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What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist? (Read 2871 times)

Offline cuberdrift

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What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
« on: June 07, 2018, 08:51:29 AM »
This is a question I often ask myself.

When we study classical piano music we are generally faced with extremely difficult repertoire to master and perform in public, as a "concert pianist".

There is something about the nature of this kind of occupation that makes me feel like something is "wrong" or "lacking" about it. I don't know. I just feel like no matter how beautiful and/or interesting the difficult classical pieces one performs, people often forget these the next day and go back to mundane matters. I wonder what the impact of such a job is when looking at the big picture.

In popular music one gets to entertain billions of people and influence society. One gets to introduce new concepts, promote certain politicians, and simply become filthy rich. When you're a classical artist you generally have to wear a tuxedo (or gown?) and perform scripted music that, while profound, is generally a repetition of before.

What do you think the main purpose of being a concert pianist is? Or - to be more specific - why do you perform piano music?

By the way - I know that Franz Liszt is considered to be the first concert pianist but to me he was more of a "popular musician". While he did play music that is today considered "classical", the nature of his work resembles more closely the "pop stars" of this century.

Offline pianoplunker

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #1 on: June 08, 2018, 11:41:55 AM »
This is a question I often ask myself.

When we study classical piano music we are generally faced with extremely difficult repertoire to master and perform in public, as a "concert pianist".

There is something about the nature of this kind of occupation that makes me feel like something is "wrong" or "lacking" about it. I don't know. I just feel like no matter how beautiful and/or interesting the difficult classical pieces one performs, people often forget these the next day and go back to mundane matters. I wonder what the impact of such a job is when looking at the big picture.

In popular music one gets to entertain billions of people and influence society. One gets to introduce new concepts, promote certain politicians, and simply become filthy rich. When you're a classical artist you generally have to wear a tuxedo (or gown?) and perform scripted music that, while profound, is generally a repetition of before.

What do you think the main purpose of being a concert pianist is? Or - to be more specific - why do you perform piano music?

By the way - I know that Franz Liszt is considered to be the first concert pianist but to me he was more of a "popular musician". While he did play music that is today considered "classical", the nature of his work resembles more closely the "pop stars" of this century.

That is a funny post. Makes me want to try and start a rock band and we'll call it Fran's List. Should be a gold mine  LOL 

Offline beethovenfan01

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #2 on: June 08, 2018, 10:23:17 PM »
Honestly I think it really depends on how you look at it.

I do agree that the world of classical music has become somewhat stale and out of touch with the rest of the culture (at very least, American pop culture). This partly has to do with, a, the tendency of the wealthy, snobbish upper classes of the early 20th century to "patronize" the arts. Example: Andrew Carnegie. And it isn't limited to the 20th century--Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn dedicated almost all their music to the gentry who supported them financially, regardless of what they actually thought of those people.

The other issue nowadays is that the classical music world is so addicted to tradition and familiarity with the greats. Now, I love Beethoven and Chopin and Rachmaninoff as much as the next pianist, but and each one loved and respected the ones before them. But at the same time, each one had their own vision of what music could become, and could see beyond the world around them.

Now to answer your question: What do I think the purpose of being a classical pianist is? To put it another way, why do I love music so much that I want to play it for other people in hopes that even only few people from an audience of hundreds or thousands may be uplifted and encouraged? I don't know, really. But I'm a very empathetic person, and I communicate much better through music or poetry than through plainspeak words (and I love all writing in general). I know there are people out there who will understand me, and who be blessed by it.

Now does this necessarily mean being a concert pianist, with the suit and tie and all that? Not by a long shot. There are a lot of musicians out there who play for the same reasons--not necessarily classical music, but I respect their choice mode of communication. If they put thought, practice, and heart into their work, I respect it, even if it's not Rachmaninoff or take-your-pick classical composer.

