A Conversation with John Perry

Pianist John Perry enjoys shaping the future of talented Morningside Music Bridge students.
Pianist John Perry enjoys shaping the future of talented Morningside Music Bridge students.

With a dizzying international performance and teaching schedule, it’s a wonder we caught up to chat with John Perry at all.

John Perry
Pianist John Perry relaxing in his Conservatory classroom.

When the concert pianist is not teaching master classes around the globe, he’s jurying prestigious international piano competitions, hosting his own summer piano festival in California, and collaborating with some of the world’s finest musicians.

Thankfully, the Conservatory snagged him to teach at our international training program Morningside Music Bridge. And lucky us, he happily shared some thoughts on why MMB matters.

Question: You teach young pianists here at Morningside Music Bridge as well as in Banff, Toronto, Los Angeles, Florida, Italy, Germany and beyond. What is your mentoring philosophy?

John Perry: You bring all the experience of a lifetime in music. There’s not an outline, there’s not a syllabus… it’s impossible to describe. You bring what you have learned and all your own experience to a person who is younger than you who plays very, very well and you — with your experience and knowledge — are able to improve their playing and their musical understanding. It’s not easy but it’s simple.

Question: What was the best advice somebody gave you?

John Perry: The best advice was always about details and how to think and how to appreciate music. If you’re looking for that magic key, that thing that unlocks everything, you came to the wrong place. It’s not the way it works. It’s arduous, consistent work with an amazing amount of talent. It’s drudgery but with the most fantastic reward at the end imaginable.

Question: What’s your favourite part of Morningside?

John Perry: My favourite part is being a part of developing the enormous talent these people come with. They go away at the end of the month and they’re wiser and better and it’s going to make a tremendous impression on their future.

See recital and concert dates here (ends July 31)

By Sherri Zickefoose, July 18, 2014

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