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#1825936 - 01/16/12 01:35 PM Daniel Pollack on Rosinna Lhevinne and the Russian school
vlhorowitz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/07
Posts: 290
Hi Everyone,

Below is Part II of my interview with Yale/Juilliard professor, Daniel Pollack. Here, the pianist talks about technique, Horowitz, and the Russian school of pianism. Enjoy!

Thank you to everyone who read Part I smile

http://www.examiner.com/piano-in-san-francisco/interview-with-pianist-daniel-pollack-part-ii

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#1826039 - 01/16/12 04:59 PM Re: Daniel Pollack on Rosinna Lhevinne and the Russian school [Re: vlhorowitz]
MarkH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/08
Posts: 860
Loc: Seattle, WA
He's just about the most loquacious person I've ever seen interviewed! Only one question!
_________________________
Currently Studying: Bach - English Suite No. 5; Chopin Scherzo No. 2; Alkan Cello Sonata 4th movement (duet transcription by Alkan)

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#1826202 - 01/16/12 11:04 PM Re: Daniel Pollack on Rosinna Lhevinne and the Russian school [Re: vlhorowitz]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4528
Loc: in the past
"Maintaining the personality of the student is important, and none of Lhevinne’s students ever played the same way at that time, or copied her. She hated ‘xeroxed’ little Lhevinnes coming out of her studio. And I think that’s the sign of a great teacher – being able to bring out each individual, nurturing them."

I love that. It's so true, and so rare.
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

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#1826209 - 01/16/12 11:17 PM Re: Daniel Pollack on Rosinna Lhevinne and the Russian school [Re: vlhorowitz]
jdhampton924 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 1009
Loc: Evansville, Indiana
I wish I read this part before the first one..The first one made him sound so harsh and self involved almost like one of those angry teachers he was talking about. I felt this part of the interview put a lot of context to the first part.

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#1826222 - 01/16/12 11:31 PM Re: Daniel Pollack on Rosinna Lhevinne and the Russian school [Re: jdhampton924]
Andromaque Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3886
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: jdhampton924
I wish I read this part before the first one..The first one made him sound so harsh and self involved almost like one of those angry teachers he was talking about. I felt this part of the interview put a lot of context to the first part.


I know,.
Does anyone know of a "famous" student of Pollack? someone who has gone on to be successful as a concert pianist? (not being judgmental, just curious!).

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#1826224 - 01/16/12 11:36 PM Re: Daniel Pollack on Rosinna Lhevinne and the Russian school [Re: vlhorowitz]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4528
Loc: in the past
I'm curious too. I think he'd be a very interesting teacher to study with.
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

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#1826249 - 01/17/12 12:23 AM Re: Daniel Pollack on Rosinna Lhevinne and the Russian school [Re: vlhorowitz]
jdhampton924 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 1009
Loc: Evansville, Indiana
My current piano teacher told me once that she had an opportunity to study with, but ultimately decided against it. Because he seemed like a very harsh man.

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#1826281 - 01/17/12 02:40 AM Re: Daniel Pollack on Rosinna Lhevinne and the Russian school [Re: Pogorelich.]
Opus_Maximus Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/04
Posts: 1494
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
"Maintaining the personality of the student is important, and none of Lhevinne’s students ever played the same way at that time, or copied her. She hated ‘xeroxed’ little Lhevinnes coming out of her studio. And I think that’s the sign of a great teacher – being able to bring out each individual, nurturing them."

I love that. It's so true, and so rare.


True, yes...but I've found a lot of teachers like to think they foster individuality in their students, but then at the same time will not allow for a smidgen of individuality. Menahem Pressler is a good example; In his recent book, he talks at length about the importance to bring out the personality of each student so that he/she is unique, but later on in his book (and what I've seen firsthand from numerous masterclasses), he has EXACT ideas of how he wants passages to be played, with not even the slightest allowance for a rubato or dynamic inflection. (Departure from his conceptions lead to, but are not limited to: yelling, screaming, reducing one to tears, and dismissal from his studio).

I do not know Pollack as well or have had the opportunity to observe his teaching, but based on from what I've seen and heard, I'm inclined to believe he's not much different.


