Monday, April 25, 2011: 4 Hands on the Piano
Lukáš and Ivan Klánský
Prof. Ivan Klánský is a pianist of international renown — last year alone he flew 107 times to perform concerts. His son Lukáš, now a student at the Academy of Music (HAMU), first sat down at the piano when was 5 years old, and won his first international piano competition at age 12.
You might imagine Lukáš is a son robbed of a childhood, spending hours and hours practicing under the watchful eye of a famous parent.
But that’s not the case with the Klánskýs.
It’s clearly evident anytime you hear them play that they truly love their music — and they love performing it together. On April 21 in St. Lawrence Church the Klánskýs talked to the audience in the Prague Spring lecture series about their love of music and their relationship at the piano.
For the Love of Music
The decision to make music came from Lukas himself, as he stresses numerous times during the talk. He simply enjoys playing concerts and being in touch with the audience.
As a teacher, also at HAMU, Ivan Klánský is well aware of the sensitive balance between family and music, freedom and art. He knows well that force would yield no good results. Speaking from experience, he points out that at some stage parents shouldn’t interfere with their children’s practice. Especially if the parents are music professionals.
“During the teenage years the lessons either finish in anger,” he laughs, “or they never happen.” That’s why he delegated his son’s talent to the care of his friend Prof. Boguniová at the Prague Conservatory during Lukáš’ teen years. (Of course, Father adds, he chose a teacher with whom he agreed musically.) Ironically, these days at the Academy, Lukáš is being taught by his own father.
Now that his son is older, it’s different, he says. The father can teach his son without any hard emotions. However, he explains, the cooperation must be based on mutual trust, because the classes take the form of individual studies.When Lukáš is asked about what he expects from his father as a teacher, he answers without hesitation: “Diagnostics of the problem and a solution; and also an environment for playing music.”
Prof Klánský can clearly provide that. At least two of his students, Ivo Kahánek and Martin Kasík, have succeeded on the international music stage.
And what does the father expect from his students? He mentions that during entrance exams he picks students who are teachable, and with whom he can develop the necessary trust and a working relationship.
The Klánskýs showed their harmonious relationship on the keyboard by playing two Dvořák pieces for four hands, the father playing the left hand and son the right, both bobbing their heads occasionally and rocking gently on the piano bench. From time to time Father glances at his son with his head tucked down, eyebrows raised, as if to ask, “Isn’t this fun? Do you ‘get’ this?” They both smile slightly as if they know a secret; as if they’re happy.
Their performance proves that formal success and prizes are secondary; the most important thing to them is the joy of music.
– Zuzana Sklenková
Prof. Ivan Klánský –
Has had a long and distinguished career as a pianist, winning many piano competitions during the 1960s; he was a finalist in the Chopin Competition in Warsaw. Besides solo concerts, he performed with the Czech Philharmonic. Since 1983 he has been teaching at the Academy of Performing Arts (HAMU) in the department of keyboard instruments. He performs with the Guarneri Trio. He also frequently judges piano competitions, such as the upcoming Prague Spring Piano Contest.
Lukáš Klánský –
Is one of the most sought-after piano talents of his generation. He has released a debut CD with music by Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin. He currently is continuing his piano studies with his father, at the Academy of Performing Arts.
Photo Credits: Mary Matz