“Josef Raieff, my teacher at Juilliard, was a stocky, handsome, cigar-smoking romantic. He had the rare ability to sit down and play anything any of his students was working on: perfectly, fluidly, and with amazing beauty and ease–all without a glance at the music. Aside from the occasional wide-smiled compliment on my interpretive skills, he seldom discussed musical concepts with me. Instead, he helped develop a repertoire that challenged my interpretive mind, plus, he provided a plethora of invaluable fingerings that had been passed down through generations of teachers. At first glance, some of the bold fingerings seemed unnatural and fussy, but after fully committing to new advanced techniques, I experienced a freedom of facility that unexpectedly tamed the most daunting technical sections in my pieces. His masterful fingerings facilitated beauty of tone in Chopin, clarity in Mozart, bubbly articulation in Bach, and sheer speed whenever needed.”
12C: excerpt from Life in Miniatures: a view from the piano bench.