“Living the Classical Life”: The Complete Series

Screen Shot 2014-10-12 at 9.52.23 AM

New August 2014–the new official website for Living the Classical Life is launched!


Zsolt Bognár interviews Joshua Bell at his home in NYC, 2014

Latest Episode: Zsolt Bognár interviews Joshua Bell


Getting to the Heart of the World and Lives of Classical Musicians

“The essence of the artist’s inner world, work, and experiences–all of these illuminate the heart of why I host this show and hopefully inspire others with the humanity of my guests. I grew up watching Charlie Rose and “Inside the Actor’s Studio” and quickly realized that there is so much to be learned from real conversation that can never be taught in a formal setting.” -Zsolt Bognár

Living the Classical Life is hosted by Fractured Atlas, a 501(c)(3) public charity and needs your help to continue to reach wider audiences. Learn about our fiscal sponsorship program at our page here.

–August 2014: Yuja Wang, Pianist and Deutsche Grammophon Recording Artist

“Life—and music and what I do—has to be intermixed, has to be together, or else I feel like I’m not alive.”

In an unusually intimate portrait, Deutsche Grammophon recording artist Yuja Wang speaks of her life and work, demonstrating by musical examples throughout—including a delightful rendition of an Art Tatum arrangement of “Tea for Two.” She describes her musical aspirations in contrast with audience perceptions, the value of practicing and not practicing, learning and relearning a piece, and the importance of struggle for musical results. Running time 14 minutes.

–April 2014: Peter Takács- Pianist, Teacher and Winner of the William Kapell International Competition

April, 2014– “Luck favors the prepared mind.”

Peter Takács describes how a traversal of the complete Beethoven Sonata cycle takes the performer to the heart of Beethoven’s human qualities. He reflects on the performer’s relationship with the musical score, the recording process in the studio, and how to sustain spontaneity, demonstrating with musical examples.

–March 2014: Robert Durso, Pianist and Director of the Golandsky Institute at Princeton

March, 2014– How early do you really need to be a virtuoso pianist to succeed as a pianist in life? At one time people assumed that the world was flat—by a function of agreement.”

Filmed at his home in Philadelphia, Durso discusses misconceptions about musical promotion in the world today, the importance of balance, the role of teaching in a musician’s life, and describes his own encounters with the work and life of Dorothy Taubman as well as the controversies surrounding her work. The episode ends with a performance excerpt of Bach-Kurtág.

–Jan.2014: Christopher O’Riley, Pianist and Host of NPR’s “From the Top”

January, 2014-– “I want the audience not to come with preconceived notions but to decide on the evidence of their ears and their hearts what is good.”

Filmed in his home in Cleveland, Christopher O’Riley talks about his multifaceted musical life, from the practicalities of traveling with a keyboard to nurturing the next generation of musicians. He explains and demonstrates how he found his musical voice through a diversification of projects, ranging from his Radiohead arrangements to his Liszt Project.

Dec. 2013: Daniil Trifonov, Deutsche Grammophon Recording Artist

December 13, 2013–Releasing an up-close look at the art and world of Daniil Trifonov, filmed in Cleveland, Ohio. Winner of the Grand Prix in the Tchaikovsky Competition and the Rubinstein Competition, Mr. Trifonov is a formidable presence on the world’s stages and has been the featured soloist with most of the world’s major orchestras. In this episode, he demonstrates examples from the repertoire and shares insights into his work and life.

Episode Nov. 2013: Stephen Hough, Pianist and MacArthur Fellow

November 19, 2013–Today I get to release for the first time my feature interview with MacArthur “Genius” Fellow and pianist Stephen Hough–this was a huge team effort in Steinway Hall in New York and we are very proud of the result. The charm, humanity, and wit of this man is consummate. He discusses his diverse activities from painting to composing, the “irony” of his MacArthur Fellowship, being happy about getting older, competitions, dealing with failure, pressure, nerves, judgment, dealing with image-based industry, memorization, silencing critical thoughts, loneliness, and pacing one’s self in life and finding a voice. Also he discusses TV shows, recording the Liszt Sonata for iPad, the music of Bach, his childhood, humor, gay rights in the world, organizing his daily work, his wanting to become a priest early on, and the performer’s relationship to the political world. Have a look and let me know if you enjoy! Thank you Elyria Pictures, Peter Hobbs, Elizabeth Foley, Jutta Ittner, Steinway & Sons of New York, our publicist Jonathan Eifert, and of course to Stephen himself. Duration 40 minutes!


