Harvey Sachs, writer and music historian, has published ten books, of which there are now more than seventy editions in seventeen languages. The tenth book, TOSCANINI: MUSICIAN OF CONSCIENCE - a new biography that replaces his 1978 biography of the famed Italian conductor - was published by Liveright (New York and London) in June 2017, to great critical success; a US and UK paperback edition and an Italian translation were issued in the fall of 2018. His most recent previous book, The Ninth: Beethoven and the World in 1824, was published in 2010 by Random House in the US and Faber & Faber in the UK; four translations and US and UK paperback editions have since become available. Other books include the standard biography of Arthur Rubinstein (1995); a history (Music in Fascist Italy, 1988); two collections of essays on musical subjects (Virtuoso, 1982, and Reflections on Toscanini, 1991); The Letters of Arturo Toscanini (2002), which he compiled, translated, and edited; and, as co-author, the memoirs of Plácido Domingo (My First Forty Years, 1983) and Sir Georg Solti (Memoirs [UK title: Solti on Solti] 1997). Sachs has written for the New Yorker, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Times Literary Supplement (London), La Stampa, and dozens of other newspapers, magazines, literary journals, and record companies (his published items now number over 700), as well as for the BBC, Arte, PBS, CBC (Canada), RAI (Italy), RSI (Switzerland), and other radio and television networks. He is a frequent contributor to the Sunday cultural supplement of Il Sole-24 Ore, one of Italy's most important national newspapers.
Sachs is on the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He has held fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the New York Public Library's Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and he was the New York Philharmonic's Leonard Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence from 2011 to 2013. He has lectured at many North American and European universities and cultural institutions, including Harvard University, Columbia University, New York University, the University of Chicago, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Southern California, Boston University, Loyola University in Baltimore, the Juilliard School, the Colburn School, McGill University in Montreal, the University of Toronto, Freie Universität Berlin, the University of Warsaw, l'Università di Siena, l'Université de Fribourg, the Smithsonian Institution, the British Institute of Recorded Sound, the Aldeburgh Festival, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, and the Italian Cultural Institutes of New York, Chicago, Toronto, Vancouver, London, Budapest, Warsaw, Copenhagen, and Tel Aviv.
Harvey Sachs was born on June 8, 1946, in Cleveland, Ohio. He received much of his musical training in his home town and he holds an honorary doctorate from the Cleveland Institute of Music, but he has lived all of his adult life elsewhere, including substantial periods in Toronto, London, Milan, Tuscany, Lugano, and New York (his home since 2006). He was active as a conductor from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s but gave up conducting to devote himself to writing, teaching, and lecturing. From 2004 to 2006 he was Artistic Director of Italy’s most prestigious concert organization, the Società del Quartetto di Milano. In 1994, in Loro Ciuffenna (Arezzo), Italy, he founded the annual Festival del Quartetto, which was then the only festival in Italy dedicated to the string quartet; it still exists.
Sachs's partner, pianist Eve Wolf, is the Founder and Executive Artistic Director of the New York-based Ensemble for the Romantic Century. His son, Julian Sachs, is Program Coordinator for New York University's Casa Italiana and works on other cultural projects in New York City, and his daughter, Lyuba Sachs, is a student at the Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti (New Academy of Fine Arts) in Milan.
In December 2017, the President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, honored Harvey Sachs with the title of Cavaliere dell'Ordine della Stella d'Italia (Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy), for his contributions to Italian culture.