Home Forums Piano Related Discussions Classical Pianists Sir András Schiff

9 replies, 2 voices Last updated by  Dennis Dooley 1 year, 10 months ago
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  • #13976

    Dennis Dooley
    Participant
    @DennisDooley

    I had the priviledge of seeing András Schiff in concert last night.

    Sir Schiff has a wonderful presence on stage. He is very humble and bows slowly with his hands clasped. I thought he radiated a nice warmth to his audience. He stood in front of the Bosendorfer piano a long time and took in the applause while smiling and looking across the whole audience. And boy-o-boy! can he play the piano!!

    During the introductory presentation I learned that Sir Schiff was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II because of his contribution to music.

    He played a long program. I particularly liked the English Suite by Bach which he played in the second half of the concert.

    I had a wonderful evening. Everybody was in a good mood. I even had lovely conversations with other spectators standing in line waiting for the doors to open.

    Here is a link to the program.
    Concert Program
    Program Image

    Dennis

    #13978

    Dennis Dooley
    Participant
    @DennisDooley

    And as an encore he played the Aria from the Goldberg Variations. It was beautiful.

    #13993

    Jaak Sikk
    Keymaster
    @Jaak

    @dennisdooley
    Hi!

    It must really have been a great night! You are lucky 😉
    I know he has been in Helsinki several times, and this is 80 km from Tallinn by ferry and knows some professors from our academy well.
    But I have never heard him live or been to his master classes.

    You must have a lively music and culture life there?

    His Bach is marvelous and his approach to music, his sensitivity is extraordinary. And by the way, the polyphony thing I am teaching in the courses is directly from Sir Andras Shiff. My piano professor met him and was in his classes, and told that mr Schiff talks about using this kind of hidden voicing everywhere. And as I took it into playing, it changed a lot too.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Anything else interesting coming?

    Best wishes,
    Jaak

    #14011

    Dennis Dooley
    Participant
    @DennisDooley

    @jaak

    Hi Jaak,

    The ambiance at the concert was very nice. There was a kind of excitement in the air as we waited for the concert to start. The concert took place in a large church in Ottawa. I obtained my ticket several weeks ago so I was able to get a very good seat. I was up in the balcony — actually in a church I think it is called the rood-loft(?). I was seated in a way that I could see him from behind and I could see his right hand.

    He played a very long program. In the customary opening remarks, the announcer said that Sir Schiff had not been to Canada since 2009, and that he is giving only 2 concerts in Canada. I don’t know where his other concert is.

    Ottawa is a pretty big city. I am guessing that with all the suburbs the population must be close to 2 million people. There is a good cultural life in Ottawa. The problem is that I would have to be a millionaire to attend all the concerts and Ottawa is about an hour away. Unfortunately, in the rural area where I live the only culture is country and western music at the local bar, but that doesn’t turn me on.

    I actually get to see a lot of concerts. Most are not large concerts whih has the advantage of being more intimate.

    Tomorrow (Friday) I going to a house concert in town. Mauro Bertoli is a local pianist who I have met several times. He will be playing the piano while a narrator tells a story. It sounds like it will be quite interesting. Mauro, his wife and 3 children have a nice home with a large living room with a Steinway piano. For the concerts, the furniture is removed and he puts out about 30 folding chairs. His wife, Elisa, prepares fancy snacks so we can mingle and talk to the other guests before going home.

    The last time I was there, the electricity went out about 15 minutes before the guests arrived and did not come back on for several hours. It was a magical evening. His wife put out all the candles and tee lights she had, and Mauro and the violinist has battery lamps for their music. It was such a beautiful atmosphere. It is one of those atmospheres you could not reporduce even if you tried. It was nice to see how Mauro was so calm about the whole thing.

    I am fortunate to be on the executive of the Ponticello Concerts (I am the treasurer). We present one-hour chamber music concerts on Sunday mornings, an average of twice a month. Our fomula is a continental breakfast at 10 am and the concert from 11 am to noon. This Sunday it is a violinist and a harpsichordist. The legal capacity of the venue is 134 people and we expect to have a full house. Members of the executive share a meal with the artists after the concert, and I always enjoy that.

    So I guess I have a pretty nice cultural life. 🙂

    Dennis

    #14021

    Dennis Dooley
    Participant
    @DennisDooley

    @jaak

    Hi Jaak,

    I can’t help but think that the Eastern European music education is different from the one here in North America. It probably is not a coincidence that many of the great pianists are from Eastern Europe. The Russian school of music teaching must have something particular. Or maybe it is because there is more discipline in the way students study music and in society in general.

    In the past I have heard you talk about your connection with Emil Gilels, Heinrich Neuhauss and now András Schiff. These are some of the greatest pianists of modern times. Their influence has to have an impact on musical education and, indirectly, on you.

    I wonder how different things would have been if I were born in Eastern Europe. I guess I’ll never know. But luckily I have you. 🙂

    Dennis

    #14053

    Jaak Sikk
    Keymaster
    @Jaak

    @dennisdooley

    Hi!

    I know this excitement well that comes before concerts that are given by idols – have had it some times. When Marc-Andre Hamelin was performing in Tallinn, when Arcadi Volodos, Ivo Pogorelich, Angela Hewitt, Cyprien Katsaris were performing. Probably there are more of them. There was a time when I was going to concerts at least twice a week. Now it is not possible to do it that often.

