In this “heartrending, passionate, and surprisingly humorous account of the conjunction between art and death” (Andrew Solomon, New York Times bestselling author), acclaimed opera singer Charity Tillemann-Dick recounts her remarkable journey from struggling to draw a single breath to singing at the most prestigious venues in the world after receiving not one but two double lung transplants.
Charity Tillemann-Dick was a vivacious young American soprano studying at the celebrated Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest when she received devastating news: her lungs were failing, her heart was three and a half sizes too big, and she would die within five years. Medical experts advised Charity to abandon her musical dreams, but if her time was running out, she wanted to spend it doing what she loved.
In just three years, she endured two double lung transplants and had to slowly learn to breathe, walk, talk, eat, and sing again. With new lungs and fierce determination, she eventually fell in love, rebuilt her career, and reclaimed her life. More than a decade after her diagnosis, she has a chart-topping album, performs around the globe, and is a leading voice for organ donation.
Weaving Charity’s extraordinary tale of triumph with those of opera’s greatest heroines, The Encore illuminates the indomitable human spirit and is “an uplifting story of overcoming significant odds to fulfill a dream” (Kirkus Reviews).
Charity Tillemann-Dick is a soprano and top-selling Billboard classical artist. She studied music at the Peabody Institute at John Hopkins University and the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary, where she was a Fulbright scholar. Raised in Denver, Colorado with eleven brothers and sisters, she currently resides with her husband in Washington, DC.
"In this heartrending, passionate, and surprisingly humorous account of the conjunction between art and death, Charity Tillemann-Dick gives us the performance of a lifetime."
– Andrew Solomon, New York Times bestselling author of The Noonday Demon and Far From the Tree
"Like any great performer, Charity Tillemann-Dick captures her audience's heart right from the beginning. Her journey follows an improbable course from the majesty of the great Rocky Mountains, to the glittering concert halls of Europe, to the quiet rooms of grief and death. But she doesn’t end there. This intimate view into a courageous woman's long, dark night will remind you of the stars that light your bleakest hours, and make you grateful for every sunrise."
– Jill Biden
“Is opera meaningful to society today? The Encore is a categorical answer: Yes. Each scene breathes new purpose into some of the greatest scores in history. The music of Charity Tillemann-Dick’s prose carries this impossible journey to an inspirational point of majesty and sacred beauty.”
– Denyce Graves-Montgomery, international opera singer, professor of Voice at Peabody Conservatory
"This is the story of a genuine medical miracle, facilitated by the best of modern medicine. The Encore reminds us that art and science belong together, creating synergies that promote the deepest kind of healing."
– Dr. Toby Cosgrove, president & CEO, Cleveland Clinic
“An uplifting story of overcoming significant odds to fulfill a dream.”
– Kirkus Reviews
"Inspiring . . . a moving memoir."
– Publishers Weekly
“As a testament to the power of faith, love, prayer, and music, this self-portrait of courage and grace under extreme pressure will engage and inspire.”
“One of the best books I’ve ever read about the effects of chronic illness on the human spirit.”