Béla Bartók by David Cooper (Yale University Press, 456 pages, June 9)
Hungary's greatest 20th-century composer, Bartók was at once a composer, ethno-musicologist, teacher, and pianist. In this latest biography of the composer, Cooper delves into Bartók's life and influences (including Richard Strauss and Yehudi Menuhin), as well as his flight to America during WWII.
Behind the Mask: The Life of Vita Sackville-West by Matthew Dennison (St. Martin's Press, 384 pages, June 9)
I am totally fascinated with Sackville-West after reading Nigel Nicolson's biography of her friend and sometime-lover Virginia Woolf. in Behind the Mask, Dennison recounts Sackville-West's influence on the artistic vanguard of modern England and her work, along with her husband, on the famous gardens at Sissinghurst. At once a literary celebrity and recluse, Sackville-West is unceasingly interesting.