    This intimate type of concert gives a much stronger contact with the interpreter. Especially the concert with candle light must have been very special. There are certain objects and situations that help to awaken a certain openness and helps to activate deeper memories and emotions. (like candles, small rooms, picture etc.)

    Congratulations for being an organizer too! You can really involve what you love into your life. I think this is something that is very advisable for everyone! 🙂

    About my school – in general I try to be as open as possible all the time to find and learn from good sources. Also, constant mental activity and developing and improving all life helps to stay inspired and electrified. I love learning! But the so called piano ‘family tree’ is very interesting too. Some roots go directly back to Beethoven, Czerny and Liszt. I will bring out three branches. It looks like:

    Beethoven – Liszt – Siloti – Flier – Pletnev – Väinmaa – Jaak Sikk – This branch goes through Lauri Väinmaa, who was a very active and widely performing pianist in Soviet Union and now a professor of our academy. He won II prize in the competition of all republics competition. As the whole Soviet Union was participating, it was a huge and very hard competition. He was my teacher for two years.

    Beethoven – Czerny – Leschetitzky – Kreutzer – Lukk – Maigi Pakri/Kadri Leivategija – This is another branch. I was the student of Maigi Pakri (who often visited Bruno Lukk and learned a lot from him) for five years. And Kadri Leivategija, who was my first teacher and taught me for seven years is from the same branch.

    Neuhaus – Gilels – Lassmann – Jaak Sikk – that is the third branch. Neuhaus was actually a lot self-taught. He had both parents playing piano and teaching piano, but they really did not teach young Heinrich Neuhaus. Felix Blumenfeldt had a strong influence on Heinrich Neuhaus (he was teaching in the conservatory of St Petersburg).

    So much about the interesting history. It actually creates a great feeling that the world and all the magnificent masters are here and now and somehow connected. I also try to put it here, into the online piano school as much as possible. Thanks for asking!

    Jaak

    #14132

    Jaak Sikk
    Keymaster
    @Jaak

    @dennisdooley

    Have you ever asked your piano teacher Laurie, who have been her piano teachers and what does the teacher-tree look like?

    Jaak

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  Jaak Sikk.
    #14135

    Dennis Dooley
    Participant
    @DennisDooley

    @jaak

    Hi Jaak,

    Your family tree is very impressive. You must feel priviledged to be part of that environment. The atmosphere in that environment must be comforting, in the sense that there must be some kind of energy knowing there is a cerebral (is that the correct word?) link to the great masters. It must give you a lot of confidence in the teaching you received and it must also be a source of motivation.

    I have been thinking a lot about your post for several days. It confirms that your musical foundation is really based on something solid and very credible — although I had sensed that a long time ago. It also makes me wonder how come music education in your part of the world evolved the way it did and how it became (or remained?) such an important part of the culture. To someone like me who has always loved music and admired good musicians, this has always been a mystery.

    Actually, this would be an interesting subject to look up in a library: a book that deals with the development of musical culture (or art in general) in different parts of the world. This would be good reading material for the winter.

    Something interesting about the András Schiff concert is that the majority of he audience had white hair. There were very few young people.

    I have never asked my teacher about her musical family tree. The only “claim to fame” that I am aware of is that she attended the same school as Angela Hewitt, long before Angela Hewitt became famous. This was regular high school — not a music conservatory. I must ask her about her family tree. Maybe I’ll be surprised. Who knows?

    You always make me think. I like that.

    Dennis

    #14137

    Jaak Sikk
    Keymaster
    @Jaak

    Dennis,

    About the word cerebral 😀 – I had to check it out. I know the word, but using it correctly and in the right context needed a double-check.

    Yes, I agree that the development of culture in general gives a deeper understanding about humanity in general.
    By the way – I remember, once in the Netherlands, in the Hague, when we attended a concert of a string quartet, all the hall looked white, because all the audience had white or gray hair. That was remarkable.

    Maybe it indicates a shift of values in the todays very fast society. What do you think?

    Jaak

    #14179

    Dennis Dooley
    Participant
    @DennisDooley

    @jaak

    Hi Jaak,

    Maybe the word I was looking for does not exist. I was trying to express something between intellectual and spriritual. Cerebral was the best I was able come up with. Maybe someday the right word will come to me in the middle of the night, as most of my good ideas. 🙂

    I suppose the fast pace of life has a lot to do with younger people not attending classical concerts. From what I can observe, when people are busy raising a family they are always rushing around: work, errands, taking children to hockey, swimming, doctor appointments, laundry, house cleaning, etc… There probably isn’t much time left to relax. People are tired and stressed out. I always wondered how my work colleagues with children were able to do everything they did. That could be a major factor in not seeing them at concerts.

    I am also concerned that young people are not exposed to classical music. If young people are not exposed to classical music, it is not very likey they will seek out classical concerts, not now and not later either. That is sad.

    Where I live, the public Broadcaster (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Radio-Canada) is the only one that broadcasts classical music a few hours each day. Sadly, every year the public broadcaster is subjected to important financial cutbacks. There are even some politicians who think it should be abolished completely! This is an indication that it is not a very high priority.

    I am fortunate that I have the possibilities to take in classical music — along with various other styles of music too. Sometimes I have hard rock music blaring when I am alone in the house.

    I hope I never grow up! 😀

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