Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 41 years, 2,187 covers and 55,435 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Prince William, the Queen and Camilla as You've Never Seen Them Before! Check Out Their Unusual New Portraits
- The Style Top 5: Reese Witherspoon Channels Elle Woods,
Steal the Styles from Wet Hot American Summer and More
- Kendall and Kylie Jenner Show Off Their Shoe Line, Admit to Problems With Confidence
- How Scott Disick May Have Blown a Second Chance with Kourtney Kardashian
- Ashley Williams on Giving Birth. In Her Living Room. On the Floor!
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- October 06, 1986
- Vol. 26
- No. 14
Hooked on Showmanship, Pianist Orrett Rhoden Plays Havoc with the Classics
Rhoden, 25, has always been startling and has almost always played the piano. His father was a black government worker in Kingston and his mother a Jewish piano teacher named Norma Levy, who noticed early on that their oldest (of four) "had an abnormal amount of energy." At 3, Orrett insisted that his mother teach him the piano. "The moment he put his fingers on the keys, he could play it," she recalls. "I always knew he was a major, major talent." At 7, the prodigy was taken to Rita Coore, the influential, eccentric, 450-lb. wife of Jamaica's then deputy prime minister, who took him on as her pupil in both the piano and life. "At first it was a bit overwhelming," Norma says. "He was no longer our child, as it were. There would be times before a competition when Madame Coore would call at 2 in the morning and say, 'I want to give him a lesson.' And my husband would have to get out of his pajamas and take him." By the time Orrett was 10, Madame Coore was trotting him out at grand diplomatic parties, from which he would often come home tipsy from champagne. "It was a concern," his mother says, "because he had school the next day." If the high living hurt his head, it didn't turn it. When he took up practicing at 1 a.m., he bought his neighbors earplugs for Christmas.
By 12, Rhoden had won just about every musical award in Jamaica and given his first formal concert, but the next year the curtain came down with a vengeance: Rita Coore died suddenly. Rhoden cried for months and for a time became paralyzed. "It was believed in the end that it was witchcraft," he says. Coming out of it with the help of a psychiatrist, he went to the U.S. to study with Dr. Virginia Rittenhouse in Massachusetts. "I needed some kind of maternal figure," he says, "somebody who would look after me." Rittenhouse, with 120 acres and a 26-room house, looked after Rhoden for about two years. Then, performing back home for the visiting Queen Elizabeth in 1983, he came to the attention of a BBC producer who arranged an audition with the London Symphony. He has been a popular guest performer with the orchestra ever since and has made London his home. His first album, of pieces by Brahms, Handel and Chopin, will be available in the U.S. this fall, but that's just the start. He'll also make a classical video directed by Francis (Desperately Seeking Susan) Kenny, and last Saturday he was scheduled to play at London's Festival Hall for Prince Charles and Di.
A self-styled Byronic figure who pals around with the Eurotrash crowd, Rhoden enjoys the life that revolves around "people who have adopted me"—and who often underwrite his performances. "I feel I deserve nothing but the best," he says unapologetically, "because I have nothing but the best to give." In Jamaica, says his mother, "they look on him as the Bob Marley of the classical world," and he sees no incentive to tone down his act. "One hundred years ago each pianist had a particular style," says Rhoden. "Today people are turned out by conservatories to play a particular way. They miss the essence of living." They also, he notes, usually miss young audiences, a failing he hopes his video and outrageous duds will correct. "Young people don't come to classical concerts because they feel they're stuffy and boring. I think someone like me might appeal to them. Besides," the latest gloved one concludes, "I like to do things on a grand scale."
- Barbara Rowes.
August 01, 2015
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!