Feature Article: Wait, You Need To Suffer More.

I loved researching this article, which explores whether musicians need to have ‘suffered’ in order to effectively perform particularly ‘profound’ music – ie late Beethoven or Schubert. I think the pianist Leif Ove Andsnes sums it up perfectly: “It’s not true that someone has to have been through extreme emotions to play the music, but you have to be able to sympathize and have empathy with the emotions.”

Actors, of course, have to be able to empathize in order to effectively convey the emotions of a character with whom they may have little in common. On the other hand, can even the most empathetic 21-year actor portray King Lear? Certainly in my experience, it’s the ‘veteran’ pianists – like Mitsuko Uchida and Richard Goode – whose live performances of Beethoven I have found most affecting.