Edited by Opus_Maximus (01/17/12 02:42 AM)

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#1826282 - 01/17/12 02:46 AM Re: Daniel Pollack on Rosinna Lhevinne and the Russian school [Re: Andromaque]
Opus_Maximus Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/04
Posts: 1494
Originally Posted By: Andromaque
Originally Posted By: jdhampton924
I wish I read this part before the first one..The first one made him sound so harsh and self involved almost like one of those angry teachers he was talking about. I felt this part of the interview put a lot of context to the first part.


I know,.
Does anyone know of a "famous" student of Pollack? someone who has gone on to be successful as a concert pianist? (not being judgmental, just curious!).



Not too many. Robert Theis is about the most famous I can think of..

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#1826284 - 01/17/12 03:00 AM Re: Daniel Pollack on Rosinna Lhevinne and the Russian school [Re: vlhorowitz]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5300
Loc: Europe
Problem is that it appears that some things should be played in a specific way. I mean, yes, rubato brings in mind some freedom, but in all honesty there are very specific ways on how to apply it. And yes, some things can be played in different ways, but in the end tradition (and recordings) have made us realise the 'best' way to perform a work... It's quite difficult to allow for complete freedom and individuality in performance and the results some times are not... to be expected (Gould comes to mind here).

Even in composition, you MUST allow for the personality of the student to grow, but aesthetics CAN be taught and SHOULD be taught... :-/
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#1826294 - 01/17/12 03:30 AM Re: Daniel Pollack on Rosinna Lhevinne and the Russian school [Re: Nikolas]
Opus_Maximus Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/04
Posts: 1494
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Problem is that it appears that some things should be played in a specific way. I mean, yes, rubato brings in mind some freedom, but in all honesty there are very specific ways on how to apply it. And yes, some things can be played in different ways, but in the end tradition (and recordings) have made us realise the 'best' way to perform a work... It's quite difficult to allow for complete freedom and individuality in performance and the results some times are not... to be expected (Gould comes to mind here).


Exactly.. meaning that if Gould had studied for a long time (and wholeheartedly) with somebody like Pressler or Pollack - then the world would cease to have had Gould. (Weather or not this is a good or bad thing for the music he played is a different story)

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#1826309 - 01/17/12 04:20 AM Re: Daniel Pollack on Rosinna Lhevinne and the Russian school [Re: Opus_Maximus]
polyphasicpianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/21/11
Posts: 1238
Originally Posted By: Opus_Maximus

Exactly.. meaning that if Gould had studied for a long time (and wholeheartedly) with somebody like Pressler or Pollack - then the world would cease to have had Gould. (Weather or not this is a good or bad thing for the music he played is a different story)


I think perhaps Gould's personality would be more than a match for their zealotry.

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#1826314 - 01/17/12 04:47 AM Re: Daniel Pollack on Rosinna Lhevinne and the Russian school [Re: Andromaque]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7892
Originally Posted By: Andromaque
Originally Posted By: jdhampton924
I wish I read this part before the first one..The first one made him sound so harsh and self involved almost like one of those angry teachers he was talking about. I felt this part of the interview put a lot of context to the first part.


I know,.
Does anyone know of a "famous" student of Pollack? someone who has gone on to be successful as a concert pianist? (not being judgmental, just curious!).


Go ahead, be judgmental. Sometimes (not too often, though), it is actually the right thing to do, in my judgement. I think if he serves on competition juries, judging him as a teacher by his "product" is only fair.

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#1826370 - 01/17/12 08:59 AM Re: Daniel Pollack on Rosinna Lhevinne and the Russian school [Re: vlhorowitz]
KarelG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/11
Posts: 145
Loc: Czech Republic
I wonder if I can come freely to the conclusion that so called classical music is on decline since majority of population cannot identify with it? Is the main reason for this a lack of emotions in current virtuosos performances? Pollack notes a lot about a need to put emotions back into the music...
So where can I find more emotions? In virtuously played classical music or in current mainstream music played by some group practising somewhere in garage?
IMHO music also tells the story. What story is more obvious to current population? That of Bach/Bethoween/Mozart/Chopin/Liszt/Rachmaninov's music or the current popular music whatever that means?
Also does it tell something about the progress of smartness grow/decline in current population in comparison with population from the past?
Or isn't it all just about the psychological fact that past is always better than current time?
_________________________
November 2011: piano entered into my life.

