Out of Silence: A Pianists Yearbook

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I love Liszt, especially his poetic and mystical side, and have had some transformative experiences while playing his music. I feel a special affinity for the musical personalities of Schumann and Brahms and the Russians, of course, since they permeated my upbringing.

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I also absolutely revel in Spanish music, particularly Albeniz. There is usually a mental queue of repertoire in my head and possible combinations which evolve over time.


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I try to play the music I enjoy most. Do you have a favorite concert venue to perform in and why? I had an epiphany a long time ago while waiting to perform a harpsichord recital at a small venue on City Island, in the Bronx. They made the trip instead of taking a nap or watching TV.

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Since then the venues and other details became secondary to the privilege of being the medium for this singular venture. Traveling, reading, looking at art and investigating historical details will help you find a unique voice and interpretation. Bindman is a prizewinner of the New Orleans, F.

Busoni and Jose Iturbi international piano competitions and a recipient of a National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts award. Born in Riga, Latvia, Ms. Bindman began studying the piano at the E.

Out of Silence: A Pianist's Yearbook by Susan Tomes

Darzins Special Music School at the age of five. Her first piano teacher, Rita Kroner, hailed from the studio of Heinrich Neuhaus, the venerable Russian piano pedagogue. After her family immigrated to the United States, she attended the High School of Performing Arts while studying piano as a full scholarship student at the Elaine Kaufmann Cultural Center.

She received a B. The Poughkeepsie Journal describers Ms. My mother is a piano teacher. I used to crawl under the piano when my mother was teaching — I am talking about when I was not even a year old. So, it was totally natural for me to take up piano lessons. As for pursuing a career, I am still looking for the secret to succeed. Quite honestly, I still feel like a music college student because the basics of my life have been the same whether piano practise is done or not is a major issue of the day. Who or what were the most important influences on your musical life and career?

My mother Michiko for a start. As for teachers, I am really grateful to two teachers, Mr.

Noriko Ogawa in conversation with Melanie Spanswick

Hironaka who taught me in Japan and Benjamin Kaplan who coped with me in London. Ben was the one who told me how to look at the music, how to analyse, and how to perform. I cannot think of anything much off the top of my head.


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I was asked to perform a recital on an Erard piano once. I was reluctant because I am not a period instrument specialist, but the piano was so wonderful that I fell in love immediately. As soon as I played the concert, I grabbed the arm of the owner of the instrument. I asked him if I could use the piano for a CD recording. I am totally fascinated by Erik Satie at the moment. His music is raw, but the ideas he came up with are years ahead of his time.

I feel privileged to have this opportunity to re-discover his ability, to look into his musicality with more respect. Satie has been underestimated for a long time. Having the Erard for the recording has helped me to realise his genius approach, just because I love this particular instrument so very much!! And some Rachmaninov. Personally, I like performing Schumann and Liszt very much and I have been including their pieces in my solo recitals this year because is marks anniversaries of their deaths [ Schumann , Liszt ].

They show me the depth of piano music. Very often, I am totally emotional and shaken by their music when I walk off the stage after a performance. In reality, I speak to the promoters of concerts and build programmes. So, each concert is unique. It is a magnificent concert hall. Personally, I am happy wherever I am taken. A school classroom can be a wonderful venue if I establish rapport with the audience.

I like my close colleagues rather than superstars in the world. The spider looked massive and dramatic against very white keys! One has to go through very tough practising. It is important to have that level of work to get out there. On top of it, there are many things one has to have in order to make career. I am talking about all yjr practical bits.

Top 10 AMAZING Street Performers Musicians Piano (2017)

Of course, talent and enthusiasm have to be there too. Happiness is something every individual decides. I am happy when I am pottering around the house. Equally, I am very happy when I receive some good feedback from the audience. I nearly forgot to say this… I am very happy when a performance has gone well. I have been keeping my diary for the last 30 some years, nothing detailed, it is more like a log, just a record what I have done that day.

