Germany’s long-jump winner is ‘a concert pianist’

Germany’s long-jump winner is ‘a concert pianist’


norman lebrecht

July 25, 2022

Germany’s Malaika Mihambo won the gold medal at the 2022 World Athletics Championships Event in Eugene, Oregon.

Various websites identify her as ‘a classical pianist’ or ‘a concert pianist’.

Any fact in that?

From a recent interview:
Malaika Mihambo: These two worlds are not that different. Both are about mastering your own body and learning and optimizing movement sequences down to the last detail. For me it’s nice that playing the piano is just a hobby. Here I can learn at my own pace, sometimes faster, sometimes slower – just as I like it. That’s exactly why it’s a good change in everyday life in addition to competitive sports, which is fun and challenges me at the same time.

Did you grow up with classical music or where does your passion for music come from?
Mihambo: I didn’t grow up with classical music. I only developed my love for it at the age of 22, when I started playing the piano. It was only when I was actively making music that I discovered the depth and versatility of classical music.


  • MacroV says:

    There are lots of pianists called “concert pianists” whose skills don’t rise nearly to that level. Condoleeza Rice is another. That’s what you get when non-music people write about music.

    • Imbrod says:

      When my war bride mother arrived in Painesville, Ohio, the local newspaper reported that she was, in addition to being an artist (true), a talented pianist (she *might* have had childhood piano lessons)

    • Anon says:

      A concert pianist is someone who is willing to play the piano in a concert. It doesn’t imply any level of expertise or skill.

    • yodi says:

      Don’t be so damn snaky, all of you, just read her damn answer above, she doesn’t herself identify as a concert pianist, she freakin’ says clear as day that “playing the piano is just a hobby. Here I can learn at my own pace, sometimes faster, sometimes slower – just as I like it”

      Jesus Christ, y’all!!

    • Peter says:

      I agree. A concert pianist is a musician who actively performs at a high level.The article suggests she is a hobbyist classical pianist.

  • Larry says:

    Why do you ask if it’s a “fact?’ If she says she plays the piano, then she plays the piano.

  • Anonymous says:

    If she truly began at 22, she would be in an extremely rare class of classical pianist.

  • Michael B. says:

    Would you have written the post the same way if her name had been “Hannelore Schmidt”?

  • simon says:

    I am known as a Wagnerian bass-baritone peer on the same level as George London. No truth in it, but I insist in it being part of my PR biog. Whoever believes what those things say?

  • Gerry Feinsteen says:

    You can jump far across sand, not sure can jump so far as to be a professional pianist after six years of learning, but being a performer or ‘concert’ pianist today is easy with a social media account.

    Brava to her on both strengths.

  • Bostin'Symph says:

    I’m pleased that she plays piano and has developed a love of classical music.

  • Westfan says:

    At least she has a love and appreciation for classical music, counts for a lot in my book!

  • Peter San Diego says:

    The puffery is not Ms. Mihambo’s own; she writes that “playing the piano is just a hobby.” Her modesty is disarming, and it is delightful to read that she has come to enjoy classical music, on her own, as an adult.

  • Ludwig's Van says:

    Nobody who starts piano at age 22 becomes a concert pianist – trust me!

    • Peter says:

      Uh,Richter-who was a Soviet pianist, who is considered one of the best virtuosos of all time. While he was a conductor and composer at an early age, he didn’t start seriously practicing the piano until 22.

      • Fliszt says:

        Are you really gullible enough to believe that Soviet-era promo-crap? Richter may have started building up his repertoire at age 22, but his keyboard chops were developed WAY before that. Tone and virtuoso technique can only be achieved by beginning studies during childhood, when the physical mechanisms are still flexible.

    • Sheila McLaren says:

      Ever heard of Igor Kipnis, famous harpsichordist?

  • Peter Feltham says:

    She is a rather remarkable young lady isn’t she.Amazing person.

  • JB says:

    Let’s be grateful for people like that. She could do rap or Schlager when she is not preparing competitions. At least this shows that classical music is not only for old wackos.

  • Wise Guy says:

    Good for her!