Lately I've been asking the philosophical question: What makes for a great performance?
Over the last month I've had the privilege of watching quite a lot of amazing violin playing by some of the most talented young violinists on the current scene, as I've reported live from the Shanghai competition last month and the Indianapolis competition this week.
The violinists I've seen have had so many different approaches and so many different stage personas. What tends to make for the best performance, the best connection with the audience? Is it the highly-refined technique that draws us in with that satisfying "right"-sounding music? Is it the magic of stage presence, where performer can command an audience before even playing a note? Of course it is a combination, but is it an equal combination, or does generally it lean toward the clean music-making or toward the stage presence?
If you think about it, some of the most popular musicians on the planet are not always the top players, yet their performances deeply connect with an audience and attract fans galore.
On the other hand, I have been absolutely moved by performances that are simply characterized by glorious music-making, by a performer whose stage presence is not particularly strong.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Is one more important than the other, when it comes to the performance stage? How about when it comes to having a career? Please participate in the vote and then share your thoughts in the comments section.
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