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Bruno Gelber: the boy behind the piano

The Argentine pianist, a great international culture, established a bridge between classical music and the public, which he renews with constant tours: “What you feel you have to pass on to others,” he says at his 80 years.

Bruno Gelber

  One of the hundred pianists of the century, 5 thousand concerts in 57 countries and the friendship of Martha Argerich and the famous Arthur Rubinstein are sufficient merits for any mortal. But Bruno Gelber would resign if they were obstacles in his sacred marriage to the piano.   . One who started as a baby dazzled, wrapped in a musical hell, with the “black and white key lord who smiles at me” and who would dazzle with his art   kings and compatriots, without distinction in fur or class.     “What you feel you have to pass on to others, it's the same as if you make love to someone. You have to think that the person feels. Not just die of pleasure yourself. (...) I prepare to play here in Bahía Blanca as if I had to play in Salzburg   . There is no important city for me - quoted from “Opus Gelber. Portrait of a pianist” (Anagram) by Leila Guerriero - There is the fact of that communication with others, and I study every day in the world. I live in music. And I love to make others vibrate through the music that makes me vibrate,” he finishes the bacchanal state of his concerts, in a tight self-description of his style, Maestro Gelber.

Bruno Gelber

Bruno Leonardo Gelber was born in Buenos Aires on March 19, 1941 “When I was a kid it seemed to me that my block (Cramer Street, Belgrano neighborhood) was important because there were means of locomotion: the bus line 10, the 151 trolleybus and trams 4 and 34. It seemed like a glory... I slept in a room with window to the street, lived with those noises and people's coming and going. In front of my house there were visitors in a Cadillac. I liked that scene so much when the driver got off, took off his hat and opened the door to a woman in a suit that was slowly coming down! I was left for hours behind that window... that could have talked about everything I was observing,” the newspaper La Nación reminded those early childhood scenes, which alternated with a violinist dad from Teatro Colón, Austrian Bruno, and mother Ana Tosi, a piano teacher.   And they mixed with his desire to follow the family career, something his parents resisted until the inevitable certainty that Bruno has music in his soul. And in the hands. With four he learned music reading and with five debuts in a sample of his mother's students in Quilmes, performing a Mozart sonata and a movement of a symphony by Beethoven, four hands, with mom Ana   , “Mom was cute, mom was elegant, mom was very smart, Mom never repeated a set to welcome her students, Mom loved to dance with my friends and I filled her with jewelry and covered with leather, I gave her the best, the cutest thing, I gave her every taste, I told her a thousand times to go live with me to Europe, I have a giant Oedipus with mom,” he told journalist Guerriero. “That was the only time I was not afraid, from that moment on Mr. Panic sits with me in the bench. And that's because then you have the backpack of being known and you have the obligation to play well,” Gelber would say. At age seven he suffers from polyomelitis, being bedridden half a year, although that does not interrupt his daily studies, which continue today, and adapt a piano to bed level. With absolute ear, and in the company of her friend Argerich, she attended Teatro Colón and Municipal Radio to listen to the executions of her father, who instructed him to be a concertist   . And the debut occurred at ten in a concert in the Círculo Militar directed by the mythical master Vicente Scaramuzza with the Concert N° 3 by Beethoven, the romantic composer cast to the career of the child prodigy, “let's say -me specializ- in classic-romantic. In the framework of a huge spectrum I play a lot Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart (observing advice given to me by Josef Krips) and so many other authors attached to that aesthetic.   Of course I also faced compositions of Rachmaninov, Ravel (at the insistence of the famous Marguerite Long in France, his teacher who said “was my last pupil, and the best”) and other authors if you want modern, from the twentieth century, but I confess: dissonant or beaten sounds I do not like, even when intend to reflect the inharmonious reality of everyday life. In short: there is room for everyone, but having so many beautiful romantic creations that even our entire existence would not reach us to discover and study, why mess with those that sound thanklessly? “, closed Carlos Ure on a note.   At fourteen he made his debut at Teatro Colón with the direction of Frenchman Lorin Maazel and at nineteen he settled in Europe, where he would live half a century between Paris and Monaco  


