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#421210 - 08/22/06 10:21 PM Re: Jewish Pianists
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by Palindrome:
 Quote:
Originally posted by MAK:
Those of you who think that Jews possess superior business skills, intellect, and talent, have obviously not met my in-laws. [/b]
(Ahem) And what do you suppose your in-laws think of you?

A very old, and very Jewish, joke:

Sam: So how's that new son-in-law of yours?

Harry: Not so good. He can't drink, and he can't play [i.e., play cards, not piano ;\) ].

Sam: And what's wrong with that? Lots of guys, they can't drink, and they can't play.

Harry: Yeah, but him - he can't drink, and he drinks, and he can't play, and he plays! [/b]
:D
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Sam

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#421211 - 08/22/06 10:33 PM Re: Jewish Pianists
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Posted by PIANOJEROME:

"Are there no Dutch Jews?"

Good point, Sam. Spinoza, for example, was both Dutch and a Jew.

That ICONOCLAST, he beat me to it. I was going to say that Horowitz is reputed to have said that there are three kinds of pianists, Jews, homosexuals, and bad.

Tomasino
_________________________
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10


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#421212 - 08/22/06 10:41 PM Re: Jewish Pianists
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21658
Loc: Oakland
How come you left off Willie "The Lion" Smith? One of my favorite piano pictures is him, with his cigar and bowler, playing duets on the White House Steinway along with Duke Ellington.
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#421213 - 08/22/06 10:49 PM Re: Jewish Pianists
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by BDB:
How come you left off Willie "The Lion" Smith? [/b]


This guy?
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#421214 - 08/22/06 11:01 PM Re: Jewish Pianists
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21658
Loc: Oakland
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#421215 - 08/22/06 11:05 PM Re: Jewish Pianists
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
In my town it is vey clear why Jews succeed at music. All you have to do is go to the Jewish Community Center in St. Louis Park, and you will see that Jewish parents nurture their children. Part of the nurturing is to make very sure that children are given violin lessons and piano lessons starting at a very young age. And they encourage their children, and pay attention to their children's cultural education. What would anyone expect, other than that we'll get a good number of really good musicians out of St. Louis Park, Minnesota.

When it comes to music and culture, Jews succeed because they put in the necessary effort--one generation nurturing the next.

Tomasino
_________________________
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10


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#421216 - 08/23/06 12:28 AM Re: Jewish Pianists
pianistical Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/04
Posts: 1377
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Silent Omen has a point I believe.

I also think it shows that Jews have had a tradition in the performing arts.

Many civilations have had their ups and downs and the 20th century belonged to the jews. Before that other civilizations made great contributions to mankind, which later many jews built on.

I also think that jews have a tradition of perfecting the material that already exists. After all they were part of the societies they lived in.

As Silent Omen pointed out young jews live a much more comfortable and integrated life today and I don´t expect them to excell in the same way as before. I can see the same tendency in Sweden among young jews.

By the way, I heard that an article in Nature was withdrawn because the authors came to the conclusion that it was impossible to genetically distinguish Jews from Arabs. Apparently some kind of American lobby found this thought repulsive and got the article excluded from the magazine.
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“There are only two important things which I took with me on my way to America, It´s been my wife Natalja and my precious Blüthner.” – Sergei Rachmaninov

1913 Blüthner model 6
1929 Blüthner model 9.
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#421217 - 08/23/06 01:02 AM Re: Jewish Pianists
Silent Thoughts Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/05
Posts: 314
That's rather interesting, as I've always believed that Jews and Arabs look very similar. I wouldn't find it suprising at all if their genetic makeups were similarly similar (...it's 1 am, you can't expect me to use synonyms at this hour, can you? :p ).

I'm quite interested in hearing that you see the same sort of trend in Sweden. I'd be very curious if others in other nations have seen similar trends. I feel quite sheltered myself, having spent the majority of my life in one or another pretty American suburb. Perhaps that's why my own work ethic is not quite anything to brag about. \:o

Any other thoughts?

