Last November, I mentioned that the prestigious Yamaha Birmingham Accompanist of the Year Competition (judged by Roger Vignoles, John Humphreys, and Simon Nicholls) was won by Yshani Perinpanayagam. Yshani was featured in the Spring 2010 Yamaha Educational Supplement in conversation with Bill Martin, Music Education Manager of Yamaha Music Europe. An excerpt from the interview:
BCM: What makes a good accompanist and what advice would you give to young pianists who want to explore it and improve their accompanying skills?
YP: As a piano soloist you have to learn to step outside of yourself and listen to the whole. As an accompanist you have to do that even more.
When I’m learning something new I work a lot away from the piano: following a recording with the score and sometimes playing along or even singing the melody part. That helps me find where the breathing comes and learn how the other part works with my own. Listening to recordings of a particular accompanist’s approach with a particular soloist is always helpful, throwing up ideas that I might either follow or discard. Sometimes I may even record a rough version of the other part, so I get used to working with it.
Piano Focus: The accompanist in the spotlight from the Yamaha Educational Supplement