The Long Journey Back

Pianist Alexei Sultanov’s motor skills may have been destroyed by a crippling series of strokes, but the part of his brain that allowed music to reach him survived, and he fought to regain his ability to play the piano, even as more basic tasks such as walking or speaking eluded him. “On a cellular level, the musical brain remains virtually uncharted territory. The calamity of Sultanov’s strokes, though, showed how quickly a virtuoso’s brain can be robbed of its gifts–and how slowly and painstakingly they can be reclaimed.”