Improvisation gives musicians an innate understanding of why composers make certain choices, develop a subconscious sense of style, cultivate discerned tastes in melodic lines, and form a complex vocabulary of harmony and resolution.
I am inspired by large, complex and mythical works where I can feel conversations-supportive or contradicting- between voices, hands and the rest of my body and mind. It started with Bach and Beethoven and gradually reached Schoenberg, Messaien, Wolpe and many others.
Pianists all face the challenge of making a career in a profession filled with a large number of exceptional artists, all vying for a small number of performance opportunities. Post-pandemic, I hope to see an increase in live performances; it’s just not the same listening to video recordings online.
The greatest challenge of my career was that I wanted not only to be a musician, but to live all of life. I wanted to have a family and experience the other joys of living. In that sense, I was my own greatest challenge.
My favourite word for a musician is “trust”. We all practice very hard to have the requisite knowledge and skills. Trust is the ineffable ingredient. When we trust that what we communicate will resonate with the listener, that we don’t have to impress the audience, show off, or never miss a note, we will find our way to music’s essence.
I feel that true success is when you can reach someone through music and make a positive emotional impact. Sometimes those experiences happen in unusual settings – like at a nursing home, or in a hospital setting, well under the radar and where there is no applause.