This compilation assembles previously published and unpublished essays by
Schnittke and supplements them with an interview with cellist and scholar Alexander
Ivashkin. The book is illustrated with musical examples, many of them in Schnittke's
own hand. In A Schnittke Reader, the composer speaks of his life, his works, other
composers, performers, and a broad range of topics in 20th-century music. The volume
is rounded out with reflections by some of Schnittke's contemporaries.