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most beloved piano teachers and their descendants #560319 01/30/07 04:02 AM
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shirlkirsten Offline OP
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I am sure there have been many posts about our most beloved piano teachers and if we have been lucky enough to know the lineage of our teachers, we can trace a path back to our pianistic "roots."
It seems to be a small musical world, after all.
I met my best teacher at Carnegie Hall and did not know at that moment who she was. Richter was playing that afternoon and I was far up into the second balcony where the pianist looked like a peanut, but given the acoustics of this great hall, it did not matter where one sat.
My teacher-to-be was with a young person and they shared an edition of the Beethoven sonatas. She was mentoring this individual and sometimes talking rather loudly so that my concentration on the performer was interrupted. Eventually my mother and I had to move our seats--still in the second balcony.
About two weeks later, I was set to audition for a teacher who had been recommended by a music camper friend (Music camp memories are worth another forum)and he insisted that his aunt and uncle were the greatest teachers in NYC--that I should definitely follow up with his aunt who had a private teaching practice on the West side of Manhattan. Her husband was on the Juilliard piano faculty.
At that time of my life, I was extremely frustrated with the teacher I had. Though she was an amazing performer, she simply could not teach me in such a way that I could ever be an independent learner. I remember weeping after struggling throug the Chopin Scherzo in B flat minor, because I knew internally what it should sound like, but had not the technical means to master this music.
The afternoon I auditioned for the next teacher turned out to be an unusual and ironic event. Walking up the stairs to the W. 105th street brownstone near Riverside Drive, with my heart pounding in eager expectation, I was greeted by the very lady who sat annoyingly beside my mother and I in Carnegie Hall..
To make a long story short, this lady turned out to be the teacher of my dreams who will always be the biggest influence in my musical life. Her name was Lillian Freundlich and her pianistic descendants were Alexander Siloti, and Leschitiski (sp.?) I studied with Mrs. Freudlich for just 3 years, as it was then time to go to college, and SHE chose the Oberlin Conservatory of Music for me.. which was her alma mater.
Now she is one of my pianist descendants in an increasing line of mentors. After Mrs. Freudlich, the next most influential coach was Ena Bronstein, a protege of Raphael De Silva and the great Claudio Arrau.
I am hoping my story elicits others..and maybe after all, we will know that it is truly a small musical world.


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Re: most beloved piano teachers and their descendants #560320 01/30/07 04:10 AM
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TheMadMan86 Offline
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Lol a former piano teacher of mine told me his musical"grandfather" was richter and his musical "uncle" was glenn gould something that one teacher he spent alot of time with was a studnet under the same teacher of glenn gould at the same time or something and knew glenn gould. Im a little fuzzy on the specifics, but i was taught several techniques that glenn gould was taught or used whne practicing

Re: most beloved piano teachers and their descendants #560321 01/30/07 04:11 AM
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ironically my playing of bach is not my best

Re: most beloved piano teachers and their descendants #560322 01/30/07 04:59 AM
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shirlkirsten Offline OP
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Speaking of Glenn Gould, for the longest time his Goldberg Variations were at the top of my list, until Murray Perahia came along with his disk.
I prefer the more lyrical Perahia rendition.


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Re: most beloved piano teachers and their descendants #560323 01/30/07 05:23 AM
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Recently I've found myself plucking from various pianists when listening through an entire Bach opus, like Goldberg or WTC. I can't say that any artist satisfies me through an entire work. As much as I like Gould, I don't agree in his renditions of ALL fugues for example. And Perahia I think is most times too lyrical, though I do prefer his 6th English Suite from others, even Gould and Hewitt. When it comes to the 3rd English Suites I don't think anybody has done it better than Pogorelich. Pitty he stopped there - I think he could give some very fine Bach.

Re: most beloved piano teachers and their descendants #560324 01/30/07 06:53 AM
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TheMadMan86 Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by music32:
Speaking of Glenn Gould, for the longest time his Goldberg Variations were at the top of my list, until Murray Perahia came along with his disk.
I prefer the more lyrical Perahia rendition.
I agree with you completely on this. I also think Perahia's recordings of the bach concertos are also better then gould's

Re: most beloved piano teachers and their descendants #560325 01/30/07 10:15 AM
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Some of the posts seem to have gotten off topic--musical ancestors (rather than 'descendants)-- which can be most interesting. How much one derives from those associations might be questioned but it undoubtedly has some influence on the student as 'secrets,' which one of my teachers referred to as such, are passed on through those teachers.

One of my teachers researched and set up what he referred to as a 'Teacher Pedigree' and it is like a family tree that goes back to Binchois, Dufay, and Ockheghem (19 generations). It is rather interesting to one fascinated by lineage of teachers.

My first 'real' teacher was a graduate of Juilliard and had studied with Olga Samaroff, Harold Bauer, and Percy Grainger. I had, and still have, the utmost respect for her ability as a pianist and a teacher capable of drawing from her students beautiful results. One could trace their teachers for a completely--well, somewhat--different 'pedigree.'

The teacher who organized the Pedigree had studied with Mrs. Ferguson, student of Tausig, Joseffy, Raif, Mason; with Alexander Siloti, Laros, Rosenthal, Hofmann, Gallico and professed to have gained all his 'secrets' from them and had little that was original to add. He was a much admired teacher and had my greatest respect both as teacher and person as he corresponded after lessons and gave me helpful advice throughout the years.

In Chicago I studied with a former concert pianist who had a wonderful career as a performer, both as recitalist and with orchestra. Her teachers were Sternberg, Safonoff, Gabrilowitsch, and Friedman. Wonderful in developing the hand and technique, she,too, gained my respect and admiration tho I wasn't able to take full advantage of her knowledge and ability. She was in her later years and after a stroke was virtually incapable of further teaching. But I gained immeasurably from my lessons with her.

From the different schools of thought and instruction I have synthesized the various points in what is now my playing. It was 'fate' of a sort that led me to these instructors and for that I am most grateful.

Re: most beloved piano teachers and their descendants #560326 01/30/07 11:57 AM
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shirlkirsten Offline OP
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From the different schools of thought and instruction I have synthesized the various points in what is now my playing. It was 'fate' of a sort that led me to these instructors and for that I am most grateful.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Isn't this ever true. I have synthesized various schools of thought and approaches gleaned from Freundlich and Bronstein, (as well as from the great pianists I have been lucky to listen to at Carnegie and elsewhere) and have indeed adapted these into my own playing and teaching.
I think with fingering, in particular, that what works for one hand will not be useful for another, and fingering/ phrasing are so intertwined. Thanks for all your posts as well as the others.
Shirley www.fasttraxx.com/shirleykirsten
Listen to mp3 samples from A Musical Journey: Scarlatti, Schubert, and Chopin (16 Scarlatti sonatas programmed)
Owner of Steinway M grand 1917; new and ecstatic owner of a used 1992 Steinway professional upright, 4510


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