Celebrated pianist, conductor, and composer Peter Duchin has been providing music for U.S. presidents, society galas, and charity events for more than 30 years. Now, in this compelling autobiography, Duchin offers both a poignant personal memoir and a fascinating account of life on the road with the band.
A strange and compelling mix of celebrity bio and social history, Ghost of a Chance is the autobiography of bandleader Peter Duchin. The son of an even more famous bandleader, Eddy Duchin, Peter Duchin was sent off to be raised by the friends of his socialite mother after her death. Those friends just happened to be the Harrimans, Averell and Marie. After watching “The Eddy Duchin Story,” the Hollywood film version of his (biological) father’s life, the younger Duchin recalls feeling “pretty beat up and confused.” The same can be said of his life in general, but that’s what happens when your paternal legacy includes one father who ranked among the top entertainers of an era and another who happened to be one of the richest and most important world figures of a century.
From Publishers Weekly
Pianist, conductor and composer Duchin’s mother died in 1937 when he was only a few days old and he never saw much of his father, famed bandleader Eddie Duchin. In spite of this, he had a privileged childhood, and, as he recalls it here, his life has never been less than charmed. Brought up by Averell Harriman, the former governor of New York, and his wife, Marie, on their estate, he studied music at Hotchkiss and Yale but didn’t think seriously of a career until after a carefree year in France and an easy stint in the army. Once he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps, however, name and connections made everything easy. Before long, his band was providing music for presidential inauguration balls, state dinners and society events around the world. In this lightweight autobiography written with freelancer Michener, Duchin tells of his life with the Harrimans, his year of bohemian living in Paris, his two marriages and his lifelong association with the rich and famous. The only bitter note is his account of the machinations of Averell Harriman’s second wife, Pamela, currently the U.S. ambassador to France, who he claims destroyed his close relationship with his “second father.” Photos not seen by PW. Author tour. Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.