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Famous Musician Anecdotes
Publish: 2011.09.23 Source: Los Angeles Used Pianos-http://www.usedpiano.sg Click:

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), American conductor, composer and pianist. On one occasion, Bernstein's father was criticized for not having given his talented son more encouragement when he was a child. The father protested, "But how was I to know that he would grow up to be Leonard Bernstein?"

Alexander Borodin (1833-1887), Russian professor of chemistry and medicine, who also composed music in his spare time. There was a suit in which two young composers sued each other, each accusing the other of plagiarism. Borodin was called as an expert witness. Both compositions were played and the court asked Borodin who was the injured party. He answered, "My friend Mussorgsky."

Aaron Copland (1900-1990), US composer. One day Copland was in a bookshop when he noticed that a woman was buying two books--a volume of Shakespeare, and Copland's What to Listen For in Music. As the customer turned to leave, he stopped her and asked, "Would you like me to autograph your book?" The woman looked blankly at the proud composer and asked, "Which one?"

Vernon Duke (1903-1969), US composer, born Vladimir Dukelsky in Russia; among his famous songs is April in Paris. Inspired by Duke's famous song, a friend of his decided to spend three weeks in Paris one April. The weather was appalling, and when he returned he told Duke so. "Whatever possessed you to go to Paris in April" asked the composer. "The weather in Paris is always horrible in April."  The astonished friend said, "But, I went there because of your song!" "Oh," said the composer apologetically. We really meant May, but the rhythm required two syllables.

Albert Einstein  (1879-1955), German born physicist; he lived in the US after 1933 in Princeton, New Jersey, Einstein played violin in a string quartet. He thoroughly enjoyed it, but the other musicians were less enthusiastic. One of the other players confided, "He can't count."

Will Rogers (1879-1935), US comedian, vaudeville performer, film actor and radio personality. Will Rogers received may requests for testimonials for products of all sorts. He refused to endorse any product that he personally could not put to the test. When a piano manufacturer asked him to endorse their products, he wrote, "Dear sirs: I guess your pianos are the best I ever leaned against. Yours truly, Will Rogers."

Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908), Spanish violinist and composer. A wealthy hostess invited Sarasate to a dinner, in the hope that her guests might be treated to a free recital by the great player afterward. During the meal, she broached the subject, asking Sarasate whether he had brought his violin with him. "No, madame," he replied, "my violin does not dine." In the latter part of his career, Sarasate received a visit by a famous music critic, who proclaimed him a genius. Sarasate commented later, "For thirty-seven years I've practiced fourteen hours a day, and now they call me a genius!"

Erik Satie (1866-1925), French composer of songs and piano pieces. Satie attended the premiere of Debussy's La Mer, the first part of which is titled From Dawn to Noon on the Sea. After the performance, Debussy asked Satie what the thought about the new work. Satie replied, "I liked the bit about quarter to eleven."

George Shearing (1919- ) Jazz pianist, born in Britain. Came to the USA in 1947. He was blind from birth. Asked by an admirer whether he had been blind all his life, Shearing replied, "Not yet." One afternoon at rush hour, Shearing was waiting at a busy intersection for someone to assist him in crossing the street. Another blind man tapped him on the shoulder an asked if Shearing would mind helping him to get across. "What could I do?" said Shearing later. "I took him across, and it was the biggest thrill of my life!"

Sir Arthur S. Sullivan (1842-1900), British composer and conductor Sullivan returned home one night after a lively party at which the wine had flowed freely. His house was one in a row of identical terraced houses on his street, and he realized that in his inebriated state he couldn't tell which house was which. His solution to the problem? He walked along the street, and in front of each house he kicked the metal shoe scraper that was installed there. One rang a familiar note. "E-flat, that's it," he said quietly to himself, and walked confidently into his own house.

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