Q&A With Pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi

Pianist advises students to feel before playing
By Amelia Pang, Epoch Times
September 3, 2014 1:18 pm Last Updated: September 27, 2014 12:15 pm

NEW YORK—Renowned pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi is giving a master class for NTD International Piano Competition participants.

Pompa-Baldi won the Cleveland International Piano Competition in 1999 and was a top prizewinner at the 1998 Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud Competition of Paris, France. Pompa-Baldi also won a silver medal at the 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. He appears regularly at major concert venues such as New York’s Carnegie Hall, Cleveland’s Severance Hall, Milan’s Sala Verdi, Boston’s Symphony Hall, and Paris’s Salle Pleyel.

Epoch Times: You speak a lot about the importance of color in music. How does one develop a sense for color?
Antonio Pompa-Baldi: I always tell my students that no matter how proficient they become at the language of music and the theoretical aspect, which are all very important, the most important aspect is the emotional content—the sound, the broad spectrum of colors and timbers that our instruments can produce. The most important thing is to use imagination, visualize colors and moods, and feel it before going to the keyboard. It all needs to start with you searching through your own emotions and intellect.

Epoch Times: Each musician seems to have a different answer, but how would you define color?
Mr. Pompa-Baldi: It lends itself to many answers. The basic and practical answer is the constant changing of timber and volume—the different ways to strike a key. In music we don’t have actual colors, so we have to use our imagination.

Epoch Times: What is a recommendation you have for practicing?
Mr. Pompa-Baldi: Practicing is a very complex thing. I usually recommend to not separate the musical aspect from the mechanical aspect. The two take shape together. Always try to understand the meaning of the music, even as you are practicing the technical parts.

Epoch Times: What would you say is the value for musicians to participate in competitions like the NTD Piano Competition?
Mr. Pompa-Baldi: The idea of a competition is not very artistic, unless you approach it in a particular way. It is a way to showcase your achievements. Especially for those who are young, they don’t have many opportunities like that. The exposure is the most important part. The exposure that NTD Television provides is a lot bigger than many other competitions. This competition has a lot of value. I look forward to teaching at the master class in New York.

Epoch Times: What is the right approach to competing in a piano competition?
Mr. Pompa-Baldi: The artistic approach is not to aim to beat everyone. There are some people who think of it as a sports competition, a race. That approach is unrealistic and wrong. The judgment will always be subjective. There are no absolute parameters. It could also be a great opportunity for assessment. Listen to other musicians your age who are better able to express themselves; use them as models for improvement.

NTD Piano Competition
Oct. 2: Orientation
Oct. 3–4: Competition with Semi-Final and Final rounds broadcast live globally from Engelman Hall at Baruch College
Oct. 5: Future Stars Recital and Award Ceremony at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall
Gold Award: $10,000

Master Class by Antonio Pompa-Baldi
Oct. 4, 12–2 p.m.
Engelman Hall, Baruch College, 55 Lexington Ave., NY 10010

For more information, visit competitions.ntdtv.com/piano