All photos in this post copyright by the photographer, Kaupo Kikkas 2015

Horowitz once said that preparing his appearance for his Carnegie Hall recitals was part of the process of becoming a stage-ready artist–this included checking that his tie was done properly, shirt crisp, shoes tied, and even fly closed. “Only then,” he remarked, “do I feel like a pianist.”

People often wonder about a day in my life, because to them it seems unstructured–and how do I balance my diverse musical activities? What could be better than total freedom, assuming one’s passion is self-ignition enough for the routines of work? I aim for six to eight hours a day at the piano, but that is only interesting as a number–the real type and quantity of work has nothing to do with time, and lots of time does not equal quality.

A musician’s resource should always be Stanislavsky’s exploration of artistic process; it is always about self-awareness, self-examination, and diagnostic tasks for problem-solving. For me, I also spend three hours a day outside of piano doing office work–emails with concert presenters, publicists, managers, graphic designers, writing articles, preparing research for interviews for Living the Classical Life, and the editing process that takes hundreds of hours.  Of course, to look and feel one’s best is part of the fun–and one of life’s great pleasures is a classic barber shop. Mine is Eddy’s Barbershop on Coventry in Cleveland. It is elegant, classic, and with the best, most experienced, and friendly staff.


An important part of work process throughout the day is meditation–and that comes in many forms. I seem to be giving more and more public talks and lectures around the country in addition to my concerts, and the filming for Living the Classical Life seems to be increasing each year, in more cities than just in New York City where we are based. I remember when I appeared in San Francisco for TEDMED last year, there was an enormous team of people assisting to make sure every aspect of my appearance was camera-ready. I wish I had such a lineup of help each morning!



Tchaikovsky as a young man dressed in every which way until he met a very famous elderly painter, who advised him that his external appearance should always reflect the content of his inner artistic refinement. From that day on, Tchaikovsky was known as the best-dressed man in all of Moscow, never missing a day.


© Copyright 2017 Zsolt Bognar