Interview

Dianne Frazer: Artistry in Collaboration

JD: Tell us a little about your background. How did you come to music as a career?

DF: I was a preachers kid” growing up, so moving every five years was normal for us. One Sunday in Cincinnati, my parents lost sight of me somewhere between Sunday school and church. After the horror of trying to find me, they heard recognizable tunes” coming from a Sunday School room – it was me…I was three years old. Instead of rushing me to the hospital, they rushed me to the old Cincinnati School of Music, and there began my formal training. So I dont remember choosing music as a career…it chose me.

JD: Was there a point when you decided to be primarily a collaborative pianist? How did you make that choice?

DF: I love answering this question because it truly separates the solo pianists from those who choose to play with other instruments, and for me, it was a definite choice. I was thirteen when I took a solo piece to our local Solo & Ensemble contest. My teacher was coming, my parents were there for support, and lots of church people were in the room waiting to hear Dianne.” The only problem was, Dianne” never showed up to that contest room…nope, but she did show up in the trumpet room and sightread Kent Kennans Trumpet Sonata for one of her friends, haha! I can still feel the thrill of that moment, and I remember getting such a kick out of playing with another instrument! I never looked back!

JD: To play with you is the definition of a collaborative relationship. In my experience, you bring every bit of yourself to the performance, and I loved feeling that I could “play” and not simply execute negotiated musical details. How do you encourage that sort of flexibility in yourself?

DF: First of all, thank you for the kind words. When I am told that I read minds or that I know what is going on inside of your head, my response is usually this – “I’m only as good as you!” There is a lot of truth to this when you think about it – if you breathe in the tempo that you want, then I will be taking that tempo; if you give me a wink of your eye indicating that you are setting up a ritard, I will take it; a simple change of vibrato might just be enough for me to know that you are wanting forward motion or a change in dynamic. It is these gentle gestures of communication that give pianists almost everything they need to play beautifully together, with you! But, if you don’t know what you w ant, and you don’t communicate your intentions, then we will certainly not be of much help to you!

JD: Are there habits flutists could develop that would make them better collaborators?

DF: I do not dare to answer this question! Haha!!!

JD: What are your top five favorite flute pieces to play?

DF: Oh my, only five? Many of my favorite flute pieces are associated with the flutists with whom I have performed these favorites. And sometimes, these favorite pieces became favorites because the rehearsals and performances were so much fun with the flutists. The Carl Vine Sonata, the Widor Suite, the Mel Bonis Sonata, the Reinecke Undine Sonata, and the Copland Duo are first to come to my mind. But ohhhhh, so many more favorites, too many to list!

JD: If you could play one concert with any musician (living or dead), who would you choose and why?

DF: The answer is simply this…it is the next concert on my calendar with the next musician. My musician friends know that I have never had a casting system for saying yes to performance opportunities. If you are a frequent headliner in your field, a top recording artist, or are enjoying extremely popular world status, I will be honored to be asked to perform with you! But I will be equally honored to share the stage with you if you are performing at your first contest, or giving an undergraduate half recital, or if you just want to perform at a senior living facility. We all just want to play beautiful music together, and we all just want to share it with enthusiastic listeners, so if this is our simple criteria, doesn’t that make us all equal, all one? So, the next event on my calendar, you ask? Ironically, I’ll be performing the Kent Kennan Trumpet Sonata at a high school Solo & Ensemble contest! I will definitely be showing up!


About Diane

Dianne Frazer is recognized globally as a premiere collaborative pianist. Known for her wit and style on and off stage, she “exudes an energy and an excitement that is both irresistible and endearing.” She has performed with a “who’s who” of international artists, and has performed in Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and Merkin Hall. According to Branford Marsalis, “Dianne is one bad-ass pianist!”

Dianne recently returned to the Columbus(OH) area after ten years on the faculty at Louisiana State University and two years in New York City. She is a principal pianist for the National Flute Association, International Society of Bassists, and has been a pianist at the Oberstdorf Music Festival in Germany, World Bass Festival in Poland, ISI Florence in Italy, the MTNA Southern Division, Bradetich International Double Bass Competition, International Hornists Society, International Trumpet Guild, North American Saxophone Alliance, International Clarinet Association, International Tuba Euphonium conventions, and numerous state and regional festivals. Dianne holds two performance degrees, was a two-time Fischoff finalist, and was an adjudicator for the prestigious Dranoff International Two Piano Competition.

Touring with individual artists is a big part of Ms. Frazer’s schedule, which is a direct by-product of the many conventions and festivals she plays. Her passion for making music with other musicians is almost equal to her passion for creating strong and lasting friendships, and this makes for a very gratifying and balanced life.

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