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Joanna MacGregor

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I want to move away from complexity. I've done my time as far as virtuosity and piles of notes are concerned. It's what puts me off a lot of contemporary classical music - there are so many notes. In fact, I think I'm moving away from classical music altogether. I'm not sure that in 10 years' time I'll be playing it at all.

 
Joanna MacGregor

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I'll tell you what classical music is, for those of you who don't know. Classical music is this music that was written by a bunch of dead people a long time ago. And it's formula music, the same as top forty music is formula music. In order to have a piece be classical, it has to conform to academic standards that were the current norms of that day and age ... I think that people are entitled to be amused, and entertained. If they see deviations from this classical norm, it's probably good for their mental health.

 
Frank Zappa
 

In a lot of classical playing there isn't much expressiveness: I don't hear a voice in the playing. What I really admire about jazz musicians is that they develop a sound early on and it's unique to them. Classical players are screened from that by always playing other people's notes.

 
Joanna MacGregor
 

I don't really go along with this sense that you sometimes pick up - that is, classical music is superior to everything else. I think classical music is a very great music form, but I can also think of other great music forms. And certainly within each field, you have absolute geniuses operating. Over the years, I've tried to bring together different people from different fields, and I do try to put Bach and Beethoven next to other types of musicians.

 
Joanna MacGregor
 

Classical music has struggled to keep up. Unlike any other art form, it keeps on looking backwards all the time. It used to have a real museum culture. Then it went: "Oh my God, what are we going to do? Call for Nigel Kennedy. Quick!" Classical musicians have got to change or die,' she asserts strongly, 'but they just don't know how to. Audiences for classical music have dropped. The old blue rinse audience is dying out, and young people aren't coming in.

 
Joanna MacGregor
 

I'm trained quite classically but quite freely by my mum, so even when I was little, I had this rather freewheeling approach. When I trained more seriously in my late teens at college, it was: here are the notes, here is what is expected of you. I didn't mind because you need technique, particularly on the piano, which requires a lot of stamina. And it was natural that once I had done that, I would want to go beyond classical music. How can you be yourself if all you do is reproduce someone else's notes?" The Guardian - 05/10/2001

 
Joanna MacGregor
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