arnaldo cohen tackles 10 questions

believe it or not, the final guest soloist of the season (!) is now in p-town, ready to shock and awe the schnitzer crowd this saturday, sunday, and monday.  you might recall the last time arnaldo cohen played with the band, he gifted us all five of Beethoven’s piano concertos [ahh… happy times].  this go-around he’s sticking to just one showstopper, but it’s gonna be a doozie: tchaikovsky’s massive first piano concerto.  the beavs threw 10 queries at mr. cohen, who managed to catch every single one…

how would you describe tchaikovsky’s piano concerto?

A trip to a wonderful unknown world.  This is a work which was considered to be so difficult that it could only be played by the devil.

whoa.  symphony #7 by sibelius opens up the program ~ any thoughts on pairing this work with the diabolical tchaikovsky concerto?

Both composers were true romantics.  Their works are impregnated with nationalism and rhapsodic elements.  Sibelius died in 1957 but composed his 7th and last symphony in the mid 20’s.  Apparently he did not enjoy “modern” music too much.

well, that’s his loss i suppose.  um, let’s say i had 48 hours in rio de janeiro… what should I do?

Visits to Sugarloaf Mountain, Corcovado (Christ statue), the botanical garden, and the Tijuca Forest.  In between, you could spend a few hours at Ipanema Beach while tasting a caipirinha – a drink that would help you think that happiness can exist forever.  A dinner at Porcão, a barbecue restaurant with a stunning view of the Guanabara Bay, will show that you can eat much more than you ever thought.  Following the dinner, a show with samba and Brazilian mulatas or, if you prefer something quieter, a concert with the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra at the beautiful Theatro Municipal, built in 1909.

ready to pack my bags ~ wowee!  btw, you know who loves caipirinhas?  *alban gerhardt.  true story.  hey: last time i saw you with the oregon symphony, you knocked out an amazing performance of all 5 Beethoven piano concertos (plus the tripple concerto!) over 3 consecutive days.  no offense mr. cohen, but are you insane?

Wonderful memories… fantastic orchestra, conductor, and audience.  I have done this cycle four times before and did it again last year.  It feels like running a marathon where you are competing with yourself.  And so, you have to win!

and win you did.  if you could invite 3 composers for dinner, who would you choose and where would you go?

Can I invite two more?

okay.  i’ve already let other interviewees push the envelope…

I would call Liszt, Beethoven, Mozart, Bach and Schoenberg and would take them to a churrascaria in Rio.  Of course, caipirinhas would be the main drink.  I am sure that this would be quite an evening!

dear god, that’s quite a group!  so you’ve tickled a lot of ivories all over the globe ~ do you have a favorite piano to play?

My favorite piano is the one which can sing like the voice of Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, sustain a note like the violin of David Oistrakh, and have an orchestral sound like the Berlin Philharmonic.  I have not found it yet, but am still searching.

what’s so great about experiencing classical music live?

It is like watching someone cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope without any protection underneath.  In windy conditions.

brilliant response – love it!  okay, let’s see… our principal trumpeter says that playing his instrument has given him an underbite.  has playing so much piano physically affected your body in some way?

Our bodies have limitations and it is wise to recognize them.  Having said this, flexibility is ultimately the name of the game.

i’ll drink to that!  what are you havin’?

A good Pinot Noir from Oregon.

i’ll get a bethel heights reserve if they have it.  alright, last question already: what makes carlos kalmar such a great conductor?

A wonderful combination of a deep musical knowledge and sensitivity, with an efficient conducting technique, driven by a fascinating personality.

amen to that.  he’s also great at wringing out an encore number from the soloists, so watch out.  thanks so much for your sweet answers mr. cohen, and thanks for coming back to pdx… can’t wait to hear you soon!

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1 Response to “arnaldo cohen tackles 10 questions”


  1. 1 Abby Dawson May 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    See you Monday – can’t wait!


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