Monthly Archives: May 2013

Thank You, Jacquie D.

Arriving back in Los Angeles from a regional piano competition that had only two prizes, I called my teacher. “It’s Jim!” “How did you do?” “I took second prize!” “Why not first?”

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Kind-of, Sort-of

You have that new Beethoven in your hands—kind-of, sort-of. You’ve worked out the technical problems—kind-of, sort-of. And you’re getting nowhere. You have the "What Now?" Syndrome, and you’re wondering what to do next to improve.

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Op. 111

From age 8, looking up from my teacher’s piano, I would see Schnabel’s head—my teacher’s teacher—scowling down from the plinth in the far corner. The marble gave weight to his authority and his fame as a Beethoven-player. I used his edition of the sonatas, sometimes wondering if I had to read the footnotes in all […]

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Six Words

I knew that the amazing Leonid Hambro had toured as “straight pianist” to Victor Borge, but hadn’t known he’d also conducted orchestras for the show. Telling me this—ever the provocateur—he added, “If you learn six words in their language, you can rehearse an orchestra.”

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