Monday, September 16, 2013

A Choice Audience

What could be more fulfilling than to play to an audience of accomplished musicians of different generations, different genres, different occupations?

This was my privilege last night.  None of them famous, yet aware of and deeply respectful of each other, their engagement was total (including outright laughter at C.P.E. Bach, Beethoven, and Poulenc) and the conversation enriching.  Not a trace of competitiveness or one-upsmanship.

At one point we were recalling listening to Rubinstein, particularly the remarkable warmth he projected, drawing everyone in the room into the generosity of his playing.  Those of us who had heard him all agreed.  I believe the secret is in the listening.  He played listening to the music the way he wanted people to listen to him--the height of empathetic listening, since it extends its generosity into every single tone of the music.

This is why I teach empathetic listening as the core discipline.  Technique--whatever that turns out to be--and everything else follows from there.