The difference between Carnegie Hall and the Bolshoi – a pianist’s view

The Russian pianist Denis Matsuev reflects on his recent New York residency:

This year my friend, Executive and artistic Director of Carnegie Hall, Sir Clive Gillinson invited me to take part in the three concerts of a series “Carnegie Hall presents”. This concert was part of a series “Keyboard Virtuosos”, in which I found myself in the company of wonderful musicians performing at Carnegie Hall during this musical season. I thought over the program for this concert really thoroughly, as I was aware of all the responsibility to the American public, which I love and good attitude of which I cherish. The atmosphere at the concert itself was fascinating; I was got a lot of positive energy and emotions from the audience.

As it happens all the time after the concerts in Carnegie Hall, I got a lot of enemies. Tickets for the concert were sold out, so not all comers were lucky to get them. Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do about it. In Russia, knowing how it is important for many people to come to classic music concerts, I always manage to solve the problem with tickets somehow (to get tickets to the gallery or just put the chairs on the stage that happens more and more often recently). Unfortunately, it is impossible variant for Carnegie Hall, because of the traditions and original peculiarities of the hall. Therefore, those who has not got to the concert this time, I solemnly promise to inform you about the dates of future concerts in Carnegie Hall, which will take place in January 2015, where you all are invited.

denis matsuev

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  • As far as I know, Carnegie Hall puts the chairs on the stage for soldout concerts such as Kissin’s Concerts.

    • Let’s not try to compare Matsuev to Kissin. Kissin’s artistry has earned the following of the Connoisseurs – the public that also follows Pollini, Brendel, Barenboim, Perahia, Goode, Schiff, etc. But Matsuev’s public is much less sophisticated: it is composed largely of keyboard thrill-seekers — those for whom music-making is not a priority. Matsuev is an entertainer, not a musician.

    • Indeed they do. It may be the way Mr. Matsuev wanted to go about it. I am certain that there are concert halls with flexible management and stagehands, where placing chairs on stage and offering more tickets is possible on impulse and without previous planning. Carnegie Hall (along with the majority of concert halls) will probably require that a thing such as extra chairs on stage is something that has been discussed and planned for in advance and not something that is brought up on the day or evening of the concert.

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