Angel in Black
A Musical Life in Letters, 1925-1973
Composed by Beverly Shaffer Gast
Published by Baker and Taylor Books
Softcover book; 204 pages
At a time when opportunities were closed to women and orchestral venues boasted signs, “Only Men Need Apply,” Elaine Shaffer's extraordinary talent and perserverance forged a career that would lead her to soaring heights. Angel in Black, as written by her sister Beverly Shaffer Gast, tells the true story of how Shaffer became the first female concert flutist in the world. Shaffer's life journey, preserved in countless personal letters, press reviews and recordings, reveals the many facets of her impossible dream. Gast details how, as an eleven-year-old girl, Elaine walked into a music shop and requested a harmonica that “played sharps and flats.” And so began a lifelong passion for music that included learning the violin, cello, timpani, and, finally, the flute. At eighteen, self-taught on the flute, Elaine auditioned for a renowned flutist and was awarded a scholarship to a prestigious music school. Her subsequent dazzling career took her across the globe for solo performances that left audiences spellbound. Angel in Black unfolds the incredible story of how one woman overcame grueling challenges to fulfill the life of her dreams–performing the kind of music that transported her listeners to a beautiful place.