“Review: Beyond the Practice Room”
May 15, 2007
By Bonnie Jo Dopp
Piano competitions are noxious to many, but the New York Piano Competition held by the Stecher & Horowitz Foundation for teenagers from 14 through 18 may be the kindest, gentlest version of them all. Once in the competition, no one is “eliminated.” The point is to let everyone have as many performance opportunities as possible. The performer judges give master lessons, while competitors are required to cooperate in teams of two at one keyboard to create “ensemble” four-hand playing seemingly controlled by one musical mind.
Via interviews, bits of performances, and more, Bruell’s film, made during the 2004 competition with the cooperation of the Stecher & Horowitz Foundation, puts a positive spin on questions relating to parental pushing, general education for young musicians who must practice six hours or more daily, the youngsters’ view of their talent, and the importance of getting music in performance to sound “beyond” how it does in “the practice room.”
Prizes are awarded in the end, but the main idea, as stated, is, “Everybody’s a winner.” Of interest mainly to serious young musicians and their parents and teachers.
Beyond the Practice Room. color & b/w. 56 min. Lucy Bruell, Stecher & Horowitz Fdn., 119 W. 57th St., Suite 1401, New York, NY 10019; 212-581-8380; www.stecherandhorowitz.org. DVD $19.95 + $3 s/h. MUSIC