Controversy Over the Role of the Piano Accompanist

This week I came across several very passionate discussions of the same topic- and one which rarely hits the headlines- the role of the piano accompanist.
In a programme on BBC Radio 4 last week (sadly not archived) entitled “Am I too Soft?”, Susan Tomes, a highly successful British ensemble pianist, bemoaned the standard treatment of and attitude towards “the accompanist” in chamber music and art song recitals. As she explained, the repertoire is often as demanding for the pianist as it is for the violin, cello or voice. However the pianist often gets little attention or appreciation, even being described as ‘at the piano’, “as if it were a piece of furniture”, as she exclaimed!

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