A.B., Harvard College; M.M.A., D.M.A., Yale University School of Music
Charles B. FiskPhyllis Henderson Carey Professor Emeritus of Music
Engaged in thinking and writing about the repertoire I perform as a pianist, and psychological and philosophical issues in music.
I have written a book about Schubert's later piano music, and am currently working on a memoir that addresses the full range of my experience of the music of Chopin: as a child first hearing some of this music and learning to play it, as a student only gradually reaching the decision to become a musician, as a concertgoer, and as a teacher of both piano and academic music courses. I am especially interested in exploring what I have come to call "musical intersubjectivity"—the experiencing of music not as an object or a text, but as a kind of virtual environment in which one feels "recognized" by the music and develops a kind of interpersonal relationship with it.
In addition to teaching piano for more than 30 years at Wellesley, and often directing our advanced performance seminar in more recent years, I have given courses in both music theory and music history. I have especially enjoyed offering seminars on the music of individual composers: Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Debussy (with special attention to the especially rich cultural contexts for his music), and one entitled J.S. Bach and the Piano, in which I attempted to create a rich context for pianists (and others) interested in performing his music.
I continue to perform as a pianist a few times every year, most typically in solo recitals but occasionally also with other musicians. I have given recitals in conjunction with each of the seminars mentioned above, e.g., a solo program of Bach, solo and vocal recitals of Schubert and Schumann, and mixed solo and chamber programs of Brahms and Debussy.