The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion My description of this accomplished pianist was not an afterthought

A Steinway piano (Scott Suchman for The Washington Post)

Though I appreciated Martha Anne Toll’s generally fair review of my book, “Musical Revolutions: How the Sounds of the Western World Changed,” [“Centuries of innovations in Western music, presented at a fast tempo,” June 19, Outlook], she made a misstep in decrying my description of Yuja Wang’s “short, tight-fitting outfits,” as if this were merely gratuitous.

In fact, Ms. Wang, one of the most technically accomplished pianists in the world, makes a dramatic point in presenting herself in this way — it’s a purposeful aspect of the sexy image she cultivates, which is an unusual and noteworthy choice in classical music. I would have been remiss in ignoring it.

Also, Ms. Toll’s assertion that I don’t treat “foppish” male pianists in the same way (I wonder whom she has in mind) ignored my reporting on Franz Liszt and his habit of peeling off his green gloves to the squeals of female audience members.

Stuart Isacoff, Closter, N.J.

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