Interview with Erica Worth (“Pianist” chief editor and media lounge member)

Here we introduce another member of Cremona Musica International Media Lounge: Erica Worth, pianist and journalist, chief editor of British magazine “Pianist” since its launch in 2001. Pianist magazine is the best-selling piano magazine in UK and is widely distributed also in other countries. Ms. Worth has previously worked as artist manager for IMG and has a wide and in-depth vision of the current classical music world.

What does it mean for you to write about classical music today? 

The world of classical music (and I speak about piano in particular, as this is my area) is forever evolving, and at such a rapid speed. There’s always some fantastic new pianist on the scene. I could be at a concert every day of the week, here in London. And there’s always lots of unknown piano repertoire to discover. My magazine contains 40 pages of sheet music (scores) inside every issue, and I’m always in search of unknown piano gems to offer my readers. I have a whole pile of scores waiting to go inside. Piano makers, too, are constantly bringing out new models. Great innovations in all areas of the classical piano world, I’d say.

How do you see the influence of Internet and of the social media in the way people perceive classical music? 

This is a hard one. Sometimes I feel there is just ‘too much’ out there. We need to make sure that the quality remains high. But then again, we can click a button, and watch video footage of Martha Argerich age 25! This was not possible, say, a decade ago. 

Can you give some suggestion to young students who are trying to make a career as classical musicians? 

Talent is one thing. But there are so many other elements to making a career as a professional pianist. Do you have the stamina? Are you able to control stage fright? How’s your technique? Can you learn music quickly? Are you good at collaborating with other musicians? As a piano student in the 80s at Manhattan School of Music, even if I had the most inspiration years with extraordinary teachers, we students were not told the ‘realities’ of life after college. We all lived in a kind of ‘bubble’. A very nice one, I have to say! I think many struggled after they graduated.

What is the future of classical music? Can you try to predict the most surprising changes that we will experience in the next 10-15 years? 

One often hears of doom and gloom in the industry. However, there are hundreds of CDs still being released every month – even more than before. So I am optimistic. Surprising changes? I have no clue! Maybe in the piano world there will be some new instrument that will double the speed you play for you! Anything is possible.

Can you suggest a ‘good model’ in British classical music system (a festival, or education project, or music divulgation project) to be considered and ‘exported’ in other countries?

We have some fantastic adult amateur piano workshops here. There is a whole world of keen adult amateur pianists that want to get back to playing the piano again after a long break. I am not sure whether this is the same in other countries.  With regards to festivals, the biggest (and dare I say, best?) in the world just came to its end last week: The BBC Proms. Two months of amazing concerts, every night of the week (sometimes two concerts in one night) involving the most esteemed conductors, orchestras and artists from around the globe. The atmosphere at the Royal Albert Hall is electrifying. There are all types of people in the audience – from core classical music lovers to those who attending a classical concert for the very first time.