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#1826392 - 01/17/12 09:51 AM Re: Daniel Pollack on Rosinna Lhevinne and the Russian school [Re: Opus_Maximus]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4528
Loc: in the past
Originally Posted By: Opus_Maximus
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
"Maintaining the personality of the student is important, and none of Lhevinne’s students ever played the same way at that time, or copied her. She hated ‘xeroxed’ little Lhevinnes coming out of her studio. And I think that’s the sign of a great teacher – being able to bring out each individual, nurturing them."

I love that. It's so true, and so rare.


True, yes...but I've found a lot of teachers like to think they foster individuality in their students, but then at the same time will not allow for a smidgen of individuality. Menahem Pressler is a good example; In his recent book, he talks at length about the importance to bring out the personality of each student so that he/she is unique, but later on in his book (and what I've seen firsthand from numerous masterclasses), he has EXACT ideas of how he wants passages to be played, with not even the slightest allowance for a rubato or dynamic inflection. (Departure from his conceptions lead to, but are not limited to: yelling, screaming, reducing one to tears, and dismissal from his studio).

I do not know Pollack as well or have had the opportunity to observe his teaching, but based on from what I've seen and heard, I'm inclined to believe he's not much different.


Oh.. that's too bad then. Can you elaborate a little bit about Pollack?

I guess teachers like mine are rare. He's very big on getting the student to develop their own distinguished artistic voice. Yes I knew that about Pressler - but does he actually promote individuality?

Nikolas: it's possible to have the student stick to the score, but to let them do it in their own way. After all, there are so many ways to do one thing. It's possible for two people playing the same piece to be true to the score, but to sound different.
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

Top
#1827560 - 01/19/12 12:00 AM Re: Daniel Pollack on Rosinna Lhevinne and the Russian school [Re: Pogorelich.]
Opus_Maximus Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/04
Posts: 1494
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
Originally Posted By: Opus_Maximus
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
"Maintaining the personality of the student is important, and none of Lhevinne’s students ever played the same way at that time, or copied her. She hated ‘xeroxed’ little Lhevinnes coming out of her studio. And I think that’s the sign of a great teacher – being able to bring out each individual, nurturing them."

I love that. It's so true, and so rare.


True, yes...but I've found a lot of teachers like to think they foster individuality in their students, but then at the same time will not allow for a smidgen of individuality. Menahem Pressler is a good example; In his recent book, he talks at length about the importance to bring out the personality of each student so that he/she is unique, but later on in his book (and what I've seen firsthand from numerous masterclasses), he has EXACT ideas of how he wants passages to be played, with not even the slightest allowance for a rubato or dynamic inflection. (Departure from his conceptions lead to, but are not limited to: yelling, screaming, reducing one to tears, and dismissal from his studio).

I do not know Pollack as well or have had the opportunity to observe his teaching, but based on from what I've seen and heard, I'm inclined to believe he's not much different.


Oh.. that's too bad then. Can you elaborate a little bit about Pollack?

I guess teachers like mine are rare. He's very big on getting the student to develop their own distinguished artistic voice. Yes I knew that about Pressler - but does he actually promote individuality?

Nikolas: it's possible to have the student stick to the score, but to let them do it in their own way. After all, there are so many ways to do one thing. It's possible for two people playing the same piece to be true to the score, but to sound different.


I played the 4th Ballade for Pollack in a masterclass years ago, and then heard him teach it in another class years later. To give you a concrete example (among many), he went on a fifteen minute/angry speil (both times) about how too many people distort the tempo of the piece. He feels it needs to be the same tempo, more or less, throughout. He feels that because this piece is sort of in a theme-and-variation form, the coda, middle sections, and opening all need to be played with a similar, unifying tempo. Even though many don't play it this way, it's an intelligent conception. But the way Pollack so blatantly demanded it - as if it were unassailable fact - was very disheartening. We know, for instance, that Richter and Hoffman blast through the coda at a tempo many times faster than the opening, and he called them out on it, saying they were "wrong". He went to say that anytime he hears young pianists in a competition take faster tempos in the faster parts of the Ballade, he automatically marks their score to zero to "kill 'em". This is just one example. Not to mention his lesson fee is $350 per hour - I think that's a bit much for somebody who is trying to serve as an ambassador of the arts and who is striking out against the philistines of the music world and society as he does in these interviews..



Edited by Opus_Maximus (01/19/12 12:03 AM)

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