  Bruno's Sonata  

“When I arrived in Paris, at the age of nineteen, it was nice. It looked like it was smeared with honey. Promiscuity has such an exquisite taste. The forbidden has nice taste,” he told Guerriero, and it was that city that projected its talent to the world, although it had its consecration in Munich   . Germany's most respected critic, Joachim Kaiser, said that it was “a miracle”, the emergence of a phenomenon without limits: “where most pianists [...] begin to tremble, this young man throws himself with overwhelming enthusiasm   : the trills of his octaves vibrate grandiose, the care with which he phrases, the serenity with which he performs the melodies, the firmness with which he is directed to the climax of the work, everything raises well above the level of a solid artist.” That night, Jacqueline Du Pré, the best violencellist of the last century, made his debut. It was the time of the repeated questions of Argentine journalists, “What is your residence? ”, answer “the plane and my house a suitcase” and alternated the great stages of the world's leading philharmonics, weight festivals such as Salzburg,     with frequent concerts in Argentina.   Gelber never forgot his roots and popularized in Europe some pieces by Alberto Ginestera   . Kurt Masur, Charles Dutoit, Bernard Haitink, Lorin Maazel, Christoph Eschenbach, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Ernest Ansermet, Erich Leinsdorf, Sergiu Celibidache, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Sir Colin Davis, among other notable directors, called the Argentine pianist,   that would only be recognized in his   real artistic dimension in your country,   beyond the media dulled with his circumflex eyebrows, with the Konex awards in the two thousand -in 2001 he survived a serious accident. In 2007 he would be awarded by the Government of France as Official of the Arts and Letters of the French Republic   . Despite a not very extensive discography, his 1965 recording of Brahms's piano concert number 1 opus 15 was recognized as the best performance ever performed by French critics.

  In 2013 he decided to return to the country and lives one floor of an old building in Balvanera, a few meters from Plaza Miserere, and, casually, a few blocks from his master's studio     Scaramuzza   “I love teaching. Know how to reach the center to express themselves. We have to see how to talk to the student. There are people who given my situation in music, can come as terrified and you have to be very sweet, almost apologize for interrupting them; and others have to give them all, because they are very sure of them and they do not have to”, confessed to Marcela Ayora about her recent life in Buenos Aires, and that does not decline in performances, the latest at the Teatro Colón and the promotion of classical music without barriers. In 2019 he performed at the Industrial Center of Lanús, and at CCK, along with the National Symphony Band of the Blind Pascual Grisolía, “I was one day zapping, I passed through the Allegro channel and I heard a Mozart Overture that sounded very good, but different -admitted the newspaper La Prensa.   When he concluded, I realized that he had been executed by a symphonic band of blind men led by a very lame teacher. I was strongly impacted, it touched me in the soul and then I thought why can't we do the same thing in our country?   We talked to Martín Merayo, head of the similar organization we have in Argentina, and we agreed right away”, closed the artist praised by foreign media as   Diapason, Gramophone   and   Le Monde de la Musique.  

”   I transcended the natural limit of classical music - explains the pianist who in Argentina knows most of the audience without perhaps having ever heard it - which is unfortunately restricted.     No effort has been made as in the other music   s. Well sent, classical music would have been as well known as the other. There is everything in classical music: things that are very easy to access and comprehension” repeat to anyone who wants to hear,   Bruno Gelber, the essential Argentine pianist who makes us listen to immortal music with children's ears. With the glory and beauty of the first time.  

Bruno Gelber


  Says Bruno Gelber  

“Music was never a refuge for me. It was always a world apart, complete and singular. A perfect world in itself, to which I belonged with body and soul. It was absolutely mine. Everything else was the same. Music was never a replacement for anything. I lived that passion in a holy way, lived as drunk with music and all the romanticism of the world was desperately passing through my heart. He was possessed day and night. And what was impressive was the understanding, the complicity I found in that language. I recognized that I just needed to be given the means, the technique to express myself and overturn those sweeping feelings. No! music wasn't a refuge for me. It was and remains a fascination in the soul, the story of an irresistible love.” (Interview by Cecilia Scalisi for   ).

  They say about Bruno Gelber  

“He is one of the few musicians of that generation, Daniel- Barenboim, Argerich, who never stopped coming to Argentina and playing in the most diverse spaces. To this day Bruno does tours - he did until recently, let's say, now he is not doing them - tours around the Argentine provinces and sometimes plays in theaters where the pianos are not in great condition. Let's say, he's a stage musician, he's recorded very little. He does not like the situation of being in a studio recording because he feels there is something about the connection with the public that doesn't come out. So that connection with the public is fundamental to him and it's very open in that sense, he doesn't say I'm not going, I don't know, to San Luis because the theater blah, blah, blah. It has a connection with the idea of how popular musicians usually don't have their ability.” (Leila Guerreiro, interview with Hinde Pomeraniec,   ).


  Listen to Beethoven by Bruno Gelber at Teatro Sociale in Bellinzona (2000). Unique.  




Publication Date: 19/03/2021

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We suggest you continue reading the following notes:

Martha Argerich The Argentine Pianist Eternal
Carlos Suizer “I'm a poor unhappy who plays piano like the gods,” said Suizer, the “street pianist”



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By: DelSal 19 March, 2021

Eximio pianiasta... y además duerme en formol... es increible com se mantiene

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