Rzewski on his “The People United Will Never Be Defeated,” studying piano, conservatories, music in political times

Posted on: April 17, 2019

“On a recent evening in Berlin, the pianist and composer Frederic Rzewski performed his virtuosic variations on a Chilean protest song, ‘The People United Will Never Be Defeated!’ ” writes Elisa Erkelenz in the introduction to her Thursday (4/11) interview with Rzewski in VAN magazine (Berlin). “Q: You wrote ‘The People United Will Never Be Defeated!’ in 1975. Has the meaning of the piece changed because it now sounds in such different political times? Rzewski: Sometimes pieces of music take on their own existence, and why and how is difficult to say. Q: ‘The People United Will Never Be Defeated!’ is an extraordinarily difficult work. You are turning 81 on April 13. Do you still practice the piano every day? Rzewski: Now I have to practice the piano every day, something I really hate. When you’re lucky enough to learn something at an early age as I did, at age four—like the independence of the two hands—then you don’t have to practice. I think the best thing would be to get rid of all conservatories. And to get rid of all piano competitions, which are meaningless. Concentrate instead on earlier education for children. That is where we need more investment.”

Posted April 17, 2019