Pianist Menahem Pressler
A Conversation with Bruce Duffie
|Born in Magdeburg, Germany in 1923,
Menahem Pressler fled Nazi Germany in 1939 and emigrated to Israel. Pressler’s
world renowned career was launched after he was awarded first prize at the
Debussy International Piano Competition in San Francisco in 1946. This was
followed by his successful American debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra
under the baton of Maestro Eugene Ormandy. Since then, Pressler’s extensive
tours of North America and Europe have included performances with the orchestras
of New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Dallas, San Francisco, London,
Paris, Brussels, Oslo, Helsinki and many others.
After nearly a decade of an illustrious and praised solo career, the 1955
Berkshire Music Festival saw Menahem Pressler’s debut as a chamber musician,
where he appeared as pianist with the Beaux Arts Trio. This collaboration
quickly established Pressler’s reputation as one of the world’s most revered
chamber musicians. With Pressler at the Trio’s helm as the only pianist for
nearly 55 years, The New York Times described the Beaux Arts Trio as “in a
class by itself” and the Washington Post exclaimed that “since its founding
more than 50 years ago, the Beaux Arts Trio has become the gold standard for
trios throughout the world.” The 2007-2008 season was nothing short of bitter-sweet,
as violinist Daniel Hope, cellist Antonio Meneses and Menahem Pressler took
their final bows as The Beaux Arts Trio, which marked the end of one of the
most celebrated and revered chamber music careers of all time. What saw the
end of one artistic legacy also witnessed the beginning of another, as Pressler
continues to dazzle audiences throughout the world, both as piano soloist
and collaborating chamber musician, including performances with the Juilliard,
Emerson, American, and Cleveland Quartets, among many others. Of his recent
solo performance in Austria, Die Presse wrote: “he struck a tone that was
long believed lost already, a tone we perhaps last heard from Wilhelm Kempff.”
His upcoming solo concertizing engagements include performances with the
Berlin Philharmonic, the Orchestra de Paris and the Concertgebow Orchestra,
For nearly 60 years, Menahem Pressler has taught on the piano faculty at
the world-renowned Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where he currently
holds the rank of Distinguished Professor of Music as the Charles Webb Chair.
Equally as illustrious as his performing career, Professor Pressler has been
hailed as “Master Pedagogue” and has had prize-winning students in all of
the major international piano competitions, including the Queen Elizabeth,
Busoni, Rubenstein, Leeds and VanCliburn competitions among many others. His
former students grace the faculties of prestigious schools of music across
the world, and have become some of the most prominent and influential artist-teachers
today. In addition to teaching his private students at Indiana University,
he continuously presents master classes throughout the world, and continues
to serve on the jury of many major international piano competitions.
-- Part of the biography from
his Official Website
As with so many of my guests, Menahem Pressler was one whom I had
known and admired for a very long time. As performer of both solo and
trio repertoire, it was a special privilege to arrange a conversation with
him during his regular visit to the Ravinia Festival in June of 1996.
He knew that the chat would make its first appearance on WNIB, Classical 97
in Chicago, and he made reference to that at one point.
As usual, names which are links refer to my interviews elsewhere on my website.
Warm and affable, he welcomed me, and we got right to the business of speaking
about our mutually favorite subject . . . . . . . . .
Bruce Duffie: Aside from the obvious, what is
the difference between playing a solo recital and chamber music?
From the point of view of making music there’s actual no difference, because
if you make music, music is music is music. In chamber music you have
the advantage and disadvantage of having colleagues, the advantage being if
they are inventive and if they are alert and if they relate to you and you
relate to them. You get ideas, they get ideas, and this is a wonderful
interplay. When you play by yourself, you are the idea man and you have
to create that interplay. You are also the person who has to keep a
balance, like in chamber music, your right and left. There are many
things that are very similar, but then comes the question if you are capable
of continuously renewing your interest in the works you play. It’s obvious
that when you play as soloist, you cannot play that many programs.
When I go on tour with the Beaux Arts Trio, the most difficult thing is
carrying the music because we play so many different programs. That
is, in a way, difficult, because you have to rehearse them. But I have
played them so many times that I am a bit ahead of the game in that respect,
although I do rehearse. There isn’t a day that goes by when we are
together that we don’t rehearse, no matter how often we have played a certain
BD: There are
always the new ideas?
MP: There’s always
the search for them because you can never get deep enough into a score.
For Beethoven, or Brahms or Schumann or Schubert, you need to be a Beethoven
to go to the bottom of it.
