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#581973 - 10/24/04 11:36 PM What makes a concert pianist?
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Is it starting at a young age under good tuition, developing top sight-reading skills or is it dedicated practice and excellent aural memory that eventually carries the day?

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#581974 - 10/25/04 01:18 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
fogwall Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/04
Posts: 160
Loc: Sweden
I guess the formula of achieving a success as a concert pianist is not only to be a technically excellent performer but also to be able to spellbound the audience. Piano performing is just as much show business (combined with smart marketing).
_________________________
www.fogwall.com

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#581975 - 10/25/04 01:33 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Max W Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/02
Posts: 2846
Loc: RHUL
2 things, technically:

1) You have to be a pianist
2) You have to play in concerts

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#581976 - 10/25/04 01:37 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
F. Chopin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/26/03
Posts: 386
Loc: England
LOL

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#581977 - 10/25/04 04:31 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Dave_2003_G Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 167
Loc: England
Although I'm a pianist and I play in concerts, but wouldn't consider myself a 'concert pianist'
How odd :p

Dave

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#581978 - 10/25/04 06:58 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Thracozaag Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/06/04
Posts: 1979
Loc: Salt Lake City
2 things:

you gotta be good
you gotta be lucky

koji (STSD)
_________________________
"I'm a concert pianist--that's a pretentious way of saying I'm unemployed at the moment."--Oscar Levant

http://www.youtube.com/kojiattwood
https://www.giftedmusicschool.org/

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#581979 - 10/25/04 07:29 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by Thracozaag:
2 things:

you gotta be good
you gotta be lucky

koji (STSD) [/b]
...or you need a lot of money and lots of friends so you can hire out concert halls, and fill them up with audiences.


btb,

Sight reading doesn't have as much to do with it.

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#581980 - 10/25/04 08:38 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
panicworld Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/07/04
Posts: 9
hey
what a stupid thread!
look around and try to find a concert pianist who is able to make his living on playing, there are only a few buddies to do so, the "rest" , well sleeping the half of the day and practising the other

it's better learning a serios craft and be a lucky plummer than living in LA doing concerts or writing scores for Disney

all rite, fellows?

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#581981 - 10/25/04 08:58 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Freedom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/10/03
Posts: 1192
Loc: Scotland
 Quote:
Originally posted by panicworld:
hey
what a stupid thread![/b]
Thats a bit harsh
_________________________
"A print of the score has everything you need to know about the music, except the essential."

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#581982 - 10/25/04 09:00 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Freedom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/10/03
Posts: 1192
Loc: Scotland
I think you are best listening to Brendan or Elena for this type of question. \:\)
_________________________
"A print of the score has everything you need to know about the music, except the essential."

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#581983 - 10/25/04 09:11 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Mikester Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/17/04
Posts: 1254
Loc: Minneesooota
I think it has a lot to do with luck. I mean, think about Lang Lang. He had nothing until he got a lucky break when some concert pianist got injured before a performance, so he stepped in, and after that one performance he got so much exposure that his life's not been the same since. Same thing for Horowitz, his career was abysmal (he played for half-empty auditoriums in France and to scathing reviews) until, in America, he subbed in for an injured pianist and played the Tchaikosvsky Concerto No 1 as if his fingers were on fire. His life was never the same.

I remember reading that, before the concert, the conductor at the time said to Horowitz something like, "just don't screw up and we'll make it out no problem." Remember that Horowitz had less than one day's notice to play in the concert. So, Horowitz proceeded to light the piano and the audience on fire with his fingers, and the shocked conductor occasionally stared at Horowitz's fingers in awe and amazement. I can imagine that if I was there, I would know that a special career was jumpstarting on the stage.

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#581984 - 10/25/04 09:41 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13775
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Pretty much everybody takes a different path.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#581985 - 10/25/04 09:45 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
AndrewG Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2506
Loc: Denver, Colorado
So is Watts. That Liszt Concerto No.1 launched his huge career.

Cecil Licad had 6 listeners including the stage hand in her first recital. Listen to her new Gattschalk recording on Naxos will fully convince you that she IS cut out to be a professional pianist.

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#581986 - 10/25/04 11:49 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Goldberg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/08/03
Posts: 1231
Loc: U.S.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Freedom:
I think you are best listening to Brendan or Elena for this type of question. \:\) [/b]
Or Koji (Thracozaag, who has already sounded off). Don't forget that he's a phenomenal pianist as well who went to Curtis and is now at Julliard working towards his Ph.D. He knows a thing or two about the business!

His post actually sums everything up perfectly and concisely. "Gotta be good; gotta be lucky" All of us can develop, overtime, an amazing technique and, if we love the music, a respectable sense of musicality. But as for hitting the concert stage and attracting an audience, well..that typically relies on who you know and on being at the right place at the right time.

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#581987 - 10/25/04 12:08 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5299
Loc: McAllen, TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by AndrewG:
So is Watts. That Liszt Concerto No.1 launched his huge career.
[/b]
True. Funny thing now is that a good number of pianists substituted for an "ailing" Watts and had a big boost because of it - Orion Weiss and Lang Lang come to mind immediately.

Edit:

To add my experience to the thread, you need:

1. Money or a sponsor.
2. Luck.
3. A bubbling personality.
_________________________
http://www.BrendanKinsella.com

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#581988 - 10/25/04 12:21 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Max W Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/02
Posts: 2846
Loc: RHUL
 Quote:
Originally posted by Thracozaag:
2 things:

you gotta be good
you gotta be lucky

koji (STSD) [/b]
And these days..

You gotta know the right people
You have to sell yourself! (aka provacative photography)

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#581989 - 10/25/04 12:22 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Mikester Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/17/04
Posts: 1254
Loc: Minneesooota
No I think you can be boring and make it big as a concert pianist. Yundi Li talking is probably about as exciting to listen to as a ceiling fan. I have on tape several of his interviews. But his playing is exquisite.

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#581990 - 10/25/04 12:29 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Googlism Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/08/02
Posts: 1072
Loc: Toronto
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mikester:
Yundi Li talking is probably about as exciting to listen to as a ceiling fan. [/b]
rofl \:D
_________________________
Old videos from prior piano competitions:
http://www.youtube.com/user/kilace

____________________

"... It is a skill you go on learning all your life: the more you write, the more you learn."