Does this make sense?
Practicing:
Bach Chromatic Fantasie and Fugue
Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 1
Shostakovich Preludes Op. 34
Scriabin Etude Op. 2 No. 1
Liszt Fantasie and Fugue on BACH

Offline brogers70

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #3 on: June 09, 2018, 01:31:06 AM »
I don't know if this is directly responsive, but I'm starting to be a lot more attracted to concerts by good amateur classical musicians than to those by professionals. There's something, to me anyway, more human about hearing a good, though not top notch, performance of a great piece right up close. And there's lots of great, great music that amateurs can perform; not every concert has to include Ondine, or a set of Chopin Etudes.

Offline soultrap

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #4 on: June 09, 2018, 06:01:08 PM »
Honestly I think it really depends on how you look at it.

I do agree that the world of classical music has become somewhat stale and out of touch with the rest of the culture (at very least, American pop culture). This partly has to do with, a, the tendency of the wealthy, snobbish upper classes of the early 20th century to "patronize" the arts. Example: Andrew Carnegie. And it isn't limited to the 20th century--Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn dedicated almost all their music to the gentry who supported them financially, regardless of what they actually thought of those people.

The other issue nowadays is that the classical music world is so addicted to tradition and familiarity with the greats. Now, I love Beethoven and Chopin and Rachmaninoff as much as the next pianist, but and each one loved and respected the ones before them. But at the same time, each one had their own vision of what music could become, and could see beyond the world around them.

Now to answer your question: What do I think the purpose of being a classical pianist is? To put it another way, why do I love music so much that I want to play it for other people in hopes that even only few people from an audience of hundreds or thousands may be uplifted and encouraged? I don't know, really. But I'm a very empathetic person, and I communicate much better through music or poetry than through plainspeak words (and I love all writing in general). I know there are people out there who will understand me, and who be blessed by it.

Now does this necessarily mean being a concert pianist, with the suit and tie and all that? Not by a long shot. There are a lot of musicians out there who play for the same reasons--not necessarily classical music, but I respect their choice mode of communication. If they put thought, practice, and heart into their work, I respect it, even if it's not Rachmaninoff or take-your-pick classical composer.

Does this make sense?


Yes. Yes it does.

Interestingly enough with concert pianists, you see a much lower percentage of people not liking what they do. You can find a random doctor, engineer or lawyer (or basically any profession) and you see people doing it only for the money, and hating their work. But then you ask a concert pianist - not many of them despise music. In fact, i think that the "point" of being a concert pianist for them, is that they found their passion for music, and won't neglect it from their lives even if they don't make a single cent.

The same people that hate their own work/job often ask: how can you stand the hours and hours of stale practice? Because, certainly, they can't stand hours and hours of their work. To me, the point of being a concert pianist is that they've found their true self, or their passion for music, and how one can devote themselves to something that they love.

P.S. I'm practicing Beethoven Sonata no. 21 and Shostakovich P & F No. 3 too. Nice to see someone that works on the same pieces as me :p
Pieces I'm working on:
Beethoven op. 109
Chopin Etudes op.10
Tchaikovsky Seasons June & October
Tchaikovsky Russian scherzo op. 1 no. 1
Tchaikovsky concerto 1
Mozart K 488
Rachmaninoff sonata 2

Offline beethovenfan01

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #5 on: June 10, 2018, 12:19:45 AM »
Oh yeah!

I actually just finished the first movement of Op. 53 today, it was so satisfying  :D
Practicing:
Bach Chromatic Fantasie and Fugue
Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 1
Shostakovich Preludes Op. 34
Scriabin Etude Op. 2 No. 1
Liszt Fantasie and Fugue on BACH

Online nickc

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #6 on: June 19, 2018, 09:46:17 PM »
Perhaps the question you should be asking is, why are you a musician? What does music mean for you and your existence?

For myself, my music allows me to explore, express, feel, deal, realize, reflect and adapt to the ever changing challenges of life. My music is the one thing that frees me from the constraints of this world. It is my deepest love and I could not function without it. I write new music everyday... most of it will never be heard or be recognized by others because it does not conform to the current establishment. Who cares? If you love it, then do it and do it with all your soul.