BD: Is this what
makes a piece of music great, that you never do get to the bottom of it?
It is great, but you look for more and you find more. That’s what is
great. You hear a symphony of Beethoven that overwhelms you.
Then you study it, and it still overwhelms you. Then you perform it,
and it still overwhelms you. I don’t know if there will come a time
that it doesn’t... same for the Archduke
Trio or the Opus 111, or
any opus, actually, for that matter. It does not make anything smaller
when in Tchaikovsky the feelings are much more obvious than in Beethoven
and Schubert. But you have to refine them there, too, so that it will
have all that he expresses in terms of an artist, which he certainly was.
BD: When you’re
playing Beethoven or Tchaikovsky or Haydn or any of the composers, how much
is the composer and how much is the artist?
MP: If I could
give you the percentage, that would be good! [Laughs] No, there
is no such a thing as being able to give you a percentage. First of
all, and foremost, naturally, is the composer. The artist is nourished
and guided by the composer. The composer gives tempo markings, the composer gives dynamic
markings, the composer gives moments to wait. He does all of those things.
Now, do you wait that long or this long? That’s you. And if you
make a forte or a piano a little higher than usual, that’s
you. If the speed of an allegro
on a given night is faster, that’s you. So the artist does have a lot
of leeway, which is wonderful. That makes it possible for an audience
to hear the same work during a season four or five times and they may not
even recognize that work! [Laughs] That’s facetious, but they
will have the joy out of those different ways of getting to those points.
BD: There are
composers who sometimes say they don’t recognize their own works when they
true, too, and I will say there are composers I have met who are very insistent
that it’s absolutely the way they have written; there’s no other way to do
it. Then there are composers who will let you find your way into the
work, and use a point of view that you have found in relation to the work,
which is very, very nice to be able to do that.
BD: I would think
that would be best both for the work and the artist.
because the work has to live after the composer is long gone! I know
one composer who said he doesn’t like to end up on the ash heap of history.
We hope not.
BD: Who is it
that decides what is in the concert hall, and what is in the ash heap?
Is it the performer, the composer, the audience, the critics, the historians?
MP: First of
all, the composer writes the work. If a performer loves it, he’ll fight
for it. Right now I have in my mind a man who used to be my teacher,
a man by the name of Steuerman, who fell in love with the works of Schoenberg,
Webern, Berg at the time when it was not allowed and the people were running
away. But he loved it and continued to play it and continued to teach
it. It made its way because it found other people who loved to play
it. It found people who loved to listen to it.
BD: But it still
seems like those works are still finding their way.
They’re not as popular as Beethoven, but you will be amazed and surprised
how accepted some of them are. Bartók is now a classic composer.
You put him on a program and the public does not run away from it.
facetiously] If it’s cushioned between a Haydn and a Beethoven, perhaps.
MP: Now the radio
is talking! But in any case, if it is cushioned between a Haydn and
a Beethoven, why not? Wouldn’t you want to eat a wonderful, well-balanced
meal where the main dish is something that you’re looking forward to enjoying
with great relish? That’s the same in a program.
BD: Without mentioning
any names, are there works being written in the very recent past and even
today which are going to stand alongside Haydn, Beethoven, Bartók,
MP: I will tell
you the truth — we don’t know. The test of time will tell. It
has to inspire the next generation of young players, and an audience must
want to hear it. I hope there are, and it is our duty to give them the
time of the day, which means we have to play them.
BD: You have
got to give them a shot?
MP: Give them
a shot, absolutely. There is a recording of the Beaux Arts of three
works written for them and dedicated to us by Ned Rorem, George Rochberg and
David Baker, the jazz trio.
the Beaux Arts Trio collectively, and you individually, will receive scores
from composers. How do you decide, yes, we want to give this the time
and work on it, or no, we can’t afford the time and will let this go?
MP: We look at
it together, and if one person has a very strong idea that he thinks that
it’s worthwhile to look at, we will make a special effort. We played
a piece by Bruce Adolph, a young composer in New York, and actually it was
very well received in Australia two or three or four weeks ago when we were
BD: This is what
I’m trying to get at. What is it that makes you say, “Yes, we want to
give this a shot”?
MP: There were
two reasons for it. One was it was commissioned for us and written for
us, which is not yet the decisive point, but it’s at least the point at which
they brought us the piece. We looked at it, and when we played it through
we found that there were many lovely things in it. So we learned it,
and we played it, and played it with pleasure, actually. That is one
of the things. The other is that you do know some of the composers.
