Reviews

Judy Collins, Grammy Award winning artist and Jill Godmilow, makers of the Academy Award nominated film, Antonia : A Portrait of the Woman:

“Now forty-four years after Judy Collins and I made a film about the extraordinary symphony conductor, Antonia Brico, the first woman to conduct major symphonies, in Berlin, London, Los Angeles, New York, I have just read, with great delight, a richly nuanced book for children, In One Ear and Out the Other, about dear Antonia and her determination to become the orchestra conductor she wanted to be. For young girls especially, this quietly vigorous book will inspire courage and determination for them to achieve their dreams.” —Jill Godmilow, co-director of Antonia: A Portrait of the Woman

“Dr. Antonia Brico was my teacher from the time I was 10 years old. She was a dynamic and amazing woman. Now we have a beautiful book about her life where little children can learn what can happen when you pursue your dreams and do what’s in your deepest heart. Never give up on your dreams, Antonia says, never let anybody tell you that you can’t do something you want to do! And always believe that miracles can happen! What a beautiful book is In One Ear and Out the Other: The Amazingly Musical Life of Antonia Brico!” —Judy Collins, singer/songwriter and co-director of Antonia: A Portrait of the Woman

School Library Journal:

Gr 2-5-The second title in the “Amazing Women” nonfiction picture book series spotlights Antonia Louisa Brico (1902-89), a Dutch-born white American pianist. While not a household name, the trailblazing conductor and musician is an indomitable figure in women’s history. Brico spent her life fighting for an equal place in the male-dominated industry of early 20th-century conducting. Abandoned by her foster parents, underestimated by her male teachers, and scorned by major orchestras, Brico faced a constant onslaught of discouraging voices. However, she never let the critics stop her and she slowly gained recognition and respect. Back matter includes a time line of Brico’s life. Although she didn’t reach her goal of obtaining a permanent, full-time appointment with a major symphony orchestra, her accomplishments were remarkable. The collage-style illustrations, saturated in blues and greens, pop off the page. The depiction of period dress wonderfully showcases the passing of decades. Brief biographies of other women conductors highlight the far-reaching influence of resilient and determined pioneers like Brico. VERDICT An inspiring choice for biography collections, especially appealing to music lovers and history enthusiasts.-Alyssa Annico, Youngstown State Univ., OHα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist (ALA) Review of the Week, October 23, 2020

★ IN ONE EAR & OUT THE OTHER: ANTONIA BRICO & HER AMAZINGLY MUSICAL LIFE by Diane Worthey and illustrated by Morgana Wallace

Covering an unusual career type and a pioneering woman, this attractive, intriguing work is by a violinist who was conducted by her book’s subject, Antonia Brico. After attending a concert in Chicago at age 12 in 1914, Brico decided to become a conductor, and when naysayers said women couldn’t do that, “it went in one ear and out the other.” The story covers many episodes of determination as Brico enrolls at Berkeley, plays piano at a dime store for tuition, studies with the Berlin State Academy of Music, and more. Still, she could only get guest conductor jobs and other unsatisfying work. Explaining that Brico was ahead of her time (thereby creating what is relatively unusual in this kind of profile: a sad ending), Worthey closes the main portion of the text with short accounts of women conductors who came after and were able to make it.

Publisher’s Weekly, July 2020

More than anything, Antonia Brico (1902–1989) wanted to be the professional conductor of an established orchestra. Though her dream was stymied by systemic sexism in the classical music world (she finished her career giving piano lessons and conducting a semiprofessional orchestra), her achievements inspired the next generation of women conductors. Worthey, a musician who played in the Brico Symphony under the figure, infuses this straightforward telling of Brico’s life with passion, emphasizing her persistence, though the titular phrase’s refrain becomes repetitive: “She decided to let the discouraging words go in one ear and out the other.” Wallace combines sensitive watercolor, ink, pen, and cut-paper collage in illustrations that convey Brico’s dauntless determination. Includes a timeline and capsule biographies of three current women conductors and three women trailblazers in classical music and conducting. Ages 7–11. (Oct.)

Kirkus Review

Women can’t conduct orchestras, they said, but Antonia Brico did.

Antonia Brico (1902-1989) ignored the advice of other musicians; she dreamed of being a conductor and eventually made a career of it, though she never achieved a full-time professional job. Cast out by her foster parents in high school, Brico put herself through college by playing the piano and reclaimed her birth name. A sponsor paid her way to Germany, where she became the first American to graduate from the conducting school at the Berlin State Academy of Music. She had guest-conducting jobs all over Europe but left to escape the Nazis. With the support of Eleanor Roosevelt, she formed a women’s professional orchestra in New York, which performed successfully, but New York wasn’t ready for a mixed-gender orchestra. Moving to Denver, she spent the rest of her life there, still guest-conducting all over, teaching piano, and serving as the regular conductor for a semiprofessional Denver orchestra eventually renamed the Brico Symphony. This straightforward biography of a woman who paved the way for today’s women conductors (still few in number) is the second in a promising series of titles about Amazing Women. The author performed under Brico’s baton as a teenager. Chronologically organized, attractively illustrated, carefully sourced, and accompanied by a helpful timeline, this also includes minibiographies of three other early female conductors as well as three from the present day. Ideal for girls with professional dreams of their own. (Biography. 7-12)