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some Screenings of
Memories of John Browning

Music Teachers National Association
Music Teachers Association of Calif.
California Professional Music Teachers
Portland International Piano Festival
Skirball Cultural Center Film Series
 International Rachmaninoff Society  
UCLA Emeriti Association

 

John Browning conversing with Salome Ramras
Arkatov in front of Rosina Lhevinne's former
apartment in New York City.

 
   
Memories of John Browning: SYNOPSIS

“Mr. Browning comes as close to perfection as one would hope to hear in this world,” so reported The New York Times in 1999. It is the intent of this film, Memories of John Browning: The Lhevinne Legacy Continues, to capture the ephemeral quality of John Browning’s extraordinary artistry, portray his charismatic personality, and observe his interpretive genius as he performs.

John Browning (1933-2003) studied at the Juilliard School with legendary pianist and master teacher, Rosina Lhevinne. There he absorbed her philosophy and the principles of the “Old Russian School,” a rigorous set of pianistic standards of which he eloquently speaks and demonstrates in this film.

We hear accounts of Browning’s teaching at the Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music and how he carried on Rosina Lhevinne’s tradition to his students. He is remembered in intimate conversations with his sister Elizabeth and colleagues and friends: Martin Canin, David Dubal, Marilyn Horne, Steven Mayer, Leonard Slatkin, John Williams, and students Mira Armij Gill and Benjamin Martin. We learn of Browning’s talent and character from archival tapes of Rosina Lhevinne.

John Browning’s great talent and sensitivity are on display at close range as he gives complete and ravishingly beautiful performances of the Rachmaninoff Prelude Op. 32 #5 and Chopin’s Nocturne Op 27 #2. Browning is also heard performing sections of Samuel Barber’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Piano Concerto, which was written for and premiered by Browning at the opening of Lincoln Center in 1962. Audiences then learn the fascinating story of creation of Barber’s composition and its performance.

Throughout his life, John Browning gained world-wide acclaim for his incomparable recitals, concerts and chamber music performances. His musical legacy continues in the memories of those who were fortunate to have heard him and learned from him, through this film, and in his impressive discography.

 


Memories of John Browning: colleagues and students response


"What I feel makes this DVD particularly valuable, in addition to John the pianist, is that it can in many ways be considered a "continuation" of your tape of Mme. Lhevinne. I have always felt, even from my early student days, that John represented the ultimate Lhevinne student"  Read more
- Jeffrey Siegel, distinguished pianist noted for his Keyboard Conversations

"I can hardly find the words to express my gratitude to you for creating this exquisite and stunning film about John Browning. It left me speechless…Virtually any other film today would strive to "glorify" or "glamorize", but yours accomplishes the more elusive task of capturing those invisible strands that comprise one's humanity." Read more
- John Blacklow, Former student of John Browning and Professor of Piano at University of Notre Dame

"I recall playing in masterclasses [with John Browning] and hanging on to every word and every pearl note he played. What a wonderful, rare experience! I appreciate owning the DVD, which I feel captures the essence of his magnitude as a pianist's pianist."  Read more
- Dr. Eric W. Unruh, Chair of Division of Fine Arts, Casper College

 

Memories of John Browning: screenings response

"Memories of John Browning is a beautiful film and it is obvious how much love and caring went into producing it…. I hope part of your satisfaction comes from knowing how much you touch people through the film. I can’t imagine anyone could watch it and not be moved."
- Pat Zagelow, Executive Director of the Portland International Piano Festival

"Arkatov’s artistic film on John Browning transcends its relevance to music and music education. It is a masterful teaching tool for higher education in its reflection of pedagogical principles."
- Norma D. Feshbach, Psychologist and Educator, Professor of Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, UCLA

"Your heartwarming, informative documentary on John Browning was one of the highlights of the Conference. It was a privilege to be able to peek into a few aspects of his personal life and to hear commentary by those who loved and knew him best."
- Darlene Vlasek, NCTM California Association of Professional Music Teachers State President

Memories of John Browning: CURRENT REVIEWs of film AND ARCHIVAL ARTICLES

Piano Guild Notes Review (Winter 2009, Volume 58, no. 3)
“Memories of John Browning: The Lhevinne Legacy Continues” by Dr. Vicki King -Click to read

THE JUILLIARD JOURNAL ONLINE REVIEW (March 2008)
"Piano, Piano and More Piano" by Bruce Hodges (Scroll to bottom of page) - Click to read

AMERICAN MUSIC TEACHER REVIEW OF "MEMORIES OF JOHN BROWNING" (FEBRUARY/MARCH 2008)
"Memories of John Browning: the Lhevinne Legacy Continues" by Marienne Uszler- Click to read

International Piano Article (March/April 2003)
“Aiming higher” by Lynnda Greene - Click to read

Christian Science Monitor Article (Wednesday, August 23rd, 1989)
“The Real Life of a Concert Pianist” by Louise Sweeney -
Click to read