Filtering by Category: Miscellaneous

Personal Authenticity in Entrepreneurial Activities

Added on by Greg Anderson.
Hi Greg,
I am a member of a Scottish Music Society and we are hoping to help young classical artists of great get their name in front of those that can help them launch their career. It seems to me a very crowded and ultra competitive market and that "mere" talent is a commodity. It is in the "other stuff" that positive differentiation has its best chance. I am considering doing videos for them in the vein that you have pioneered. Any advice? regards,
  - Keir Smart

Hi Keir,

I always cringe a little when I read messages like this, as if I made the Ligeti video to help my career -- or the Piazzolla, Mozart, or Moonlight videos -- or any of the videos for that matter (...besides the blatantly promotional Anderson & Roe promo video, of course)! These videos were inspired by an inner necessity: in the case of the Ligeti video, my desire to to make the angular, dissonant music relatable to non-classical audiences; in the case of the Piazzolla videos, to highlight the charged chemistry, the physical friction, and that element of danger so inherent in Piazzolla's tangos; in the case of the Mozart video, to visually communicate the joyful dialogue between the two piano parts; in the case of the Moonlight video, to inspire YouTube users to watch music performances from an aesthetic point of view and NOT a critical point of view. And knowing these videos would be watched by an inattentive, distracted audience, we presented the material very differently than we would have for an audience in a quiet auditorium.

All of that said, the videos have been extremely helpful in enhancing my solo and duo careers -- but I think people respond to the videos because they came from an honest place. Likewise, audiences react differently to authentic, honest music making than they do to insincere, self-promoting music making.

If you are helping young musicians start their careers, I advise you to try a different approach. Instead of starting backwards ("the videos worked for Greg, so let's make similar videos"), start from the foundation -- from the artist himself or herself. Find what really makes a musician tick, and go from there. Perhaps a pianist really loves the most serious repertoire -- a YouTube music video of Beethoven's "Hammerklavier" sonata would be a terrible idea because it's not suited to the medium; likewise, a showy Brahms hungarian dance music video would be a terrible idea because it wouldn't represent the artist. Rather, consider new ways to energize both the artist and the music he or she loves: perhaps the "Hammerklavier" would benefit from a different mode of performance. The piece is epic, and to think it existed within the mind of a deaf genius! What if you developed a mode of performance that emphasized Beethoven's isolation from the world ... and at that point in his life, his closeness to God? An empty church seems to perfectly capture that twisted sense of isolation and spiritual intensity. You could charge $5,000 for a single ticket to the performance, a one-on-one experience with the "Hammerklavier" -- the pianist and the sole audience member in an otherwise empty church. That could be pretty powerful.

Try considering a "new-music" advocate on for size instead. Pretend your artist wants to present a piano piece by Wuorinen. To me, his music sounds so haphazard and jagged; I could envision a wild concert experience in which the audience was in a warehouse. Imagine each person taking a couple shots (yes, of alcohol) at the start of the event (is there any other way to listen to Wuorinen??). Now imagine each audience member being given a huge canvas and materials (crayons, buckets of paint, wet cement, or whatever!) and some instructions. When the pianist begins performing the piece, the audience completely lets loose and creates individual (or communal) works of art as dictated by the piece of music. My canvas would look like a no-holds-barred explosion. This experience would be tremendously exciting and memorable! I'd literally be "living" Wuorinen's music, and I'd never listen to his music the same again. The piece performed by the pianist would be indelibly etched in my mind. I think it would have the power to be a profoundly moving artistic experience.

These ideas could enhance the communicative potential of the music, *and* they would probably generate a bit of publicity, which seems to be your goal. Consider this "ground-up" method, and see what you can construct for your artists!!

- Greg (Oct. 23, 2009)

Love Life

Added on by Greg Anderson.
Dear Greg,
My love life sucks. I haven't been on a date in over a year. I find the piano more interesting than any of the guys I've met lately. What should I do?
Desolate in Deutschland

Dear Desolate,

Good grief! I'm not a psychologist, nor do I pretend to be!

Regardless, I can offer you two bits of common sense. 1) Be authentic. If you'd rather interest yourself with the piano, no one's stopping you. If you'd rather be out on dates, get yourself out there. 2) The piano is there to enhance real life, not supplant it.

Now, if your some reason, you are intimating that pianists (myself included) are stuck in the practice room and have no love lives, I suggest you reconsider! "Us Weekly" could easily devote an entire issue to the torrid romantic records of the great pianists.

-Greg

Lime Light / Electric vs. Acoustic Pianos

Added on by Greg Anderson.
Dear Greg,
I was wondering how the lime light and how fans affect your piano playing and your day to day life. Like does the press and or fans ever make a big deal out of small meaningless things or issues unrelated to music that cause you to loose fans or for people to become more interested in the hoopla than your piano playing. I was just curious because my little cousin absolutly adores piano. I just started last year and am self taught, but I encouraged him to begin piano and he is inlove with the instrument. I'm genuinly impressed with his ability he picks up on things fast being able to see patterns in music right from the start. The hardest thing he can play at the moment is a simplifide version of Bach's toccata and fugue in D minor which excludes certain parts but I still had some trouble playing it. Anyway I wanted to ask you if people give you alot of attention or shit for things you don't want attention for or would prefer it not distracting from your skill since my cousin has a sensitivity issue where all of his nerves are hypersensitive so he cant wear certain cloths, be around certain noises ect (which may explain his versatility at piano with his really sensitive ear) and hes kinda shy about talking about his sensitivity issue. One more question. I am going to college this year and obviously can not afford the space or money for a piano in my dorm should I invest in a nice keyboard or would playing a half hour in a practice room every few days be enough to prevent my skill from atrophying.
 - Raiko

