My third semester at the Hochschule für Musik Nürnberg is over, and I am looking back and reflecting upon my Nuremberg experiences on vacation now.
We are in the midst of a month of vacation here in Bavaria now; the “big” summer vacation starts later. Holidays in two installments suit me fine – even better than having one long summer vacation and two semesters of school almost uninterrupted. As it is, we get more time and opportunities to reflect on our first semester and make plans for the summer semester.
Nuremberg has of late impressed me with its friendliness. Over the year and a half since I started studying here, I have found several friends with whom I occasionally hang out, play sports and see concerts. Many of us are foreigners, so we always find it interesting and beneficial to get to know the ways and differences in terms of habits and traditions of different nations, including ones outside of Europe. Some relationships are like good friendships now; we help each other in our studies too, which helps us do better.
I have been quite busy in my major lately, and reaped some nice results too. On December 1, I played a concert dedicated to Franz Liszt, Hungarian piano virtuoso and composer ranked among the premier romanticists, together with several other pianists. We played his compositions, and our performances were complemented by an expert’s commentary on the pieces and the composer for laymen. The venue was a hall in Steingraeber-Haus in Bayreuth.
I also received a scholarship in early December from the Gesellschaft der Förderer der Hochschule für Musik in Nürnberg e.V., or, to be specific, its subsidiary Erna Köhler-Stiftung and Anny Kast-Stiftung foundations, in the form of a one-time monetary gift for excellent representation of the school and success in my major.
I was invited to play three concerts of the “Fantasy in Piano Literature” series, which included several concerts with this focus, on February 10, 11 and 18. Two of them took place in Munich (including in Munich’s Steinway-Haus) and one at our Musikhochschule in Nuremberg. The concerts were moderated, and we used musical performance, topical poetry readings, and commentaries to pull the listeners into the genre. The program included fantasy pieces for the piano from the period from the early to very late classicist era. The concerts met with great response from the audience thanks to the unusual format in which our music was complemented by the spoken word.
I was really happy about that. I think that nowadays, when interest in classical music may be overshadowed by the massive supply of various musical styles and even pseudo-styles, it is vital to make classical music more familiar to the listener; to help him to listen to it correctly and try to understand it. At that point, the interpreter’s contact with the audience can attract the listener to listen actively. The contact may take place only with the realization that the audience is present. A suitable prior introduction or commentary on the piece being played can be more than just making the concert more attractive: the comments can make the piece more familiar to the listener so that he can perceive it in historical context. They can get an idea of why, how and under what circumstances the piece was composed; and, what may be most interesting, how it appealed to the interpreter and made him to study and perform it.
I think often it’s everyone’s subjective perception that makes music and interpreting it so interesting. I try to get opinions on my interpretations of the pieces that I am working on from as many good critics as possible, and from my teachers, whom I see regularly, and to evaluate them for myself. I want to be satisfied with my rendition and to make it convincing and comprehensible for others.
So let me hope that everything will go on well with my studies. I am grateful for this opportunity.
As I near the end of my undergraduate studies, I would like to dedicate a blog to what has shaped me perhaps the most during my time here - and I'm not referring to the invaluable professors or internships I've written about on this blog, but to life in the Newman House Chaplaincy.
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