You meet them and you feel you know other work of that composer that you
like, so there could be something that will maybe interest you to look at
BD: So you know
they have done it, so they can do it?
MP: Yes, they
have some works that you liked in the past. Sometimes I wish a certain
composer had written a work and we could play it, but he didn’t. I
was just thinking of the composer Dutilleux, who wrote a wonderful sonata
for piano, and he wrote a string quartet for the Juilliard and wrote a violin
concerto for Stern.
I wished he had written a trio. I did ask him, but he’s a very slow
writer. Messiaen was supposed to write a concerto for us, but he died
before he could get to it.
BD: What advice do you have for someone who wants
to write for the piano trio?
MP: First of
all write a good piano part, which is very difficult, very difficult.
It’s a medium that is very difficult to conquer. Very few composers
really have conquered the piano trio. Haydn has conquered it because
his are mainly piano, but the ideas are so glorious. In Mozart, it’s
mainly piano and violin, and the cello is very little. Beethoven is
the first to be able to write for the three instruments like equals.
Someone who wrote perfectly for three instruments is Mendelssohn. One
of the finest writing for trio, really an instrument called trio, is the
first and second movement of the Ravel Trio.
It is perfection in balanced writing. Schubert’s
music is so heavenly, so balance-schmalance, it does not matter. [Laughs]
It is glorious!
BD: The cello
is just along for the ride?
MP: In Schubert?
No. He has these wonderful moments. But even so, it would have
been wonderful because the ideas, the melodies, are too beautiful for words.
It is carried that way. So if a composer today writes a trio, he has
to be able to understand the medium well so that his way of writing will create
a balance, so that the sound of a trio will live in it.
BD: Is there
a way of making sure that it’s not just a piano part with a couple of extra
instruments, rather just a teeny tiny orchestra?
MP: Well, you
see that. After all, when you do it as long as we have done it...
BD: I mean from
the composing standpoint.
MP: From the
composing standpoint he will have to see examples. It’s like learning
instrumentation. You can’t double a phrase. [Laughs]
BD: What about
the performers? You work with coaching young performers, and even older
performers, in the trio. What is it that makes playing in the trio so
unique, as opposed to, say, solo with orchestra?
MP: What is unique
in a trio is that the creative process can involve all three, or should involve
all three. So when you are present at a work being played, it should
be as if it was discovered just then. It’s new. It’s real, in
that sense. That is what we are after, what we look for. With
orchestra it’s more difficult. You would have to find a kindred soul
in the conductor, and he must want to be a kindred soul. You have to
find someone whose view of the world mirrors yours. Obviously, when
you are the soloist you have spent much more time with the work than a conductor
would have. But on the other hand, a great conductor will look at a
Beethoven concerto or a Brahms concerto and find what he feels is the right
way of doing it, and then to conglomerate it. An inspired performance
with orchestra can also result in the same kind of inspiration as a trio performance,
only it’s more difficult and it’s much more seldom.
BD: Is there
such a thing as a perfect performance?
MP: No, there
BD: I assume
though that you keep striving for one?
MP: Well, of
course. First of all you strive for your best. That doesn’t make
it perfect. You strive first. What is perfect? When a performance
can reach out and transmit the unique message that the composer has given
us, so that the work is still alive today as if it was written yesterday,
and you are able to transmit that message with inspiration, that would be
a perfect performance. When you speak of a note-perfect performance,
that in itself is not as laudable. Especially lately, when
I judge a competition, I heard some people play note-perfect, but no note
had a meaning.
BD: So it was
MP: In this case
you can’t even say it was cold. It was a foreign language to them, those
notes, as if you would speak French having written it down phonetically.
You would still not know what you’re saying, but you would say it.
It would sound a little bit like French, but a Frenchman would laugh.
He would not hear his language there. That’s what happens in music.
You hear this performance. They play the notes marvelously — fast and
loud and furious, and clean — and the message has somewhere
gotten lost by the time they played the music.
BD: So it’s all technique, then?
MP: It’s all
they have because to express music is also a technique. It’s not just
technique, per se. It’s a
facility. Technique means also that it does say the things the composer
intends to say, or that which makes that piece great, or that which makes
the piece still alive.
BD: In very general
terms, it is obvious that the technical abilities of the people coming along
has gotten higher.
BD: Has the musical
ability and the musical understanding gotten higher?
