Saturday, May 23, 2009

Martin Katz's The Complete Collaborator: The Pianist as Partner

One of the most anticipated books about the art of collaborative piano has just been released: The Complete Collaborator: The Pianist as Partner by University of Michigan faculty member and celebrated pianist Martin Katz. Here is the book's blurb from Oxford University Press:
Take more than forty years of partnering celebrated soloists in concerts all over the world, add nearly thirty years of teaching the art of accompanying, and you have the qualifications for such an audacious title as The Complete Collaborator . All the tools for understanding and executing first-class collaborative piano are here, paired with audio recordings of many of the musical examples performed by the author himself, along with two vocalists, on a companion website.

The obvious topics: breathing, languages, flexibility, and creating a collaborative atmosphere are discussed at length, articulated clearly for the curious novice and proving beneficial even for the experienced professional. In addition, two significant chapters deal with orchestral accompaniment, reflecting today's requirements for any professional accompanist. Oft-neglected details such as beginning a piece together, telling stories with piano solos, tuning, and balance between the players are also covered herein.

Dubbed the "Dean of Accompanists" by the Los Angeles Times, this teacher of sold-out masters' classes presents his material clearly and incisively, but always with the humor and wit for which he is known. Whether it be read by the curious novice, the amateur who wants to accompany as best he can, or the experienced professional seeking confirmation or a new look at the role of any partner, Martin Katz's The Complete Collaborator is all one needs.
The Complete Collaborator looks like the book that's going to set the standard on collaborative pianism for a long time to come. If you've read or are reading the book, leave a comment with your thoughts.

(Via @lizpianist on Twitter)

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