The Inside Story: Betty Wishart

Composer and pianist Betty Wishart, who has been noted by FanFare Magazine as “possessed of a distinctive and worthwhile compositional voice,” is our next featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our artists. Read on to see her “must have’s” in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

Wishart speaking at Bosendofer Hall

What was your most unusual performance, or the most embarrassing thing that happened to you during a performance?

I went to a performance without a chance to try out the piano.  Since the first piece was slow, it gave me time to acclimate to the instrument.  One important note:  this was a beautiful rented Steinway.

When if dove into the fortissimo section of the second piece, the piano began moving!  What to do?

I leaned further at the first opportunity, and pulled the piano back towards me!  After the concert, they discovered that the rollers weren’t locked!!

In the event of a zombie apocalypse, what are the three things you absolutely can’t live without?

There is no question that the number one priority is a grand piano.  I don’t even want to envision a life without one.  It’s the outlet for my emotions and where I begin composing.

The second must-have would be a computer.  If manuscript paper and a continuous supply of sharpened pencils could count as one, that would work fine also.

Everyone who knows me knows my third “must-have” is coffee.  However, it’s an even toss-up between coffee and Cheeze-its!

If you could do any job in the world and make a living at it, what would that be?

We’re dreaming, right?!  I would love to be a freelance composer in Manhattan.  Being among the arts community there always inspires me.  When I get a break from teaching, I go there to get refreshed and energized.   Of course, the job would need to support a two-bedroom apartment around 71st Street near Central Park West!

NV6094 - Passage - Front CoverWhat would you say to an artist performing your work that nobody else knows?

Sections of the horn part are devilish.  If necessary another instrument can double the high notes.

What does this album mean to you personally?

After hearing “Journey”, I hope people realize that I write music for all instruments, not only piano.*3

Is there a specific feeling you want listeners to tune into when hearing your work?

The ominous opening leads to a sense of foreboding. Visualize the music as background to a film.

Although the music was inspired by the threat of a terrorist attack, the piece is about facing the fear of the unknown.

The Navona Records compilation album PASSAGE: Contemporary Works for Orchestra is now available to purchase on Amazon, iTunes, and ArkivMusic, and is streaming on Spotify

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