As others have said, yes... the "classical music world" has lost its way. All I see are thousands of shakespearean actors, all performing the same plays over and over with different emotional insights. Nothing wrong with that, it's just that nothing new is being produced, and those that do produce something new, must jump through fire to even gain a foothold.

The irony is that just about all of the great composers (and composers in general) were all against the establishment. They were creating something NEW... and the very thing they fought against, is now the very thing that has shackled their musical and artistic souls... all subjected to competitions, exams, academia etc...

I think Beethoven would be very disappointed with today's musical world.... funny thing is, is that I doubt anything has changed since his time... just the technology. People do not like change... until they have no choice.

It is between you, and your love of music.

Offline ted

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #7 on: June 20, 2018, 03:58:42 AM »
While I must respect someone who can do very difficult things in front of large numbers of people, concerts and performance have little to do with my musical experience, which is essentially solitary and restricted to playing, recording and listening to recordings. I do not enjoy events of any sort, musical or not, and relish in my later years what Priestley called the joy of “not going”. So for me there is no point at all, but I am very interested to read what actual concert pianists say about it.
"When I was young they said, 'Ah, wait until you are old, then you'll see.' Well, now I am old, and I have seen nothing." - Erik Satie

Offline mjames

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #8 on: June 20, 2018, 10:33:11 AM »
To play music in front of others.
Composing/improvising

Chopin's 4th ballade and 3rd sonata.
Scriabin Op. 42 no. 1, 2, and 3.
Bach Partita No.4

Offline cuberdrift

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #9 on: June 20, 2018, 01:20:09 PM »
Does this make sense?


Very much. Thank you for your response (and to the others as well), it is enlightening.

My main issue, I think, is that when one is in a concert hall, he is in an "ocean of the imagination", so-to-speak. But whenever I go out of the hall, this euphoria somehow vanishes after an hour or so. And then I get back to the "world", with all its "imperfections".

I am looking for the music's larger impact on a person, whether or not it truly affects him positively. I am, as someone would say, trying to find the "forest behind the trees".

I think one reason why I kind of get tired of hearing all this classical music is perhaps the attitude of seriousness to it. I just don't like hearing heavy, sentimental music all the time (Chopin, Brahms, etc.), nor do I like hearing music that I "don't understand" (a lot of 20th century works, some random Baroque fugue or dance suite). So, it could be partly due to the mood.

Offline beethovenfan01

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #10 on: June 21, 2018, 10:22:17 PM »
Then perhaps you should branch out a little more into other genres, like ragtime or jazz or more modern music. Yes, a lot of pop music is very shallow (and to me boring), but there's also a lot of good modern music that's very complex and interesting, especially in jazz. It's way less formal than the whole suit-and-tie classical scene.
Practicing:
Bach Chromatic Fantasie and Fugue
Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 1
Shostakovich Preludes Op. 34
Scriabin Etude Op. 2 No. 1
Liszt Fantasie and Fugue on BACH

Offline johnlewisgrant

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #11 on: June 30, 2018, 12:52:19 AM »
Performing on stage, at the concert hall: Glenn Gould's bete noire.   Concertizing satisfies a gladiatorial urge, I think he would have said.   But not much to do with real music-making.   

I don't quite believe that. Obviously some folks like playing before crowds, big or small.  Making music means communicating DIRECTLY, SPONTANEOUSLY, and in REAL TIME.

The Gouldian alternative: making perfect (or near perfect, or not-so-near perfect) recordings. 

A different kind of music-making.  Not worse.  Not better.  Just different.

Not to everyone's taste, but so what?  The life of the concert pianist has ITS PURPOSE; therefore it is thought to be worth doing (and is in fact doable if you're good enough and lucky enough to make a go of it).

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #12 on: June 30, 2018, 02:11:39 AM »
Because money!!!!!

Playing piano is fun.  But you also need money.  So why don't you play piano for money!

