This week Andrew sat down with Gabriella Pusner to discuss her many years as an educator and performer. She has had an extensive performing career, has competed in international piano competitions in Japan, Belgium, New York and Geneva and has trained talented students at the Sydney Conservatorium, Newcastle University and the Australian Institute of Music.
What would you say would be the most valuable piece of advice you have been given?
One should only pursue a music career if they have a great passion for it. To have a career in music, you need to have a love for music that will never change – it has to be really strong.
Where was/is your favourite place to perform?
I don’t really have a favourite place to perform, however the Harold Lobb Concert Hall at the University of Newcastle is very beautiful, as well as the Verbrugghen Hall at the Sydney Conservatorium.
What repertoire do you enjoy performing the most?
In my more mature age, I appreciate Bach much more than I used to, however I do love the 20th Century Russians and the Great Romantics. I also enjoy composed jazz-like compositions by people like Mark Isaacs.
What is your opinion on practising?
Practising is hard work! It has to be as consistent as humanly possible, and having lots of ‘days off’ is not an option. Also, practise is something that must be done intelligently, i.e. the brain must be working as hard as the fingers – this is one of the differences between ‘practising’ and ‘playing’. The other matter of practise is that it is a personal thing, and what works for some, may not work for all.
Who is your favourite pianist to listen to and why?
I would have to say that Emil Gigels would be up there, because he is one of the last Greats of the ‘Old Russian Masters’. Listening to his live performances, you simply can only be impressed by his interpretation and technique – live performances impress me much more than edited, studio ones!
Gabriella Pusner teaches at the Theme & Variations School at our showroom in Willoughby.