Watch an exclusive video interview with Anne-Marie McDermott
Listen to an audio version
ANNE-MARIE McDERMOTT: ARTIST PROFILE - Synopsis of the interview:
- As Anne-Marie's two elder sisters were already learning music, an early competitive nature and much encouragement from her family saw that she was dedicated to the piano from early childhood.
"I became addicted to playing the piano pretty quickly - I always enjoyed it and I realised young that if you practiced you got better - on a daily basis I could see that happen."
- Anne-Marie talks about her first teachers and the excellent training she received at the Manhattan School of Music.
"My teacher made me put a fingering on top of every single note in every piece I played and now when I look back on it I can't believe I actually did that, but what it taught me was tremendous discipline."
NO MORE STUDYING!
- At the age of 17 Anne-Marie decided against continuing her studies, to the upset of many around her. However, she was certain that in order to grow as a musician, she had to work and think independently from then on.
"I felt that I needed to take responsibility for decisions in my playing... I think that when I did that, I started to grow musically and emotionally with music."
[Anne-Marie then performs part of Alfred Grünfeld's Soirée de Vienne Op.56, paraphrase on Johann Strauss waltz themes, at a recital at the Summer on the Peninsula festival, UK.]
DECIDING WHAT TO PLAY
- Anne-Marie talks about the endless options for a pianist when choosing repertoire, whether solo or chamber music, and her joy of learning new pieces.
"I think this is one of the terrible things about being a pianist, as well as one of the great things about being a pianist: our entire lives will be learning repertoire."
- She sees the relationships within chamber music as existing on other levels in music, from solo to concerto.
- Anne-Marie describes dealing with a New York Philharmonic concerto date that turned up at short notice and what happened when the date turned out to be even sooner than planned!
[Anne-Marie McDermott then rehearses Mozart's Sonata for Two Pianos with her duet partner Jean-Efflam Bavouzet.]
- Anne-Marie enjoys dressing up for concerts - "I have to buy gowns that are one size too big so that I have shoulder room to be able to move around, but it's fun... and it makes me feel happy that I'm a woman. I'd be so bored if I was a man and always just wore a tuxedo." But she describes one occasion when a beautiful Thai-silk robe got the better of her...
MY PERSONAL LIFE
- As a pianist with an international career, life is always on the move for Anne-Marie and it inevitably involves a lot of time alone, which she describes as something she both craves and finds painful at times.
"Music for me is my home and I don't necessarily feel like I have a home. Music is my home, because that's what's always there for me... I've found that if I'm in a place for just two days, I've gotten very good at making it feel like home, because I need that."
- Anne-Marie's deep fascination with Zen philosophy is something she finds incredibly relevant to her life as a performer and useful in disciplining her approach to work.
- So does life as a concert pianist suit Anne-Marie McDermott? She couldn't be more certain:
"I can't think of one second when I wanted to be doing anything other than what I'm doing, and I'm ecstatically happy that I've been given the chance to be able to do it. I cannot imagine a better way of life."