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New York’s piano healer has died

Dorothy Taubman, founder of the Taubman Institute and teacher to innumerable pianists, died this morning at the age of 94, her students report.

Aside from teaching piano, she specialised in remedial work, helping pianists to recover from injury and helping physicians to address the causes of repetitive strain injury. ’Blaming the instrument,’ she once said, ‘is like saying that writer’s cramp is caused by the pencil.’

May she rest in peace.

 

.dorothy taubman

Nina Tichman writes: The greatest tribute to Mrs. Taubman (I could never bring myself to call her Dorothy, as many of her students did) is first of all that pianists and musicians in general are so very much more aware of good usage at the instrument – I consider this a direct result of her untiring campaign to educate us all! Another overwhelming gift for those of us intuitive performers who studied with her was that we learned how to THINK about how to physically play, to UNDERSTAND how to solve problems – after this it was a logical step that most of us became fanatically dedicated teachers.

Beth Levin writes: Dorothy Taubman was a life changing teacher. I came to her after Rudolf Serkin and Leonard Shure and found her musicianship as revolutionary as it was refined. I don’t think I ever learned so much as in that hour or two once a week at her apartment on 8th Avenue in Brooklyn..

She taught about the piano but she taught about art, life, love – the real stuff of making music.

I have a recording that came out yesterday of the final three Beethoven sonatas. Dorothy’s teaching is infused in every phrase I’m sure.

Here is the funeral information:

Friday at 11:00

Gramercy Park Memorial Chapel
353 Second Ave
NY, NY 10010
212-477-6334
 dorothy taubman1

 

 

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Comments

  1. Rich Ruttenberg says:

    Thank you so much for posting this film! I’ve seen parts of it before, but it’s always inspiring. I’m also a beneficiary of Dorothy Taubman’s brilliance through my teacher on the West Coast, Marc Steiner, and it’s absolutely revolutionized the way I play. I remember after studying with Marc for awhile I had an epiphany one day, and came into the next lesson to tell him, “I realized if it isn’t easy, I’m not doing it right.”

  2. Sondra Tammam says:

    Dorothy Taubman had the unique ability to merge the intellectual and spiritual with the “how to” in playing the piano. Dorothy knew that her talent was to research and explore. Her innovative concepts will continue to enable pianists to find answers.
    Mrs. Taubman was an inspiration to all of those who knew her. I was so fortunate to have her as my mentor, teacher, and friend for over 30 years.She will be greatly missed.

  3. Robbie Russell says:

    This is such a wonderful youtube clip and she was obviously an amazing human wow i wish i had the chance to meet her….

  4. Mati Braun says:

    II have met her and attended a few Masterclasses. They were impressive.

  5. Philip Gossett says:

    I was a piano student of Dorothy Taubman’s for a year, an experience that I have never forgotten. Although I am not a pianist, I can say honestly that the time of working with her has stayed with me all my musicological life .

  6. Keith McCarthy says:

    Norman,

    Thanks very much for posting this clip of Dorothy Taubman. I am not a pianist but had heard her name mentioned reverentially in various far-flung places, and it is such a pleasure to actually see her in action. Now I know what all the fuss was about. She was a giant.

  7. Sandy Tabachnick says:

    Norman, thanks for posting. information on Mrs. Taubman.

    Studying at the Taubman Institute at Amherst College back in the 1990s was a life changing musical experience for me. Many have credited Dorothy for helping them with the technical aspects of piano playing – how to play leaps and fast passage work efficiently and comfortably. – and she was certainly a master at teaching that. But she helped me with a different issue – putting emotional content in my slow playing. After working with her, I was able to play the lovely slow movement of Mozart’s piano sonata K. 330 in a way that I’m sure I couldn’t have done without her. I certainly will miss her presence in the world.

  8. “Choreography of the Hands” is the intriguing title of a series of youtube clips about DT’s life and technique. I was wondering if this were a new or idiocyncratic way of approaching the piano and if I really did miss something over the years, but the explanations stopped short of giving out substantial information.
    What I was able to catch seemed to resonate with “On Piano Playing” by Gyorgy Sandor with the use of rotation in the forearms, not distoring the hand with the thumbs under and essentially the hands confronting the piano in a straight manner and not at angles.
    There were the miracle endorsements, one by a fellow who had to wait for a year before being accepted and whose problem was solved in two sessions but worked another half year with her perhaps to clench it.
    It’s possible that same ideas are taught by various teachers but it’s the way they are articutated does the trick. And by now, the isolation of fingers at the piano a la Czerny has been more or less discredited.
    She also seemed to be an excellent musican and nice person besides.

    • I wanted to know more about the technique so searched up a few links. Here is one:
      http://reviews.pianotechnique.org/dorothy-taubman-piano-technique.php
      I suspected that Chopinian legato might be something to be frowned upon as the hands must be other than straight at the piano to achieve it. Also rotation on every note seems impossible at fast speeds.
      Juset wondering…

      • laguna_greg says:

        cabbage,

        That link you posted , pianotechnique.org, is written by a self-promoting crank who 1- never studied or understood the method, and 2- manages to misstate human anatomy and physiology in every thing they write on that web site and their self-published books. They obviously know nothing about either subject and should be disregarded.

        The fact is that forearm rotation, coupled with in-and-out and shaping, facilitates speed and makes it possible. But you’d have to have mastered the entire method to understand how that works, not just the parts people find unreasonable. For those of us who went to the trouble to learn Mrs. Taubman’s method, we understand just how freeing that is. Our playing reflects that, generally. For those who criticize without having studied the method, their opinions are worthless.

        As far as legato is concerned, the traditional models of technique actually make it difficult if not impossible to achieve a true legato sound. Which is why most kids at conservatory don’t sound legato. They are diligently doing what their hide-bound teachers tell them to do, and the results betray the methods taught.

        Instead of citing the ignorant critics, why don’t you watch the Taubman videos available to form an opinion? Just saying…

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