Dear Raiko,

I'll answer your easy question first -- if you can afford to buy a nice, weighted keyboard, go ahead! I love my Yamaha P90 and use it often. (This is the only time you'll hear me endorsing a non-Steinway piano.) :-)

The other question is interesting, but my response is similarly simple. Classical musicians do not suffer from the same sorts of celebrity invasion as pop musicians. Only rarely does anybody recognize me on the street. I can't imagine that strangers will start gossiping about your cousin's sex life or something similar (unless he becomes the next Martha Argerich).

Upon reflection... I suppose there are some whispers shared about Liz and me -- people are still trying to figure out the nature of our relationship. (I'm gay; she's straight; we're just good friends!) But we don't care what others think. We'd rather be our honest, authentic selves than try to shape the opinions of others. We'd rather direct our attention to more important matters -- giving a great performance! If extraneous details turn people off -- or bring in a crowd -- who cares! We're having a great time at the piano.

- Greg (October 23, 2009)

Booking

Added on by Greg Anderson.

Dear Greg,
Where can I inquire about performing in a piano recital?
 - Steve

Dear Steve,

I'm not entirely certain I understand your question, but I recommend you contact me through my Contact page to discuss your idea further. I usually perform my recitals as a soloist or with my piano duo partner Liz, but I'm always open to awesome ideas regarding collaboration.

Similarly, if you are interested in booking a concert, please contact my management via the Contact page.

- Greg

String Quartet

Added on by Greg Anderson.
Hey Greg,
My school has an athletic requirement which means I have to do two seasons of sports this year, but in the spring I'm doing an independant performing arts project. I'm so excited! I'm working on the Bach Concerto in F Minor S.1056. I wanted to do the entire concerto, but I may have to just do the first movement. Anyway, as far as accompianment goes, my teacher said I could either get a string quartet or another pianist. I would rather go with the strings, but I'm having a really hard time finding musicians for it. Should i settle with the piano accompianment? What do you think?
 - Caitie

Athletic requirements are a good thing! I'm all for Americans finding enjoyable ways to stay healthy!

You ask whether you should work with a piano accompanist or a string quartet. As a potential audience member, I would be more inclined to come to the concert if I saw you were playing with a string quartet. That said, if you can't find a string quartet, enjoy yourself with the piano accompaniment!

- Greg

Repertoire List

Added on by Greg Anderson.
Hi Greg,
I saw your amazing repertoire list and I just want to ask you this: 1. Are you able to play all these peaces any time when someone picks up a piece? 2. Do you need to prepare them all over again? 3. What is the repertoire list for if you anyway practice one program at the time?
 - Laurana

Dear Laurana,

The pieces on my repertoire list have been "field-tested;" this means that for any given work on the list, I've probably spent a great deal of time thinking about what the piece means to me, I've memorized it, performed it publicly, and worked out the technical kinks. I certainly can't play most of the works at the drop of a hat, but they usually come back to my fingers pretty quickly when I invest the proper energy into relearning them. In fact, I find that when I relearn a work, it somehow happens to feel markedly better than it did before; it's as if my mind had been practicing it all along.

I like to cater my programs to particular audiences, venues, and concert series, so it's rare that I trot the exact same recital program around with me from city to city. My repertoire list is mostly used by concert presenters when they make requests. I can always learn new music, but it's not reasonable to learn entirely new programs for every performance. The chamber and concerto repertoire lists are particularly helpful when events are planned last minute, such as when an immediate replacement is needed.

- Greg (May 10, 2009)

Single

Added on by Greg Anderson.
Dear Greg,
You're hot. So... the question is, are you single, as well?
 - Josh

Dear Josh,

Hehe. Josh, you're making me blush!

I am in a happy, wonderful, and amazing relationship with a man who continually exceeds my dreams. :-) While he isn't a professional musician, he is a pretty fine euphonium player! You can watch my husband-to-be and me perform Piazzolla's "Oblivion" together on this very website.

- Greg (Nov. 6, 2009)

Bio

Added on by Greg Anderson.
Hey Greg!
In your bio, you are described as a gifted musician who was able to tackle some very tough works in a matter of months within you're beginning. I ask, did that ability come from long hours of practice and dedication, or did it simply come to you?
 - Chad Aboukaram

Hi Chad,

The bio is playful and humorous, but it is true -- I devoured my teacher's first four years of piano study books in a few months.

Many concert pianists begin playing the piano at a very early age -- 3 or 4 years old. I began when I was 8 years of age: comparatively I was "old!" I believe that during those first months of study, I caught up with those who had started much earlier. It definitely came naturally to me; I wasn't practicing much longer than 30 minutes a day. By the time I was 9 I was learning at a more reasonable rate, even though I started practicing longer hours. I worked very, very hard -- long hours of "practice and dedication," as you say -- later in elementary school, high school, and college. Liz always refers to me as a "voracious practicer!"

- Greg (Oct. 25, 2009)