Brace yourself and enjoy the ride!

We were totally green. Like broccoli. Inexperienced and naïve. Completely clueless what the real classical music world means. Like… most of you! Full of trust in the higher values and purity of arts, our business-innocence-level was childishly high. That was the year 2010. The doors started to open massively. Ingolf had just shaken the musical circle of the XVI International Chopin Competition in Warsaw. It was exciting. It was beautiful: the immense love of people and their total devotion. And… it was horrifying at the same time: this general love was mixed with aversion of some individuals who at all costs tried to spread hatred towards him not only as a pianist but also as a human being. Partly openly, partly behind closed doors.

As much as I was able to understand the differences in taste following the “de gustibus non est disputandum” maxim, and as much as I understood the human weakness for personal-business-gains and reactions caused by those, what I couldn’t get was why, here and there, the mean personal attack was occurring?! In the noble world of arts?! In the circle of people with class and huge sensitivity?! On this planet called “classical music” where so many artistic souls say they look for something better and uplifting?! But if it’s so, why the heck they behave this way? That was the first time when the reality contradicted the imaginary picture. One of many.

It took me some time before I dropped this foolish assumption altogether that classical music is all about class, higher values, honesty and politeness. I grew up believing in it. So did Ingolf.

I was born into an artistic family, where music and fine arts were present for me from Day 1. Surrounded by records and books, unconsciously listening to music, unconsciously smelling the odeur of oil color without losing consciousness though – these are my childhood memories. Probably that’s why everything and everyone who had anything to do with arts and music had my trust, respect +100 points just by saying “hello”. Everything art-related used to evoke the carefree times, the good times. Classical music was for me a synonym of high standards measured by talent, goodness and kindness.

Ingolf, on the other hand, used to live in the ’50s. Like most of his musical heroes. Therefore, when he started to play the piano at the age of 14, he applied the vision that once he is in the spotlight, he is going to be surrounded by Kleibers, Horowitzes, Rubinsteins, Callases, Toscaninis and people who are ultra-sensitive and pleasantly-painfully pedantic in order to aim at the artistic highlands, based on noble values and true love for arts only.

The realization that our beliefs are true in theory but not so much in practice, was extremely distressing and had its repercussions. It was definitely our fault and stupidity to think that a well-tailored suit, a serious expression on the face and a polite timbre of voice prove anything. On the contrary, it’s a crafty camouflage.

Now, since I stopped idealizing the classical music circle a long time ago, not only I’m not annoyed by its duality so much anymore, but I’m able to smile widely and laugh at the human flaws of those who are in this circle. And some of the amusing and absurd things (amongst other subjects of course) I would like to share with you on this blog.

The outsiders (the decent music listeners, the dreamers and those for whom the classical music is terra incognita) may be surprised or shocked at times. The insiders (those, who are in this business with two feet or – let’s get crazy – even one foot only) will probably be looking at themselves in the mirror. Hopefully with a smile on their face. At least they should. Because – as I’ve already told once someone very grumpy from that very circle – life is too short to sulk. Smile! And enjoy the ride! No matter how bumpy it is.

I greet you warmly.



  • Per-Erik Lundgren
    We are smiling through the tears..........Great reading.!!! Great idea with the blog! Thank you both!
  • Marianne Carey
    I think this article is honest, which is FABULOUS! And I must add that whether it's the high-brow classical music over-thinkers (over-drinkers really), or anyone with an framed acceptance letter from Harvard University in Dramatic Arts (this is unfortunately me too in this particular crowd), some of the stinkiest people in the world are those who believe their "acquaintance with such and such makes them above the "others", or their talent is so bare-assed NATURAL that it came out of no where! Actually, these people seem to feel so exonerated by their brazen, made up attitudes, their callous rude behavior, and their gossip-laden (good for nothing) speech, that in reality, and at some point, they'll turn around and see no one behind them to talk to all (because THAT particular air is quite stagnant). GOODNESS..... I must say that "this felt good!" (All in the spirit of Kristin Chenoweth--"The Girl in 14-G" ) Honestly, I write in the same jovial spirit of your intention here, and please know that you (Pauline) and Ingolf never fail to amuse and impress me. I like how you both are making your own way through this amazing, strange world of balancing life, work, and the most important feature of a life-well-lived, which is "to love and be loved" by somebody!" I like how you are putting your thoughts out here, albeit one "key" note at a time. "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." --- Mahatma Gandhi
  • Hai Pham
    A man with a deams needs a woman with vision. Thank you Paulina. And Thanks to Ingolf for inspiring young artists around the world.
  • Peter T
    Keep writing, Paulina! You’ve got a talent!!

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