Rubinstein was the first to say that. He said it rather harshly.
He said the average has gone much higher, but the outstanding ones stayed
the same number, and there is a truth in that.
BD: That’s kind
of too bad.
MP: It is.
BD: Is this something
where you can you grab the people by the lapels and shake them a little?
MP: No, no.
It has nothing to do with them not wanting to. It has to do with the
size of the talent. That’s God-given great talent, with not that many
BD: There have
always been a few, so there’s the same number, just a few?
MP: The same
number, a few. The same elected few.
BD: Are there
are more trying to get into that group?
MP: Of course,
as there always used to be, but now even more so because the average has risen.
BD: Are you optimistic
about the future of music?
BD: Of performance?
MP: I don’t know
about performance, but of music, yes. I cannot believe that we can live
without it. Everybody judges what this means. I don’t feel I
would love living without music. Mind you, not just playing, but hearing
it, listening to it, filling my soul with its beauty, being refined by its
refinements, being happy by its message. So I can’t believe that there
will become a generation that will give it up. It’s true, it takes an
effort on part of the listeners. Maybe not as much as the player, but
it takes an effort as does everything worthwhile. People drink wine
and they get drunk, and those can be the cheapest wines. But the ones
who do develop a palate will know when they drink a very fine wine and savor
it on special occasions. The same is true with music.
BD: But it seems
that we have taken music from the special occasions and made it almost like
wallpaper. We have it in elevators and in the background everywhere.
Are we misusing music?
MP: Maybe to
some extent, but I can hear it in an elevator and I don’t hear it.
I will have to sit down and put on the radio and listen to it to enjoy it,
or if I am in my car enjoying it. When I go to a concert, I get dressed,
which means I also get in the mood. Then it’ll be a holiday for me,
sitting down to hear it.
* * *
BD: I want to
ask you about the instruments. You’re a pianist, so you can’t put your
instrument in a case and bring it with you. You’re at the mercy of
the concert venue. I assume there are wonderful tales and horror tales...
MP: Both, although lately I have better tales to
tell, because when the trio became better known we got better pianos.
BD: Is there
any difference in the piano that you would be given if you’re playing a solo
recital or if you’re playing a trio?
MP: That used
to be. When the trio was in its first year, we came onstage in Horton,
Kansas, and there was an upright piano. I said to the man, “Where is
the piano I’m playing in the concert?” He said,
“You play on this one.” I said, “Is this the piano all the soloists
play?” “No,” he says, “For a soloist we bring a grand piano, but for
an accompanist we bring this one.” [Both laugh] The following
season was the second season of the trio, and in the contract it stipulated
that the piano has to be as good as for solo pianist. But now it doesn’t
even have to say that in the contract. Now I do get as good a piano
as they have.
BD: Will any
piano trio now get that, or is it just the Beaux Arts Trio?
MP: No, no, no,
not any piano trio, because when you are not well known it is more difficult.
BD: [With a gentle
nudge] Should they all get the good pianos?
They ought to! Of course they should! It’s not only to honor them,
it’s to honor that concert. I must say that at the time we played in
Horton, Kansas, my two colleagues, Bernie Greenhouse and Daniel Guilet, both
had Stradivariuses. They brought Stradivarius’s violin and cello, and
I played an upright! [Laughs]
BD: When you
come to a new venue and you get a good piano, you sit down and warm up a
little bit. How long is it before that piano is yours?
MP: I can’t give
you a time limit. I cannot tell you how long it takes, but by having
as much experience as I have in playing different instruments, I have cut
down the time it takes. Also attitude plays a role. I don’t fight
the piano. I will try to see what is the best I can take out from it,
and play with what the piano has. I will not force it to play louder
than it can play. I will not force it to have a more beautiful melodic
sound than I can achieve of it. So once you accept it, that in itself
is already a big victory.
BD: So you really
have one more collaborator in the instrument?
Absolutely. I made one record where the piano on the record sounds so
beautiful! It’s the Dvořák Quintet and Quartet with the Emerson Quartet.
It’s a recent record, and it was recorded in New York by a man who has done
65 records for Rubinstein. So he knows the piano well. But he
has done it in a way that has not taken away strengths or beauty from the
strings. He just has the beautiful piano sound to listen to.
made recordings all through your career, both solo and all the trio recordings.
Do you play differently for the microphone than you do for the audience?
