J. K. Simmons certainly deserved Best Supporting Actor for his chilling portrayal in “Whiplash” of Fletcher – the monstrous jazz instructor who subjects his drummer protégée to repeated humiliations and profanity-laden insults.
Many musicians doubtless have horror stories about tyrant teachers – some who perhaps still managed to be inspirational despite the anxiety they inflicted. Leonard Bernstein called his piano teacher Isabelle Vengerova “La Tirana” (“The Tyrant”), but also described her as a “great teacher.” But how many other teachers have merely been destructive power trippers?
And it’s not just performers who are crushed: Rachmaninoff was so devastated by the criticism following the disastrous premiere of his Symphony No. 1 that he required hypnosis in order to begin composing again.