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How long does it take a musically talented person to become an excellent concert pianist?

I'm guessing 15 years and would think the truly gifted keep improving into their 70s.

Bech



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You're right; it's a guess.

Who knows?

It depends!



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Originally Posted by Bech
How long does it take a musically talented person to become an excellent concert pianist?

I'm guessing 15 years and would think the truly gifted keep improving into their 70s.
"Musically talented" and "excellent" are so vague that I'm afraid the question is meaningless.

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For the truly gifted.

The typical top (young) classical pianist today starts formal lessons around the age of 5, performing internationally & winning competitions in their teenage years, and signing with a major recording label in their early or mid-20s.

Recent examples: Lang Lang, Kirill Gerstein, Jonathan Biss, Finghin Collins, Yuja Wang, Yundi Li, Alessio Bax, etc.


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Niu Niu started lessons with his father at 3, made his Wigmore Hall (London) debut aged 9, and played Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No.1 at the Royal Festival Hall aged 10 (conducted by his mentor, Leslie Howard the Liszt man), at which age he also became the youngest pianist ever to sign an exclusive contract with an international classical label (EMI).

His second CD was of the complete Chopin Etudes (all 27), when he was 12.

Beat that! grin

(BTW, his recent Liszt CD is amazing.....)


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Varies greatly. Depending on how musically inclined one seems to be when they are younger, how hard they work, how good their teachers are, how lucky they get when it comes to landing professional gigs and making connections when they first get started, countless other factors that I don't even know of...

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Originally Posted by bennevis
Niu Niu started lessons with his father at 3, made his Wigmore Hall (London) debut aged 9, and played Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No.1 at the Royal Festival Hall aged 10 (conducted by his mentor, Leslie Howard the Liszt man), at which age he also became the youngest pianist ever to sign an exclusive contract with an international classical label (EMI).

His second CD was of the complete Chopin Etudes (all 27), when he was 12.

Beat that! grin

(BTW, his recent Liszt CD is amazing.....)


.....and by age 15 he was getting lukewarm reviews.....which, I suppose, meant he'd "really arrived" as a top concert pianist. grin

http://www.classical-scene.com/2012/09/22/niu-niu/


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A few days.

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Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could play what we want and when we want and never have to worry about earning a buck. I had 2 award winning college profs...funny seems they made their living teaching.

Maybe an analogy would be like catching the ring on a carousel....once you do it you always want to catch it.....so how many times do you actually have to go around?

Why won't the people with all the answers simply step up and make it easier on everyone else? Ha!

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Originally Posted by carey

.....and by age 15 he was getting lukewarm reviews.....which, I suppose, meant he'd "really arrived" as a top concert pianist. grin

http://www.classical-scene.com/2012/09/22/niu-niu/


I wasn't there, but I read another review of the same concert which was pretty positive. Once someone has come of age, some reviewers think it's time to knock 'em down.....

You should listen to him for yourself.


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Hence I wrote "typical". There will be some arriving early and others arriving late. E.g., Evgeny Kissin recorded at 15, while Gabriela Montero didn't sign with a major label (EMI) until she was 35. But the law of averages still holds true.


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It doesn't only depend on time and effort, but also on external factors.



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Originally Posted by peekay
Hence I wrote "typical". There will be some arriving early and others arriving late. E.g., Evgeny Kissin recorded at 15, while Gabriela Montero didn't sign with a major label (EMI) until she was 35. But the law of averages still holds true.

You wrote "typical", yes. But I'm not sure there's a "standard" deviation to which we can apply this ideal.

For example, if we have ten numbers, and "5" repeats 8 times, we can say that "5" is "typical" of that system. However, if we have ten numbers, and none of them repeat (or in a larger system, very few), it becomes increasingly difficult and usually meaningless to consider something "typical" of that system.

In another example, what is the "typical" brightness of the stars in the sky? This may actually be quantifiable, but I hadn't planned to stop at that question. wink The initial query asked about top concert pianists. Well, of all pianists, that is probably less than one hundredth of one percent. In terms of people, throughout history, and for which we have no objective data (recordings of Liszt, for example), this calculation would be the equivalent of asking what is the typical brightness of stars in one square foot of sky over the last three hundred years?

We can take into account a number of observable phenomena, and for those scientifically-minded folks, perhaps a number of calculations and data I am not aware of; but at the end of the day, the point is considerably moot.


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Ok, if you want to be that pedantic, I can play too... smile

Suppose, just for argument's sake, we define today's top (young) classical pianists as those satisfying all of the following:

1) has international prominence
2) has major classical recording(s) distributed by one of the major labels
3) is still performing publicly
4) is under 40 years of age

The age limit is because the original question implies "time and effort" for a "musically talented person" today, not 50 years ago.

Then, I would submit that both the average and median ages of these musicians' progress would follow along the lines of my first reply above. wink


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I think there is far less correlation between time/effort/talent and career success than most people realize. So much so that I think the original question is moot.


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Originally Posted by Kreisler
I think there is far less correlation between time/effort/talent and career success than most people realize. So much so that I think the original question is moot.

I would even argue that, at the "top international level", the element of luck is perhaps more important than ability. (I should probably amend "ability" with the implication that its presence is to be significantly differentiated among artists at that top level, so no one can chime in and say, "Then my four year old who just started playing yesterday..." etc etc.)


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Originally Posted by Bech
How long does it take a musically talented person to become an excellent concert pianist?


Can someone be an excellent concert pianist without playing concerts?


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I too believe "luck" can play a role, but can you give an example where pianists of equal ability and performance experience where one rockets to fame and the other remains in obscurity.

The "successful" one will say they created their own good luck, but I think personality type plays the largest role

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Originally Posted by Cinnamonbear

Can someone be an excellent concert pianist without playing concerts?


Practically speaking, no, because typically it takes many years of performing concerts, recitals & competitions at a high level before one can become an excellent concert pianist. (Excellence here judged at the top levels).

But there are other excellent pianists other than concert pianists.

And all this other stuff about "luck", etc., are irrelevant. The question is about the "time and effort" required to become a top concert pianist, not the 5000 other factors which must also come into play.


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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by carey

.....and by age 15 he was getting lukewarm reviews.....which, I suppose, meant he'd "really arrived" as a top concert pianist. grin

http://www.classical-scene.com/2012/09/22/niu-niu/


I wasn't there, but I read another review of the same concert which was pretty positive. Once someone has come of age, some reviewers think it's time to knock 'em down.....

You should listen to him for yourself.


But of course !!! Quite frankly, I always take everything I read or hear in the media with a BIG grain of salt. grin


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