THIS PRACTICAL GUIDE, which might well be called Therapeutic Techniques for Pianists, represents the culmination of many years of study of muscular coordination by Lionel Bowman in his personal effort to overcome chronic sprains and tendonitis.
The understanding of the technical procedures evolved by Professor Bowman will benefit all students of piano at any level.
The technique embodies a few simple principles, the synchronisation of which ensure physical comfort at the keyboard. This, in turn, optimises performance, removes fear, and prevents the physical problems commonly experienced by pianists.
Who was Lionel Bowman?
For over half a century, pianist Lionel Bowman brought exhilaration, inspiration, and enlightenment to an international audience.
A crowded, and distinguished career, with innumerable recitals, and concerto appearances – both live and for radio and television broadcast (in, inter alia, France, Britain, Holland, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Turkey, the United States, Israel, and many countries in Africa) – was recognised by election to Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Music, and entry in the New Grove Dictionary as a Beethoven exponent of integrity.
Professor Bowman's contribution in this sphere has been immense. At a time when it was not fashionable to do so, he pioneered, in South Africa, the performance of the complete cycle of Beethoven's piano concertos. It was a feat accomplished on five occasions. He did much else in South Africa – more, perhaps, than any other musician before or since – to make the keyboard works of Beethoven accessible to large numbers of people. As well, he gave first performances in that country of works as diverse as Falla's Nights in the Gardens of Spain and Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No 3.
More enduringly, perhaps, initially as Senior Lecturer in piano at the University of Stellenbosch, and later as Associate Professor, he earned, as a tireless and inspiring teacher, the gratitude of students on two continents who have been the beneficiaries of his unique guidance.
Professor Bowman's contribution to piano pedagogy – the product of a lifetime dedicated to the consideration and resolution of technical keyboard problems – can hardly be exaggerated.
Certainly, this has been recognised in Australia where, on numerous occasions, he toured the continent, giving master classes and concerts at, among other institutions, the Universities of Western Australia and Adelaide, the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, and the Western Australian Academy of the Performing Arts.
Music Critic, Argus Cape Town,
The West Australian.
Official accompanist and music producer, SABC
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