleased that Charlottesville is the first stop on my book tour since my father grew up there, made his debut as a violin prodigy at UVA at age 13 before heading off to Juilliard, and the last two chapters of the book take place in and around Charlottesville. After arriving in the U.S. in May 1946, my mother and her sister spent 6 months on a farm in Crozet before being accepted as scholarship students at Juiliard. I dare say there is no other Holocaust memoir is which Virginia and Virginians play such an important role. Thanks again for letting your readers know about my talk. Hope to see you there!….Greg Dawson

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