Gerald Moore: The Unashamed Accompanist

Written by Michael Barrett

Associate Artistic Director, NYFOS

July 15, 2020

This week we are rerunning a series of Songs of the Day dedicated to collaborative pianists by NYFOS co-founder Michael Barrett. This post originally ran on June 22, 2016.

Since we’re looking at the art of “the collaborative pianist” I think it’s time to hear from Sir Gerald Moore, perhaps my favorite singers’ pianist. He played with all the greatest singers of his day and really knew his craft. Gerald Moore was the one who when asked at rehearsal at the Wigmore Hall in London whether he wanted to have the lid of the piano opened, replied in his clipped British accent “Oh no, just a very, very short stick”. He arrived at the concert, and taking the stage, there indeed was a very short and very inadequate spinnet piano with the name of its company emblazoned on the fallboard: STECK. Still one of my favorite stories.

If you can listen to him through this to the end you will be rewarded. I also recommend his “Am I Too Loud?” He’s dry, funny and brilliant. No one ever replaced Sir Gerald, alas. Thank God for the record.

Michael Barrett

Michael Barrett is the co-founder and associate artistic director of New York Festival of Song, as well as the co-founder and music director of the Moab Music Festival in Utah. A conductor and a pianist, Michael was a protégé of Leonard Bernstein and serves as music advisor to the Leonard Bernstein Estate.


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