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Thread: Anyone familiar with this pianist?

  1. #16
    Senior Member Minor Sixthist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    This is deeply sexist and objectifying, and discriminates against men. Why is the cellist forced to cover himself? Can't he be naked and comfortable too? Are men nothing but clothes horses? Is Hauser being used to sell a line of fashions? Why does our culture approve of beauty and freedom in female attire - including freedom from attire - while men are kept in drab uniforms of shirts and pants?

    That's (semi)satirical, of course. What isn't satire is that the people who salivate and grin while looking at a nearly-naked woman playing the piano are apt to be the same people who would sneer or sweat with discomfort (repressed urges?) looking at a nearly-naked man playing the cello - namely, straight men, who remain more or less the arbiters of culture (and everything else).

    Behold classical music as patriarchal neurosis, in which both men and women continue to play their exaggerated, stereotypical roles as if they were natural and normal.
    I don't know, would people really mind if Hauser or another male cellist were shirtless in a video similar to this? Assuming a man could look attractive in the same ways Lola looks attractive here, I don't see what would keep some straight women from getting a similar kick out of that video as much as straight men get out of watching Lola and Yuja. Admittedly the male reaction may be much more pronounced, but straight women do have positive reactions to shirtless attractive men in movies, shows, commercials— would straight men really sneer with discomfort at what is clearly not marketed toward them?

    I would also challenge that Lola dressing like that stems from "patriarchal neurosis." I do understand the thinking that leads to that impression (very well), but it's her personal choice to dress provocatively, in a way that accents her physique and prettiness— it's a trademark, it's how she brands herself. She must understand that she may well be attracting a very large chunk of her audience who only click to see her body, not to hear her playing. Personally, I would be paranoid doing that, having to think maybe the attention comes from somewhere outside the playing itself, and I think most of us agree that we would want to eliminate as many distractions to our own playing as possible. But considering the majority of successful concert pianists don't dress in any particularly striking or unconventional way, I feel like it's safe to say Lola simply embraces marketing herself as a pianist who dresses flashily; her appearance is part of her act. That it's clearly her confidently-made choice to brand herself that way, with the knowledge that it's probably distracting and pandering to more of an audience than just the music-lovers, seems to suggest she's acting on her own whims more than any of the patriarchy. I don't see how filling a certain niche means she must be acting complicit with some man's wish, as long as we could assume she's doing what she wants as an independent artist, not deigning to do something somebody else pressured her to.
    Last edited by Minor Sixthist; Jul-16-2019 at 06:11.

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  3. #17
    Senior Member BrahmsWasAGreatMelodist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minor Sixthist View Post
    I don't know, would people really mind if Hauser or another male cellist were shirtless in a video similar to this? Assuming a man could look attractive in the same ways Lola looks attractive here, I don't see what would keep some straight women from getting a similar kick out of that video as much as straight men get out of watching Lola and Yuja. Admittedly the male reaction may be much more pronounced, but straight women do have positive reactions to shirtless attractive men in movies, shows, commercials— would straight men really sneer with discomfort at what is clearly not marketed toward them?

    I would also challenge that Lola dressing like that stems from "patriarchal neurosis." I do understand the thinking that leads to that impression (very well), but it's her personal choice to dress provocatively, in a way that accents her physique and prettiness— it's a trademark, it's how she brands herself. She must understand that she may well be attracting a very large chunk of her audience who only click to see her body, not to hear her playing. Personally, I would be paranoid doing that, having to think maybe the attention comes from somewhere outside the playing itself, and I think most of us agree that we would want to eliminate as many distractions to our own playing as possible. But considering the majority of successful concert pianists don't dress in any particularly striking or unconventional way, I feel like it's safe to say Lola simply embraces marketing herself as a pianist who dresses flashily; her appearance is part of her act. That it's clearly her confidently-made choice to brand herself that way, with the knowledge that it's probably distracting and pandering to more of an audience than just the music-lovers, seems to suggest she's acting on her own whims more than any of the patriarchy. I don't see how filling a certain niche means she must be acting complicit with some man's wish, as long as we could assume she's doing what she wants as an independent artist, not deigning to do something somebody else pressured her to.
    Well said. Not every professional musician has to aspire to meet some rigid standard of what it means to be a performer. People find different ways to distinguish themselves from the millions of talented performers out there all the time, even in classical music... think of Victor Borge. However, I do think that Woodduck makes valid and relevant points about the enforcement of gender roles in CM, and it is likely that, in many situations (especially in a concert setting, but even in a video like the ones posted in the OP), a male trying to look provocative during a performance would face substantially more resistance from audiences. While I agree that her self-fashioning is primarily a personal choice, it's important to consider the context and expectations surrounding that choice.