Besides even if there wasn't money involved why does it need to have a purpose? 

Everyone thinks everything has to have a meaning or purpose
Live large, die large.  Leave a giant coffin.

Offline themeandvariation

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #13 on: June 30, 2018, 08:13:41 PM »
the raison d'etre?  Kafka said, "The meaning of life is that it stops"...
4'33"

Offline cuberdrift

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #14 on: July 02, 2018, 01:36:14 PM »
Then perhaps you should branch out a little more into other genres, like ragtime or jazz or more modern music. Yes, a lot of pop music is very shallow (and to me boring), but there's also a lot of good modern music that's very complex and interesting, especially in jazz. It's way less formal than the whole suit-and-tie classical scene.

I actually am fond of ragtime (Scott Joplin generally), though I don't actually listen to ragtime or jazz that much except for a few artists which I really like. But there is, in fact, a very large amount of "classical" "non-serious" works, too, particularly from the eras other than Romantic. I just think there is a very big inclination to the complex and serious, particularly in Romantic music, for piano enthusiasts.

The Gouldian alternative: making perfect (or near perfect, or not-so-near perfect) recordings. 

Was he interested in making perfect/near perfect recordings? I remember him saying that the listener should be able to modify the recording, or something. So maybe quality doesn't matter much?

Because money!!!!!

Playing piano is fun.  But you also need money.  So why don't you play piano for money!

Besides even if there wasn't money involved why does it need to have a purpose? 

Everyone thinks everything has to have a meaning or purpose

Aren't there easier ways to make money out of playing the piano then concertizing the formal, classical way?

Offline mrcreosote

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #15 on: July 04, 2018, 07:49:58 PM »
Oh what a topic!

TWO PARTS:  CON and PRO

CON:


First, let me totally flame into a smokin' hole classical audience posers and the unending propagation of the obsolete, staid, close-minded performance formats. 

Poser Audiences:


They did Rach 3 here in Grensburg PA with the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra and Orian Weiss.  The WSO did an acceptable performance and Weiss was flawless with top notch technique.  However, I conducted a little survey with people that attended:  I didn't find one that was familiar with R3.  In fact, I got the idea that the men were there because their wives wanted to go.  (to say it was an "old crowd" was an understatement.)

In this case, people attended because "that's what cultured people do."  They weren't there for the music - only the ambiance. 

On the other hand, there are devout audiences like those that attended Horowitz when he showed up.  These people are what "those" people are trying to act like.

Obsolete Formats - Recitals in Particular:


What to run off New Blood?  Stick with the Recital format.  It is detestable and I'm all in with Pires' view that you never let a child feel the alone-ness of a stage.  Lisitsa has gotten it right like her Precipitato with someone listening on their back under the piano.

Have you ever seen someone from the audience ask to play when it wrapped up?  First, it would never be asked, Second, they would look at you like you were crazy and say No, and Third, the audience by he end is dying to get out of there.

Requirements that piano and violin have to be memorized while everyone else gets a free pass.  How can that be legitimate - especially for guitars?

Airport and street pianos are the most exciting.  Or the piano at a restaurant they invite patrons to play.  My interest is extemporaneous performances, however, those settings will never involve a fine piano.  (I guess you have to go the traditional route to gain access to one of those.  I'd also recommend when you play the recital to play what you feel like playing at that moment and not what you're signed up to!  Call me a Terrorist!)


PRO:

Why Perform?:


The thrill of the stage is a pure Adrenalin rush.  Very easy to get addicted to.  There is an added dimension when you play with others.  Solo vs Concerto is a staggering difference.

Gould's Gladiatorial comment is so true.  So there is an element of Fight Club which may appeal to some.

For those it comes easy to, it is not worth questioning.  It is easy for them to do it and so they do.

For those it does NOT come easy to, that is a good question.  If you have strong passion and weak tallent, you are basically cursed.  You will have to give up unrealistic dreams and focus on something achievable.  And once you achieve that, then you can make your next move hopefully before you die.

