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Famed pianist praises talented Chinese students

THOMAS Schumacher's career as performing musician and music teacher has stretched more than four decades. His talent has allowed him to travel the world on tours of the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia in recital and with major orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony and Tokyo Philharmonic.

A native of Montana in the US, Schumacher studied in New York with Robert Goldsand at the Manhattan School of Music and at the Juilliard School, where he learned under the tutelage of Beveridge Wenster and Adele Marcus.

He received top performance and academic honors at the Juliard and Manhattan schools. In 1968 he joined the roster of Columbia Artists and toured throughout the US and Canada for 10 years.

Schumacher was a teaching assistant to Adele Marcus at the Aspen Music Festival. From 1969 to 1995 he was on the piano faculty of the University of Maryland, during which time he received the Maryland Creative and Performing Arts Award and the Maryland Distinguished Faculty Award. He is now on the piano faculty of the Eastman School of Music.

Schumacher was recently in Shanghai for the international music master classes at Shanghai Normal University. He gave piano lessons to college students and also a recital at He Luting Concert Hall during his stay in Shanghai.

Q: Have you ever been to China before?

A: Itís my eighth time to China, and four times were for the music festival and master classes. So itís always like coming back home.

I am so glad to cooperate with so many distinguished musicians.

And I like the students and musicians here, as well as the local food.

Q: Whatís your impression of Shanghai?

A: Shanghai is one of the most exciting cities in the world, together with New York and Paris.

Itís an international city and I love its variety. The architecture here attracts me so much.

Q: You have been teaching for many years. What do you think of Chinese music students? Are there any differences between them and Western students?

A: Exactly, I have been teaching for a long time. I have also given master classes in Guiyang and other Chinese cities and I have been in contact with many Chinese youths.

In my eyes, Chinese students are very talented and hardworking. They learn quickly. I like them very much.

Q: What do you think is most important for a music student to become a good musician?

A: First of all is good teaching. And then they should work hard.

There are many good music teachers in China, and the students can be taught well.

If they have the opportunity to go abroad to broaden their mind, it will also help with their music career.

But as a matter of fact, China has a very good music education background.

Q: As a pianist with almost half a centuryís professional career, what does music mean to you?

A: To me, I want to send the beautiful sound of a piano to the audience. The sound of a piano is so beautiful.

Q: What do you like to do in your leisure life besides playing piano?

A: I like spiders and I collect a lot of big spiders.


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