Stephen Hough with kitten.
Yuja Wang with kitten.
Check out Pianistswithkittens, you won’t be disappointed!
Pianists who decide to work with singers do so largely by playing regular voice lessons … It’s in these countless hours of playing voice lessons that pianists become coaches (if they’re paying attention). They learn to identify what it sounds like when a singer is pressing on the voice, or under-supporting, or clenching their jaw, or holding their breath, or when they’re out of tune and why. And as pianists work for more and more technically developed singers, they get the real treat of hearing what it sounds like when a voice is supported well and free from tension; I’ll spoil it for all you and tell you that it sounds thrilling."
— Jenna Douglas posting on Musical Toronto
From 10 October until 1 November, something unbelievable is happening in Oxford. Across 62 concerts, with 150 artists, the Oxford Lieder festival is putting on the Schubert Project. A focus on Schubert’s songs? A look at Schubert’s Vienna? A glimpse of the creative imagination that inspired the world’s greatest outpouring of song? No, something much more ambitious: for the first time in this country, the Schubert Project will present performances of Franz Schubert’s complete songs. (via Go Schubert crazy at the Oxford Lieder festival – all 650 songs performed live | Music | The Guardian)
Tuesday Matinees: Alexandre Moutouzkine, piano
Photo by Gave Rivera
Play it for me again, Sam!
It was actually terribly frustrating.
I got so nervous trying to play for my professor I messed up much worse than I would have normally and got angry with myself for it which only made things worse. But when I finally managed to play through the first three pages my professor stopped me with one word.
She sounded pissed.
“Lindsey,” she said, causing me to freeze without turning around to look at her, “…this is what I hate about you.”
Oh god. What had I done? I slowly turned to face her. Her arms were crossed, her dramatic and dark Russian features over exaggerating the exasperation and frustration on her face. I shivered.
“No really, I hate this. When you play, in terms of music you are perfect. No really, that was EXACTLY what Debussy should sound like. You have a gift, or it’s genetic, or whatever. Your rhythm, your phrasing, it’s all right, it’s all perfect. Your problem is in your head. You don’t trust yourself, you hesitate even when your hands are in the right place. You make one mistake and you just fall apart. In terms of musicality it’s perfect, there is nothing I can teach you. But I cannot learn these notes for you. Fix it.”
I did not speak.
I cringed and flinched away from her, I had done exactly what I’m always afraid I would do.
I disappointed her.
I felt so incredibly guilty.
But as I left that lesson I wondered if there had been a compliment hidden in there somewhere, or if she had only just used the words “gift” and “perfect” to keep me from crying.
Either way, my practicing has taken on a new enthusiasm this week as I try to make my professor and friend proud. I know I speak and write about her a lot, but you have to understand what a special gift it is for me to learn from someone like her, and what an even greater gift it is to be such good friends with her.
Did I mention I’m babysitting her daughter next weekend?
I hope this week’s lesson goes well, for fear of making Momma-P angry again.
Piano lessons are therapy, no lie. To misquote Chopin, I tell the piano things I cannot tell myself.
This is not your destruction.
This is your birth."