Joanne Lipman is one of the nation's most prominent journalists and commentators. She founded and was Editor-in-Chief of the National Magazine Award-winning Condé Nast Portfolio, and was deputy managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, where she supervised coverage that earned three Pulitzer Prizes. She advises news and media organizations such as CNN, Yahoo!, and New York Public Radio, and she has appeared as a commentator on CNN, CBS, and NBC among others. Her work has also appeared in publications including The New York Times and Newsweek. She and her family live in New York City.
Melanie Kupchynsky has been a violinist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for more than twenty years, during which time the symphony has won twenty-one Grammys. She began studying violin at the age of four with her father, Jerry "Mr. K" Kupchynsky. Melanie began her career with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra under the direction of John Williams. With the Chicago Symphony Orchestra she has performed around the globe under the world's greatest conductors and with the world's most prominent soloists. She is also an active chamber musician, and she is a participant in the CSO's Citizen Musician community outreach program. She and her family live near Chicago.
Strings Attached is a powerful memoir about resilience in the face of unspeakable tragedy, an inspiring and poignant tale of how one man transformed his own heartache into a legacy of joy for his students.
His students knew Jerry Kupchynsky as "Mr. K"-the fierce Ukrainian-born music teacher who rehearsed them until their fingers almost bled and who made them better than they ever expected to be. Away from the classroom, though, life seemed to conspire against him at every turn. Strings Attached takes you on his remarkable journey, from his childhood on the run in Nazi Germany, to his life in America caring for his disabled wife while raising their two small daughters, to his search for his beloved younger daughter after she mysteriously disappeared-a search that would last for seven years.
His unforgettable story is lyrically told in alternating chapters by two childhood friends who reconnected decades later: Melanie Kupchynsky, his daughter, and Joanne Lipman, a former student. Heartbreaking yet ultimately triumphant, Strings Attached is a testament to the astonishing power of hope-and a celebration of the profound impact one person can have on the lives of others.
"A very fine dual memoir.... For those who had a figure like Mr. K in their lives, STRINGS ATTACHED will resonate. Everyone else will wish they had been so lucky."
—The New York Times Book Review
"A vivid, often tender portrait.... Writing in alternate sections, Lipman and Kupchynsky tell Mr. K's story in plain prose that ends up ripping your heart out."
"A wonderful, inspiring story of a teacher who pushed his students to do more than they thought they could--and changed their lives."—--Jeanette Walls, bestselling author of The Glass Castle
"Makes me believe that one man can make a difference.... This book reveals how music can become an anchor, a binding element for creating friendship and support during times of grief, illness, and tragedy.... Mr. K's work lives on and we are all the richer for it."—Yo-Yo Ma
"Moving and motivating... While tactics like [Mr. K's] may not have earned his students immediate devotion, they never forgot him and often found they could achieve more than they ever dreamed."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"Strings Attached gives us many gifts. It allows us to look into the world of music (Melanie Kupchynsky plays today for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra); it reminds us of the promise of America to immigrants with ambition; it gives us a portrait of a man who struggled against great odds in life, who suffered great adversity, but who always forged ahead in spite of his many trials.... It also reminds us to be thankful for those teachers who made a difference in our lives, those who refused to listen to our excuses, those who terrorized us as did Mr. K., who pushed us to overcome obstacles, who took us out of ourselves and helped carry us toward our dreams."—Smoky Mountain News