Harry Freedman on the craft of composing

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#581991 - 10/25/04 04:38 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Thracozaag Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/06/04
Posts: 1979
Loc: Salt Lake City
 Quote:
Originally posted by Brendan:
 Quote:
Originally posted by AndrewG:
So is Watts. That Liszt Concerto No.1 launched his huge career.
[/b]
True. Funny thing now is that a good number of pianists substituted for an "ailing" Watts and had a big boost because of it - Orion Weiss and Lang Lang come to mind immediately.

Edit:

To add my experience to the thread, you need:

1. Money or a sponsor.
2. Luck.
3. A bubbling personality. [/b]
Meng-Chieh Liu as well! Watts has unwittingly helped a lot of pianists, haha.

koji (STSD)
_________________________
"I'm a concert pianist--that's a pretentious way of saying I'm unemployed at the moment."--Oscar Levant

http://www.youtube.com/kojiattwood
https://www.giftedmusicschool.org/

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#581992 - 10/25/04 04:56 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
valarking Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 2331
Loc: Dallas
Weiss is good but by boosting Lang Lang to fame, I'd say Watts has created a monster...

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#581993 - 10/25/04 07:52 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Thracozaag Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/06/04
Posts: 1979
Loc: Salt Lake City
Yeah, Orion's a terrific pianist; glad he's getting concerts. Funny that Licad got mentioned in this thread, my ex filled in for Licad at the last minute in Germany, and got quite a bit of noteriety for it.

koji (STSD)
_________________________
"I'm a concert pianist--that's a pretentious way of saying I'm unemployed at the moment."--Oscar Levant

http://www.youtube.com/kojiattwood
https://www.giftedmusicschool.org/

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#581994 - 10/25/04 10:18 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5299
Loc: McAllen, TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by Thracozaag:
Meng-Chieh Liu as well! Watts has unwittingly helped a lot of pianists, haha.
[/b]
Watts needs to come to KC and cancel STAT.
_________________________
http://www.BrendanKinsella.com

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#581995 - 10/25/04 11:15 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Apologies for a badly worded question which should have read

"What background, attributes and skills are necessary to qualify to become a Concert pianist"?

Scrub round all those very real marketing strategies, money and luck catalysts.

Can you qualify for Concert pianist status without

1. Musical flair
2. Perfect pitch
3. Top teachers
4. Sight-reding fluency
5. Equivalent ABRSM Grade 8, etc.
6. Dedicated practice
7 Rachmaninoff hand-spread
8 Photographic memory

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#581996 - 10/25/04 11:24 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
NAK Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/20/04
Posts: 2561
Loc: Canada
IMO, numbers 5, 2, 3, 7, and 8 are not essential traits of a concert pianist. I think a certain amount of panache is needed to be popular, but I don't think good body language is absolutely necessary. 4 is iffy, as I don't think you ever have to sight-read a piece on command without being given time to practice and learn it (Brendan, care to comment?). 6 is the most important step for anything in music, so it is necessary to being a successful concert pianist - nay, a successful person.

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#581997 - 10/25/04 11:29 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
F. Chopin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/26/03
Posts: 386
Loc: England
Depends what you define as "concert pianist". If we're talking strictly solo performances, then sight-reading is only important insofar as it helps one learn new repetoire quickly.

"Musical flair": not sure what you mean by that; if we're talking "showmanship" then that may help one become popular I suppose. In terms of the old "musicality" versus "technique", I'm afraid technique wins out by far. It doesn't matter if you think you have great musical understanding of a piece; being able to play the notes in a very professional and polished manner is a necessary requisite of being a concert pianist, where as excellent musicality probably is not (note: obviously a bare minimum of decent musicality is expected).

"Perfect pitch": absolutely unnecessary.

"Top teachers": not necessary, but helpful of course.

"Grades or diplomas": nope

"Dedicated Practice": Of course. This is an absolute requisite no matter what path you choose.

"Rachmaninoff hand-spread": [originally misread that as hand-speed] nope. Rachmaninoff had huge hands, very few concert pianists would match his, and there are plently of successful pianists who have fairly small hands. Obviously, being able to reach a 10th would help, but it's not necessary.

"Photographic memory": well, being able to easily memorize pieces and keep them stored without much practice would be an amazing boost, but it is not necessary to be unusually gifted in this sense in order to become a professional.

Just my 2 cents. Please note that I am not a professional and my playing is no where near that level.

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#581998 - 10/26/04 05:28 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Thanks to NAK and Fred for the input. It would be interesting to discover whether a Concert pianist would concur with your views.

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#581999 - 10/26/04 05:52 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
 Quote:
Originally posted by btb:

1. Musical flair
2. Perfect pitch
3. Top teachers
4. Sight-reding fluency
5. Equivalent ABRSM Grade 8, etc.
6. Dedicated practice
7 Rachmaninoff hand-spread
8 Photographic memory [/b]
There are concert pianists that don't have 2, 7, and 8, but I don't think any haven't had the rest. I think they are a requirement in the real world.

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#582000 - 10/26/04 05:59 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
sarah_blueparrot Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/04
Posts: 808
Loc: Bristol, England
That's good because someone (a non-pianistical someone) once told me that I would never be a concert pianist because my hands are too small. I thought that this was an incredibly narrow-minded view to take as I rarely have a problem with big stretches as long as there is a suitable alternative (rearrangement of the chord). I'm still hoping that I will play in concert professionally at some point.
_________________________
Every time you play a funeral march, the devil grabs a soul.

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#582001 - 10/26/04 08:08 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
bb_pianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/04
Posts: 33
Loc: Sydney
yeh my hands are probably relatively small, but then look at people like daniel barenboim, he doesnt have big hands does he?

yet i still think hes a great pianist,

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#582002 - 10/26/04 08:20 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
AndrewG Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2506
Loc: Denver, Colorado
De Larrocha has relatively the smallest hands of all pianists. She is not even 5' in height. Yet she played Khachaturian Piano Concerto.

