Paradox of Private v. Public Life of Performers

As a performer, I have always struggled with the dichotomy of cherishing my private life, being able to practice and think, walking with dogs, riding horses, tending animals and gardens, and keeping my thoughts to myself versus the intense desire to perform, share knowledge and skill as a teacher, and to compose, write, and speak about music. The face that I wear for performance, the interaction needed for rehearsals, and total removal of myself and my feelings from a lesson, where the student’s time takes top priority, collides with the intensity of feeling which I may have, a wish to express and share everything about a composition in a way that is extremely personal. I think all musicians face the challenge of honoring a composers intentions, respecting colleagues and students, valuing the time and attention of an audience. The true irony comes from living a life of extreme isolation in order to fulfill a musical career, a calling even, which is by definition extremely public. The last couple of years have been filled with extreme isolation. This time has given me new focus and resolution for long term goals, as well as teaching me patience, and the value of solitude. I see this in the lives of many composers and performers, but perhaps no one quite so much as Glen Gould. I think most musicians would agree that he completely redefined Bach, exemplified both efficiency and expression, as well as power and ease in his technique. This video goes to the heart of the inner world of a performer, which Glen Gould called “musical distancing… a shelter from the distractions of the world”, and I have used this as inspiration to take advantage of solitude, surround myself with music, beauty, nature, and disregard the petty concerns of media, politicians, and human beings that bring negative energy into our lives rather than solutions, peace, knowledge, beauty, love, and respect. I love that Glen Gould stuck to his guns, so to speak, about what he wanted as a performer, and the extreme amounts of time he spent alone, his ability to re-evaluate his own technique in every phase of his career, and his commitment to learning and improving. This video contains wonderful excerpts of his playing, some fantastic interviews, and insights from his contemporaries. Enjoy it, and take the time to do your own google search of his performances. They do not disappoint!

Karine Stone