October 15, 1979 12:00 PM

by Helen Drees Ruttencutter

Of the 800 students normally enrolled at Juilliard, about 200 are pianists who hope to become concert artists. One of those who made it is Robin McCabe, now 29, and her obsession with the piano makes this an engrossing book. Having sat in on practice sessions, lessons, recitals, competitions, tours and recording sessions, the author describes the frightful pressures, the meager rewards. Twenty years of slavish labor can be a waste if a New York Times critic says a mean word in a review. McCabe’s chronicle is all the stronger because she is so bright. “If you can see yourself as having something that is worth developing,” she says, “that deserves reverence and regard, and if it is an art you know, then it sees you through the bad times.” (Crowell, $8.95)

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