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#582003 - 10/26/04 08:28 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
valarking Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 2331
Loc: Dallas
You could also have every one of those 8 things and not succeed as a concert pianist.

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#582004 - 10/26/04 08:33 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Goldberg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/08/03
Posts: 1231
Loc: U.S.
Yeah, there are plenty of people out there with hands much smaller than Rachmaninoff's who can play...well, Rachmaninoff's music (with a few exceptions depending on exactly how small the hands are--also, notes might have to be left out or rolled into chords, but that rarely matters very much). They say Ashkenazy has "small" hands--not the smallest ever--but can play most of the "huge" Rachmaninoff pieces, including the concerto cycle. And Godowsky, perhaps the greatest technical pianist before 1950, had generally small and chunky hands--definitely not the slender, narrow hands of Liszt or Chopin. He got by all right; check out his Passacalgia for proof.

It really comes down to flexibility and accuracy (of the fingers), I think, and of course the ability to relax 100%. But if a pianist has trouble reaching an octave comfortably, he might run into considerable trouble in more advanced pieces (though some stretching through practice wouldn't be out of the question).

I'm not planning on going pro, but I must say out of btb's list, I really hate not having 2, 4, or 8...well, I have relatively good pitch and sight-reading is something one can improve upon...but I often wonder if it's possible to develop a photographic memory. I sort of doubt it.

How important would you all say 2, 4, and 8 are, then?

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#582005 - 10/26/04 08:38 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
valarking Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 2331
Loc: Dallas
2 is not required at all
4 helps, but again is not really required
I would think 8 is pretty important.

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#582006 - 10/26/04 09:36 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Goldberg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/08/03
Posts: 1231
Loc: U.S.
Yeah, I guess you're right. 8 should definitely be important.

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#582007 - 10/26/04 10:17 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Great encouragement for small hands.
The Rachmaninoff hand-spread looks like a bonus.

But where are the Concert pianists to "talk turkey"?

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#582008 - 10/26/04 11:48 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Allazart Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 389
I think having a large hand span is an occasionally useful but highly overemphasized trait. Looking back, someone like Rachmaninoff was almost the exception rather than the rule. A large percentage of successful pianists have been small in stature (beethoven, mozart, chopin, rubinstein, godowski, de larrocha, to name a few) and many were child prodigies. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the chords near the end of the Hammerklavier's Adagio Sostenuto (a 10th split by a 4th) weren't so easy for even Liszt to negotiate.

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#582009 - 10/27/04 05:50 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
AndrewG Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2506
Loc: Denver, Colorado
I think large hands are always a plus, not a minus. It is important, even though not necessary. As far as piano playing is concerned there is a limit as to how small the hands can be. At least one's hands need to reach the octave.

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#582010 - 10/27/04 06:49 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Badger Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/22/03
Posts: 227
Loc: United Kingdom
Can you qualify for Concert pianist status without

1. Musical flair - no

2. Perfect pitch - yes

3. Top teachers - most of the time, no

4. Sight-reding fluency - if you're good enough to be a concert pianist, chances are your sight-reading won't exactly suck

5. Equivalent ABRSM Grade 8, etc. - Grade 8? No. Degrees and advanced diplomas might help, but I don't know - I'm not a pro

6. Dedicated practice - Duh

7 Rachmaninoff hand-spread - Would be nice, but you don't need it

8 Photographic memory - same as above
_________________________
"There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself."
--Johann Sebastian Bach

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#582011 - 10/27/04 07:12 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
 Quote:
Originally posted by btb:
But where are the Concert pianists to "talk turkey"? [/b]
Good question. I certainly don't qualify, as I've only performed a handful of times in the past 12 years and I am just now finally getting my fingers back into real playing shape.

I think concert pianists need more than photographic memory. "Muscle" and aural memory is an absolute must, I would think. A solid memory is pretty much a necessity, and the ability to memorize fast doesn't hurt. But I think photographic memory might fit more into the "would be nice" category. Same with perfect pitch. A concert pianist has to have drop dead accurate relative pitch and a strong sense of where pitches fall on the keyboard (e.g. hear it and play it). But I think perfect pitch falls more into "would be nice" category as well. I can think of some situations where it wouldn't be all that nice to have.

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#582012 - 10/27/04 10:54 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
snap_apple Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/21/03
Posts: 710
you know photographic memory aint all it's cracked up to be. In the literal sense it means they can actually see the score in their mind and read from it while playing. It is a rare phenomena like perfect pitch and the problem is that people with photographic memory can be dependent on it. But like all special features it has its weakness...if for some reason your focus is taken away or you have an off day or something goes awry then you can lose your spot on the page...literally and then you have nothing to save you.

My teacher had a student with photographic memory once and said that he was shocked she would come in and have pieces completely memorized in a week...however if anything was a little out of whack she would fall apart being completely dependent on her photographic mind.

Instead of literally photographic memory I would say on number 8 it is important to have a well rounded memory. A memory for the theory, the harmony, aural memory, a good ear, physical memory (most common) and a strong understanding of the piece.

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#582013 - 10/27/04 12:14 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Allazart Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 389
 Quote:

I think large hands are always a plus, not a minus. It is important, even though not necessary. As far as piano playing is concerned there is a limit as to how small the hands can be. At least one's hands need to reach the octave.
It can definitely be a plus, though I'm not convinced that over-large hands don't come with their own limitations, especially if the fingers are also very thick.

I guess the perfect piano hand would have 88 long thin fingers. \:D

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#582014 - 10/27/04 12:42 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Robert J Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/04
Posts: 88
Loc: west of Toronto, Ontario
 Quote:
Originally posted by Mikester:
I mean, think about Lang Lang. He had nothing until he got a lucky break when some concert pianist got injured before a performance.

Horowitz ... subbed in for an injured pianist [/b]
The moral here is to find an injured pianist! Kind of like lawyers chasing accidents.
_________________________
RJ

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#582015 - 10/27/04 02:51 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
 Quote:
Originally posted by Allazart:
I guess the perfect piano hand would have 88 long thin fingers.[/b]
They would be able to play lots of notes, but would have a thin and brittle sound ;\)

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#582016 - 10/27/04 11:43 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
jeffylube Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/02
Posts: 716
Loc: Weatherford, Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by panicworld:
hey
what a stupid thread![/b]
hey
what a stupid person!

