Future episodes include Vladimir Ashkenazy, Matthias Pintscher, Marc-André Hamelin, Jen-Yves Thibaudet, Nadine Sierra, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, Eric Owens, Robin Ticciatti, and many more exciting guests -- stay tuned!
“Entering a competition is like going to a 7-11 and buying a lottery ticket.”
Distinguished pianist Emanuel Ax won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition, the Avery Fisher Prize, and several Grammy awards, and has been a Sony Classical exclusive recording artist since 1987. He has had works written for him by John Adams, Christopher Rouse, Krzysztof Penderecki, Bright Sheng, and Melinda Wagner, and as teacher, performer, and recording artist receives uniform praise throughout the world. During a visit to Zsolt's Cleveland home, the irresistibly charming maestro chats about competitions, practicing, and finding a zone for balanced living. (Episode 56)
“I attracted what I was looking for. I exuded what I wanted to happen.”
Zuill Bailey is a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, professor, artistic director, and sometime actor (as seen on the HBO series Oz and NBC's Homicide). He talks with us about taking up the cello as a child; a transcendent and life-changing moment on stage; making a living as a musician; finding an instrument and artistic voice; and what he's learned from the recording process. (Episode 22)
"Historically, violinists have been gamblers... My mother, my sisters, and I, we all have the gambling bug."
Joshua Bell is one of the most celebrated violinists of his era. His restless curiosity, passion, and multi-faceted musical interests have earned him the rare title of "classical music superstar." Recently named the Music Director of the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Bell is the first person to hold this post since Sir Neville Marriner formed the orchestra in 1958. (Episode 16)
A living legend, immortalized in Philip Roth's novel "The Human Stain": "He crushes it. He doesn't let that piano conceal a thing. Whatever's in there is going to come out, and come out with its hands in the air. And when it does, everything there out in the open, the last of the last pulsation, he himself gets up and goes, leaving behind him our redemption. With a jaunty wave, he is suddenly gone, and though he takes all his fire off with him like no less a force than Prometheus, our own lives now seem inextinguishable. Nobody is dying, nobody – not if Bronfman has anything to say about it." (Episode 40)
“My career was mostly motivated by fear.”
Susan Graham joins us for a candid look at her life and storied career, and shares her insights into the world of the singer. She describes her "Leave it to Beaver" upbringing in Texas and how she made the shift from Broadway tunes to the world of opera. With humorous anecdotes, she gives insights into her relationship with her audiences, the music she sings, and how she could have never foreseen the success she later found. (Episode 46)
“You really cannot make any progress if you’re not okay with yourself. You can’t make progress until you let yourself sound like you.”
Grammy-winning singer Nathan Gunn has made a reputation around the world as one of the most exciting and in-demand baritones of the day and has appeared with the world's major opera houses and orchestras. He opens up about the world and magic of stage, the psychology and survival of the performer, the musician's breaking free financially, and breaking down barriers in every sense. (Episode 20)
“You get to a certain age when you don’t care so much what people think about you... and that’s one of the great things about getting older.”
Filmed in Steinway Hall in NYC, polymath pianist Stephen Hough describes his diverse creative projects, the importance of making a positive impression, the non-linear progress of learning, and how to deal with success and failure. Hough emphasizes the influence of his teacher Gordon Green, performance psychology, the artist’s role as an outsider, and his own perspective on the state of human rights in the world. (Episode 9)
“My career didn’t really start to take off until I was thirty. I was by no means a prodigy.”
Acclaimed worldwide for his profound musicianship and technical mastery, British cellist Steven Isserlis enjoys a distinguished career as a soloist, chamber musician, educator, author and broadcaster. The recipient of many awards, Steven Isserlis’s honors include a CBE in recognition of his services to music, and the Schumann Prize of the City of Zwickau. He is also one of only two living cellists featured in Gramophone’s Hall of Fame.
“Nervousness is a threat to the self — but if it’s not about the self, there is no threat to it.”
Award-winning violin soloist, recording artist, and born motivational speaker Rachel Barton Pine has appeared regularly with the world's major orchestra's ever since her first appearance with the Chicago Symphony at age ten. Embodying her message of hope and passionate living, her appearance on Living the Classical Life begins with a performance of J.S. Bach's D Minor Partita and continues with a discussion about the art of practicing, overcoming adversity and motivational slumps, and the pursuit of all corners of the musical life. (Episode 30)
“Establishing closer connection to the music... your fingers go directly from your heart.”
Extraordinary young piano phenomenon Daniil Trifonov describes his workday and methods while demonstrating from his repertoire. He discusses the importance of isolation in musical discovery, his experiments with sound and emotional impulse in practice, and shares some unusual methods of practice to illuminate the creation of authentic musical performances. (Episode 10)
“I don’t try to reel my audience in — I try to reel myself in.”
In one of our most emotionally revealing interviews, American operatic soprano Deborah Voigt opens up about her long and acclaimed career. She discusses performance psychology, acting, the difficulty of maintaining relationships while on the road, and speaks candidly about her struggle with addiction and weight loss. (Episode 39)
“Life... music and what I do... has to be intermixed, has to be together... or else I feel like I’m not alive.”
In an unusually intimate portrait, young piano superstar Yuja Wang speaks of her life and work, demonstrating by musical examples throughout—including a staggering and delightful rendition of an Art Tatum arrangement of “Tea for Two.” She describes her musical aspirations in contrast with audience perceptions, the value of practicing and not practicing, learning and relearning a piece, and the importance of struggle for musical results. She ends the interview with a touching tribute to the late Claudio Abbado. (Episode 14)