Friday, May 9, 2014

Amateurs Equal Hope

It turns out that Gregor Kitzis, the thoroughly professional and widely experienced violinist with whom I have been preparing a very special reading of Beethoven's "Spring" Sonata, enjoys playing chamber music with a group of accomplished amateurs.  No wonder we get along!

I based my New York career on the proposition that I would learn more from listening to amateurs than from having to listen to students with professional aspirations.  What is the difference?  As a rule amateurs do not have sufficient technique to conceal their vulnerability to the acoustical events that give music its true meaning.  Even if they do have terrific chops they probably don't spend hours every day going through routines of practice either alone or in professional ensembles.

I always prefer the music of amateurs.  I am myself an amateur a cappella singer.  Yesterday I had, again, the privilege of singing William Byrd's Short Service.  Amateurs are, by definition, given permission to be expressive in a way that happens only occasionally with professionals who are under pressure to produce correct, predictable results.

In a way and even though I ask people to support my work in that department, which I take as seriously as when I performed in more public venues many times in the past, I am affirming amateur status also in that department, the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.