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Arts Lives RTÉ One, Tuesday, 10.15pm

John O'Conor's Beethoven Boot Camp

Tuesday 17th February, 2009

In this unique film, recorded in Positano, on Italy's rugged Amalfi coast, internationally acclaimed concert pianist John O'Conor tries to pass on the passion and power of Beethoven's music to the next generation of musicians. It's not an easy task.

And even though this group of seven men and women from around the world are hand picked by O'Conor for these master-classes, as much for their musical ability as for their perceived dedication to their art and their craft, the lessons have mixed results.

When these young musicians are invited to Positano by John O'Conor, it is one of the greatest honours they can receive in their fledgling careers. For this is no ordinary masterclass. O'Conor has a love and a passion for Beethoven that goes to the very core of his being. This is what he has come to share. He speaks only in direct and clear language. There can be absolutely no half measures. This is a life changing two weeks of tears and tantrums, of clashing personalities and fiery temperaments in a truly painful rite of passage. There is no room for self doubt. The stakes are too high.

The seven aspiring concert pianists from around the world, had better be ready to listen and to learn from O'Conor or they will incur his wrath, for daring to waste his time or for failing to live up to their own potential. This masterclass will change the way they think, will change the way they hear and will change the way they play. Our cameras will be with them all the way.

The results are extraordinary to witness: O'Conor is irresistible, expertly deploying an astonishing array of tools to draw his students out of themselves. He cajoles, bullies, congratulates, laughs and shouts as his students respond with performances that reach depths they had not previously imagined.

 

 

 

 

 

 

John and the students
John and the students
Positano on the Amalfi Coast, Italy
Positano on the Amalfi Coast, Italy
Concert pianist, John O'Conor
Concert pianist, John O'Conor