Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. The question today is, “Do Concert Pianists Have to Keep Learning New Music?” You would think after decades of performing concerts, artists would have enough repertoire to last a lifetime. I grew up around my father, Morton Estrin, who was a concert pianist. He would be aghast when one of his colleagues was playing a New York recital without new repertoire. He would say, “My goodness, that’s the same program they played for their graduate recital at Juilliard 20 years ago!” My father was a firm believer in constantly expanding his repertoire. In fact, it wasn’t until he was in his eighties that he learned the complete Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, which he then performed at Hofstra University Playhouse.
Concert pianists continue learning new music for their entire careers.
My teacher, Ruth Slenczynska, who you may have seen in the interview here on LivingPianos.com and YouTube, is also a spectacular pianist. She started concertizing at the age of 4! She studied with some of the most luminary pianists of the 20th century, including Rachmaninoff, Schnabel to Cortot and Hoffmann.
At 97 years old, she’s still performing and recording. And yes, she’s learning new music!
Why is it so important to continue expanding your repertoire?
In life, you’re either growing or you’re dying. You must constantly explore new avenues. Never give up your curiosity! As a pianist, you constantly expand your repertoire. This is how you grow as a musician and remain vibrant and vital in this world. In that spirit, I’ve been learning some new pieces lately, and I thought I’d share with you an absolutely stupendous piece of music I’ve always loved, Chopin’s Fantasy in F minor. My father’s first recording in the 1950s for Fantasy Records was of the complete Chopin Ballads and the Fantasy in F minor. So I’m thrilled to share this performance with you!
It’s a pleasure to learn new music!
It’s exciting to explore great works like this! The remarkable thing about piano repertoire is that it’s virtually endless. There’s more great piano music out there than anyone could possibly tackle in a lifetime. The other great thing about piano repertoire is that not all pieces are that difficult. There are pieces of Chopin and dozens of other composers that are very accessible. So no matter what level you’re on, whether you’re a seasoned concert pianist, or just starting out, always learn new music! It enriches your life, and it’s good for your soul! Thanks again for joining me, Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Resource.
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