Living the classical life with diabetes

Living the classical life with diabetes


norman lebrecht

April 03, 2021

The Canadian pianist and composer Marc-André Hamelin is the latest guest on Zsolt Bognar’s series Living the Classical Life.

Talking about his pre-concert preparations Hamelin discusses how to balance his diet, the more so with the demands of diabetes.




  • The View from America says:

    Why the reference to diabetes in the headline? It was just one throwaway line in a 45-minute interview. Clickbait, one assumes —

  • Peter San Diego says:

    I’d say his comments about the Scriabin Fantasy and the Feinberg sonata were much more interesting than his passing remark on the wisdom of not overeating before a performance.

  • fflambeau says:

    Metformin helps a good deal.

  • Edgar Self says:

    An intimate conversation with Marc-Andre Hamelin, pianist and composer of historic stature. The caption gives no idea of its scope and interest.

  • MacroV says:

    I’ve been an admirer of his for years. I particularly like his recording of Frederick Rzewski’s “The People United Will Never be Defeated.” I also like how he’s never been the “flavor of the month” but nonetheless has worked steadily for 35 years while new phenoms come and go. I think he’s going to be like Earl Wild; his own niche, highly respected among the cogniscenti, and not with the largest following but perhaps the most devoted.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      Hamelin is already a connoisseurs’ choice. Unlike Earl Wild, his career not centered in the US: it is international. Perhaps a sign of our times.

      Personally I look forward to his later years. Thoughtful musicians like him age magnificently.

      As always, the interview with Zsolt Bognar is superb.

  • Claudia says:

    Incredible article I found all the data helpful thank you so much for carrying light to this conversation as I run over some information about diabetes that I wouldn’t see any problems with you giving me some criticism on and mentioning to me your opinion about it as it is by all accounts getting great reviews. Here is the article I found are your thoughts?

    • Sharon says:

      I could not get your link to work but as a nurse I can tell you that there are different levels of severity in diabetes.
      Sometimes diet rules can be stringent.

      Following any diet which requires weighing and measuring food and very structured snacking is very difficult when traveling When one eats in restaurants one does not know the fat and sugar content. In the United States portion sizes, especially in lower end restaurants, are frequently about double what they should be.

  • Alexander T says:

    Brilliant musician.

  • Edgar Self says:

    After Scriabin’s death, Rachmaninoff played the Fantasy in B minor, Op. 28, in recitals he gave to benefit Scriabin’s family, despite his general indifference to Scriabin’s music. In this fascinating interview, Marc-Andre Hamelin mentions it as a seldom-performed sonata-formwork on his Carnegie Hall program with a Sanuel Feinberg sonata.

  • Feurich says:

    A technician whose performances never demonstrate an ounce of intellectual thought or emotional content. I really do not understand his popularity. I own his Scriabin complete sonatas recording and it is truly empty playing.

  • dgar Self says:

    Of pianists associated with Scriabin’s sonatas,– such as Sofronitski, Igor Zhukov, Ashkenazy, Hamelin, Horowitz, and Richter,– it’s Ashkenazy who sometimes best catches the mood, as in the first sonata’s funereal slow movement, despite the deserved reputations and artistry of the others.

    I’ve seen Hamelin deeply moving in a Haydn adagio, and I think himself moved by it, and mentioned this to him. He did not deny it but looked away. I think he is profoundly intellectual but under great restraint and control. I’d readily agree that he does not wear his heart on his sleeve.