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#582017 - 10/27/04 11:52 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
jeffylube Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/02
Posts: 716
Loc: Weatherford, Texas
As fast as we could come up with things that we all agree a person needs to be a concert pianist, will there be someone that goes out and proves there isn't a specific formula.

How many "requirements" did Richter and Volodos not have? Before Volodos, I'm sure the answer to "is it possible to be a world famous pianist by 26 if I start at 18?" would be a definite "NO".

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#582018 - 10/28/04 05:22 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
Don't know about Volodos, but Richter had all 8 "requirements".

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#582019 - 10/28/04 08:26 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
jeffylube Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/02
Posts: 716
Loc: Weatherford, Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by ryan:
Don't know about Volodos, but Richter had all 8 "requirements". [/b]
Only if "Start studying seriously at 4 years old" isn't on your list, then yes I suppose he might have. Also, do you really think Richter had musical flair? He had to have been the most unhappy, serious appearing artist to be on stage. He never smiled, but he had unmatched musical insight which is more important. When I think of flair, or charm, I think more of Horowitz.

Out of all of the requirements, age of when you started is by far the one I hear the most. Both Richter and Volodos started serious study in their late teens, Volodos especially.

In 8 years Volodos was able to acquire his current technique, get signed on with Sony (which was a very lucky break, as others have pointed out luck being a big part), and start concertizing around the world. He alone gives alot of students and music lovers out there a small glimmer of hope when most teachers/musicians will say it isn't possible. As Volodos says in regards to his technique, "all I try to do is imagine the sound I want to produce...it's not in the fingers, but in your thinking. For me it's the only way" or something similar.

So basically, my point is that anything can happen to anyone. Now if we want to start talking about the odds of something happening, well then that's a whole new thread.

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#582020 - 10/28/04 08:49 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
DW_mod Offline
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Registered: 01/12/04
Posts: 117
1. Excellent technic ( I wouldn't consider this an asset of a concert pianist actually. Because any decent pianist who wishes to play at a more advanced level, of course has to be technically equipped. This is common sense and is a by product of hard practicing, NOT an asset. )
2. Dedication. Practice, practice and more practice!
3. Ability to handle stress. Some concerts programmes are only drawn up at the last minute, and you need to be able to handle that much pressure... that comes along with trying to perfect 7 to 8 pieces at one same point of time. Even if you're just making an appearance as a guest pianist and need not worry about ticket sales and so on.
4.Magician. A concert pianist is not just a pianist, as in someone u can enjoy his or her recording at home, with your private CD player, and probably with your eyes closed at the same time. A concert pianist is someone whom u listen to and WATCH at the same time. There must be a certain charisma and appeal about her presentation, and definately something magical about it too. That's how you connect with the audiences.
5. Pull strings. U need to know the Who's who in this business. Music is entertainment, it's showbiz, no matter if it's classical, pop or rock. As you might have realised already... How Issac Stern is Yo Yo's friend and how this is that's friend and so on... If you do not know of any fellow musicians, never mind. But you must know enough Music Producers and Sponsers. It's a dark, dark world out there.
6. Good luck. To know the correct people who will eventually help you pull off the stunt, or know enough fellow lecturers or important blah blah blah who will invite you to conduct master classes at their colleges when you have no concerts lined up for the next few months. This will help to keep your pocket rolling and make people remember you. It's all about public appearances.
7. Competitions. This is what is going to set you apart from the rest of the piano playing population.
8. Reliable marketing abilities or find someone who is well equipped in the art of managing and 'selling'.
That's about it. \:\)

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#582021 - 10/28/04 08:59 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
jeffylube Offline
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Registered: 06/26/02
Posts: 716
Loc: Weatherford, Texas
I will have to respectively disagree with:

 Quote:
Originally posted by DW_mod:
4.Magician. A concert pianist is not just a pianist, as in someone u can enjoy his or her recording at home, with your private CD player, and probably with your eyes closed at the same time. A concert pianist is someone whom u listen to and WATCH at the same time. There must be a certain charisma and appeal about her presentation, and definately something magical about it too. That's how you connect with the audiences.
7. Competitions. This is what is going to set you apart from the rest of the piano playing population.
[/b]
4. Do you think Sviatoslav Ricther or Horowitz were entertaining to watch? You could close your eyes and they were still able to communicate to you. No unnecessary movements or facial expressions.

I think there might be more people on this board that could tolerate Lang Lang, and may even like him, if he would STOP WITH THE PSYCHO, ORGASMIC FACIAL EXPRESSIONS.[/b] I, as well as others, find it to be VERY distracting when the performer is trying to take away from the composer and his work with unnecessary movements, expressions, ect. The fact that a great artist such as Earl Wild called Lang Lang the "J Lo of piano" should be a wakeup call. It bothered me so much watching Lang Lang's Carnegie Hall recital on DVD that I decided to make his nipple my avatar image.

7. Actually, I think you're correct here if you mean losing[/b] competitions will help you. Losers usually end up being more successful than winners in competitions. How many of the "greats" can you think of that were helped by a competition? Not many compared to those that never even entered one.

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#582022 - 10/28/04 09:45 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
DW_mod Offline
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Posts: 117
Quoted :...Do you think Sviatoslav Ricther or Horowitz were entertaining to watch? You could close your eyes and they were still able to communicate to you. No unnecessary movements or facial expressions....

Yes, they're fascinating to watch. I think your idea of being 'entertaining' to watch is greatly apart from mine.
I would watch a pianist or actually sit for a concert 'only' if the pianist communicates well with the instrument, which indirectly 'communicates' with the audiences.
Charisma comes from the dedication that u show and the confidence that you wield, along with your 'personal' brand of body movements.
Why should I watch someone's whose playing is ok but plays like a clown on stage? I think you are misleading.
But you have to acknowledge the fact that there is a COLOSSAL difference listening to the CD and watching a live performance. If a certain pianist lacked that charisma or appeal, would u want to watch him perform live? I wouldn't. I'll just insert him into my triple disc player and that's it.
Hmm.. Losing competitions.. That I never thought of. But I'm more of thinking like getting the gold, silver or bronze medallion. \:\)

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#582023 - 10/28/04 09:48 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
F. Chopin Offline
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I wonder why the great composers didn't add choreography to their manuscripts. Oh wait, that's because the music is what's important. Funny that.

