Proust questionnaire in Galway Advertiser
15 Feb 2010
James Lisney pianist
Galway Advertiser, January 28, 2010.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
British pianist Cyril Smith wrote that a pianist who works intensely for many hours each day can only expect to be happy for about 12 seconds each year. I hope I can bring at least a couple of those seconds to Galway in February.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Chilean pianist Claudio Arrau.
Which living person do you most admire?
Russian pianist Grigory Sokolov.
Which is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
My endless ability to waste time.
What is your greatest extravagance?
What is your favourite journey?
Recently an upgrade to club class on a London to New York flight.
On what occasion do you lie?
I never lie - well, occasionally in questionnaires.
Which living person do you most despise?
Children (or adult amateurs) who make piano playing ridiculously easy.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My wife and two daughters.
When and where were you happiest?
I have given a few concerts with my daughters (a violinist and a cellist).
Which talent would you most like to have?
I would like to be confident in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and Arabic. That is all.
What is your current state of mind?
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Staying positive and banishing the fear of failure.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what do you think it would be?
Did I mention Bertie, my golden cocker spaniel? He seems to have got life worked out.
What is your most treasured possession?
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
I cannot conceive how people deal with disasters such as the Haitians are living through.
What is your favourite occupation?
Music is my vocation, I prefer to be occupied with tennis and skiing.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
Humour and humility.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Humour and humility.
Who are your favourite writers?
I have been attempting to read some of the ‘Great Books’ of Homer, Dante, Milton, and Pascal but I am also drawn to books that make me laugh (Wodehouse, O’Brien, and Waugh).
What is your motto?
I have not had a motto since I was a Boy Scout.
Briton James Lisney will perform music by Chopin and Schumann in the Aula Maxima, NUIG, on Tuesday February 9, Wednesday 10, and Thursday 11. For tickets contact Music For Galway on 091 - 705962 or Opus II, The Cornstore.
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