  • Guytano Parks

    Hi Zsolt,
    Do you know the pianist Ilana Vered? She’s very interesting as she is also a brilliant artist and creates beautiful paintings in addition to running the Perugia Music Festival in Italy. She has many Youtube videos. Also, Israela Margalit (Lorin Maazel’s ex-wife), another friend of mine who is a brilliant playwright in addition to being a pianist, and has had her plays performed throughout Russia, Germany and NY and LA in the USA. Perhaps they’d be possible future subjects for your “Living the Classical Life.”

    October 26, 2013
    • Zsolt

      Thanks for this tip, Guy! I had heard her name before, and now I will try to get in touch with her. Thanks so much, and see you soon!

      October 26, 2013
  • Ann

    Hello! Your series are just wonderful!
    But I also would like to know what piece of music does Daniil play in your trailer?

    October 31, 2013
    • Zsolt

      Thank you so much for watching! He is playing a theme from the first movement of Tchaikovsky First Concerto.

      October 31, 2013
  • Janice

    Just heard about you on Dennis Lewin’s radio show in Cleveland. WCLV fm. Wow. You’re amazing and I’m so looking forward to listening and watching everything you are sharing. Fabulous. I really honor you. Thanks for BEing.

    November 17, 2013
  • I love this idea! Would be good to include interviews with producers, theorists, musicologists, etc. 🙂

    December 16, 2013
    • Zsolt

      What a great idea–I am trying to get a diverse set of guests–you should be on the show, too!

      December 16, 2013
  • Zsolt!

    Love your series! Well done. Now time to come to Texas to do a series of interviews. 🙂

    December 30, 2013
    • Zsolt

      Artina! So great to hear from you my friend–long time no speak! I miss the sunshine you brought to Cleveland–by all means, we must do an interview together!! Happy New Year!

      December 31, 2013
  • John


    It’s interesting that Josh claims to be a gambler at heart. I wonder if it’s connected with what he said about taking a risk whenever he steps on stage.
    I heard Josh more than 25 years ago—my first time was at the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia but I met him at another concert in New Jersey. I try to hear him play when he’s performing not too far from where I live. I’ll hear him in Baltimore soon.
    I wrote this poem (I gave him a copy in Tanglewood) after hearing him for the first time.

    To Joshua Bell
    Stiller than moonbeams on the frothy tide
    He rests his bow upon the strings,
    And suddenly the air is filled with tenderness
    From wind-swept peaks and lofty crags.

    The stately rhythms swell;
    His hands, like birds, are free to whirl and soar,
    Until from flight they pause
    And perch to sweetly chant their tune.

    These harmonies from heaven’s vault
    Are vapors on the glassy lake that
    Rise and clasp the verdant hills
    And dissipate with morning’s rays.

    Then—like a vault from Zeus’ palm,
    He rocks his bow with thrust and brawn
    Until the stick fades from my eyes—
    I cannot breathe.

    All other sounds are pagan to my ear;
    No melody from sky or earth can save.
    He walks away as if upon the clouds, and
    Once again, I’ve heard the voice of God.

    February 06, 2016
  • david freid

    i just watched the interview with daniil trifonuv. he demonstrated a technique for practicing the piano. he calls
    it practicing underwater.
    someone should let him know he should learn about glenn
    gold’s techniques for practicing and even performing. he should learn about someone who has already been there.

    May 23, 2016

Leave a comment


Email(will not be published)*


Your comment*

Submit Comment

© Copyright 2017 Zsolt Bognar