Piano Exams 2019



    主持人:Warren Lee 李偉安

    I recall being a confused teenager, confined in the solitude of a practice room in a boarding school in countryside England, asking this very question: what is my role in this business of performing music? Music students spend years taking lessons from their teachers, who see it as their duty to drill their students on the minutest details in the music, much the same way as I do in the broadcasts of Piano Exams on air. Students are supposed to obey, follow, and execute one instruction after another. Isn’t it the purpose, then, for performers to be the perfect vehicles for composers, to look for what exactly they had wanted, and to express their feelings on their behalf? That would put performers in an inferior position, and that did not sit well with me back then. What troubled me more in my soul-searching is that teachers often ask students to be ‘expressive’ with their playing. And so, I decided to ask my teacher with an air of sarcasm, “Is a piece of music a vehicle for us to express my feelings instead of the composer’s?” My question, and more so, the sarcasm, was met with a frown! Of course, neither extremes could stand the test of a debate, and it is my job to find the happy medium. And over the years gone by, I continued to debate internally and resorted to literature and words of wisdom shared by great musicians. I have finally come up with a definition that leaves me satisfied, and which I’d like to share with you here: “The ultimate goal of the performer is to communicate what he or she believes and understands the composers wanted and intended when he or she conceived the music. That understanding will be a unique one - though never too far apart among the informed musicians – subject to time and place in history, cultural background, education, personal experience, and the likes. Such infinite possibilities are indeed the beauty of this art form arising from this ‘marriage’ between composer and performer.” Developing a sense of understanding of the music is therefore what makes a live performance by a performer interesting and worth our while. Understanding music is a lifelong occupation for us, which encompasses and integrates the different aspects of music – theoretical, historical, and aural – into the interpretation of it. That is the very journey that I will take you on over the 13 episodes of Piano Exams. If it were up to me the title of the show should encompass that vision: the more grandeur and artistic title should be, Interpreting Great Music from the ABRSM Piano Syllabus. Whether you are a tip-seeking exam-taker or a curious music lover, tune in to my show and join me in interpreting great music!

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