Touring Quiz

1) Friend M carried both a violin and a viola aboard a plane, but found himself boarding nearly last. Tyranny of overhead bins! He was attempting to reorient some nearby bags when their owner spoke: “we are very well situated here.” What, one may well ask, about their situated state precluded the reorientation of bags from x to y? Against this enigma, M pressed on. “If I could only turn this bag around…” And he was thus rebuffed: “I really wish you wouldn’t reroute everything.” So much irrationality and odd vocabulary cannot be easily confronted. M was flustered; a steward offered a closet; all was saved. But co-traveler L thought inwardly, “Reroute THIS, you [expletives deleted]!” Can she be forgiven this uncharitable moment? Explain. Extra credit: what is the Platonic form of an overhead bin?

2) Pianist J while on tour playing a transcription of Ysaye was excited to find that Ysaye’s granddaughter would be attending that evening’s concert. What an honor! J was expecting insights, or illuminating anecdotes. Afterwards, this rather elderly woman came up to J, who waited with baited respectful breath, and asked: “are you a professional pianist?” Insight to insult; honor to shame. J did not know what to say; at a loss, he laughed in her face, which was not nice. How should J have responded instead? Who is more to blame: the granddaughter, or the presenter who neglected to print J’s biography in the program, in breach of contract? Discuss.

3) En route, post-gig, back to the airport, lovely woman states she has been a “star schlepper for 20 years.” Shortly thereafter, amused pianist J muses happily and repeats the phrase “star schlepper” aloud. The woman qualifies: “I was being polite.” J is yet more amused. What do you think the impolite version would have been? A riff on “star” or “schlepper”? Or both?

4) Musician X hosts unexpected but delightful companion Y overnight in X’s hotel room, while on tour. Musician X and companion Y are single, consenting adults. In the morning, picking up X for an early flight, experienced artist liaison Z recognizes not only X, but also the emerging Y (Z met Y the night before, when Z helped X secure Y tickets for the concert). Z lifts an inordinately expressive eyebrow towards X. What is X’s classiest response: a) a similarly lifted eyebrow; b) a muted smirk; c) total feigned ignorance and non-noticing of eyebrow; or d) other response to be determined? Please justify your answer.

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  1. Anonymous
    Posted March 9, 2006 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    My answer for #4 is a) a similarly lifted eyebrow. Why not!

  2. Anonymous
    Posted March 9, 2006 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Answer #4 Other: Invitation for a threesome, assuming Z is doable (we know he is experienced).

  3. Qais Al-Awqati
    Posted March 9, 2006 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Scientist are genetically programmed to answer quizzes. So here are my answers
    1. Platonic overhead bin must be an abstract and universal version of the concrete bin. So I would say The Id; much as I dislike Freud. The Id is where we keep our private baggage and where also our baggage crowds that of others.
    2.A smile rather than a laugh followed perhaps by a discussion of Ysaye’s great insights into piano playing being of course a great pianist himself!
    3.Well this is an ambiguous question; was she a star among schleppers or a schlepper of stars; the latter might have impolite connotations more relevant to question #4.
    4. The trained eye can easily recognize the post-coital state and Z obviously is well trained. The answer requires some knowledge of Z’state, if he was a predator, then a smirk will establish who has vidi et vinci. If he was not in the game then a placid look similar to a shrug would suffice among sophisticates. He is not likely to be naive but if there was fear of scandal then console yourself by quoting Cavafy

    A skin as though of jasmine
    That August evening-was it august?
    I can still recall the eyes: blue I think they were
    Ah yes, blue; saphire blue

    “(Long Ago by CP Cavafy)

  4. Anonymous
    Posted March 9, 2006 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    1.) No, the deus ex machina of the of the closet offered by the steward makes L’s anger moot. I suggest she order a drink and direct her hostility toward something worthwhile like the lack of leg room.
    2.) I’m shocked at J. He should have chuckled, and replied “No, I’m just a starf**ker, grandma.”
    3.) See 2 above.
    4.) Proper response is to be as coy as your blog. Ned Rorem you’re not…

  5. Allison
    Posted March 9, 2006 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    My Answers:

    1) Yes. Said bags’ owner demonstrated both discourtesy and oblivion to M’s predicament. Charity be damned! L, revel in your inward scourge of this individual.

    2) Lineage guarantees neither insightful expression nor similar degree of relative’s musical knowledge (or, as in this case, mere basic awareness). One should also take into consideration the granddaughter’s suggested advanced age, though the weight of this factor is variable. The presenter, on the other hand, is to blame for his or her oversight.

    3) I’ll leave this one to other responders, and onward to..

    4) A. By lifting his eyebrow in a similar fashion, X rebuffs Z’s nonverbal passing of judgment and responds with an silent question of his or her own: “Yes? And what business is this of yours?” (Correct answer: none.) A muted smirk, while perhaps more gratifying, could be interpreted as a sense of entitlement, thus lending weight to Z’s implied assement of the cliche nature of above-described encounter. Lastly, feigned ignorance is just that: feigned. X, having done nothing wrong, need not resort to pretense.

