Donald Trump: Strident Billionaire. Classical Connoisseur?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

He feels for the middle-class, he’s all about the Tea Party, and he may run for president. But Donald Trump gives pause when it comes to classical music.

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!"


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Comments [6]

Victor Stabin from anywhere but here

Who's in charge. Your listeners do not come to this station to find out what is new with Donald Trump. Your listeners come to this station to avoid Donald Trump.

Apr. 23 2011 01:04 PM
Jamie from Brooklyn NY

On a maybe similar note, I always feel a little dirty entering the David Koch (formerly New York State) Theater, but I suppose every dollar he spends on the arts is one less spent astroturfing for the Tea Party.

Apr. 22 2011 04:42 PM
Neil Schnall

The statement that Glenn Gould "shunned the Romantic repertoire" would appear to be contradicted by the fact that there are numerous recorded examples of his performances of works that fall into that category.

Apr. 22 2011 03:30 PM

What a shame a man with such an appreciation for classical music has such poor appreciation for class.

Apr. 22 2011 10:35 AM

Donald may well be America's last best hope. Let's get it on Donald.

Apr. 22 2011 02:45 AM
doggy fries

Donald Will get our Money Back--Problem solved.

Apr. 22 2011 12:45 AM

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