Interview with Benjamin Beilman – part 2
Beilman will turn 24 in 2013, but he has already enjoyed almost a decade and a half on the concert platform. He was just 10 years old when he first performed as a soloist with orchestra, but Beilman’s parents and teachers made a conscious decision not to put him on the child prodigy circuit. He gave concerts in his home towns, but he was kept away from the mainstream media circus.
“The advice that I’ve been given by my mentors and my parents is that there will always be time for those concerts. I went to a public high school, even though on the weekends I had a slightly different schedule to that of my friends. They understood. They were motivated people too. And I have no regrets – I loved it.”
Beilman still had time to play soccer until well into high school, and hang out with his friends. Then and now, he was an avid reader; at the moment, he is consuming a series of composer biographies. He is intrigued by the past, but happy to live in the present.
“I was reading about how grateful Brahms was to be able to go through Schumann’s music library, where he got to study all these different scores of past compositions. Today you just go online and either order something that will be delivered to your apartment two days later, or you look online for everything that’s public domain. We have access to every piece of music we want.
“Back then, going to a different city was an all-day or a two-day event, when now it can be done in 45 minutes. Opera singers would take a ship across the Atlantic, and in that time they could learn their scores. Then when they arrived they had a month for those concerts. Today you fly places and the minute you step off the plane you have to rehearse; sometimes you play that night. There are different priorities now. Is it better? I don’t know. It’s just different.”
Beilman is happy in the fast lane, and has little problem taking international flights and a full schedule in his stride. But he is clear about his long-term goals, and they don’t include rushing.
“It’s important to combine everything – chamber music, solo work, recitals, and of course you have to be interested in new music, and compose yourself if you can. Basically I need to build up slowly and steadily, to make sure that I’m becoming a complete musician.”
He seems to be on the right track.
© Shirley Apthorp 2012