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Rudolf Buchbinder Q&A with Shanghai Daily

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SOME pianists gain fame at a young age. Rudolf Buchbinder did the opposite. The now 70-year-old took his time to perfect his piano skills and is now a poster child of those great pianists who were recognized late in their careers. Recruited by the Vienna Academy of Music at age 5, Buchbinder become the academy's youngest student in the history. He played his first open concert at 9 and was awarded a special prize at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition at 20.

As a teacher, he insists that his students read books about composers and their works before playing their pieces - the only way to catch the original intention and characteristics of the piece, he said. "You are only free to do what you want when you know the original version and the composer's intention.... The knowledge will help open a door in your brain and help you see how far you can go," he said. He's also a talented conductor and recorded a Beethoven and Mozart piano concerto DVD with the Vienna Philharmonic.

Recently, Buchbinder conducted Staatskepelle Dresden with his piano at the Shanghai Symphony Hall. READ THE Q&A