Click here to download Harrison Gradwell Slater's recent article, "Chopin and the Vocal Nocturne" (free pdf download).
Voice of America interviews Harrison Slater reading Nocturne, with the piano music of Chopin as a soundtrack.

Click here for "Chopin's Paris," a photographic portfolio integrated into Harrison Slater's novel. Nocturne.

front cover (pdf)
back cover (pdf)


Harrison SlaterHarrison Gradwell Slater combines the versatile careers of musicologist, pianist and novelist. Of his three books on Mozart, the last is the mystery novel, NightMusic (the product of seven years of research and writing), which opens the world of Mozart’s life and music to a worldwide audience. The sequel, Nocturne (2010), explores Chopin’s biography and music within a contemporary narrative of suspense and obsession ( Presently, Slater is writing the third novel in this trilogy, entitled The Embrace, based on rediscovered Tchaikovsky diaries and letters, and integrating the original "Boston" version of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 as a soundtrack.

For his first book, Slater (the author’s pen name since 1995) traveled to fifty-five cities in nine European countries and completed his exhaustive research over three years with correspondence to archives throughout Europe, always posing previously unresolved questions about Mozart Gedenkstaetten -- the sumptuous palaces, concert halls and salons in which Mozart performed, the houses and taverns in which he lodged, and the churches and public edifices that he visited. The resulting comprehensive reference book, In Mozart’s Footsteps, has been called “an amazing feat of scholarship” by the pianist, Alfred Brendel, while Nicholas Slonimsky described it as “absorbing in its brilliance.”

NightMusic was voted "Rising Star of 2003" by nine publishing houses, was on the Barnes and Noble bestseller list for mystery trade paperback for fourteen weeks, and was optioned for a film. Click here for reviews.

Scholarly articles by Slater (a.k.a. Harrison James Wignall) have appeared in the journals Mozart-Jahrbuch, Opera Quarterly and Mozart Studien, among others. Some of his recent discoveries include previously unknown Mozart documents and manuscripts that have shed light on key issues of recent Mozart research. He has also written entries for the latest editions of The New Grove and Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, and The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, and has published articles in Perspectives of New Music, Indiana Theory Review and the Nuova rivista musicale italiana.

A pianist, he studied with Anthony di Bonaventura and with Paul Doguereau, the noted French pianist who was a pupil of Maurice Ravel, Emma Bardac (the second wife of Claude Debussy) and Ignaz Paderewski. In addition to writing and recording, Slater coaches many world-class pianists, and is President and Artistic Director of the Peabody Mason International Piano Competition ( to be held in Boston in May 2010.

Slater studied music and languages at Brandeis, Boston University, Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich and Harvard, and speaks, in addition to English, German, French and Italian. He was active as a music instructor in Boston, Munich, Milan, and Tokyo and worked at the Munich National Theater and La Scala in Milan as a ballet pianist, performing numerous concerts.

In 1995, he was awarded a Ph. D. in musicology from Brandeis University with a dissertation on Mozart’s opera, Mitridate. For over twenty-five years, he lived abroad, in Munich, Toyko, Milan and Paris.

Presently, Slater has finished recordings featuring the music of Mozart and Chopin, and has completed the sequel to NightMusic, entitled Nocturne (based on rediscovered diaries related to Chopin). His research and writing of the monograph, Mozart in Milan continues and includes, "Mozart and Sacred Music in the Ambrosian Capital" and "Mozart's Singers in Ascanio in Alba and Lucio Silla," articles which incorporate two handwritten diaries from 1771 found by Slater in archives in Milan. His present musicological work on the influence of the vocal nocturne on Chopin’s piano music, "Chopin and the Vocal Nocturne," continues research contained in his Mozart-Jahrbuch article, "Mozart and the 'Duetto Notturno' Tradition" and in his entry, "Duetto notturno," in The New Grove. Recently, he has presented musicological papers and lecture recitals on the influence of the vocal nocturne on the music of Chopin and Liszt at international music conferences in Southampton, Lucca, Utrecht and Dublin.

His historic apartment in Back Bay, Boston was the basis for the interiors in NightMusic. Presently, he lives in Boston, Paris and historic Mount Holly, NJ, as well as Lisbon, Prague, Madrid and Barcelona.

Click here to read about Harrison Slater on Wikipedia.

Find out about the 2010 Peabody Mason Piano Competition.


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