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The Nikhil Hogan Show

The #1 music interview podcast, hosted by Nikhil Hogan, dedicated to serious discussions of music with masters on the study of composition and improvisation. Past guests have included Grammy, Emmy, Academy, Tony, CMA, and many other award-winning artists.

Jun 8, 2020

So privileged to introduced my guest today one of the greats, pianist, musicologist and educator Professor Tibor Szasz.

He has given over 1000 solo, concerto, and chamber music performances all over the world. His recordings of Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Schubert, and Bartók have been issued in the United States and Germany.

Tibor Szász holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance from the University of Michigan, and is a Tenured professor of piano at the Hoshschule fur Music Freiburg in Germany.


0:48 How old were you when you started playing the piano
1:42 Was it a weekly lesson or multiple times a week?
2:18 How many hours a day did you practice?
3:08 What kind of music did you play growing up?
4:25 Do you have Absolute or Perfect Pitch?
6:20 Did you get rid of your perfect pitch?
6:59 What do you make of different tunings?
10:31 Is there a difference between 440Hz and 432Hz?
11:31 What is your perspective of equal temperament vs other tunings?
16:57 Did you improvise as a child growing up?
19:49 Was there a prejudice against improvisation in your career?
23:04 Touring with Béla Bartók’s son in 1977
28:22 Was his son much older than you at the time?
34:11 Carnegie Hall debut in 1977
35:57 Did you meet Vladimir Horowitz?
37:49 What did Horowitz think about your performance of the Liszt Sonata?
40:09 Enraging Horowitz at a Q&A
41:07 Does being Hungarian give you greater insight into Liszt’s music?
42:32 Beethoven article about basso continuo in the Emperor Concerto
47:25 Did Beethoven abolish improvising cadenzas in concertos?
49:25 The disappearance of continuo in the Romantic concerto
51:55 Robert Levin’s reaction to your Continuo article and your relationship with him
52:20 Were there other concert pianists who could read figure bass?
55:31 CPE Bach who said that the Harpsichord’s absence could be felt if it didn’t play continuo
56:31 Do find that most pianists do not realize continuo notation in concertos in the modern age?
57:27 Isn’t Urtext supposed to be THE authentic musical text of the composition?
1:00:57 What is the definition of Il Filo?
1:02:49 What are these building blocks in Il Filo?
1:03:43 How do you get better at developing Il Filo?
1:05:27 How does a student learn basso continuo?
1:07:06 How would you reform music education?
1:10:07 Wrapping Up
1:10:47 Where can people find you?