About ten years ago, during a performance of Mozart’s 23rd Piano Concerto, he suddenly started worrying that he was about to forget the next note.
Classical performers are especially prone to it, because accuracy and virtuosity are at such a premium.
In her autobiography, starry American soprano Renée Fleming says her worst bout of stage fright began after being booed off the stage at La Scala in Milan in 1998, when she was playing the lead in Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia.
She began to shake, and carried on shaking for days.
Make a mistake in a jazz break, and few will notice; make one in a string quartet and everybody will.
Unsurprisingly most musicians like to keep their problems with stage-fright under wraps, but one or two have spoken out.
Stage fright is like madness; it comes without warning, out of a blue sky.That’s how it came to Scottish pianist Steven Osborne, one of the most intelligent and sensitive pianists around.“I didn’t actually forget anything but it felt like the water was rising and lapping just under my nose.” Osborne was so disturbed by this experience he sought help from a cognitive therapist.“I learned a few tricks, like imagining I was somewhere lovely and unthreatening before a performance, like a flowery meadow.It helped, but I never felt it was a long-term solution.” Then, a few years later came the real bombshell, during a performance of Rachmaninov’s First Piano Concerto.“This was like an earthquake because this time I really did have some memory lapses, and this made me think the whole performance was about to go off the rails. I really began to wonder whether my career was over.