W. A. Mathieu

William Allaudin Mathieu, a classically trained pianist, composed and arranged on the staff of the Stan Kenton Orchestra at age 21 and was a co-founding member of the Second City Theater at 22. He studied with William Russo, Easley Blackwood, Pandit Pran Nath, and Hamza El Din and taught on the full-time faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Mills College. A former columnist for Downbeat and Piano Today, he is the author of five books, including The Listening Book and Harmonic Experience, and has released over thirty albums comprising an astonishing range of music.

  • The Shrine Thief

    The Shrine Thief

    W. A. Mathieu

    A renowned musician in his 85th year explores the nature of wisdom, how we learn to recognize it, and how we pass it forward.

    In this entrancing memoir, timeless questions about music and life are explored by a master musician in his 85th year. The stern father who built an empire of words; the solipsistic uncle whose hypnotic voice calmed millions: these are just early glimpses of Mathieu's memory. Soon he is crimped into an overhead baggage rack in Stan Kenton's tour bus as scenes of scotch-soaked melancholy play out below; he is sharing late-night quarts of ice cream with Duke Ellington in his hotel room; he is co-inventing improvisational theater at Chicago's Second City with Alan Arkin and Mike Nichols; he is receiving the title of Sufi sheikh from an heir of Inayat Khan; and he is gleaning wisdom from a woman bundling firewood in Bali.

    In prose at once wry and lyrical, Mathieu carries the reader through the adventures and misadventures of a scintillating and deeply examined life.

    • Paperback $27.95