Author, Journalist

Reviews

“Solovitch is a skilled, self-deprecating, wry and quizzical writer, who fills her account both with diligent research into all relevant fields—from psychology and medicine to sports history — and wonderful vignettes of fellow phobics, some of whom before a concert literally pray for death.”

– Janice Turner, The Times, UK, July 11, 2015

“Thirty years after giving up piano because of stage fright, the author set out to overcome her terror – and learn about its causes. Her journey illuminates and inspires.
People Magazine, one of six Best New Books,  July 13, 2015

“In her fascinating and wide-ranging new book, Playing Scared, Sara Solovitch… explores [the subject] from a variety of different angles while embarked on a rather endearing quest: to overcome, as she approaches 60, the lifelong stage fright that had caused her to abandon public piano performances when she was 19… Her digressions into the culture and history of performance anxiety are illuminating.”
– Scott Stossel, The Guardian, Sunday, July 5

“…One of the unexpected pleasures of the book is Solovitch’s description of playing the piano. Despite her struggles to play for the public, her dedication to her craft and the joy she experiences as she immerses herself in the music are the closest I have ever come to imagining life as a professional musician.”
BookPage

“Solovitch, who once pursued a career as a concert pianist, recounts her decades-long struggle to overcome the devastating and crippling stage fright that forced her to quit the piano at age 19. After 30 years, Solovitch, a former Philadelphia Inquirer reporter, takes it up again at her youngest son’s insistence… Along the way she examines some of the psychological underpinnings of her condition…discovers the benefits of beta blockers, tries exposure therapy (playing the piano at her local airport), and talks to well known sufferers, including former L.A. Dodger Steve Sax, who had a legendary case of ‘the yips’ after being named Rookie of the Year. It’s a tough road, and readers will find her story fascinating.”
Kirkus Reviews

“If your knees knock, your heart races and your sweat glands become hydrants at the terrifying prospect of taking the stage, you’re in good company. I once had stage fright. So did Sara Solovitch. If you’re in the club, fear not. This book will set you free.”
Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times columnist and author of The Soloist: A lost Dream, An Unlikely Friendship and the Redemptive Power of Music

Playing Scared is a startling book. Who knew that stage fright was so widespread, the sad secret of so many musicians, athletes, actors, and plain old people who dissolve when giving a talk to a dozen people? Sara Solovitch has done a masterful job of weaving the fascinating history of stage fright together with her own story of playing the piano literally scared stiff.
Brava to Solovitch for conquering her demon, and for enriching all of us by sharing her tale.”
Katie Hafner, author of Mother Daughter Me and A Romance on Three Legs: Glenn Gould’s Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Piano

“Not only has Sara Solovitch written a gripping and compelling tale of her own journey as a musical performer confronting stage fright, Playing Scared will hold significance for anyone who fears the spotlight, whether in the boardroom, on the playing field or on stage. Masterfully done!”
Jennifer L. Eberhardt, associate professor of psychology at Stanford University and a 2014 MacArthur Fellow

“What happens when what is your job, your life, your passion, your love is the cause of constant fear and anxiety? This fascinating book is a memoir of the author’s journey from uncontrollable stage fright as a young pianist to the joy of recovery in middle age, as well as an examination of others in history who have dealt with and written about this topic. We hear about music, sport, philosophy, psychology … and there are quite a few useful tips along the way.”
Stephen Hough, concert pianist, composer and writer

 

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