Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Congratulations to Steven Blier

Via Wolf Trap Opera 2006:

Steven Blier has been named Coach of the Year by Classical Singer Magazine.

Notice in Billboard
Steven Blier bio from NY Festival of Song site

Also in WTO2006 was a link to an article by David Mermelstein in the April 30 Los Angeles Times about accompanists/collaborative pianists (although only referred to as accompanists in the article). There are quotes from numerous luminaries of the field, including Leif Ove Andsnes and Graham Johnson, who is quoted here:

That term, "real pianist," cuts to the heart of the matter and is a phrase Johnson as good as anticipated.

"I get upset about this issue," he wrote, "because it insultingly supposes that the art to which I have given my life is something anyone who is a good pianist can do. No, the implication is it can be done better by a soloist, because virtuosity governs all. And from there, it's a short distance to consider an accompanist a pianistic butler, a loser who plays cringingly for tyrannical soloists in the hope of another crumb from the table."

A quote by tenor Ian Bostridge I take exception to:

"Playing for a singer requires a lot of self-abnegation," Bostridge said recently from his home in London. "The voice is a fragile instrument, and you have to think about accommodating it."

Self-agnegation? I strongly disagree. Working with singers is one of the coolest things about my life as a pianist. The give-and-take of working with voices and/or instruments, some with a small sound and some huge, is precisely what makes the art song, opera, sonata, concerto, and chamber repertoires such a blast. Succeeding in this field doesn't mean putting any self-denial into your professional sound or demeanor. You need to learn to work with people, and sometimes to pick your battles interpretively, but I've always found that that's one of the most rewarding things about the art.

Perhaps there should be people trumpeting the fact that the collaborative arts are actually the pinnacle of the piano field. And to think that we can make a living as a player much more easily than solo pianists...

No comments:

Post a Comment