How many of us have been collaborators NOT accompanists

Posted by: music32

How many of us have been collaborators NOT accompanists - 02/15/13 01:46 PM

http://arioso7.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/a-pianist-is-a-collaborator-not-an-accompanist/

I was also glad to have found the Collaborative blog that is so popular.
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: How many of us have been collaborators NOT accompanists - 02/15/13 07:28 PM

I think the whole "accompanist" vs "collaborator" debate is silly. All a pianist need do to be more than an "accompanist" is demand action:

Demand to be included in programs, along with a bio.
Demand to be prominently credited on recordings, YouTube videos, etc...
Refuse to work with people who don't view you as a musical partner.
Ask to be compensated on the same level as the person you're collaborating with.

Far too many pianists settle for words, and far too many instrumentalists and singers give lip service to "collaboration" instead of actually collaborating. (And far too many pianists whine about it, then go ahead and do the work anyway.)

So I'm all for getting the recognition and taking part in musical decisions, but words are cheap; it has to be put into action.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: How many of us have been collaborators NOT accompanists - 02/15/13 08:00 PM

In chamber music, pianists usually expect to be recognized as equal with their partners, whether they are string or woodwind or brass players (in fact, they are often regarded as first among equals when in bigger groups than duos), but a different mentality exists when they 'accompany' singers, as wittily shown by Gerald Moore in his book 'Am I too Loud?'. Unless, of course, if the pianist is a BIG name like Richter, Brendel or Schiff....

When Itzhak Perlman played violin sonatas with Vladimir Ashkenazy, they were given equal billing on programs. But when Perlman played Kreisler, Sarasate, Wieniewski and Heifetz transcriptions (i.e encore-type pieces) with Samuel Sanders, the latter was relegated to the rôle of an accompanist, and probably paid accordingly......

OK, in the Franck and Fauré violin sonatas, and of course the Rachmaninoff Cello Sonata, the pianist has the more difficult part. But what about some Schubert, Schumann, Wolf (especially) and R Strauss Lieder? Often, the 'accompanist' even coaches the singer like a repetitur and builds the program, especially if the singer is inexperienced (though not necessarily unknown). Moore in his book mentions a diva who actually wanted him to omit a brilliant Wolf postlude so that all the glory would be for her.......
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: How many of us have been collaborators NOT accompanists - 02/16/13 09:34 AM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
I think the whole "accompanist" vs "collaborator" debate is silly. All a pianist need do to be more than an "accompanist" is demand action:

Demand to be included in programs, along with a bio.
Demand to be prominently credited on recordings, YouTube videos, etc...
Refuse to work with people who don't view you as a musical partner.
Ask to be compensated on the same level as the person you're collaborating with.

Far too many pianists settle for words, and far too many instrumentalists and singers give lip service to "collaboration" instead of actually collaborating. (And far too many pianists whine about it, then go ahead and do the work anyway.)

So I'm all for getting the recognition and taking part in musical decisions, but words are cheap; it has to be put into action.


Thank you Kreisler! I agree 100%. The whole name thing is ridiculous, and I just don't work with people who don't appreciate my contribution. However, I think it's much easier to say accompanist than collaborative pianist anyways. What is wrong with the word "accompany" anyways? Does it not mean to go along with? Certainly not "tag along on someone's coattails".
Posted by: Arghhh

Re: How many of us have been collaborators NOT accompanists - 02/16/13 12:38 PM

The 8-syllable "collaborative pianist" is too complicated of a term to catch on. When people ask me what degree I'm getting, I sometimes answer "accompanying" even though the official degree name is "collaborative piano". It just requires less explanation.

Another comment I read a while ago is that if a violinist was playing with someone calling themselves a collaborative pianist, shouldn't the violinist also call him/herself a collaborative violinist? And in that case, just drop the "collaborative" part altogether. I am a pianist.
Posted by: LadyChen

Re: How many of us have been collaborators NOT accompanists - 02/16/13 02:20 PM

I really like what Kreisler said. I gave a voice recital recently and my pianist thanked me profusely for not referring to him as a collaborative artist in the program lol. And he is absolutely a collaborative artist in the truest sense. I'm not a fan of 'accompanist' or 'collaborative artist' so I just call him my pianist!
Posted by: Orange Soda King

Re: How many of us have been collaborators NOT accompanists - 02/16/13 03:38 PM

It doesn't bother me either way what you say, as long as you don't say "accompany-ist" laugh
Posted by: currawong

Re: How many of us have been collaborators NOT accompanists - 02/16/13 04:32 PM

Originally Posted By: Orange Soda King
It doesn't bother me either way what you say, as long as you don't say "accompany-ist" laugh
haha - absolutely.

Originally Posted By: Arghhh
Another comment I read a while ago is that if a violinist was playing with someone calling themselves a collaborative pianist, shouldn't the violinist also call him/herself a collaborative violinist? And in that case, just drop the "collaborative" part altogether. I am a pianist.
thumb

We don't tend to use the collaborative word quite so much here yet, and "accompanist" need not imply subservience (Gerald Moore wore it with pride). But, like Arghhh, my favourite description is pianist.
Posted by: BDB

Re: How many of us have been collaborators NOT accompanists - 02/16/13 05:21 PM

As long as one is not a co-conspirator, indicted or not!
Posted by: currawong

Re: How many of us have been collaborators NOT accompanists - 02/16/13 06:28 PM

There's a cute cartoon in one of Gerald Moore's books (Farewell Recital I think), where there's a large singer in full flight on stage, and a smallish pianist collaboratively beavering away. One audience member says to another: "What's the name of her accomplice?"
Posted by: music32

Re: How many of us have been collaborators NOT accompanists - 02/16/13 10:15 PM

agree wholeheartedly!