Wednesday, April 18, 2007

With kids like this, there's some sort of future for classical music

The eminent pianist, scholar, and author Charles Rosen was on the DePauw campus this past weekend to give a lecture and recital. Nearly 80, he plays beautifully and more important interestingly, and once warmed up continues to have amazing technical facility.

The lecture was, to me, fascinating, and to some others difficult to follow, if nevertheless impressive. Rosen speaks without notes, and goes off on plenty of tangents. He often sat down at the piano and illustrated passages from the keyboard literature, symphonies, and operas. I wasn't sure how many of the students, including a few local high-school students and some visiting campus for our annual piano competition for high-school students would sustain interest during the more esoteric portions of the lecture.

At the following evening's recital, a young friend (16 0r 17) came up to me before the recital and told me how exciting and inspiring the talk was. And he doesn't play piano (much, anyway), he sings. "Ah," I warned him, "you are talking like a music major."

I've seen this guy grow up. Seeing him become enthralled with classical music over the last year or so has been a joy. When it grabs you, it grabs you.

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