I was recently in Indiana giving concerts and master classes at DePauw University followed by a master class at Indiana University in Bloomington. It was a tough program - not an easy one for the performer or the listener. Bartok- Out of doors, Liszt Sonata in B minor and after the interval some Ginastera- his earliest work for solo piano as well as his latest one, ending with the Sixth Sonata of Prokofiev. This was music I believed in and loved passionately. Truth be told, I never program any music that I don’t feel passionate about!
It was a joyful concert and my job as the performer was to just get out of the way so that the music could stand on its own and be appreciated by the wonderful audience who came to hear my recital at the Green Center.
Much to my pleasure, the message was received loud and clear - a good time was had by all. The complexity of the music in no way diminished the listener’s experience. Let me share with you the blog that the Dean of the School of Music wrote about the concert. http://dmarkmccoy.wordpress.com/2014/09/26/the-joy-of-barbara-nissman/
I don’t believe that I could have described the evening any better than Dean Marc McCoy did! He brought to everyone’s attention how essential joy is to music-making. If the performer isn’t enjoying himself, how can he expect the listener to have a joyful experience.
I do believe that when we walk on the stage we have a unique opportunity to inspire our audience. They come to concerts and expect to feel the magic of the moment. I’m not saying that it happens every night as a routine occurrence but when the magic happens, it sure is glorious and joyful. It is those moments that we work towards! And when they occur, we can feel the joy and smiles radiating from the composer perched on high- we do have a responsibility to clarify his music and bring it to life for the listener.
And that’s one reason why we keep chipping away at it- trying to get a little closer with every performance that we give. And what a joy and a privilege that is!!