The book Genius of the Piano is dedicated to my beloved father, Izzy, or Izio, Kogosowski, from whom I first learnt about Paris, which is the backdrop for much of the book.
As a little boy I immediately understood that the magical word “Paris” was more than the name of a city: it was a state of mind. For my dad it symbolized the gateway to a new life after the unimaginable darkness of the Second World War.
To me it was the symbol of beauty, elegance, charm, grace, sparkle, love of life, and, above all, humanity–all qualities that were innate to and inseparable from my father, to which in him were added natural sweetness, kindness, and compassion. He understood and valued all the qualities that make life beautiful and meaningful, and he encouraged me endlessly and unstintingly in my love of the piano and everything else.
My mother, Chana (Hana) Prager Kogosowski, is a spectacularly courageous and loving person.
As a teenager she was responsible to a great extent for keeping her family together during the Second World War, although she would never claim this, giving all the credit to her darling father Maier Prager, my beloved grandfather.
My mum wrote a short but incisive book about her life, focusing largely on the early years and the story of her family’s survival in Russia through the war years, from enforced settlement in northern Siberia, to the hardships of Kazakhstan.
I am proud to make this book available here as a free download.
You have granted future generations the opportunity to experience a personal connection with history. Thank you for your invaluable contribution, your strength and your generosity of spirit.
Steven Spielberg, Chairman, Visual History Foundation, Los Angeles
“I couldn’t stop reading the whole book last night. Now I know where you got your flare for writing from! Your mum is a truly amazing woman and you must be very proud of both your parents. I felt I was living the whole journey described in the book. Your mum’s family survived because they looked after each other and cared for each other–a lesson for today’s generation.”
Feroza Saran, Bombay