SEPTEMBER 2013 NEWSLETTER

Do you know the one about the 5 pianos?

I don't either. (I made it up.) But I do know about the 5 or more competing tasks I try to juggle at any one time, despite my most earnest attempts at doing things sequentially. And I know that of the 5 things, only one ends up being done on time and right, the other 4 taking inordinately longer and piecemeal. Do you recognize this?

What prompted this train of thought was a documentary I just saw about time and attention, about multitasking, about its deleterious effect on our relationships, about getting sick from the stress. All of us inhabit the world "the interstices of mind-wandering" (William James, 1842 - 1919). That is a simple fact. But would it not be a relief to find the space of attention where thoughts can fully exist, and even past that, where they cease to exist?

In the Japanese tradition of archery, there are various forms of practice. One is repetition through which the technique is personified in one's own shooting. It is called kazu geiko.

When you learn to play piano, you repeat the same scale over and over, slowly, fast, with different intonations, with both hands sequentially, with hands in opposite direction. Again. Again.... And even after you have played on the biggest concert stages, your warm-up still includes scales. Again. And again. Kazu geiko.

Thus the musician builds his well of technique that gives him the freedom to let go of the notes, play the music, to create the space where thought ceases, even if only for a moment. It is in that space we, the audience, can find respite from filling every minute of the day with tasks. If we are willing to enter that dimension, our time ceases and we can share the moment together, at once fully engaged and still at the same time.

The one with the 2 pianos.

I invite you to enter that space in our upcoming season.

We are presenting the next generation of piano duo stars, in four different venues, programatically exploring different aspects of the literature, from the classical masters to 21st century masters, from masters of jazz to the, yes, masters of hip hop.

The young artists, whom many of you saw during the competition, have all dedicated themselves to their practice. We tend to think of practice as an intermediate step towards mastery, but if we think of it in the manner of the archer, it becomes a fulfillment of one's commitment to that art. Yuka Yamamoto wrote this to me: やるだけのことはやったので、一つ一つの本番を丁寧に、そして楽しくできればと考えていた。
"We knew we had done everything we could possibly do in preparation, so all that remained was to play each piece as conscientiously as possible and try to enjoy ourselves."

I hope you will join us in this exciting new season.

Warmt regards!

Gabriele Fiorentino


 
 

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