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#421218 - 08/23/06 01:06 AM Re: Jewish Pianists
pianistical Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/04
Posts: 1377
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Silent Omen,

I once worked as a substitute teacher at a jewish school. The students were not nearly as diligent as I had expected.

Or maybe I wasn´t cut out to be a teacher.
_________________________
“There are only two important things which I took with me on my way to America, It´s been my wife Natalja and my precious Blüthner.” – Sergei Rachmaninov

1913 Blüthner model 6
1929 Blüthner model 9.
1955 Steingraeber upright.

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#421219 - 08/23/06 09:12 AM Re: Jewish Pianists
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
 Quote:
Originally posted by BDB:
No, this guy! [/b]
That's very interesting. Of course, since his mother apparently wasn't Jewish, he wasn't either (unless he converted). Still, I'd love to have him as a cantor at my synagogue!
_________________________
markb--The Count of Casio

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#421220 - 08/23/06 09:13 AM Re: Jewish Pianists
Silent Thoughts Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/05
Posts: 314
Well, Hebrew school is probably where (at least at my congregation) kids were at their utter worst. Parents didn't really care about kids' success in Hebrew school, as it has nothing to do with getting into college (which is all parents 'round these parts seem to care about), so that's probably the most pessimistic sampling of lazyness and obnoxiousnses you could find.

But anyway, that's a little off-topic, if only a little.

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#421221 - 08/23/06 09:14 AM Re: Jewish Pianists
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianistical:
Silent Omen,

I once worked as a substitute teacher at a jewish school. The students were not nearly as diligent as I had expected.

Or maybe I wasn´t cut out to be a teacher. [/b]
When I was in college, I did a two-week volunteer program in Israel in a religious (Jewish) high school. Those kids were out of control. In Yiddish, we'd call them vilde chayas--wild beasts.
_________________________
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#421222 - 08/23/06 10:28 AM Re: Jewish Pianists
Fleeting Visions Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/06
Posts: 1501
Loc: Champaign, IL
Blame it all on country music! Let's ban it. And then everyone will play piano. And then we will all be happy.
_________________________
Amateur Pianist, Scriabin Enthusiast, and Octave Demon

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#421223 - 08/23/06 10:41 AM Re: Jewish Pianists
Frank_W Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/06
Posts: 1047
Loc: United States
 Quote:
Originally posted by dnephi:
Blame it all on country music! Let's ban it. And then everyone will play piano. And then we will all be happy. [/b]
HEAR HEAR!!!!
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Compassion, Love, Strength, Peace, Dignity, Balance, Order

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#421224 - 08/23/06 11:49 AM Re: Jewish Pianists
bluemarine Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/06
Posts: 121
Loc: Croatia
Once Pogorelich was asked by a music critic, Jew himself:
- How did it happen that you become so famous and you are not a Jew?
- You discovered it to late - answered Pogo
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Living well is the best revenge.

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#421225 - 08/23/06 11:57 AM Re: Jewish Pianists
eromlignod Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 379
Loc: Kansas City
Some people and races, on average, have natural talents that others don't. Just as their physique and appearance are different, so are their minds. It's perfectly easy for me to understand and accept this. Black people dominate the 100 m dash and other sports. Jews excel at music and business. Men of northern European descent excel as inventors, etc. The paradigm that "all men are created equal" is an outdated notion that assumes that man inexplicably stopped evolving about 100,000 years ago when he spread out over the world from Africa. A more accurate axiom would be "no two men are ever equal".

I have a Jewish friend who plays piano. He barely reads music, but is phenomenal. He sits down and makes up music on his own and has a repertoire of over fifty songs...it has a ragtime sound and is quite complex and sounds fantastic. Neither of his parents are musicians. I was nurtured in a family of professional musicians, but I cannot do what he does. It is a natural talent.