___________

THE FUTURE:

Is pretty bleak for New Blood.  The music is "Oldies" and the venues are for Old Fogies - Even Lang Lang and his concert grand is out of place at the Grammy's.

It is sad that even at university, they still propagate the Old Ways almost like clergy.

Pires' views on all this are spot on and should be seriously considered.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #16 on: July 05, 2018, 03:45:56 PM »
What is the point in living? What is the point in anything at all? There is no point in life, it is like chasing the wind, it's all useless.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.facebook.com/groups/348933611793249/

Offline timothy42b

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #17 on: July 05, 2018, 05:49:33 PM »
PRO:

Why Perform?:


The thrill of the stage is a pure Adrenalin rush.  Very easy to get addicted to.

Famous movie quote:
Quote
no pharmaceutical product could ever equal the rush you get when the band hits that groove; the people are dancin', and shoutin', and swayin'; and the house is rockin'!

I saw an interview with one of the more articulate rock musicians, part of a band you would recognize, that was also famous for some heavy partying after a gig.  He said they went out after playing to calm down - during a show, the adrenaline didn't just flow, it rushed through them like a fire hose.  (his words) 
Tim

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #18 on: July 06, 2018, 04:44:00 PM »

Aren't there easier ways to make money out of playing the piano then concertizing the formal, classical way?

Well yeah but that's why we have other jobs on the side like teaching...

Or working at mcdonalds :(

However I feel like if you made it BIG that's probably the easiest job in the world.  You learn a new recital program every year and travel the world and play the same thing over and over again.

With teaching you gotta deal with emails, helicopter parents, kids not practicing, parents not showing up, parents blaming you for why their kid sucks when it's just cause they don't practice (hasn't happened to me yet) etc.

Live large, die large.  Leave a giant coffin.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #19 on: July 07, 2018, 03:47:00 PM »
However I feel like if you made it BIG that's probably the easiest job in the world.
It's not really. The opportunity cost family/friends/home vs concerting all over the world, not many people can hack that, it really is a huge cost.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.facebook.com/groups/348933611793249/

Offline bernadette60614

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #20 on: August 22, 2018, 04:52:32 PM »
Why do we have art museums?  We could use the internet to look at photos of great art.  But, there is something about the hush of a museum and seeing the work of art in a reverential setting that deepens fully the experience of that art.

Similarly, concert artists play in concert halls or music venues.  Places in a location dedicated to as complete an appreciation of a work of musical art and the artistry of the performer as humanly possible.

We live in a world of distractions...life and distractions/stimuli we chose via the internet/smartphones/media.  In a concert setting, there is no distraction...there is just the music and the performer.

Offline cuberdrift

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #21 on: August 27, 2018, 10:24:27 AM »
Why do we have art museums?  We could use the internet to look at photos of great art.  But, there is something about the hush of a museum and seeing the work of art in a reverential setting that deepens fully the experience of that art.

Similarly, concert artists play in concert halls or music venues.  Places in a location dedicated to as complete an appreciation of a work of musical art and the artistry of the performer as humanly possible.

We live in a world of distractions...life and distractions/stimuli we chose via the internet/smartphones/media.  In a concert setting, there is no distraction...there is just the music and the performer.

I agree.

However, isn't it also simply because the concert hall tradition arose from a time without recordings, the radio, and the Internet? We're just keeping them alive today because, as you said, it's still a great experience.

I play and learn classical piano music simply because I like that kind of music, likely because it is the kind of music I was exposed to since childhood. My parents and extended family also have relentless support for my interest, which is the reason I am able to continue to study classical piano music at all.

It is quite a strange and complex topic, indeed. I don't live in Europe or the US, and though my homeland is highly Western-influenced, the tradition and necessity of having to study Germanic/Slavic music to be a "classical" musician may seem somewhat out-of-place in my time and place (not that I mind, as I've said I'm a classical fan). I sometimes liken it to having a T. rex live in a modern environment; it cannot thrive there as it was not meant to be for that time and place.

