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The Royal Opera House

My Guardian Demon book


Letters of Andre Tchaikowsky and Halina Janowska 1956-1982, by Anita Halina Janowsk.

My Guardian Demon tells the story of two remarkable artists. Separated by the Iron Curtain, their twenty-five year correspondence occasionally censored gives an intimate view of their unique bond. In their letters that were funny and sometimes brutally honest Halina and Andre shared a consuming love of music and literature and a fascination with the foibles of human nature. 'You know that Rimbaud is my guardian demon' - were Andre's words in a letter to Halina. Andre's homage to his alter ego and their shared dark side led him four years later with sardonic wit to donate his skull to the Royal Shakespeare Company. It was subsequently used in performances of Hamlet starring David Tennant. Arthur Rubinstein said of Andre 'I think Andre Tchaikowsky is one of the finest pianists of his generation - he is even better than that - he is a wonderful musician.' Yet Andre's professional passion was composition. In 2013, three decades after his death, Andre's opera The Merchant of Venice was premiered by David Pountney at the Bregenz Festival gaining international recognition. Author Anita Halina Janowska has journeyed from musical conservatoire to a PhD in criminology and a career as a writer. In Poland My Guardian Demon ( - moj diabel stroz) has achieved three editions and cult status making Andre Tchaikowsky a household name.