Don
Kansas City

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#421226 - 08/23/06 12:31 PM Re: Jewish Pianists
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21658
Loc: Oakland
It is far more likely that stereotyping pushes people of arbitrary groupings, such as religion, skin color, etc. into certain roles. It is likely that there is an equal percentage of Americans of (recent) African descent who are accomplished pianists, particularly if you choose those who have been exposed to the possibility of playing the piano, as there are American Jews. The fact that it is not recognized here reflects the fact that they still are not as accepted as "classical" musicians as those of other characteristics.
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#421227 - 08/23/06 01:52 PM Re: Jewish Pianists
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by BDB:
It is far more likely that stereotyping pushes people of arbitrary groupings, such as religion, skin color, etc. into certain roles. It is likely that there is an equal percentage of Americans of (recent) African descent who are accomplished pianists, particularly if you choose those who have been exposed to the possibility of playing the piano, as there are American Jews. The fact that it is not recognized here reflects the fact that they still are not as accepted as "classical" musicians as those of other characteristics. [/b]
I don't know about that. There are plenty of recognized musicians who are not Jewish - probably many more than there are who are Jewish.

It's a simple observation that many of them are Jewish; it's also an observation that a lot of the 'greats' happen to be Russian; it's also an observation that a lot of the 'great' composers happen to be German/Austrian.

But there are still plenty of recognized non-Jewish musicians; there are still plenty of recognized non-Russian musicians; and there are still plenty of recognized non-German-Austrian composers.
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#421228 - 08/23/06 01:55 PM Re: Jewish Pianists
Frank_W Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/06
Posts: 1047
Loc: United States
If I converted to Judaism, would I become a better pianist? *twinkle* (Sorry... I simply refuse to be gay, although I am generally quite a happy person...) So maybe I could become a "not so very bad" pianist? \:D
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#421229 - 08/23/06 01:58 PM Re: Jewish Pianists
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
 Quote:
If I converted to Judaism, would I become a better pianist?
You can try, but I've been waiting for 39 years for that Jewish-piano-playing gene to kick in.
_________________________
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#421230 - 08/23/06 02:00 PM Re: Jewish Pianists
Frank_W Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/06
Posts: 1047
Loc: United States
\:D ;\)
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#421231 - 08/23/06 02:10 PM Re: Jewish Pianists
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
do we have to distinguish Jewish pianists from Christian pianists, or non-Christian/non-Jewish pianists, or Buddist pianists, Hindo pianists or something pianists? i just wonder what difference such categorizing would make?

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#421232 - 08/23/06 02:13 PM Re: Jewish Pianists
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
No difference. But from an antropological point of view, it's interesting to notice such statistics -- as many have suggested in this thread, it might tell us something about various cultures.
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#421233 - 08/23/06 02:22 PM Re: Jewish Pianists
Fleeting Visions Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/06
Posts: 1501
Loc: Champaign, IL
Well, read a book on Eugenics for the true information for this stuff. I can't say it or I'd gt kicked for racism :p .
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Amateur Pianist, Scriabin Enthusiast, and Octave Demon

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#421234 - 08/24/06 01:48 AM Re: Jewish Pianists
C.V. Alkan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/05
Posts: 827
Loc: Denver, Colorado
I don't necessarilly believe that the Jews' success is due to a natural physical characteristic.

My grandparents are Holocaust survivors. Because of this, my father grew up in an exceedingly disfunctional houshold. My grandmother was devoted to her children and loved them more than anything else in the world, but she was clinically insane. Auschwitz took its toll... I won't go into details, but it took strength and determination to survive. My dad was poor growing up. He took care of bills, taxes, etc. because my grandparents were not fluent enough in English to do it themselves. Despite his unusual upbringing, he managed to get a full scholarship to college and graduated from Harvard Buisness School - that took determination. I feel an obligation to succeed and to fight just as my grandparents and father did. Jews, I believe, have had this determination for thousands of years. It's not a biological trait. It's a tradition.
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#421235 - 08/24/06 09:13 AM Re: Jewish Pianists
Frank_W Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/06
Posts: 1047
Loc: United States
Good post, Alkan.
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#421236 - 08/24/06 11:07 AM Re: Jewish Pianists
eromlignod Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 379
Loc: Kansas City
 Quote:
Originally posted by C.V. Alkan:
I don't necessarilly believe that the Jews' success is due to a natural physical characteristic.