But there are always museums and zoos, and that is where we exhibit these animals, just as there are concert halls to exhibit old high-value art music that is no longer popular today. Just as a diet of modern buffalo and deer surely wouldn't satisfy a T. rex's appetite, the long, aristocratic works of J.S. Bach may fall beyond the ears of today's youth. But we have museums to display the skeleton of the aforementioned ancient monster to appeal to those with a reverence for the earth's past, as well as a concert hall to appeal to those with a reverence for classical music.

Offline Bob

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #22 on: August 28, 2018, 11:10:33 PM »
Because money!!!!!

Playing piano is fun.  But you also need money.  So why don't you play piano for money!

Besides even if there wasn't money involved why does it need to have a purpose?  

Everyone thinks everything has to have a meaning or purpose



Haha...  "Pay me money.  I'll play piano for you.  I'll play piano real good.  What do you want?  You want jazz?  I can do jazz.  Classical's your thing.  I got that.  Want me to improvise?  Or do you like the avant garde stuff?  Is it getting atonal in here?"  




Here's my actual reply.

Preserve the old.  (Maybe in part to keep it alive until something new happens.)
Present the new.
Provide live music as opposed to a recording.
Communicate the intent of the composer with your own interpretation (if possible and to the extent allowe).
Personal fulfillment of the pianist.  You're getting paid to play the piano.




Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline avguste

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #23 on: September 15, 2018, 02:16:25 AM »
The art of concert pianist and classical music is only as stale as what the performer does. One thing every musician needs to remember that we are all entertainers and besides being on stage to perform the music the way it was written, we are there to entertain the audience
Concert Pianist Avguste Antonov
avguste@avgusteantonov.com
http://avgusteantonov.com

Offline beethovenfan01

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #24 on: September 15, 2018, 05:54:46 AM »
The art of concert pianist and classical music is only as stale as what the performer does. One thing every musician needs to remember that we are all entertainers and besides being on stage to perform the music the way it was written, we are there to entertain the audience

YES!!!
Practicing:
Bach Chromatic Fantasie and Fugue
Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 1
Shostakovich Preludes Op. 34
Scriabin Etude Op. 2 No. 1
Liszt Fantasie and Fugue on BACH

Offline opus10no2

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #25 on: October 10, 2018, 02:16:09 PM »
Classical Music is a fascinating conundrum.

Music is the most popular and widely consumed art form on the planet.

Do you know why? Because we can multitask, be not fully attentive, enjoy it without focusing too much, it provides us with an experience that transcends our normal lives - it's sensory, emotive, and it means something.

Popular music gives all this and asks nothing in return.

Classical Music is different, it gives *more*!! BUT it also asks you to be fully attentive, to focus, to stop multitasking as much and give yourself to it.

It's an investment. In a time where people want immediate gratification - let them have it. But Classical Music will continue to exist for those who acknowledge the fact that the climbing of the mountain is worth it for the view from the top.

People like us exist, and will continue to exist - we should never force it upon others, just to encourage them that while there are many beauties to be found at ground level - the climb is worthwhile for the transcendent splendourous panorama that awaits those who give of themselves.
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Offline pencilart3

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #26 on: October 10, 2018, 10:32:14 PM »
It's an investment. In a time where people want immediate gratification - let them have it. But Classical Music will continue to exist for those who acknowledge the fact that the climbing of the mountain is worth it for the view from the top.

People like us exist, and will continue to exist - we should never force it upon others, just to encourage them that while there are many beauties to be found at ground level - the climb is worthwhile for the transcendent splendourous panorama that awaits those who give of themselves.

Good thoughts and very well stated!
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Offline virtuoso80

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #27 on: October 27, 2018, 11:05:45 AM »
Well, first of all, don't assume the money is all that great in other musical genres. There's a group I love who is very well known and respected in their genre and would be on the higher end of any festival lineup, and the leader recently talked about how they all make about 60k a year. If you can make it to touring concert soloist, you're going to make more than that.

