Behind the scenes

132 Posts
My Arizona Bow
Vacations can pose dilemmas for musicians. Travelling with instruments and our children in tow has its challenges. Carrying a cello is hard enough without having to watch one’s child in crowded airports. On one of my trips to Toronto to
Read more
Pregnancy, Motherhood, and Playing Music
Mahler: Symphony No.1, Titan When I began playing in an orchestra I found it quite challenging, even though I had grown up hearing my father practice and racing with his cello to engagements. (My father played in the Toronto Symphony
Read more
The Dangers of Speaking to the Press
The opera Pagliacci (Clowns) made Ruggero Leoncavallo (1857-1919) a household name, and it remains one of the most popular works in the repertory. After it premiered in 1892, this dramatic tale of love, betrayal and eventual murder enthused audiences the
Read more
Dorothy Taubman
Helping Pianists Play with Ease and Freedom
The “no pain no gain” attitude persists amongst musicians as well as sportspeople, yet playing with pain, and through pain, can be potentially very harmful to the musician’s body. In the pursuit of artistry, we often forget the significant role
Read more
The Winner by Technical Knockout
Ignacy Paderewski
Ignacy Paderewski (1860-1941) was one of the most striking musical celebrities of his time. He combined beautiful and elegant pianism with a magnetic personality and was called “A resurrected Chopin” soon after his debut in Paris. Women were crazy about
Read more
Millie and Christine McCoy
The Two-Headed Nightingale
When the singing sensation Jenny Lind disembarked from the steamship “Atlantic” to begin her American tour on 1 September 1850, roughly 30,000 onlookers had gathered around the waterfront to catch a glimpse of the Swedish opera star. Her American promoter
Read more
Ignace Tiegerman: The Lost Legend of Cairo
Vladimir Horowitz identified him as the only rival he ever feared, and Ignaz Friedman called him “the greatest talent I ever worked with.” Not to be outdone, the author and literary scholar Edward Said privately suggested, “Despite later music studies
Read more
The Sorrows of Angelica Catalani
For almost 3 decades, Angelica Catalani (1780-1849) commanded the operatic stages of Europe. Her powerful soprano voice nearly covered three octaves in range, and it has been suggested “no singer ever surpassed her in chromatic scales, whether in velocity or
Read more