The biggest challenge is to continue on your own path and not panic when there’s a blank page in your diary. It does fill up! But I sometimes feel you have to have the attitude of a gambler to work as a freelance song pianist: one day a singer cancels but the next a singer might call.
I feel very close to the songs of Hugo Wolf and love the process of analysing the detail of his writing and trying to figure out what he might be doing with the music. Playing songs is fascinating because you get to go inside the mind of a composer and get a sense of how they read poetry. In a way, songs are little acts of translation – the poetry as read by an individual, transformed into sound.
I think as a collaborative pianist the greatest challenge is knowing when to say no. There are always singers and instrumentalists looking for accompanists and as a young artist it is really hard to turn down opportunities which could open other doors.