CBS Sunday Morning told the tale recently of a 38-year-old Simone Dinnerstein who always had aspired to being a concert pianist, playing at Carnegie Hall. Her mother, Renee, interviewed on this same program, feared Simone was in for a life of disappointment. After all, her child didn’t have piano lessons until she was seven, late by classical music standards. She feared her daughter would not be able to compete in such rarefied world.
I was at a friend’s house, and he put that recording on and it just stopped me in my tracks,” Simone said. “I couldn’t believe how great it was.
Simone attempted to play that piece herself along the way, but because she wasn’t able to improve on what she saw as Glenn Gould’s outstanding interpretation, she set the music aside, not attempting to play it for many years.
Even after pursuing a course of music education, to her family’s surprise and dismay, the young pianist dropped out of Julliard’s School of Music and traveled to London to find herself. There she met a young man whom she married. Eventually, they returned to New York where Simone continued to study at Juilliard. She played small concerts in unknown places such a retirement homes, even prisons and offered piano lessons while the couple started a family.
Feeling washed up as a musician at 30, Simone started trying to play the “Goldberg Variations” again, feeling the piece was more of meditation than music. She adored it and sought to perform it with her own interpretation.
Then Dinnerstein took a leap of faith. She scraped together $15,000 from family and friends to make a recording of her performance of this music she so adored. And then the magic started happening. The first track was leaked out on the Internet, causing quite a stir in the classical music world.
Rather than pursue a record label, Dinnerstein again made a bold move, going for broke. She rented a recital hall at Carnegie Hall and played a live concert for critics. As a result, every important recording company wanted her to make an album for them. She chose a label, was recorded and rose to the top of the charts. Her dream did come true!