There is pop music, but performing that would require giving myself a lobotomy, so I don't see that as viable.  :P

Offline mrcreosote

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #28 on: November 04, 2018, 11:25:00 PM »
This is perhaps a bit OT, but I've pondered what is it about "Classical Music" that separates it from other forms.  

Classical music has a timeless, perhaps universal, beauty.  Some people are drawn to this beauty and study and worship it as if a religion.  Music schools are the monasteries and the concerts are the sermons.  

The Scriptures of Beethoven?  YES  ...of Freddie Mercury?  Laughable....

___________________

Regarding "being a concert pianist."  I think it basically is you are part of the "reproduction system" to "fire up" a concert hall.  That experience can only be accomplished with musicians reciting the music.  Sorry but no Artists here - (except perhaps for Yuja Wangs fashion sense) ....

Horowitz being depressed because he failed as a composer speaks volumes.

Is a 14th degree Black Belt an Artist?    I believe you actually have to create something to be considered an artists.  Even a bricklayer can be an exquisite artist.

Offline beethovenfan01

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #29 on: November 05, 2018, 01:22:34 AM »
Well, six months after this conversation started, I have a bit more to add.

I've slowly realized over the past few months that I've gotten more than a few people interested in classical music, who weren't before. Case in point: My girlfriend. Back in April, I started playing stuff for her. She didn't get it at first; she knew pretty much nothing about classical music. But over the course of this year, she's gotten more interested in it, and actually has started listening to it for its own sake, which completely amazed me!

The question is: How many people avoid classical music because they've never had anyone really explain it to them? In some ways, I would say we're more "ambassadors" than we are a "reproduction" system. I think in many ways we, as pianists (and musicians in general), should expand our performances beyond only what we play: The more we open up these works of art in new ways, the more people will understand it. There are now two orchestras in my state (Oregon Symphony and Eugene Symphony) that I know of that are adding animation to old works--I am particularly interested in seeing what Eugene Symphony comes up with for their upcoming performance of Scriabin's Prometheus.

Blasphemy? I don't think so. I think if we show people how to engage with this music through greater artistry and creativity, classical music will find new life. You all are right that this generation is less willing to climb the mountain of understanding complex music. They are used to multi-media, all-encompassing experiences, such as the kind we get in a movie theatre. But if we bring more of a piece's story to life than just notes, and present it the same way other creative works are presented now-days, I think we may yet revive this style of music, and find an audience for new creations to blend with the old.

Thoughts?
Practicing:
Bach Chromatic Fantasie and Fugue
Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 1
Shostakovich Preludes Op. 34
Scriabin Etude Op. 2 No. 1
Liszt Fantasie and Fugue on BACH

Offline mrcreosote

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #30 on: November 06, 2018, 06:36:33 PM »
I don't think you have to know anything to "get" classical music.

A child will be mesmerized by Beethoven's 5th or the William Tell Overture.

Classical music is universal - so much so that iconic passages find their way to the most emotional climaxes in film.  Even Ligeti.  All proof of universal appeal.

Myself, I play but my memory is crap.  Still, I'm like a one-man flash mob.  I see a piano anywhere, I'll walk over and play it.  Used to be you could walk into a church and play something.  Now they are all barricaded.

I'm not an Ambassador - more of like a Missionary. 

And perhaps ironically, I detest the the social niche that classical music has found.  Posers who think themselves high class go to the symphony because that's what the high class people do.

And the tradition of the music recital and it's format is awful.  The fact that most kids don't want to do it is telling us something.

Offline dw4rn

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #31 on: November 07, 2018, 09:47:56 AM »
Mrcreosote,

Yes, a lot of children will be mesmerised by Beethoven's 5th, but there is a lot of music that requires... perhaps a bit more 'effort' on the listener's part. I'm not saying that you need to know a lot of things to be able to enjoy, let's say, Scriabin or something. But sometimes it helps, and sometimes you just need to get accustomed to the genre before you can feel the greatness of a certain work.