    Anyway, on the topic of the OP, I personally don't think she's a very good pianist (or very pretty for that matter). But she's probably introduced countless people to classical music who otherwise might not have had much exposure to it, so I won't complain.
    Last edited by BrahmsWasAGreatMelodist; Jul-16-2019 at 08:14.
    Casual composer, pianist, music enthusiast

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  5. #18
    Senior Member Becca's Avatar
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    What would be interesting is to see the results of a blind comparison involving her and a few other well regarded pianists. For fairness it would be best to restrict the choices to those aged perhaps 25-45. I am not volunteering as I don't consider myself sufficiently knowledgeable in that area.

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    Senior Member fluteman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minor Sixthist View Post
    I don't see how filling a certain niche means she must be acting complicit with some man's wish, as long as we could assume she's doing what she wants as an independent artist, not deigning to do something somebody else pressured her to.
    But the thing is, she is a professional performer. And for professional performers seeking a successful career, connecting with the audience, an audience, any audience, is everything. Even for the most physically unattractive, drably attired musician, virtuoso technical skill and a profound understanding of musical principles and traditions mean very little unless they are used to put on a show that, for whatever reason or reasons, audiences find compelling and exciting.

    In other words, there is no such thing as an "independent artist", at least not one who is trying to make a living performing on stage (or these days, maybe on youtube, live streaming, etc.).

    As a straight man, I've been all too interested in beautiful women showing off their bodies from a very young age. But I have other interests, too. I've never heard of or seen Lola. She seems to be one of those women who draws an audience based on how she looks, in addition to how she sounds as a musician. I wouldn't be surprised if she is a fine musician as well. I think women who go on stage in skimpy, revealing outfits have to be very good musicians as well, otherwise the whole effect would be comical and ridiculous.

    But with all the music and musicians to check out these days, I'm not giving any special attention to the near-naked women with large breasts. After all, there are numerous musicians who have risen to prominence without the advantage of those assets, and who remain fully dressed on stage. I'm interested to hear what they have to offer.

  7. #20
    Senior Member Open Book's Avatar
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    She's doing the same thing pop musicians do, making sex part of the act. Audiences like sex appeal in a performer, they think it adds competence somehow. That's always been true. But she's so extreme it's clownish, really.

    There's no correlation between looks and talent. I'm not saying she can't be a good musician but it's off-putting to see someone trying so hard, cheating for attention.

    Yet I admit that when I was young I was guilty of being more interested in good-looking performers. As a result I was missing out on a lot of those of modest appearance or less who were just as good or better. I'm ashamed of that now.

    I went to a symphony concert a few years ago and a youngish male pianist was on the roster. Sure enough, the number of lone young female audience members skyrocketed, obvious among the mostly grey heads. I smiled to myself because I would have been one of those 20-year-olds at one time.
    "No one chooses the tuba" - Alexander von Puttkamer

  8. #21
    Senior Member Open Book's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Becca View Post
    What would be interesting is to see the results of a blind comparison involving her and a few other well regarded pianists. For fairness it would be best to restrict the choices to those aged perhaps 25-45. I am not volunteering as I don't consider myself sufficiently knowledgeable in that area.
    Good idea, but why does it matter what age group she gets compared to if it's a blind test?

    I think you're implying that looks influence audience perceptions, and I think you're right.
    "No one chooses the tuba" - Alexander von Puttkamer

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Open Book View Post
    She's doing the same thing pop musicians do, making sex part of the act. Audiences like sex appeal in a performer, they think it adds competence somehow. That's always been true. But she's so extreme it's clownish, really.

    There's no correlation between looks and talent. I'm not saying she can't be a good musician but it's off-putting to see someone trying so hard, cheating for attention.

    Yet I admit that when I was young I was guilty of being more interested in good-looking performers. As a result I was missing out on a lot of those of modest appearance or less who were just as good or better. I'm ashamed of that now.

    I went to a symphony concert a few years ago and a youngish male pianist was on the roster. Sure enough, the number of lone young female audience members skyrocketed, obvious among the mostly grey heads. I smiled to myself because I would have been one of those 20-year-olds at one time.
    That is exactly right! The impression I get. Yuja Wang dresses like she does because she wants to and because she wants to shock the old so-and-so's out of their seats. This girl does it to try to get attention. You feel like saying, "Cover 'em up!!"

  11. #23
    Senior Member Becca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Open Book View Post
    Good idea, but why does it matter what age group she gets compared to if it's a blind test?

    I think you're implying that looks influence audience perceptions, and I think you're right.
    The age range is to compare more fairly based on performing experience.

