by Shai Wosner April 30th, 2009

Same Program, Different Audience

Shai Wosner with Colin Currie, Christian Tetzlaff and Soovin Kim on Tour with BBT 2006 Is there a difference whether playing Debussy in Paris or in New York? The qualities in Debussy’s music transcend time and place so if there is a difference, it has more to do with the piano or the hall but not necessarily the city (although it’s always nice to have an excuse to be in Paris, of course). Recently, after having played a recital program in several American and European cities, I found myself thinking about audiences. Not that one doesn’t think of the audience during the concert – in a way, it would be unnatural to completely ignore it. Clearly not all audiences are the same. As much as one would like to avoid pop psychology it is fascinating to pause and think sometimes whether there is such a thing as a European musical sensibility or an American one. But this recent experience was also a reminder how misleading generalizations can be and that an audience can be just as likely to absorb Debussy with the concentration that his music demands and with equal intent and appreciation for his genius, whether in a small town in South Carolina or in the 7th Arrondissement.

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