Tuesday, June 08, 2010

An Open Letter From Your Collaborative Pianist

While studying at the University of Memphis and completing a collaborative piano assistantship, Kennith Freeman wrote a letter to those who were taking his work for granted and then put it aside. Several years pass, he discovers the letter again, and posts it on his blog. Take a look at An Open Letter From Your Collaborative Pianist - you'll notice a lot of issues common to all pianists of the collaborative variety. A snippet:
I know that you don't always take notice of me since I generally sit behind you, but that does not mean that my participation in the recital is less important that yours. Realize that my colleagues and I no longer refer to ourselves by the condescending term of "accompanist"; instead, we refer to ourselves as "collaborative pianists" for two basic reasons. First and foremost, we are pianists. We are not defined by the vocalists and instrumentalists that we support in recital; we have spent countless hours developing our skills and mastering piano technique and deserve to be recognized as skilled performers. The adjective "collaborative" suggests that we are equal partners in the musical process. Without sounding overly arrogant, it is important that you realize that without our assistance, many of your most important works could not be performed. Since these master composers saw the inclusion of the piano as essential to the work they created, it is imperative that you also recognize our importance and stop treating us as a necessary evil.
In fact, you should check out more articles from Kennith's blog Collaborations, which shall forthwith take its place as required reading for all collaborative pianists.

1 comment:

  1. Chris -
    Thanks so much for the positive comments. Your blog has been a great encouragement to me and something I look forward to reading.