 Quote:
If a certain pianist lacked that charisma or appeal, would u want to watch him perform live? I wouldn't. I'll just insert him into my triple disc player and that's it.
Are you kidding? I care about how people play!

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#582024 - 10/28/04 10:06 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
signa Offline
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Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
i was fascinated when watching Aimard playing, who hardly moves his body and only when he needs to watch the score he'd lift his head, but just watching his hands and fingers moving around keyboard made my day! there is something about his playing, largely due to the sound/tone he produced, attracting me.

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#582025 - 10/28/04 10:07 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
jeffylube Offline
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Registered: 06/26/02
Posts: 716
Loc: Weatherford, Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by DW_mod:
Charisma comes from the dedication that u show and the confidence that you wield, along with your 'personal' brand of body movements. [/b]
I'm going to take a stab in the dark: You like Lang Lang? I really don't care about a performers dedication or confidence, all I care about is hearing a good performance that's true to the score and communicates what the COMPOSER wanted to communicate. The performers that do unnecessary, 'personal' body movements are trying to cover up their lack of musical maturity and ability. If I wanted to see a circus I'll go to a circus.

 Quote:
Originally posted by DW_mod:
Why should I watch someone's whose playing is ok but plays like a clown on stage? I think you are misleading. [/b]
You think I'm[/b] misleading? What planet are you from?!

 Quote:
Originally posted by DW_mod:
But you have to acknowledge the fact that there is a COLOSSAL difference listening to the CD and watching a live performance. If a certain pianist lacked that charisma or appeal, would u want to watch him perform live? I wouldn't. I'll just insert him into my triple disc player and that's it.[/b]
Yes I acknowledge there's a difference. In a live performance you get the energy of the audience around you and you get the element of surprise of not knowing how the performer is going to play, unlike a CD which is the identical way every time. What I DON'T[/b] go to a live audience for is to see someone orgasm on stage and try to distract me from what Beethoven is trying to convey, or to distract me from the shallowness of the performer. It's pathetic that someone feels that they need to help Beethoven or Liszt communicate sadness, surprise, excitement etc. by showing it on their face or with their bodies. Good composers don't need any help. Just do as they say and leave it up to what they wrote. If you want music and choreography go to an ice skating event.

 Quote:
Originally posted by DW_mod:
Hmm.. Losing competitions.. That I never thought of. But I'm more of thinking like getting the gold, silver or bronze medallion. \:\) [/b]
Ever heard of Simone Pedroni? Gold medalist at 93 Cliburn. Jon Nakamatsu? He's a little more popular. Gold medalist at 97 Cliburn. There are many more examples proving that winning only gives you a little shove in the right direction. If you don't have what it takes, no competition is going to make you a household name.

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#582026 - 10/28/04 10:14 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
DW_mod Offline
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Registered: 01/12/04
Posts: 117
Ok, for a fact... I don't like Lang Lang. I don't even like his hair style.
I don't appreciate Horowitz all the time. Though he remains one of my personal favourites. Just like Glenn Gould, I find him slightly extreme and aggressive at times.

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#582027 - 10/28/04 10:22 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
ryan Offline
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Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
 Quote:
Originally posted by jeffylube:
Out of all of the requirements, age of when you started is by far the one I hear the most. Both Richter and Volodos started serious study in their late teens. [/b]
Richter started studying piano when he was a child. I don't know what you mean by "serious" - but he was trying to play serious masterworks from the start. He was also making something of a living with piano and conducting well before he studied with Neuhaus. But his career didn't take off until he studied with a top teacher.

 Quote:
Originally posted by jeffylube:
Also, do you really think Richter had musical flair?[/b]
Richter had stage presence - an air of command and power. I love watching him play. There was nothing shy and retiring about Richter, he left no doubt that he was making bold statements.

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#582028 - 10/28/04 10:26 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
ryan Offline
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No offense intended, but I don't think Volodos belongs in the same discussion as Richter.

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#582029 - 10/28/04 11:16 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
jeffylube Offline
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Loc: Weatherford, Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by ryan:
 Quote:
Originally posted by jeffylube:
Out of all of the requirements, age of when you started is by far the one I hear the most. Both Richter and Volodos started serious study in their late teens. [/b]
Richter started studying piano when he was a child. I don't know what you mean by "serious" - but he was trying to play serious masterworks from the start. He was also making something of a living with piano and conducting well before he studied with Neuhaus. But his career didn't take off until he studied with a top teacher.[/b]
Richter didn't start piano until almost 10, and then during his teen years he was mostly interested in conducting and opera. He decided he wanted a career as a pianist in his late teens and then started to direct all of his energies towards that goal.

 Quote:
Originally posted by ryan:
 Quote:
Originally posted by jeffylube:
Also, do you really think Richter had musical flair?[/b]
Richter had stage presence - an air of command and power. I love watching him play. There was nothing shy and retiring about Richter, he left no doubt that he was making bold statements. [/b]
I guess it depends on what type of flair we are talking about. I'm talking about arms wailing and facial expressions revolving, which he did not do, thankfully. Yes he was making bold statements, but he was doing this with his playing and nothing else.

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#582030 - 10/28/04 11:37 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
ryan Offline
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Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
I think Richter had flair. No facial expressions (thankfully), but his arms were quite active. I've read that he held his audiences spellbound, not just with the music, but with his brilliant technique. (and probably also his absolutely insane tempos!).

I do think you are mistaken about Richter's background. Both his parents were musicians and his father was a respected pianist and piano teacher. How could he not have started young? He was probably soaking it in long before official "lessons" started. I've read in at least one source that he began lessons with his father at a young age and was pronounced to be a "master of the keyboard" by the age of 8. Neuhaus said he had nothing to teach him, although I strongly suspect that Neuhaus helped refine his musicianship and technique to the point that it could support a concert career. All of those "finishing touches" that take so much work to master.

