Tonight was the second concert of three for the all-Beethoven cycle we are playing. Justine and I performed at the Wanaka Centre in the heart of the city of Wanaka for an audience of approximately 230 people. This was the longest of our three programs, with four sonatas on it: numbers 2, 3, 7 and 8. The program was very well-received and I enjoyed meeting many enthusiastic Beethoven-lovers afterwards.
When I was an undergraduate student at Oberlin, I had the good fortune to spend a summer at Kneisel Hall, a chamber music festival in rural Maine. I played amazing repertoire with some wonderful players, and had some unforgettable coaches, but tonight I am particularly remembering Ron Copes. He was a deeply impactful teacher and had the ability to really get to the heart of what each chamber music group wanted to do musically. I remember his kindness, his work ethic (he practiced in the mornings quite early, before the rest of us got up to go to breakfast), and I remember his artistry.
Because Kneisel Hall was such a small festival and lasted seven weeks, we had a lot of interaction with our coaches and were able to benefit a great deal from their expertise and insight. I remember talking to Ron about struggles I was experiencing with the process of performing and he listened attentively, then smiled and said only two words: "Trust yourself."
I have thought about those words many times over the intervening years.
"Trust yourself." Performing a concert involves a lot of trust. Trust in yourself: in your own abilities. Trust in the other person on stage: that what we did in rehearsal will hold for the performance and that we will adapt with each other. Trust in the instrument you are playing: that it will respond as it did in rehearsal. Trust in the audience: that they are there to enjoy the music. Trust the process: that the amount of rehearsal and preparation you have done was enough. Trust the composer: that the music will speak for itself in a performance..
Tonight's concert was a good reminder of the importance of trust. This is a big project. We have worked hard to prepare. Performing is a process of letting go and trusting the result. I feel we were in many ways successful at that tonight. But now it is time to change gears and think ahead to tomorrow's 6:00 pm concert in Queenstown: Sonatas 4, 5 and 10.
Here are some photos from tonight: