Brian Wise covers the classical music business for WQXR, including aspects of performance, technology, philanthropy and institutional trends. He produces the Café Concerts series and the podcast/show Conducting Business. He manages the station's homepage and makes sure what you hear on air is what you see online. Follow him on Twitter at @Briancwise.
Pianist Mitsuko Uchida Cheers on Andy Murray at Wimbledon Final
Sunday, July 07, 2013 - 04:00 PM
Sunday's Wimbledon final attracted a host of high-profile faces, including at least one from the world of classical music: bespectacled pianist Mitsuko Uchida was seen cheering in the royal box beside Prince Edward, Duke of Kent.
Classical music fans on Twitter began taking note of Uchida during the second set of the match, in which Andy Murray beat Novak Djokovic of Serbia (6-4, 7-5, 6-4) to become the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years.
Uchida, a naturalized British citizen (and lover of distinctive eyewear), was seen standing up and cheering for Murray at several points during the match. More photos were posted Sunday on the website Buzzfeed.
There was another classical subplot to Sunday’s match. Djokovic is a noted fan of classical music, occasionally attending the opera and having once told 60 Minutes that the music helps him relax before tournaments. He was first introduced to the classics through his boyhood coach, Jelena Gencic, who died last month at age 76. She reportedly taught him to find inspiration in Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and to think of its rousing climaxes at the height of competition.
More recently, Djokovic told The Spectator magazine how he and Gencic "spent most of our time together listening to classical music from Bach and Mozart to Beethoven." He added: "We spent so many hours in her house, in that legendary living-room filled with hundreds of tennis trophies she had on display. I dreamt that one day I would be winning them too. We were listening to this wonderful music and doing visualization exercises."
The mutual admiration between classical musicians and tennis players is longstanding, involving composers such as Schoenberg, Britten and Prokofiev to contemporary performers like Yannick Nezet-Seguin and Emanuel Ax.