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#582031 - 10/28/04 11:42 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
jeffylube Offline
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Posts: 716
Loc: Weatherford, Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by ryan:
No offense intended, but I don't think Volodos belongs in the same discussion as Richter. [/b]
First of all, this isn't a discussion about Richter, it's about what it takes to be a concert pianist. What I was referring to was that both Volodos and Richter, "concert pianists", started later than what most people will say is necessary.

And I couldn't disagree with you more in saying that Volodos and Richter don't belong in the same discussion. I do agree that Richter is in the top 3 pianists of the 20th century and the recording era. However he has his reputation after a long and successful career. Volodos is only 32, and only has about 10-12 years of piano under his belt and he is established as one of the supreme virtuosos around today. What will he be like 40 years from now? Have you heard his Schubert disc? Arguably one of the top 10 Schubert discs ever recorded.

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#582032 - 10/28/04 11:50 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
jeffylube Offline
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Loc: Weatherford, Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by ryan:
I think Richter had flair. No facial expressions (thankfully), but his arms were quite active. I've read that he held his audiences spellbound, not just with the music, but with his brilliant technique. (and probably also his absolutely insane tempos!).

I do think you are mistaken about Richter's background. Both his parents were musicians and his father was a respected pianist and piano teacher. How could he not have started young? He was probably soaking it in long before official "lessons" started. I've read in at least one source that he began lessons with his father at a young age and was pronounced to be a "master of the keyboard" by the age of 8. Neuhaus said he had nothing to teach him, although I strongly suspect that Neuhaus helped refine his musicianship and technique to the point that it could support a concert career. All of those "finishing touches" that take so much work to master. [/b]
"I think Richter had flair. No facial expressions (thankfully), but his arms were quite active."

But his arms were active because it was necessary. What I'm talking about are the Lang Langs in the world who "practice" body choreography at the piano because they want to look good to their audiences. I actually read Lang Lang saying he was excited to get his recital on DVD so he could look at his gestures and body movements and see what areas he could improve on! And I don't mean "improve on" = "stop doing them".


Richter didn't go to Neuhaus until 17, which was his first real teacher. Richter was able to start late and become a master in just a handful of years because he was a musical genius. But the point I've been saying all along and I think it still stands, Richter didn't start out at 4 years old with a teacher and receive lessons every week until he was 20 and ready for a concert career, like most people will say is a "requirement" to be a concert pianist.

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#582033 - 10/28/04 12:00 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
ryan Offline
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Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
I hear what you are saying, but I don't call wht Lang Lang does "flair", I call it annoying ;\)

Do some reasearch on Richter. Sorry, but your facts aren't right. I double checked, and what I wrote above is correct.

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#582034 - 10/28/04 12:04 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Anonymous
Unregistered


 Quote:
Originally posted by ryan:
No offense intended, but I don't think Volodos belongs in the same discussion as Richter. [/b]
Richter is one of the most super-overrated pianists ever, along with Horowitz and co.

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#582035 - 10/28/04 12:08 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
jeffylube Offline
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Registered: 06/26/02
Posts: 716
Loc: Weatherford, Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by ryan:
Do some reasearch on Richter. Sorry, but your facts aren't right. I double checked, and what I wrote above is correct. [/b]
Please tell me which "facts" about Richter that I wrote are wrong?

I said that he started piano around 10 and in his teens he was mainly attracted to opera. From a random bio on the net:

"He had his first music lessons with his father, becoming a master of the keyboard at the age of 8. The family later moved to Odessa where the young Sviatoslav enrolled at the Odessa Conservatory. In his teens, he was attracted to a career in conducting and at the astoundingly young age of 15 became a conductor for the Odessa Opera and the Ballet Theater, a post he held for four years. He gave his first piano recital at age 19 also in Odessa."

I see that I was off 2 years on his age, and I never denied that his father was musical. Even at 8 he was playing opera scores, which goes along with what I said about him being more interested in that and conducting during his youth. Yes I know that he was around music most of his early life. He was mostly self taught until Neuhaus. But the fact that he gave his first recital at 19 even though he was a musical genius shows that he started somewhat late, as I had said. Most concert pianists give their first recitals at about 9 or 10.

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#582036 - 10/28/04 12:24 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
snap_apple Offline
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Registered: 09/21/03
Posts: 710
 Quote:
Originally posted by George W. Bush:
Richter is one of the most super-overrated pianists ever, along with Horowitz and co. [/b]
explain

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#582037 - 10/28/04 12:26 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
ryan Offline
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Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
 Quote:
Originally posted by snap_apple:
 Quote:
Originally posted by George W. Bush:
Richter is one of the most super-overrated pianists ever, along with Horowitz and co. [/b]
explain [/b]
Don't...Take...The...Bait...

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#582038 - 10/28/04 12:29 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
ryan Offline
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Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
Jeffylube,

You changed your argument! Earlier you said that Richter started late and didn't meet the start-at-4 "requirement". Now you say that he started at 4 (or younger), but he started late because his first recital was at 19? I'm confused \:\( If Richter was playing virtuoso music at the age of 8, how is that a late start???

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#582039 - 10/28/04 12:37 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
jeffylube Offline
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Registered: 06/26/02
Posts: 716
Loc: Weatherford, Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by ryan:
Jeffylube,

You changed your argument! Earlier you said that Richter started late and didn't meet the start-at-4 "requirement". Now you say that he started at 4 (or younger), but he started late because his first recital was at 19? I'm confused \:\( If Richter was playing virtuoso music at the age of 8, how is that a late start??? [/b]
NO, I did NOT say he started at 4. Where did you get that?? I said he started around 10 learning piano (actually it's 8, so I was a little off). While he was a musical genius even at that age, instead of working from 10 on at becoming a concert pianist, he was spending most of his teenage years studying opera and conducting. It was only in his late teens (17 years old) that he decided he wanted to be a pianist and start pursuing that. That's when he went to Neuhaus, and then at 19 gave his first recital.