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  13. #24
    Senior Member Minor Sixthist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fluteman View Post
    But the thing is, she is a professional performer. And for professional performers seeking a successful career, connecting with the audience, an audience, any audience, is everything. Even for the most physically unattractive, drably attired musician, virtuoso technical skill and a profound understanding of musical principles and traditions mean very little unless they are used to put on a show that, for whatever reason or reasons, audiences find compelling and exciting.

    In other words, there is no such thing as an "independent artist", at least not one who is trying to make a living performing on stage (or these days, maybe on youtube, live streaming, etc.).
    I agree that every good performer has to put on a show, but all I meant by independent artist was that her trademark of dress and performance is what she chose to make of herself, for better or for worse, not what she felt pressured to wear or do because 'the patriarchy.' She chose what audience(s) she was targeting; she just as easily could have chosen to dress conservatively and only appeal to people who appreciated her skill, but she just chose instead to target a mixed audience of people who like her music, people who want to look at her body, and both. I had never heard a word of this woman either before this thread. But she's an adult, she's not braindead, we know she's got some sense: she knows what she made of herself. She's not surprised if she scrolls through her comments and sees a bunch of spiteful men calling her a wh*** and telling her to cover up. She knows what she is, and my only point was that her choice wasn't made in order to fulfill some patriarchal role.

    As a straight man, I've been all too interested in beautiful women showing off their bodies from a very young age. But I have other interests, too. I've never heard of or seen Lola. She seems to be one of those women who draws an audience based on how she looks, in addition to how she sounds as a musician. I wouldn't be surprised if she is a fine musician as well. I think women who go on stage in skimpy, revealing outfits have to be very good musicians as well, otherwise the whole effect would be comical and ridiculous.

    But with all the music and musicians to check out these days, I'm not giving any special attention to the near-naked women with large breasts. After all, there are numerous musicians who have risen to prominence without the advantage of those assets, and who remain fully dressed on stage. I'm interested to hear what they have to offer
    I agree with you, and I'm sure tons of listeners share that same sentiment. I know I share it. I wouldn't be interested in a near-naked man playing the cello either. In fact, any musical act that puts too much emphasis on the appearance of the performers, and wears it as a trademark, isn't anything that's ever appealed to me. The Jusser brothers come to mind, this duo of twin Dutch brothers who play piano together. They really play the act of "hot blond twins who could play two-hand Mozart concerti on top of one another." I saw them with Philadelphia twice or three times, and I was indifferent to the whole thing, if not irked by them. They definitely did look like 'dreamy' Disney Channel stars with perfect smiles, and a lot of my friends did fawn over them, but I know I personally just came for the music. Then again, I was bored by that particular concerto anyway, and I just wished they'd hurry up and get to the Mahler in the second half. Maybe it's that blonds just aren't my thing.
    Last edited by Minor Sixthist; Jul-16-2019 at 19:54.

  14. #25
    Senior Member Minor Sixthist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Open Book View Post
    She's doing the same thing pop musicians do, making sex part of the act. Audiences like sex appeal in a performer, they think it adds competence somehow. That's always been true. But she's so extreme it's clownish, really.

    There's no correlation between looks and talent. I'm not saying she can't be a good musician but it's off-putting to see someone trying so hard, cheating for attention.

    Yet I admit that when I was young I was guilty of being more interested in good-looking performers. As a result I was missing out on a lot of those of modest appearance or less who were just as good or better. I'm ashamed of that now.

    I went to a symphony concert a few years ago and a youngish male pianist was on the roster. Sure enough, the number of lone young female audience members skyrocketed, obvious among the mostly grey heads. I smiled to myself because I would have been one of those 20-year-olds at one time.
    How is she cheating? She knows you know what she's doing. She's not trying to be deceptive. We all have ears, and the ability to simply shut our eyes and give her a "blind test" if we wanted to judge her impartial to her dress.

    The audience doesn't think the sex appeal adds competence, and I don't think anybody actually thinks sex appeal adds talent. It adds just that, appeal. It's not like people aren't aware of what they're watching. Like fluteman said, there are plenty of great pianists out there, men and women, so it's not like you can't skip over this one if her dress is too distracting.
    Last edited by Minor Sixthist; Jul-16-2019 at 19:03.

  15. #26
    Senior Member Open Book's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minor Sixthist View Post
    How is she cheating? She knows you know what she's doing. She's not trying to be deceptive. We all have ears, and the ability to simply shut our eyes and give her a "blind test" if we wanted to judge her impartial to her dress.

    The audience doesn't think the sex appeal adds competence, and I don't think anybody actually thinks sex appeal adds talent. It adds just that, appeal. It's not like people aren't aware of what they're watching. Like fluteman said, there are plenty of great pianists out there, men and women, so it's not like you can't skip over this one if her dress is too distracting.
    You just said you were "irked" and "put off" by the male blond twins. So why can't I be put off by this woman doing the exact same thing? Pandering to that part of the audience that needs a serving of sex with their music.

