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The news concerning James Levine’s health and his long-term commitments to the Met and the BSO has raised some questions.
NY Times, April 6
NY Times, April 8
NY Times, April 27
HubArts.com, April (Boston)
BostonGlobe, April 7 (several related links appear on this page)
What were they thinking? Why wasn’t this situation addressed earlier? What’s your opinion?
What does this imply for us?
It’s helpful to look at our goals and progress so we can stay grounded.
Here are a few examples about doing just that.
Shortly after college, something was happening in my lessons that made me feel like I no longer wanted to be there. Wrong teacher? Wrong repertoire? Temporary slump or long-term problem?
It’s so hard to tell when you’re in the middle of it.
Which guidelines are best? Where are they found?
Each person has his or her own path. Everyone is different!
Following the piano teacher crisis, which included crying in every lesson, I stopped studying in order to find some space (and continued performing constantly). Then came a game-changing realization: I wanted to become a better collaborator. Voilà! Time to find a new teacher.
Are you studying with a teacher who helps you reach your goals?
Later on, while a student at Tanglewood, a look around said, “Go to grad school! Westminster is perfect!” (OK, that’s the short version….)
Even later on (!), my violin/piano duo played a concert with five major pieces on the same program, shortly after a 6-month hiatus due to computer-related repetitive strain injuries. My hands became tired before the last piece. There was a difference in sound on the tape.
Was it going to be possible to perform big programs like this one frequently? Comfortably? Without a long recovery period following a concert?
Do you consider your stamina? Health? Do you have a schedule you can handle?
Wanting to see what other performers were programming, stopping by Carnegie, Merkin, and Alice Tully Halls to pick up playbills seemed like a good way to get information.
Looking at programs, even from major concerts in large halls, made it obvious that doing entire concerts of big pieces is not necessary.
What about audience listening capacity? A good “lighter” composition (less intense) can benefit everyone.
How do you build programs? Do you think about the audience?
On another occasion, there was a voice recital to play 10 days after my broken right arm was given the OK. (The singer graciously agreed to replace “Una voce poco fa” from The Barber of Seville with another aria, due to the discomfort incurred when moving that arm quickly in any direction.)
Here you can enjoy Marilyn Horne singing this wonderful aria.
There are many other performances of “Una voce poco fa” on You Tube, such as Jennifer Larmore’s. (Jennifer Larmore’s website)
To continue: then there was the violin/piano duo performance with a left leg knee cast. Fortunately, the program could be played using only the damper pedal.
An audience member backstage said, “You play very well with a cast!”
What are some of the more “interesting” comments you’ve received?
Last year, surgery meant rescheduling a solo concert.
Do you consider your health, fitness level, stamina, “chops,” and travel/recuperation time? What do you eat? When? Do you exercise?
These are all aspects of performing that no one talks about in school or private lessons. Performers often discuss and blog about them, though. (See links in right sidebar.)
What have you discovered about yourself? How have you made adjustments? If you needed to make a change, what would you do?
Please comment in the space below!
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