Tuesday, September 18, 2012


There are very few places where one can listen to music as inhabiting silence.  Talking about this with a student in his early 20's I was struck by a couple of powerful impressions: He has been inventing music all his life, improvising.  To me and to many other trained classical musicians this represents the utmost self-confidence at the instrument.  Yet he is extremely protective when it comes to being listened to when playing composed music and, to my great disappointment, he comes only reluctantly to hear my performances.

During our conversation it struck me that one of the goals of my current performance strategy is to perform in circumstances in which silence is both natural and unthreatening.   It seems to work wonderfully for older listeners but perhaps it is too intimate for people of his generation.  Perhaps his only access to silence is internal.  Perhaps that explains his gift--rather, his passion for improvisation.