  6. Jacque
    Posted March 10, 2006 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    1. Yes, L can be forgiven the uncharitable moment. Ultimately of course, L must let go of the uncharitable feeling.
    2. J should have responded more coolly, but that admittedly is difficult given the post-concert emotional state. Aside: A lessening of expectations on J’s part would have been a better Buddhist way. The granddaughter is culpable of a great impoliteness. The presenter is guilty of breach, but that’s a separate matter.
    3. Lovely woman sounds like someone who has great envy and modest aspirations; probably not worthy of worrying about, but good tour blog material.
    4. “d” – Unless Z and X are long-time and close friends, the situation is none of Z’s damn business, and indiscreet of Z to make the gesture, and that somehow needs to be communicated to Z.

  7. Anonymous
    Posted March 10, 2006 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    4. Happened to me once. I thrust my fist in the air, yelled “SCORE!” at the top of my lungs, and did a victory dance. I was so much younger then.

  8. Claire
    Posted March 10, 2006 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Now if only I could have quizzes like this at school!!!

    Question 1: Yes, L can be forgiven this uncharitable moment. From a Christian point of view, we should find it in our hearts to forgive everyone. Christianity aside, this situation warranted said reaction. Some people can just be such #@%$*! Look at it this way – at least L did not verbally express his/her venting.

    Extra credit: Platonic?! Aaaahh! It’s the attack of Plato! I’m not in the cave I swear! I think I will refrain from getting metaphysical about overhead bins. That could get … interesting.

    Question 2: Honestly, unless you post a sound clip of your conversation with Ysaye’s granddaughter, I cannot answer this question. I need to hear the tone in her voice. Was it sweet and innocent, like a grandmother with freshly baked cookies, asking cutely “Are you a professional pianist honey?” with a warm twinkle in her eye and obliviousness written all over her face, or was she cool, bitter, and sarcastic with an implied “Are you a professional pianist? Go find another job!” If fist case, then she is not to blame, just simply a very elderly lady who did not intend insult but very sincerely just wanted to know if you were a professional pianist. If second case, then she is extremely rude and her remark was uncalled for and highly unnecessary. The presenter is also at fault for not publishing your biography in the program, but in the long run, will that really matter?

    Question 3: hhmm I could think of some pretty interesting phrases. I agree with Jacque on this.

    Question 4: haha I love one of the anon responses

    “Answer #4 Other: Invitation for a threesome, assuming Z is doable (we know he is experienced).”

    I’d say X doesn’t owe Z any repsonse, verbal or non-verbal. It’s none of Z’s business, and as is an adult, has no reason to explain him/herself because he has committed no error or immorality.

    sidenote: In my very bold fantasies, I’d like to see myself as X saying, “Hey at least I got more last night than you’ve gotten in a lifetime.”

  9. Anonymous
    Posted March 10, 2006 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Let me point out that in situation 2 presenters are often put in a difficult position by management. Management often fails to send biographies, even when prompted by the presenter. Many contracts also state that only publicity material (including bios) provided by management maybe be used. What’s a presenter to do? (My solution to this problem is too boring to print.)

    Artists beware: your management isn’t working as hard as they should be.

  10. Molly
    Posted March 10, 2006 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    1) I find the bin-hogger’s choice of words to be very strange, in the context of being on a plane. A plane is an inherently mobile thing – the idea of situatedness within the belly of a swiftly-moving silver beast is superficial at best, retarded at worst. Its duty is to reroute things from Point A to Point Q; how dare you complain about rerouting on a rerouting device?! Perhaps their reaction stemmed from an unconscious loathing of change exacerbated by their presence on a vehicle designed for great spatial change. Regardless, they were being irrational, and forgiveness is granted wholeheartedly.

    The Platonic ideal of an overhead bin would be an enclosure perfectly suited to the number of objects that need to be stowed therein, adapting strangely like Kafka’s writing desk to the curved contours of a viola case. Although, given the fundamental annoyingness of air travel, and taking a bin as a synecdoche of such, maybe it would actually be one that refuses to fit that last item, whether through actual constraint or a strange and well situated passenger.

    2) The presenter. The granddaughter is allowed, by blood, to have a proprietary concern over who is handling her grandfather’s work, even if it was expressed in a sort of insulting manner.

    3) Possibilities for further response: a polite inquiry as to her chauffering experience, observation of the near-homophony of “schlepper” and “sleeper”. Was she being “polite” by offering up the implication that she was speaking to a star, but didn’t REALLY mean it, unless of course it was true.

    4) Slight widening of the eyes, which could connote any of the following: “and..?” “indeed” “i am withholding comment”. Blends possible smugness with a soupcon of near-comic self-effacement. Subtle enough to be missed by Companion Y, who could, upon seeing a more blatant expression, might feel equally smug, uncomfortable, or even embarrassed.