MP: Not really,
no. We try to play for the microphone like for the audience, which means
with the inspiration. The advantage of being in front of a mike is
that you can redo things, and now with digital, you can actually redo nearly
everything — I mean one note at one place. So you can really let yourself
go while recording it and play it with abandon because you’ve
always got another chance. That’s nice.
It’s that net under you. If one plays only for the right notes, for
cleanliness, you again will miss that which will instill in a listener the
desire to hear it again. It would be as if he had heard it once played
by a computer and that was that. [Laughs] You don’t have a desire.
There is that sense of nuance, the sense of... gentleness is not the right
word that I want to use. It’s that which we call, for the lack of a
better word, inspiration. That can be on a record, and it is very nice
when you have it on a record because you yourself can hear it. I’m
not in the habit of listening to my records because I’ve made too many of
them and I am living that very active life. But I’m
listening to your radio station when I am traveling, and very often I will
hear one of mine. If I can recognize certain things in it and I can
enjoy it, I feel rewarded because very often it reminds me. When I
do it I’m very, very critical, enormously so, and that
recording seems to me like taking a passport picture. You look at that
passport picture and you say, “That’s horrible!” It only needs a number
underneath and you could be a prisoner in any kind of a state prison!
Then five years later, when you have to take another passport picture, you
look at it, and you say, “You know, the old one wasn’t
bad at all.” [Laughs]
BD: I’m glad
to know you’re eventually pleased with the recordings.
MP: With many
of them, yes, indeed. They have just re-released on a less expensive
label our complete Haydn trios, and they really came out very well.
BD: Do you ever
feel that you’re competing against your recordings?
Always! And we compete with ourselves, too. I remember one time
we had an hour concert in Paris five days in a row. I said, “That’s
perfect, just an hour. We have the rest of the day and it’s the same
program all week, so it’s easy.”
BD: Five performances
of the same program?
MP: Yes, of the
same program. It was at the Hotel de la Ville. It was before a
play. They have a performance just for an hour between five and six,
and then the play begins at nine. The first night was a pleasure!
The second night we were playing against that first night. We felt we
had to do better, and the third night, we had to do even better. It
became excruciatingly difficult, because you always have the feeling you’re
playing in front of the same audience. So when you play the work, you’re
playing against yourself. You are the audience, and you’re very critical.
BD: Is there
ever a time that you put too much pressure on yourself?
MP: Yes, there
is a time. There is no perfect solution. There are solutions,
and some have to serve as perfect solutions, but like there is no perfect
performance, there is no perfect solution.
BD: Are the audiences
similar or different from Europe, to America, to Australia, the Middle East?
MP: They are
BD: How so?
MP: It’s difficult
to specifically tell you. Sometimes an audience is very, very showing
of its emotion, and you feel good about that. Then sometimes an audience
is not showing its emotion, and the applause is not that great, and you feel
unhappy about it.
BD: You feel
you’ve let them down?
You feel you haven’t succeeded. Then it turns out that the audience
where you thought you hadn’t succeeded, you get more letters. You find
that when you meet them they seem more deeply impressed. They carry
it longer. So you don’t always really know. I have found sometimes
when I walk off the stage and say, “Oh, tonight I just didn’t do well,” they
come back and say to me, “Tonight you really played beautifully.” And
sometimes I walk off a stage feeling that was good, and they say, “Tonight
you weren’t really in form.” So it happens.
It is that people look for different things.
* * *
come a long way in your career. You’ve been
soloist, chamber musician, teacher... Are you pleased to be at the
point in your career where you are now?
MP: Oh, yes. I’m very
grateful that I’m at this point. I also feel privileged
that God gave me longevity, the desire to play, the strength to
practice hard, still teach, still do all of those things. That’s a
great privilege, and I am grateful for it.
BD: How much
of an upheaval was it to change the members of the trio?
MP: It was an
upheaval, there’s no question about it. You have
to always get used to the new player, but it was, in a sense, less than I
expected, because somehow, when you are lucky and every one of the people
that you have had join you brought something to the group that enhanced it
in some other way, that was a very great positive. After Guilet came
Izzy Cohen. He’s a very fine musician, an excellent musician, and after
Bernie Greenhouse came Peter Wiley, a very fine cellist. It’s different.
I find that the Bernie Greenhouse sound is the most beautiful that I know
on the cello. And Ida Kavafian is, again, different than Guilet was,
than Izzy Cohen was, and now I have her as the colleague. But
she has many excellent and wonderful qualities.
BD: You were
there from the start?
