The Varieties of Artistic Experience

As most any musician will tell you, the music industry just isn’t what it used to be. While there are a variety of reasons for this decline, the classical pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard believes one trend is proving particularly detrimental: the tendency among artists to worry solely about the fate of their own genre. What he suggests, despite his fear of watching musicians perform live, is an industry-wide movement—from rock and pop stars to classically trained cellists—to secure the place of music in society.


The pianist also reflects on the intense love of music that drove him, as a child, to spend a year straight with a Wagner concert, and that continues to fuel his ardent discipline toward his work. Yet, as he explains, when it comes to crafting his concerts, he is inspired by far more than just music. From Kandinsky and Rimbaud to the continual interplay between conscious and unconscious experience, designing the perfect piece draws upon all of life’s hidden features.

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