I often think what would be my luxury on a desert island. Nail clippers! Noriko Ogawa has achieved considerable renown throughout the world since her success at the Leeds International Piano Competition. Finding clothing to perform in which is stylish, flattering, and, above all, comfortable and practical can be tricky and high street stores tend not to cater that well for performers.

We need clothes which allow freedom of movement, which do not distract us when we play there is nothing worse than a tickly label or zip , which look good when we stand to take a bow and when we are seated at the piano. The type of venue and time of day also dictate what to wear: one does not need a full-length evening gown for a lunchtime concert, for example. Now that the very formal attire of white tie and tails has largely disappeared, men can choose to wear a dark suit or dark shirt and trousers.

Some favour a dark tee-shirt under a dark jacket, others tend towards the Nehru jacket. Women, on the other hand, are still expected to turn out in full-length gowns which hark back to the age of Dame Moura Lympany. There are of course exceptions: the Chinese pianist Yuja Wang has made a name for herself almost as much through her daring dresses and vertiginous stiletto heels how on earth does she pedal in them? They also offer more formal full-length gowns, embellished with sequins and beads, for special occasions.

Those who play in orchestras or sing in choirs are well aware that a fairly plain black outfit is the dress code for such organisations and Black Dress Code has created stylish and practical clothes with this in mind. My only criticism is that the largest size is a UK 16 because, sadly, some of us do not have the slim proportions of Yuja Wang or Khatia Buniatishvilli. It was a long visit, and I had time to explore: I fell in love with it at first sight and although I was around 4 years old, I remember I sat and tried to play using my fingers. Apparently our hostess tried to impress on my parents I should start lessons.

My piano teacher in Greece, the well-known concert pianist and pedagogue D. Toufexis, a Julliard graduate and former Lateiner pupil along with concert pianist Danae Kara, both staff at The American College of Greece, inspired me to maintain a portfolio career. I loved how I could go see them perform at major venues and festivals and then have the privilege of private conversations and lessons with them.

The teacher who inspired me to become a musician was the head teacher of a large, state primary school in a well-to-do leafy suburb of Athens. He was himself a frustrated violinist with real passion for music education. His class produced three concert pianists me included , one musical theatre singer-actress, and a musicologist. Yet the school was an ordinary non-selective state one. Who or what are the most important influences on your teaching?

I finished my studies at the conservatoire in Greece, yet I knew that I could not trust myself to teach. When I came back from my Master of Music studies in the US at West Chester University of Pennsylvania , I felt I could tackle anything: intensive courses in piano pedagogy were compulsory and included teaching practicums under supervision.

Noriko Ogawa in conversation with Melanie Spanswick – Melanie Spanswick

At the end of my studies, my teachers were very eager to impress on me the need for certain books which became my bibles, especially the Denes Agay books on Teaching Piano, and were packed in my already impossibly heavy suitcases. Greece at the time felt quite cut off in many ways, and I still remember sending and receiving letters to the US which took about a couple of months: this was the era before Internet and Amazon!

Despite having taught at all levels for at least 20 years, I still remember being 10 or 11 and helping my friend practice her sonatina. Years after, when we met again, the first thing she remembered was how grateful she was for helping her practice that one time. Challenges, except for time constraints, include self-imposed limitations, mainly arising from clashes with self-image, and definitions of achievement and prospects.

There needs to be an initial interest, and in the case of younger students, there has to be parental support. Exams and festivals can be great motivators while providing benchmarks of attainment. I think it is important for a musician to enter any form of competition trying to achieve playing their personal best rather than focusing on being better than the other competitors.

I also do not condone excessive emphasis on performativity at younger ages: young children and teenagers should not be criticised for being their awkward selves on stage, especially if this does not interfere with projecting the music. What do you consider to be the most important concepts to impart to beginner students, and to advanced students?

Smart practice, healthy posture-technique, and fingering, along with reading notation and counting are all concepts presented from the very first lessons and reinforced throughout the studies.