Master class

Nikita Magaloff, pianist and teacher

Private music lessons

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Nikita Magaloff — Teacher, pianist

Philippe Cassard — Pianist (student)

Patricia Pagny — Pianist (student)

Hiroko Sakagami — Pianist (student)

Olivier Bernager — A collection by

François Manceaux — A collection by

Program notes

This masterclass is given by Nikita Magaloff, an exceptional pianist who frequented Prokofiev and Rachmaninoff in his early years, and whose future was foretold by Ravel himself: "in Magaloff, an extraordinary musician is born."

In this programme organised like a filmed notebook, the pianist, in the intimate surroundings of his home, modestly recounts episodes from his life, and gives three lessons for the camera. Thus we see him curbing the virtuoso excesses of a Japanese girl student and tactfully correcting one of his pupils at the Geneva Conservatoire, reminding her that the pedal must be used with moderation, the tempo flexible, the rubato controlled, and the phrasing analysed precisely. All this is communicated with charm, simplicity, and above all the tact of an experienced artist who has thought long and hard and has played almost everything. A man with an open mind: the twentieth century has no secrets for him. close to Stravinsky, Bartok, and Prokofiev, interested in Boulez and Stockhausen. Whatever the period or style, his interpretation always combines rigour and refinement.

In a long sequence, he works with the young Philippe Cassard, a french virtuoso and poet who was soon to attract critical attention, more a disciple than a pupil, very close to standing on his own artistic feet. In a most instructive digression on Pictures at an Exhibition, he points out a passage misread by most pianists. The text, always the text, repeats Nikita Magaloff, who nonetheless adds with a pout that the performer can still slip in a hint of freedom.

Pedagogy as a form of transmission of music was essential for nikita Magaloff, who constantly repeats that he does not produce replicas of himslef, but to develop the unexploited capacities of the pianists he teaches. Generally, he says, true interpreters know what they want, but cannot always express it when they still lack experience. That is where he intervenes: he listens, and if he finds a problem, he treats it! 'I'm rather like a doctor' is the mischievous conclusion of this artist who chose, from inclination rather than necessity, to teach at the Geneva censervatoire for more than thirty years.

Private music lessons: twelve hugely influential programmes broadcast by French television between 1987 and 1991. The guiding principle for Olivier Bernager and François Manceaux was to capture the art of the leading performers of our time, live in concert but also and above all in a teaching environment.

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