I spent two summers in 1996 and 1997 at the Banff Centre for the Arts with Marek Jablonski. It was the first time I had left my home city of Saskatoon to study music. The experiences I had studying with Marek remain strong in my mind, even when practicing today. He had so many philosophies that I made sure to write as much of it down as I could. One thing he used to say was “I don’t care about how many notes you can play, I care about whether you can play three notes beautifully.”
He drove many students to tears in masterclass, but it was only because his passion was so intense. Today, there was an article that brought back so many memories of Marek to me. I hope you click on the bottom of the link to hear one of his Chopin mazurkas.
One of the last concerts he played in Banff was the complete Opus 25 Chopin Etudes. He was sick by that time but he played those etudes with so much force the ground shook. He seemed to have so much fun performing. I have a tape recording of it somewhere; I hope to find it some day. I’ll also find some old photos some day to post. I had the honour of receiving the Marek Jablonski award back in 1999 for a CMFTA National Piano Competition. It meant so much to receive an award in his name. I am lucky in so many ways. Here is an old article about it...my name is mentioned in there somewhere!
Anyone who dares to play Beethoven's last Piano Sonata Opus 111 must be fearless and confident in his skills. In the case of Thomas Yu, both are true...[He] plays the piece with elegance and depth...and his interpretation was the highlight of the festival day.Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany's largest newspaper, translated.