Aus der Stille eingefangene Töne, für die nur einer ein Ohr hatte, der Komponist, verwandeln sich Punkte und Zeichen – eine Partitur. Diesen Reichtum haben die Ausführenden weiter zu tragen, um die Zuhörenden zu beschenken.
Failures, rejections and illusions in the life of an artist
I use social media mostly for sharing highlights of my professional and (a little less often) my private life. My “followers” will have seen many of the pictures that I have taken during my morning runs, they – you – get to hear the music that touches me at a particular moment, you see the venues where I play concerts, you know when I compose something new, I inform you about good reviews, and you might have seen my kids, the threefold joy of my life.
But I avoid to expose the daily struggles and disappointments that are an inevitable part of an artist’s life. Not everything is happiness and creative bliss. I don’t write about the countless rejections that I’ve had to face over the past 20 years.
Playing Beethoven, Chopin and Liszt was easy. I started out as a young “wunderkind”, and classical audiences would love Beethoven, Chopin and Liszt. I “only” had to play well and I would win their hearts. I might oversimplify a bit, but that’s what it felt like at the time.
Outing myself as a composer was a lot harder though. I cannot expect everyone to like or to understand my music. But, of course, I hope to find recognition as a composer, and I wish for people to love my music. Reality is that many people don’t like what I do (and many, many more don’t even know what I do or have never heard my name). I’ve read and heard quite a few harsh remarks about my music: that it is “superficial”, “boring” or “little exciting”. It is a mystery to me how anyone can feel that way, but I accept it.
What hurts more are the numberless phone calls and emails that remain unreturned. Seeing how vanishingly small you are in the huge world of music business can be frustrating. Also, having a deal with a record company that respects you so little that it will not pay a single cent of royalties doesn’t make things easier. Here are a couple of other failures that can be disheartening: not finding a publisher that thinks your music is worth to be published under their roof, nor a manager that esteems your potential high enough to be worth their precious time and attention, or those famous divas who will never answer your messages or say at least “thank you” for the dedication of a piece…
There is so much to complain about and to feel pity for, but I don’t want to fall into that trap. I think that every true artist has gone through times of failure and rejection, and you cannot force success to come. I won’t lose my faith and I won’t become a cynic who only sees the dark side of the matter. Wherever my dreams will lead me, one thing is for sure, I will never give up.
I compose because I have to. The need to compose penetrates every fibre of my being. I remember several years of my life when I didn’t write a single note because I wanted to lead a normal life as a piano teacher and because, truth be told, I thought it’s not worth the pain, since I wouldn’t make it anyway. But the flame never stopped burning and it wanted to enlighten my miserable life. I simply could not ignore that call anymore. When I compose, I feel alive and I know exactly that I am doing the right thing, regardless whether the music flows or if I’m stuck. Some pieces are harder to write than others, and I have yet to see a finished piece of music falling from the sky, straight into my hands! Thankfully, I’ve had the great fortune of “receiving” several compositions that seemed to come out of nowhere, like someone was dictating to me what to write, note after note, measure after measure. Other pieces took many distressing weeks and months to finally reach the final bar. But in the end, it was always worth it, whether somebody heard the music or not. I am simply a composer who needs to write music.
After receiving two disappointing (but unsurprising) emails yesterday, I felt the urge to compose. The despair had to be transformed into sound. I went to my piano, listened, played… and composed. The music almost wrote itself. A “consolation price” from heaven? No, it’s a statement from my inner self reminding me to treasure the gift of faith, hope and love. No drawback can prevent true art from being born.
This might be the most personal blog post that I have ever written. I hope from the bottom of my heart that it will encourage many of you who have found this piece.
I thank everyone of you who sent me a kind comment about “Illusions”. Be assured that each sentence means the world to me and gives me the strength to pursue this beautiful, but very difficult path. Also, I want to clarify that there are several beautiful and interesting projects on the horizon – step by step I will climb new mountains.
You are serving your truth. My hope for you is that you will let that truth guide you in every moment of your journey. If you can find that, you have everything. That’s why “making it” is, in the end, utterly insignificant. LIVING it, BREATHING it, SERVING it … that’s where your joy will lie.
This is one of the most inspirational pieces I have ever read. If you are an artist, do take the time to read this wonderful speech by Joyce DiDonato (or to watch the video below). The famous soprano has the seldom gift to articulate what the life of an artist is all about.
„Die Stille kommt vor der Musik“ – Ein Interview mit David Ianni [Podcast]:
Sind Künstler eigentlich zwangsläufig Chaoten? Stimmt das Bild, das wir häufig haben? Nein, mindestens einen bestens organisierten Künstler habe ich gefunden: David Ianni. David Ianni ist Pianist und Komponist. Mit ihm unterhalte ich mich über Leidenschaft, den inneren Schweinehund, Routinen, Disziplin und Stille.
Gleich aus mehreren Gründen war es für mich eine besondere Freude, mich von Ivan Blatter, dem bekannten Schweizer Produktivitätstrainer, interviewen zu lassen.
