Book Cover

The Sound of Memory

Themes from a Violinist’s Life

Rebecca Fischer

200 pp. 5.5 x 8.5

Pub Date:April, 2022

Subjects: Creative Nonfiction

Series: Machete

Imprint: Mad Creek

order Paperback22.95 $18.36 20% off plus free US shipping   ISBN: 978-0-8142-5822-4
Order PDF ebook$19.95   ISBN: 978-0-8142-8194-9

The Sound of Memory is a book for the shelves, to dip into, to refresh one’s own thinking and to realise that being a performing solo artist is a complicated, thinking process.… A personal, absorbing response to the author’s practical and creative journey.” —Anne Inglis, The Strad

“Artists make the world, and in her poignant essay collection, Rebecca Fischer forges bridges and thoroughfares of belonging. With the exacting precision borne of her dedication as an accomplished musician and a narrative that beautifully coalesces around music as an act of human connection, Fischer shows us just how powerful the artist’s role can be in a world that cries out for our tending and our mending.” —Vijay Gupta, violinist, MacArthur Fellow, and founder of Street Symphony

“In The Sound of Memory, I see a woman courageously tackling the deep question of how to stay artistically valid while nurturing all the other needs that come with being a mother, partner, and mentor. Rebecca Fischer is one of those rare individuals whose insatiable curiosity keeps her constantly moving forward and contributing to a greater good. She is an inspiration.” —Nina Lee, cellist, Brentano Quartet

In The Sound of Memory, concert violinist Rebecca Fischer wrestles with the life of a performing artist in the twenty-first century, the physical and material components of memory, the nature of musical inheritance, and the gifts and pressures of a calling that runs generations deep. From memories of breastfeeding on concert tours, to the surprising ways her body remembers music she heard in the womb, to witnessing her children’s own evolving musicianship, Fischer shares her perspective as the first violinist of the renowned Chiara String Quartet and parent to young people exploring their gender identities amidst social upheaval and a pandemic. As she revisits geographies that have left marks on her life and creative practice over the years, she examines what we owe to our families, our communities, our art, and ourselves—ultimately exhorting us to consider both the individual and communal resonances of artistic expression and the meaning it brings to our shared lives.


Author Photo

Rebecca Fischer is a New York–based violinist, writer, and educator. As first violinist with the Chiara String Quartet for eighteen years, she toured the world, performed, and recorded many works by heart and held residencies at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University. She teaches at the New School and is a director of Greenwood Music Camp.


the family business
Corpus Christi
notes for themselves: protest and community
becoming a more resonant body
in the air
the living, breathing memory of wood
notes for themselves: sleep
memorization and the risk of nostalgia
the beast of limitation
notes for themselves: invention
of balance and purpose
notes for themselves: conflict
the Plains
notes for themselves: fierceness
donors, poachers, and the creative aura
notes for themselves: stillness
seeing in the world (a dictionary)
notes for themselves: enough
what I didn’t bury
notes for themselves: presence

Related Titles:

Book Cover

Art for the Ladylike

An Autobiography through Other Lives

Whitney Otto

Book Cover

Like Love

Michele Morano

Book Cover

Supremely Tiny Acts

A Memoir of a Day
Sonya Huber

Book Cover

The Guild of the Infant Saviour

An Adopted Child’s Memory Book

Megan Culhane Galbraith