We continue our 40th birthday celebration by looking back at Contemporary Keyboard’s third issue (January/February 1976), which included interviews with jazz pianists Horace Silver and Marian McPartland, and rockers Mike Quatro, Nicky Hopkins, and Roger Powell. The featured artist, legendary virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz, kindly agreed to an interview with Howard Weinberg, while Taylor Young provided an overview of the pianist’s career.
It was no surprise to learn that Horowitz was highly opinionated and, therefore, direct with his replies. For example, when asked whether he attempted to establish a rapport with his audience, the Maestro replied “No. The music does that. Applause means nothing. It is the music that makes meaning. When I play, I play as though no one is there. Still, if I feel that they feel what I have felt in the music, then that is success.”
As a follow-up, the pianist was asked how he determined the number of encores. “I don’t play a game with the audience, hiding backstage, thinking, ‘If you beg me some more, perhaps I will play you another piece.’ No. I decide how many encores I will play: One, two, three, maybe even five, depending on how I feel—how comfortable I am that day, with the audience, that hall, etc. But when I am done, that’s all you get. Usually, I even announce the pieces, so as not to embarrass the critics; though, as Sibelius once said, ‘No statue was ever raised to a critic.’”