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Outlooks with Eugenia Zukerman

Outlooks with Eugenia Zukerman
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Winter 2023
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The former CBS arts correspondent is seizing the day

Eugenia Zukerman has lived an extraordinary life — and she refuses to let Alzheimer's derail it. In addition to working as the arts correspondent for "CBS Sunday Morning" for 25 years — where she interviewed people like dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov and musician Paul McCartney — she is also a renowned flutist, creative director, author and playwright.

When she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's five years ago, Zukerman, 79, made the decision to keep moving forward. She is an outspoken champion for the Alzheimer's Association and shares her experiences with the disease to raise awareness.

What was it like to work at ‘CBS Sunday Morning' for more than two decades?

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Working in New York City, being downtown, it was very cool and eye-opening. I spoke with Judy
Collins, John Lennon and many others. I was able to travel a great deal and see the world — which wasn't always easy since I was raising young kids at the time. But I feel very lucky — they really left it up to me what I wanted to focus on, and it was amazing to talk to people about the arts and highlight things that were important to me, like classical music.

You're also a renowned flutist. What do you like about playing the flute?

I can't even begin to describe how much I love the flute. It's with me all the time. I've traveled the world playing the flute and recently performed with the Borromeo String Quartet just a few miles from my house in Columbia County, New York.

Do you have a favorite piece of music?

My favorite is Debussy's "Syrinx." Syrinx was a nymph in Greek mythology. To escape Pan, a Greek satyr, she invoked metamorphosis and turned into a reed. They say the breath across the reed was the first sound of the flute. It's lovely.

Tell us about your memoir, 'Like Falling Through A Cloud.'

After my diagnosis, I sat at my desk and just stared at the wall for a very long time. For some reason, I picked up a pen and started writing. What I wrote became a book of poetry that I'm happy to say is a bestseller. My greatest pleasure is people telling me how much the book has meant to them.

What else brings you joy?

I wake up in the morning and do my exercises. Then the first thing I do is play the flute. I also have a fabulous husband, wonderful family and wonderful animals — two horses and two dogs. We live in the most beautiful area you could imagine. It's dairy country. We're literally across the street from a 600-acre cow farm.

How do you stay positive and live your best life?

I feel it's so important to seize every day. That's what I do. I try not to worry about what's going to happen to me. Life has been a gift.

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