MP: I was the
only pianist. They never played without me. There
was a concert sometimes without Bernie, who had a broken foot, and sometimes
without Izzy, who had something with his hand. But rain or shine,
the pianist was always there, hurting or not hurting.
BD: You played
the finger hurt or you have the grippe. Whatever it is, I was always
there on time to perform... [laughs] up to this point!
BD: Let me ask
what may be an indelicate question. Should the trio continue when you
MP: I don’t know.
I can’t answer that question.
BD: That’ll be
up to Ida and Peter?
MP: I don’t know
even if it will be up to them. The audience may not take that trio.
There are many trios right now, many, many trios.
BD: Too many?
MP: No, never
too many, because what you are looking for is a good one. There are
many trios, but the singular one, the Beaux Arts, has something that is always
special. Otherwise it wouldn’t have had the longevity it has.
It’s 41 years. That’s a feat.
BD: When was
the first concert?
of July, 1955. That’s a long time ago, and since that time, the heart
of the trio, the pianist, was the same.
BD: Was it a
difficult decision for you to essentially give up a solo career for the trio?
Yes and no, but I would say no. The trio had a singular career.
The first year there was always a struggle. There always are struggles,
but we had a special kind of a success to begin with, and continued with that.
We used to play some places each year. It doesn’t matter if that was
Ravinia or if that was any other, we would play one year and we would play
the next year. The audience, or the person in charge, or the critic
would ask us back, which is quite the unique experience.
BD: I assume it was much more difficult then.
Now a trio has the model of the Beaux Arts and a few others to stand on.
You were almost the pioneering.
because when we started, the chamber music societies didn’t want any trios.
They said, “Oh, it’s a poor man’s piano concerto,” or, “It’s an accompanist
for two strings.” That it could be a whole, that it could have a balance,
that it could have one point of view, at that time they weren’t
used to that. So we started, in that sense.
BD: You couldn’t
say, “Well, Beethoven didn’t think so; Haydn didn’t think so; Mendelssohn
didn’t think so.”
MP: That’s true.
I said it, but they wouldn’t listen... [laughs] until they heard us.
BD: So were your
first concerts essentially a substitute on a string quartet series?
MP: They mostly
were string quartets. Yes, very few trios. There was maybe one
concert for trio and we had to fight our way up to it. The first concerts
were mostly community concerts, although the very first one was at Tanglewood
— a Beethoven program.
a good place to start!
place to start. Charles Munch was the director, and he said, “As long
as I’m here, you play every year as an example.”
BD: Thank you
for being a pianist.
MP: Oh, thank
you. It was very kind. Thanks very much.
BD: I appreciate
your taking the time today. I’ve enjoyed your
performances and recordings for many years. I have a few of the very
old recordings... [At
this point I mentioned a few of the items (both old and new) which I had
on hand, and he started rattling off a few others.]
I have 30 solo LPs. For trio, we have over 125 works that I recorded
in the different groupings.
BD: [With a gentle
nudge] You never had any desire to play or record the 32 Beethoven sonatas?
Why not, if I was given the opportunity? [Laughs]
just have to clone yourself!
MP: No, you would
sit down and you would work. You would do this. Like this year,
delayed after that many years I had my Carnegie Hall debut as a solo pianist
on the 21st of February. I played in Carnegie Hall many times with the
New York Philharmonic, with the Philadelphia Orchestra, with the Royal Philharmonic,
with the Czechoslovakian Orchestra, with my trio, with the Emerson Quartet.
I’ve played there many, many times, but this was the first time as soloist.
BD: Did that
freak you out, as they say?
MP: It freaked
me out, and then it gave me the greatest thrill of my life. The hall
was sold out, and I was in my best form. I was freaked out to begin
with, but it ended up being very, very beautiful.
I wish you lots of continued success.
very kind. Thank you.
© 1996 Bruce Duffie
This conversation was recorded at the Ravinia Festival in Highland
Park, IL, on June 8, 1996. Portions were broadcast on WNIB in 2001,
on WNUR in 2012, and on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio also in 2012.
This transcription was made in 2015, and posted on this website at that
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed
and posted on this website, click here.
winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with
97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment
as a classical station in February of 2001.
His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and
journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series
on WNUR-FM, as
well as on Contemporary
Classical Internet Radio.
are invited to visit his website for more information
about his work, including selected transcripts
of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests.
He would also like to call your attention to the photos
and information about his grandfather,
who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago.
You may also send him E-Mail
with comments, questions and suggestions.