I definitely get what you are saying about 'the social niche that classical music has found'. But what's so awful about the format of the music recital per se? I'm not against new formats, but I can still enjoy a traditional piano recital if the playing is interesting.

Offline brogers70

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #32 on: November 08, 2018, 11:03:14 AM »
I don't think you have to know anything to "get" classical music.

Yes. I'm a completely amateur pianist. I live in a scarcely populated rural area where most people don't go to college. This week I played a short recital at a nursing home, Schubert's D935 #2 Impromptu, the Allemande and Sarabande from Bach's 4th French Suite, The A major Intermezzo and F major Romance from Brahm's Opus 118, and Chopin's Bb minor Nocturne Op.9 #1.  I was worried that I wasn't offering them boogie woogie or show tunes, but I shouldn't have worried.

The old folks were really moved by the music. One of the kitchen aides said after the Bach "Wow Bill now I've got beautiful sounds in my head." Patients and staff sincerely loved it. There is so much directly accessible beauty in classical music that if you play it reasonably well, person to person, you'll find that people will love it, regardless of prior exposure.

So I think the purpose of being a performer is to remind people how beautiful and joyful or how tragic and sad human life is, through music written by people who felt those things deeply. It's fantastic if you have the skill to do it for many thousands of people, but it good whenever and wherever you can do it.

Offline dw4rn

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #33 on: November 09, 2018, 09:14:33 AM »
So I think the purpose of being a performer is to remind people how beautiful and joyful or how tragic and sad human life is, through music written by people who felt those things deeply. It's fantastic if you have the skill to do it for many thousands of people, but it good whenever and wherever you can do it.

True, and beautifully put!

Offline mrcreosote

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #34 on: November 09, 2018, 05:29:49 PM »
... But what's so awful about the format of the music recital per se? I'm not against new formats, but I can still enjoy a traditional piano recital if the playing is interesting.

I'll let Maria Pires take that question:

"3. How Chopin makes her suffer
In 1989 Pires signed an exclusive record deal with Deutsche Grammophon. Her recording of Chopin's nocturnes has been named the best version available by Gramophone magazine. "It’s very inner music and very deep," Pires has said. "Chopin is the deep poet of music. But he also invented this terrible thing called piano recitals. That made me suffer all my life."

She also said, "...a child should never feel the alone-ness of the stage."  Which I strongly agree with having experienced it many times myself.

The best way:  Lisitsa played a recital of sorts where people were sitting, standing, some around the piano and one person was laying under the piano listening (it's the best seat in the house!)

The "recital" should be impromptu and informal.  Other people should be welcome to play that piano before and after the main event - especially afterwards not unlike an after party - and besides, people linger a long time talking after the event - no reason to not have more piano playing.  The recitalist could even have a "questions and answers" mini master class for any who would be interested.
___________________

Regarding understanding music:  Some people can't get beyond the rhythm section of a wedding band.  I suspect there are others that see the patterns in Ligeti - I'm not one of them although I might be able to detect a wrong note in some of his work.

Should music be intellectual?  It can be, but it should be a niche and not where all music should evolve to.  If you look at the evolution of music complexity vs time, it is an explosive geometric series.  I think it is closely related to the same thing happening to mankind.

Given Ligeti, et. al., can you imagine where music complexity will be 100 years from now.  In fact, Ligeti might be closer to the average between Baroque and the crazy whack-a-mole music you can dig up on youtube.  I have an acquaintance in the music industry to listens to that "stuff" and gets genuinely excited about new works of that type.

Offline dw4rn

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Re: What do you think is the point of being a concert pianist?
«Reply #35 on: November 14, 2018, 09:28:41 AM »
Sorry mrcreosote, but Pires doesn't answer my question. They are 'terrible' and 'make her suffer', yes but what is terrible and why does she suffer?

Your Lisitsa-type, informal recitals sound absolutely wonderful, but sometimes I don't want to talk to anyone or hear people playing the piano after the main event.