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#582040 - 10/28/04 12:42 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
snap_apple Offline
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Registered: 09/21/03
Posts: 710

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#582041 - 10/28/04 12:47 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
Jeffylube, what can I say? You are confused! \:\)

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#582042 - 10/28/04 12:58 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
netizen Offline
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Registered: 06/02/01
Posts: 1926
Loc: New York
1. talent
2. excellent and well-connected teachers
3. money
4. a thick skin
5. major competition wins (see 2)

Repeat as needed.

_________________________
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we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."-- Theodore Roosevelt

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#582043 - 10/28/04 01:17 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
jeffylube Offline
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Registered: 06/26/02
Posts: 716
Loc: Weatherford, Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by ryan:
Jeffylube, what can I say? You are confused! \:\) [/b]
...

A big negative, sir...

Honestly, it doesn't matter if I'm right and know what I'm talking about and you don't... ;\) :p

No but seriously...what do you think of my avatar?

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#582044 - 10/28/04 03:26 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Allazart Offline
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Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 389
I have the book "The Great Pianists" by Harold Schonberg. This is an excerpt about Richter:

 Quote:

For a while there seemed to be some question as to whether Richter would ever be a pianist. He was tremendously gifted as a child and could read anything at the piano, but he spent more time going through scores than practicing repertoire. His parents were German and his father was his first teacher. During World War II, according to Time magazine, Richter's father came under suspicion because of his German name and because he taught piano at the German consulate in Odessa. He was arrested and killed by the security police. Richter's mother fled to West Germany and settled there. Following his love for opera, Sviatoslav became and accompanist at the Odessa Opera Theater when he was fifteen and was chief assistant conductor three years later. Not until 1934, when he was nineteen, did he make his debut as a pianist, and not until twenty-seven did he enter the Moscow Conservatory to study under Neuhaus. Thus, he never followed the usual pattern of great concert pianists, who are generally completely trained and already concert veterans at eighteen.
Sounds pretty close to most of what Jeffylube said.

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#582045 - 10/28/04 04:43 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
valarking Offline
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Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 2331
Loc: Dallas
As long as a pianist restrains themselves from being asses, most all are nice to watch.
The only exception is Michelangeli. He looks disgusted at the piano...

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#582046 - 10/28/04 09:26 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Requiem Aeternam Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 1395
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
It doesn't matter how old you were when you made your first public performance, it says Richter was a master of keyboard at age 8, that is 'nuff said if you ask me. Josef Hoffman who had arguably the greatest technique of the 20th century didn't perform until he was 18 or later either, but that's not to say he wasnt an utter virtuoso before then, he was, he simply made an agreement not to perform before that time.
_________________________
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#582047 - 10/28/04 10:53 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
btb Offline
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Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
The thread has been highjacked by wannaBs bickering over the finer points of concert pianist idols - frothy opinions - interesting but as ephemeral as a passing breeze.

Thanks to NAK, F.Chopin, ryan, Goldberg, Badger, snap-apple and netizen for their valued contributions - even "LA plummer" panicworld for "hey .. what a stupid thread!"

Special tribute to ryan for his insight in saying of a concert pianist
"I think concert pianists need more than photographic memory. "Muscle" and aural memory is an absolute must, I would think. A solid memory is pretty much a necessity, and the ability to memorize fast doesn't hurt."

And to snap-apple for the perception that
"photographic memory ain't all it's cracked up to be".

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#582048 - 10/28/04 10:58 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
valarking Offline
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Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 2331
Loc: Dallas
 Quote:
Originally posted by btb:
The thread has been highjacked by wannaBs bickering over the finer points of concert pianist idols - frothy opinions - interesting but as ephemeral as a passing breeze.[/b]
Well aren't you the witty intellectual.

:rolleyes:

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#582049 - 10/29/04 07:19 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
btb Offline
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Registered: 01/21/04
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Loc: Pretoria South Africa
The cap fits.

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#582050 - 10/29/04 08:43 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
jeffylube Offline
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Registered: 06/26/02
Posts: 716
Loc: Weatherford, Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by Requiem Aeternam:
It doesn't matter how old you were when you made your first public performance, it says Richter was a master of keyboard at age 8, that is 'nuff said if you ask me. [/b]
My point was that Richter started pursuing a concert career as a pianist late in his life. Later than most would say is necessary, as did Volodos. Whether he was truly a master at 8, who knows for sure. I've read on many different occasions that he started around 8, so if he became a master in 1 year, that could be so.

But all I was trying to make was a simple point that one of the requirements is NOT to start at 4-5 years old, as many will have you believe. Certainly helps I'm sure.

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#582051 - 10/29/04 08:48 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
ryan Offline
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Registered: 06/04/01
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Loc: Colorado
I believe Richter started at 4 or 5, or even younger. I don't see how it could be otherwise.

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#582052 - 10/29/04 08:52 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
jeffylube Offline
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Registered: 06/26/02
Posts: 716
Loc: Weatherford, Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by btb:
The thread has been highjacked by wannaBs bickering over the finer points of concert pianist idols - frothy opinions - interesting but as ephemeral as a passing breeze.[/b]
Hmm where to start. Well first of all your thread sucks. It's too subjective. But I wasn't going to say it until you said something rude in regards to me. And if we're "wannaBs", what are we wanting to be like?

Wasn't this thread about what it takes to be a concert pianist? Was Ryan and I not discussing/debating on whether one of the all time greats started late? Which in turn would rule out what is not necessarily needed? WHICH IN TURN IS IN LINE WITH WHAT YOUR THREAD WAS ABOUT?

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#582053 - 10/29/04 08:56 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
jeffylube Offline
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Registered: 06/26/02
Posts: 716
Loc: Weatherford, Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by ryan:
I believe Richter started at 4 or 5, or even younger. I don't see how it could be otherwise. [/b]
Ryan, btb doesn't want us to continue this discussion on his thread, so you can please just send me a link that proves what you've been saying? And you are not going to take into account what's in Schonberg's book, which is where I base much of my information, along with a couple other books?

