I would like to share with you my thoughts about the difference between a good concert and a truly transforming musical experience.
Performing a piece of music is like presenting a sublime message. As interpreter, I search for this message so that I can share it with you, my dear audience. I completely immerse myself in a piece in order to find this essence.
How do I do that? It is like looking for buried treasure. Every note, every marking, every indication counts. Knowing about the composer’s life, immediate surrounding, and trends/events that happened at the time contribute to my understanding. Further, there is the je ne ce quoi factor—the super personal voice of a composer, the genius factor.
As a pianist, I first get to know the composer as much as I possibly can. I immerse myself in the person and their musical output. After this search process, it is time to present my “findings” in concert or on tour. When I do a concert, I try to musically speak for this other person (composer) by expressing the most heartfelt emotions—the moment where I hope to bring across that essence of a piece. It is like speaking for another person—a spokesperson—and conveying an extremely intimate message.
However, do we as interpreters have to become this other person—the composer—the person who created the music in the first place? Do I need to lose myself in the music to the point where I disappear? NOT AT ALL!
I would like to invite you to look at this magical phenomenon from a different angle. It is like a beautiful relationship where the sum of two people becomes greater than two. Both individuals rise above themselves through their relationship and synergy is created.
It is amazing to witness a concert where the performer and the work seem completely fused; it is transforming. I believe that the glitz-and-glam culture I mentioned in my previous talk on understatement makes us miss out on the message more than we realize. It is very sad to miss out on all the insight coming from music itself. Focusing on the message of a piece helps both the performer and YOU—the audience—hear its essence.
Join me and be part of that experience a concert can offer. Go out and attend classical concerts in your local community! I hope the new year will bring positive, transformative experiences for all.