Anne Midgette weighs in on the discussion over on her blog The Classical Beat:
I do think it’s unfortunate, though, when there’s no sense of a
person behind the playing. Classical music can suffer from a sense of
entitlement: there’s an idea that the music is so great it’s enough
just to play it, and everyone should be in awe. Yes: the music is that
great. That’s precisely why the performer has to work so hard to delve
into it, to bring it across, to make it more than merely notes executed
well. (The same thing, incidentally, holds true of reviews: in an ideal
world they should be more than merely obedient reports.) As for the
extra-musical aspect: historically, audiences have always been hugely
interested in the figure of the performer on a personal level. To say
that this aspect should be off-limits, or is not relevant, is to draw
an artificial boundary.
But how far, in our age of media saturation, do you go? Are people in Washington this month going to be more likely to go hear Jeremy Denk if they read his blog (they should!), or Augustin Hadelich if they know he was badly burned in a house fire when he was in his teens, or Anne Schwanewilms if they know that she was involved in the story of Deborah Voigt and the little black dress?
Even more to the point, for marketers: How do you distinguish Garrick
Ohlsson from Emanuel Ax in the season brochure in a way that would help
a first-time ticket buyer to understand which of the two he might
rather hear? (That question is usually answered, in practice, with the
egregious overuse of terms like “great,” or “leading pianist of his
Click here for Anne’s entire Smart-and-Good-As-Always post.