My grandparents are Holocaust survivors. Because of this, my father grew up in an exceedingly disfunctional houshold. My grandmother was devoted to her children and loved them more than anything else in the world, but she was clinically insane. Auschwitz took its toll... I won't go into details, but it took strength and determination to survive. My dad was poor growing up. He took care of bills, taxes, etc. because my grandparents were not fluent enough in English to do it themselves. Despite his unusual upbringing, he managed to get a full scholarship to college and graduated from Harvard Buisness School - that took determination. I feel an obligation to succeed and to fight just as my grandparents and father did. Jews, I believe, have had this determination for thousands of years. It's not a biological trait. It's a tradition. [/b]
I can see your point and I agree that such extremes can definitely contribute to one's drive, determination and ultimate successes in life.

But Jews had already clearly demonstrated their flair for the performing arts long before the holocaust. Look at Hollywood. Prior to WWII the majority of studios were owned by Jews and the industry was largely staffed by Jewish actors, musicians and dancers (and still is)...and in a much larger percentage than the relatively small population of Jews in America. There are those who claim that this is due to favoritism in the industry, but I'm not buying it.

As pointed out in the original post, though Jews make up less than 3% of the population of America, they utterly dominate the highest musical positions, particularly in solo piano and violin. To write this phenomenon off as strictly due to ambitions encouraged by their family and culture is to not see the whole picture. It's like saying that black dominance in the 100 m dash is only because they practice more, which I think is nonsense and underrates the natural abilities of various ethnic groups. It's also an insult to those of us who are not Jewish and work our tail off trying to succeed in music to imply that we simply didn't try hard enough. At some point it is necessary to concede to sheer superior talent.

Don
Kansas City

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#421237 - 08/24/06 12:10 PM Re: Jewish Pianists
Silent Thoughts Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/05
Posts: 314
I do agree with you to a point, but I do think nurture has more to do with Jewish success in the past than nature. I would wager than the majority of Jews in America around the turn of the century were immigrants, and as such, the first-generation American Jews of that era grew up in similarly difficult conditions as the Jews of Europe and Russia around the Holocaust era.

Many of the successful Jewish musicians from the past are exactly that - musicians of the past. If you look at successful musicians today, you'll find that a significantly smaller proportion of them are Jews. I am one of three Jewish pianists at my music school, out of roughly 40 or 50. The majority of them are Asian (and not only that, but Asian girls). Of the violinists, there may be one or two Jews, and of the cellists, there's one.

Of all the Jews at my old high school, only a small handful (perhaps 15 or 20 out of six or seven hundred) played any musical instrument at all.

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#421238 - 08/24/06 01:51 PM Re: Jewish Pianists
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
In the past, Jews were relegated to what was considered to be dirty or lower-class tasks--such as money/banking and entertainment. We were forced into it, and we got good at it. I'm not convinced that Jews are naturally better at business or music. I'm no anthropologist, but my guess is that we're not physiologically/genetically a whole lot different from other Eastern European or Semitic groups.
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#421239 - 08/24/06 03:36 PM Re: Jewish Pianists
Eternal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/06
Posts: 1285
Loc: Posts: 80,372
Some cultures are all about nurturing, and building, while others are all about death and destruction. How else do you explain the fact, that the Jews, who only constitute 0.2% of the world's population, make up 25% of the Nobel Prize winners (169). At the same time, 1 bilion members of another culture have a pathetic 7, the number which includes a murderer as well...

I'm not a Jew by the way (not that it matters), but I truly admire their people, and culture. I live in the U.S., and the Jewish neighborhoods, are known to be the best and safest neighborhoods to live in.

Nothing angers me more, than listening to anti-Semitic "useful idiots" in the U.S. and Europe, who are attacking Jews or Israel. The state of Israel is the last bastion of Democracy and Western Civilization in the Midle East, and it is surrounded by pure evil. I consider it my duty to support those brave people in their David vs. Goliath struggle.

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