- Erstens schätze ich seinen Podcast und sein Blog schon seit langem und finde dort immer wieder gute Tipps und Ideen, die mir helfen, meine Zeit besser zu nutzen. Sein Motto „Nutzen Sie Ihre Zeit, denn Sie kommt nie wieder“ ist so einfach wie weise.
- Zweitens ist das Thema Zeitmanagement und Selbstorganisation für mich seit Jahren äußerst wichtig. Als Künstler wurde ich bisher jedoch noch nie zu solchen Fragen interviewt, und so habe ich Ivan Blatter hier gerne Rede und Antwort gestanden.
- Drittens liebe ich das Medium Podcast und freue mich, hiermit nun zum ersten Mal auch selbst bei einem Podcast mitwirken zu dürfen. :)
Ich hoffe, dass euch das Gespräch genauso viel Spaß macht wie mir und wünsche euch eine gesegnete, wohlklingende und produktive Zeit.
The Prayer Night at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Luxembourg with Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich (see previous blog post) was a very special and moving experience. I was honored to be a part of it and to play my music as a “musical offering” while so many people were praying. Here is my view from the piano.
David Ianni’s music at the Cathedral of Luxembourg
I have been invited to play my music at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Luxembourg for the “1st Prayer Night” during the yearly “Octave”1. Our Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich will open the Prayer Night on 20th May with a catechesis at 20:00. I will play my music (or rather pray my music) live during the eucharistic adoration until midnight. If you’re open for a very special evening, come and join us on Tuesday, 20th May at the Cathedral in Luxembourg. More info on my Songkick page.
Traditional pilgrimage in Luxembourg to honor Our Lady of Luxembourg, the patron saint of the country. Lasts from the third to the fifth Sunday after Easter and represents the main religious ceremony of the country. ↩
The young and very gifted photographer Vera Geiring sent me some great pictures from my concert on Easter Sunday in beautiful Waldkirchen. The audience was simply fantastic. Thank you, Waldkirchen!
Win forScore for iPad!
No musician wants to carry a bag of heavy music scores. Nor do we want to depend on page turners. Fortunately since the arrival of the iPad and its App Store, there has been a fantastic all-around solution for musicians on the go.
Enter forScore. This beautiful app is actually much more than a PDF reader for your music scores. You can annotate your sheet music and set repeats, use the integrated metronome, create playlists for your practice routine or for your next concert. These are only a few features of forScore, and there is much more to be discovered.
As a professional musician I cannot recommend this app highly enough. I have recorded 4 albums with the help of forScore. It gives me the freedom of having all my sheet music on one flat device, and I can turn pages silently with my AirTurn Bluetooth pedal. The new version 7 introduces many more brilliant new features.
The makers of forScore were kind enough to send me three promo codes for the readers of my blog. You can get forScore (5,99 €) for free. Just write a comment below or on my Facebook page if you think this app is for you and what you would use it for. I’ll be happy to draw three winners among your comments. If you don’t use Facebook, which you need to comment, just send me a tweet at @david_ianni with the hashtag #forScore. The deadline is Wednesday, 25th April, 21:00 CEST. Good luck and happy Easter!
Yesterday I had the pleasure of recording several new compositions of mine at the Wiener Konzerthaus with the brilliant Mr. Georg Burdicek, who also recorded my last album Prayers of Silence as well as the two Chant albums with the Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz. I can’t wait to show you my new music. Unfortunately it will take some time until I can reveal more information. Stay tuned!
On Monday, March 24th 2014, I had the great joy to present my new album Prayers of Silence at the beautiful Philharmonie in Luxembourg. The program included several pieces from Prayers of Silence as well as Night of Tears (one of my earliest pieces, written in 1995) and the world premiere of my Piano Sonata no. 2 (one of my latest works, composed in October 2013). The audience in the hall was warmhearted and and very attentive. Yes, these are things the artist can definitely feel on stage. As an encore I played the Fantasy op. 28 by Alexander Scriabin, one of my all-time favorite composers.
My friend Vitùc, whom you know without doubt if you have been following my blog, was so kind to take pictures during my warmup before the concert. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Somehow he always manages to catch a glimpse of my soul through his pictures and movies.
RTL, the Luxembourgish broadcasting company, also attended the concert and aired a nice little feature in the TV news the following day:
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Yesterday I had a “Media Day” in order to promote Prayers of Silence. Here are the recordings of my appearances on RTL Radio and RTL TV (Luxembourg):
There was an interesting question from the TV audience, which didn’t make it into the show. So I recorded a spontaneous answer on my way home after the show. In Luxembourgish!
Je länger man Ianni (…) zuhört, umso tiefer taucht man in seine Musik ein, offenbart sich eine Schönheit, die mit ihrer Schlichtheit überwältigt. Musik wie ein Gebet, wie ein Innehalten, wie eine Innenschau, durch die sich auch etwas offenbaren kann. (…) Wer will, der schließt dann einfach nur die Augen und erlebt über 30 Minuten lang ein zurückhaltendes Spiel, ein regelrechtes Atmen von Tönen und Themen, ein so luftig und leichtes Entfalten von Schönheit, eine regelrechte Meditation wie beim langen Betrachten der Oberfläche eines ruhigen Sees.