  11. Anonymous
    Posted March 11, 2006 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    1. L had the uncharitable moment inwardly; thus, Unknown Bag-Owner could not possibly have been aware of L’s thoughts. After all, it was Unknown Bag-Owner’s irrationality which caused the situation in its entirety–had UB-O not protested so, this quiz would only be three questions, rather than four. My guess? UB-O grapples with chronic laziness.

    2. The use of the word “rather” implies elderly to the point of confusion. Now, of course, not knowing the tone of Ysaye’s granddaughter, a complete analysis is impossible. Perhaps the granddaughter was also indirectly pointing out the oversight of the presenter to include J’s biography. As for the laughter, I suppose if it sounded nervous enough, it isn’t a completely inappropriate response. Blame the presenter, whose lack of biography seemingly caused the possibly insulting question.

    3. I agree that this is ambiguous and cannot be answered until we know the intent of the speaker.

    4. The eyebrow, of course. Naturally, X cannot say anything to Z at the risk of hurting/embarrassing Y. Therefore, X must use the gesture that says the most without drawing any attention to it, as another commenter stated.

  12. Rachel M.
    Posted March 11, 2006 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    I just simply think you’re the most brilliant collaborative pianist I’ve ever heard. People like you are the reason I’m so inspired to become one.

  13. Anonymous
    Posted March 12, 2006 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    This post has nothing to do w/ your touring quiz but since this is the only place we can at least post something for you,I thought I have to say congratulations!!!!At the last day of your tour….

    Thanks for touring w/ Joshua!!!

    You definitely gathered more fans of your own.You’re such a pair and a match to his caliber.I would definitely plan to watch the two of you again and your own upcoming recitals.Hope you’ll get to meet us also.

    More success to your career Jeremy!!!

    “L”in NY

  14. christina
    Posted March 15, 2006 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    regarding #4: my vote is for the other response to be determined. as such, here is the response: first a quick eye dart to y to see if y has caught z’s first eyebrow raise. second, if y is unawares, a small and muted smile with a slight head roll in y’s direction is in order. you can’t treat y like y is not implicit in anything that is going on slash has already happened, especially when z has secured concert tickets for y from beforehand.

  15. Anonymous
    Posted March 20, 2006 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    for 2, there are SO many friggin’ pianists everywhere. So, if the bio wasn’t in the program, the question seems pretty innocent. Pianists are a popular breed nowadays. Thereminists however…

  16. Anonymous
    Posted March 20, 2006 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    This may be true; however, Jeremy is not just any “pianist.” Have you seen or heard him play? He conveys far more depth and meaning through the music he creates than most.

  17. Anonymous
    Posted March 20, 2006 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Unlike say Zimmerman, Ax, Andrezewski, Schiff, Perahia, Argerich, Ohlson, Thibaudet, Opens,Brendel, Kissin, Feltsman, Uchida, Andsnes,…….a scarcity of pianists!!!!

  18. Anonymous
    Posted March 20, 2006 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    I was referring to the question Ysaye’s granddaughter asked concerning whether or not Jeremy was a professional pianist. 😉 The fact that he is should be apparent even to audience members without a strong musical background. Enough said.

  19. Anonymous
    Posted March 21, 2006 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Being the great granddaughter of Ysaye,she should have an idea whether J is a professional or not.I don’t think it was the right or appropriate question if you’re not sure.Common,peforming w/ Joshua Bell,its enough already to know that Joshua brings a pianist of his own equal unless it was specifically stated in the program that he is peforming w/ a student or a graduate of some school otherwise w/out the musical biography of Jeremy is enough to understand by seeing him and listening perform of such quality one would say he’s exceptional well experienced concert pianist.

    She could have asked other questions to break the ice or to compliment his performance.

    Also,the presenter or nobody did not inform the grandaughter of Jeremy’s musical biography.She could have at least know firsthand on his background and his works.Isn’t it supposd to be the case?If you go to a concert or a performance you are informed of the artists background?esp.when you are planning to meet them after.You’ll never know how much time you’ll spend w/ the artists.You need to be prepared on your subjects.

    I do want to know a little of their background before I meet them,to avoid embarrassment,what am I supposed to say when I greet them and shake their hands?

  20. Anonymous
    Posted March 22, 2006 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Jeremy, we miss your posts but hope you’re doing well!

  21. Anonymous
    Posted March 27, 2006 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    re #4 – jacque said “Unless Z and X are long-time and close friends, the situation is none of Z’s damn business”.
    But honestly, this is nobody’s business. Mr. Denk, your modesty is exceeded only by your disgression.

  22. Anonymous
    Posted March 28, 2006 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    1. L can be forgiven. Traveling and frustration go hand in hand.

    2. “I am a professional student.” Cheesy, but gracious and self-effacing.

    3. Ha ha, ‘star schlepper’ is good enough.

    4. A smile and a thumbs-up. Works every time!

    (You blog a good blog!)

  23. Johnny
    Posted July 13, 2009 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    For #4 of Touring Quiz: With some esprit d’escalier, I suggest X could gamely ask, “Do you have a cigarette? I ran out last night.”

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