13. July 2011 · Comments Off on Ah, Nerves! · Categories: Read Online

But walking out on stage, alone, with over 100,000 notes to be played from memory in the right order, with the right finger, the correct touch and pedalling and all of the other infinite things that can affect a performance seems to bring about a level of anxiety akin to being caught with the murder weapon in hand, blood spatter on your shirt and the corpse’s dead finger frozen mid air and pointed right at you.
Luckily it’s got an awful lot better. The most heartening thing I’ve discovered is that it is not just me. Argerich turns white before going on stage and often vomits beforehand, Ringo Starr told me once (good name-drop huh?) that at every concert there is the inevitable 30 seconds before walking on stage where he simply wants to turn and run away, backstage professionals at the major concert halls tell me that, with the exception of Daniel Barenboim, most all of their performers turn a weird shade of green before walking on stage. So rather like herpes, even if they don’t admit it, a lot of people have it.


I have never been so nervous I’ve thrown up, but I’m also a “team player” and don’t do solos in front of the orchestra. I’ve done solos with a chamber orchestra, but that always feels much different for some reason … I’m never that nervous for those kinds of things.

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