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James Rhodes is one of the most gifted classical pianists of his generation. His interpretation of both Chopin and Rachmaninov are some of the most emotional and technically brilliant I have ever heard.
Yet for ten years in the middle of his forty-year life he never played a note.
He had been deeply traumatised by being child raped from the age of 6 to 10 years of age. His rapist was his boxing and PE coach. A teacher who found him crying, with blood trickling down his legs suspected there was something wrong but never imagined rape.
James has been through hell in his eventual recovery – drug abuse, attempted suicide, and depression so acute that he had at one point to be institutionalised.
The decade in which he never played finally ended when by chance in Italy, attempting to become a music agent, his host discovered he could play. He was the man who become both his mentor and his teacher.
Today, married for a second time, he played a London concert last week ahead of a major tour in the autumn.
I’ve been to meet James Rhodes.
It proved to be one of the most emotional and ultimately uplifting reporting experiences of my life.
Enjoy it with me.
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