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Hilda Huang

Hilda Huang is a American pianist who has achieved international acclaim for her performances of pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach. At the age of 14, she is also the youngest[…]

The late, great pianist is Huang’s favorite, but if she tried to mimic his daring interpretations, “it would not be very good,” she says.

Question: What influence has Glenn Gould had on you?
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rnHilda Huang: So with my second teacher, when I was learning all rnthe inventions, after I finished and I made just a recording for myself,rn she gave me this CD of Glenn Gould and said, "This is Glenn Gould, do rnnot copy him." So I went home and listened to it and at first, it was rnreally striking because it was so odd and we'd never heard anything likern it. I mean the first invention, when the first couple of notes come in,rn it's pretty normal for everybody. But when the second voice comes in, rnit was so clear and so, it had such a fire underneath it that it kept rnmaking you listen and usually I listen to one piece and not the whole rnset. But after this, I listen to all 15 of them at a time instead of rnjust one of them. And after you listen to all 15 of them, you realize rnwhat a genius he is because each one is so unique and they're all so rnspecial, but they're all unified and the ideas in each one are so rnpeculiar and sometimes you're kind of wondering, "Wait, why does he evenrn do that. It sounds not quite right."
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rnAnd after listening to that, I gave the CD back to my teacher. And she'srn like; you didn't copy him, right? I said, no I didn't copy him and rnshe's like okay, good.
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rnQuestion: What was the music on that first CD?
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rnHilda Huang: The first CD was the two part inventions that my rnpiano teacher gave to me. She loaned it to me. Then I went home and I rnbought it. And my mom bought it off of Amazon I think. We listened to rnit, loved listening to it, so we found more of his recordings and the rnmost famous one is the Goldberg Variations. So we bought both the 1955 rnand the 1981. We also bought the suites, the Partitas, the English rnsuites, the French suites. And I think just a couple of years ago, just rntwo years ago I think, there was a LP boxed Glenn Gould memorial set or rnsomething like that, I think celebrating his 25th anniversary of his rndeath and so we bought the whole thing. It was $200, but now I have a rnbig box in my bedroom with 80 Glenn Gould CDs in it and a nice thick rnbooklet with his own writing on each one of those CDs.
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rnQuestion: What did your teacher mean, don’t copy him?
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rnHilda Huang: I think she was kind of intrigued by his unique rninterpretations. Of course, if I tried to copy him, it would not be veryrn good. But I think she just didn't want me to play that out of the box, rnbecause his interpretations at that time, to her I think, were really rncrazy and I think some of them were a bit unacceptable. But she just rnwanted me to listen to them so I could see how other people played it.
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rnRecorded on June 7, 2010
rnInterviewed by Paul Hoffman