    She's doing it to get more attention, more hits, with the goal being a bigger career and more money. Not because she feels comfortable dressing that way.
    "No one chooses the tuba" - Alexander von Puttkamer

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    Senior Member Open Book's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Becca View Post
    The age range is to compare more fairly based on performing experience.
    Can you usually tell the difference between old and young pianists in a blind test? Old implies more experience, but does that translate to deepening interpretations or being more jaded and in a rut from playing the same things over and over? Age could result in loss of ability, or you can be hearing could be a young pianist with modest physical ability.
    Last edited by Open Book; Jul-16-2019 at 21:04.
    "No one chooses the tuba" - Alexander von Puttkamer

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    Senior Member Becca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Open Book View Post
    Can you usually tell the difference between old and young pianists in a blind test? Old implies more experience, but does that translate to deepening interpretations or being more jaded and in a rut from playing the same things things over and over? Age could result in loss of ability, or you can be hearing could be a young pianist with modest physical ability.
    Perhaps .. sometimes .. maybe .. not sure Just one way of possibly giving a more even 'playing field'

  18. #29
    Senior Member Minor Sixthist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Open Book View Post
    You just said you were "irked" and "put off" by the male blond twins. So why can't I be put off by this woman doing the exact same thing? Pandering to that part of the audience that needs a serving of sex with their music.
    I did say that. I did not say you couldn't be put off by this woman, of course. All I said, actually, was that it was silly of you to say that audiences "think [her sex appeal] adds competence somehow." Who ever suggested her sex appeal added to her pianistic competence? On the contrary, more of the immediate judgements people seem to make after seeing her dress is that she's a crappy pianist. People seem more willing to say her sex appeal detracts from her piano skills than adds to them, especially here on TC. Her audiences knows exactly what they're watching and why. It's not "cheating for attention" because cheating is acting dishonestly to gain an advantage. She didn't brand herself as "traditional conservative classical pianist." I have yet to see what she cheated at.

    She's doing it to get more attention, more hits, with the goal being a bigger career and more money.
    What performer doesn't want that? She happens to be willing to go to a different length than most other classical performers would. She's the one leaving with the cash in her pocket. Who are we to get upset about it?
    Last edited by Minor Sixthist; Jul-16-2019 at 20:11.

  19. #30
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minor Sixthist View Post
    I don't know, would people really mind if Hauser or another male cellist were shirtless in a video similar to this? Assuming a man could look attractive in the same ways Lola looks attractive here, I don't see what would keep some straight women from getting a similar kick out of that video as much as straight men get out of watching Lola and Yuja. Admittedly the male reaction may be much more pronounced, but straight women do have positive reactions to shirtless attractive men in movies, shows, commercials— would straight men really sneer with discomfort at what is clearly not marketed toward them?

    I would also challenge that Lola dressing like that stems from "patriarchal neurosis." I do understand the thinking that leads to that impression (very well), but it's her personal choice to dress provocatively, in a way that accents her physique and prettiness— it's a trademark, it's how she brands herself. She must understand that she may well be attracting a very large chunk of her audience who only click to see her body, not to hear her playing. Personally, I would be paranoid doing that, having to think maybe the attention comes from somewhere outside the playing itself, and I think most of us agree that we would want to eliminate as many distractions to our own playing as possible. But considering the majority of successful concert pianists don't dress in any particularly striking or unconventional way, I feel like it's safe to say Lola simply embraces marketing herself as a pianist who dresses flashily; her appearance is part of her act. That it's clearly her confidently-made choice to brand herself that way, with the knowledge that it's probably distracting and pandering to more of an audience than just the music-lovers, seems to suggest she's acting on her own whims more than any of the patriarchy. I don't see how filling a certain niche means she must be acting complicit with some man's wish, as long as we could assume she's doing what she wants as an independent artist, not deigning to do something somebody else pressured her to.
    My point was not to criticize the pianist or to deny her the right to dress as she wishes, but merely to satirize the very obvious and absurd sexual stereotyping represented by the spectacle of a classical music performance featuring a conventionally clad male and an almost unclad female. It isn't a question of a patriarchal culture forcing a woman to do anything she doesn't want to do, but of what it tells us about that culture that a woman would want to do this particular thing, and that people would think this was normal for a woman when they would probably find the sight of a man doing it ridiculous.

    I would like to suggest that this chaste little porn show could be given more depth by locating Lola and her friend in Stonehenge or atop George Washington's head at Mt. Rushmore.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Jul-16-2019 at 20:14.

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