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#582054 - 10/29/04 09:07 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
ryan Offline
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Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
Well, Schonberg does not say that Richter started lessons at 8, and I've never read that anywhere. However, Schonberg does say that Richter's first teacher was his father and that as a child Richter could play anything. Putting two and two together, I posit that Richter's father started teaching him from a very young age, instilling in him the technique and musicianship that he would need to follow in his father's footsteps in a musical career. My belief is strengthened by the the fact that Richter could read opera scores. Ever tried to do that? You need a strong technique, and not one that comes by accident.

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#582055 - 10/29/04 09:24 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17939
Loc: Victoria, BC
Re: Richter: FWIW

David Fanning writes in the latest edition of Groves:

[...] His first love was painting, which he learnt from his aunt, with whom he spent three years between the ages of four and seven,cut off from his parents by the Civil War.
On his return to Odessa in 1922 [age 7], Richter began to learn the piano and to compose, being largely self-taught in both areas. As a child he also wrote plays. His earliest musical passion was for opera. he enjoyed sight-reading from vocal scores at home, and for a while he had ambitions to become a conductor. From 1930 to 1932 he worked as accompanist at the House of Sailors in Odessa in order to supplement the family income, and then at the Odessa Philaharmonic. He made his solo debut playing Chopin at the age of 19, and in the following year became an accompanist at the Odessa Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre."
_________________________
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#582056 - 10/29/04 09:26 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
jeffylube Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/02
Posts: 716
Loc: Weatherford, Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by ryan:
Well, Schonberg does not say that Richter started lessons at 8, and I've never read that anywhere. However, Schonberg does say that Richter's first teacher was his father and that as a child Richter could play anything. Putting two and two together, I posit that Richter's father started teaching him from a very young age, instilling in him the technique and musicianship that he would need to follow in his father's footsteps in a musical career. My belief is strengthened by the the fact that Richter could read opera scores. Ever tried to do that? You need a strong technique, and not one that comes by accident. [/b]
Are you a lawyer? ;\) Because you keep trying to ignore my original point that started all of this. I never said that Richter didn't have musical training as a very young person. He did. What I've been saying is that from about 8-17 he was mainly interested in opera and conducting, not giving concerts and practicing piano for 5-8 hours a day like most established pianists did. During that time he did perform as a pianist at the opera house, so I'm sure that helped. But it wasn't until 17 that he decided he wanted to pursue a career as a pianist and thus lived his life with that goal in mind...practicing night and day, going to Neuhaus, and giving his first public recital at 19.

All I'm looking at is the fact that if someone has the talent and decided to make a career in piano in their mid teens, Richter and Volodos might give them hope, when everyone else would say it's too late.

I bet if you took 10 non-musician people in a room, and asked who at one time took piano lessons in their life, probably 7 or 8 would raise their hands. The VAST majority of people I know that don't like music or piano, at one time tried piano lessons. So if one of these persons decided at 15 to be a concert pianist, maybe they would be help by those boring lessons they took briefly that they don't remember.

I'm sure Richter had very good musical education at a young age, but the bottom line I think with him is that he has "it", so it didn't really matter when he started. It would be a shame if someone that was 14, 15 years old also had "it" and wanted to be a professional pianist but was always told that they didn't start early enough.

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#582057 - 10/29/04 11:06 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
So, the reason I am beating a dead horse is that I really do believe it is advantageous to study piano as a child, even if you drop it for a (sometimes long) period of time.

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#582058 - 10/29/04 11:10 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
valarking Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 2331
Loc: Dallas
 Quote:
Originally posted by btb:
The cap fits. [/b]
I'm sorry, but we don't have room for anymore pseudo-intellectual BS in this forum.

Bye bye now...

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#582059 - 10/29/04 11:22 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
Orlando Gibbons Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/14/01
Posts: 848
Loc: CA
 Quote:
Well, Schonberg does not say that Richter started lessons at 8, and I've never read that anywhere.
Richter says Richter started at 8. See Sviatoslav Richter, Notebooks and Conversations, by Bruno Monsaingeon, published by Princeton University Press.
_________________________
"See?! The Cliffs of Insanity!"

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#582060 - 10/29/04 12:12 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
jeffylube Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/02
Posts: 716
Loc: Weatherford, Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by ryan:
So, the reason I am beating a dead horse is that I really do believe it is advantageous to study piano as a child, even if you drop it for a (sometimes long) period of time. [/b]
Totally agree. Just saying that it's not a hopeless situation for 15 year olds that didn't study much as a small child if they want to become a successful pianist. Just gotta be good.

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#582061 - 10/29/04 01:16 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
 Quote:
Originally posted by Orlando Gibbons:
 Quote:
Well, Schonberg does not say that Richter started lessons at 8, and I've never read that anywhere.
Richter says Richter started at 8. See Sviatoslav Richter, Notebooks and Conversations, by Bruno Monsaingeon, published by Princeton University Press. [/b]
Yes, but Richter lied or stretched the truth about a great many things regarding himself. I don't believe it for a second.

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#582062 - 10/29/04 01:18 PM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
jeffylube Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/02
Posts: 716
Loc: Weatherford, Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by ryan:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Orlando Gibbons:
 Quote:
Well, Schonberg does not say that Richter started lessons at 8, and I've never read that anywhere.
Richter says Richter started at 8. See Sviatoslav Richter, Notebooks and Conversations, by Bruno Monsaingeon, published by Princeton University Press. [/b]
Yes, but Richter lied or stretched the truth about a great many things regarding himself. I don't believe it for a second. [/b]
You also don't believe me. \:\( \:D

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#582063 - 10/30/04 02:29 AM Re: What makes a concert pianist?
minorkeyed Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/09/04
Posts: 108
Loc: US
For every one that makes it there are prolly hundreds that are just as talented that will consider themselves lucky to get tenure at a half-decent (state) university. There are undoubtedly many really phenomenal musicians out there that we will never even hear of. I truly believe that.

Once talent is at a professionally proficient level it's all about who you know. Generally speaking, one with "merely sufficient" talent who has great teachers and contacts will get further than one with extraordinary talent without such conctacts. It's only what you know to an extent: beyond that it's who you know.

Despite our love, understanding, and passion for classical music, the majority of the world really isn't too interested and doesn't support it and there just isn't room for many: a few lucky ones win the lottery with a ticket their contacts buy them.

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