15 Questions for Pianist Paul Barnes

15 Pianist Questions: This is a list of questions we’re asking pianists as part of a series. Some of the questions may have been borrowed or altered from some other questionnaires. Just a fun way to get to know current performers.

In this list, we're getting to know Paul Barnes.

  1. What did you play on your very first piano recital?
    Uhh...I actually forgot my first recital. I was playing softball!
  2. If you could have dinner with a composer, who would it be?
    Franz Liszt!  Bring on the goose livers and ox tail soup! We’d have WAY too much to talk about!
  3. If you weren’t a musician what other job would you have? 
    I’d be the hippist Orthodox priest on the planet!
  4. Do you have any built-in musical associations, like a smell or a color that you associate with a key, a note or a piece? 
    Here’s just a few: G-Flat major is creamy (Schubert G-flat Impromptu) milk chocolate. A-flat major is unbridled LOVE! (Liszt’s Liebestraum). D minor is death of course (Mozart Requiem), as is F minor (Chopin Fantasie, Liszt Funerailles). And C Major is the key of spiritual profundity!  Just give a listen to Glass’s last etude (my recording isn’t too bad!)
  5. Dogs or cats?
    Dogs are an icon of the possibility of human theosis! I couldn’t live without that constant hopeful reminder of unconditional love!

  6. What is your musical guilty pleasure?
    Earth, Wind, and Fire!  Although there’s nothing to be guilty about! There has never been and never will be a greater band!  Johnny Cash is a close second.

  7. You’ve traveled and toured, what’s your favorite restaurant? 
    Any restaurant near the beach in Greece! We love the Cobenzl Grill in the Vienna Woods just up the hill from Grinzing outside of Vienna. I also love the donuts at Flex Mussels in New York!  

  8. What’s your favorite food? 
    Nothing better than lamb made by Greeks on Pascha after being vegan for seven weeks!  Bring on the garlic!

  9. If you had to a cancel a concert and could choose any pianist to step in for you, who would it be?  
    Vikingur Olafsson

  10. Who is your least favorite composer? 
    Xanakis. But he gets brownie points for having a name that begins with ‘X.’

  11. If you had a superpower what would it be? 
    Flying! Driving is so overrated!

  12. What is your pet peeve? 
    Anyone who uses music as a weapon.

  13. Are you an introvert or an extravert? 
    Obnoxiously extroverted. I can’t help it. Please forgive me!

  14. Is it easier to play in a recording studio or in front of an audience?
    I love the energy of an audience, but the really good music comes from your internal life in which you can luxuriously wallow in the studio!

  15. Who is the most famous person you know?  
    The late, great, theologian Jaroslav Pelikan. He wrote Bach Among the Theologians.