Donald Trump: Strident Billionaire. Classical Connoisseur?
Thursday, April 21, 2011
In his 2004 book Trump: How to Get Rich, the Donald trumpets the merits of hard work and long hours. His lead example? Pianist Glenn Gould.
“In 1955, Glenn Gould, the classical pianist from Toronto, rocketed to international fame by recording Bach’s Goldberg Variations,” Trump writes. “He may have seemed like an overnight sensation to the general public, but anyone who’s been working at something for twenty years isn’t likely to agree with that assessment.”
Virtuoso pianist Gould, in the news most recently after the 2010 release of the documentary Genius Within and a new biography, was a Bach specialist who shunned the Romantic repertoire and became known for his driving style as much as his 14-inch piano stool, his constant humming and a case of hypochondria that demanded winter wear in July. At the age of 31, the pianist called a halt to all concert appearances.
Trump, who professes “limited knowledge” of classical music, does not hold back speculation as to what makes for a great classical musician. “How do they do it?” he writes. “I’m not sure, but I would guess that passion plays a large part.”
Trump closes the chapter with a nod to soprano, and Brooklyn native, Beverly Sills. Her expertise in some of the most demanding coloratura roles and, later, as head of New York City Opera, then chairwoman of Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Opera, caught the real estate mogul's attention. Several of Trump's top Manhattan properties are, of course, right around the corner from Sills' old stomping grounds.
Calling it one of his “favorite quotes,” Trump lovingly cites Sills’ line: “There are no short cuts to anywhere worth going.”
The music commentary is quite the opposite of the sharp-penned tycoon's most recent missive to Jerry Seinfeld. His closing line to the comedian: “You should be ashamed of yourself!"