lunes, 25 de agosto de 2008

RIP, Soetarno Soetikno

Do you believe in destiny ? Premonition ? I'm not the one who could answer it, since I still can't differentiate those words with just pure chance. Or, is that the real point I miss ? As in I-Ching, chance IS destiny, right ?

Look, for some of my concerts in my 40th year I have programmed a piece which I always love, that A major Sonata of Schubert (no, no , not the big one. The "easy" one, as people say. I'd tell those people, try to play it and see what's so easy about it). I studied it for the first time with my former piano teacher, Soetarno Soetikno, back when I was a teenager in Jakarta. I programmed it this year more for nostalgic reasons, as I am reaching 40, than for other reasons.

Just like the concert I did in Santander, the nearest town where I live now, last Saturday. I programmed that piece again, together with other pieces by Beethoven, Liszt and myself. My concert started at 9 p.m CET, which means 2 a.m on Sunday in Jakarta . Soetarno Soetikno died about 4 hours afterwards in Jakarta. He was in his 70s.

Soetarno Soetikno was what you call that real, authentic teacher. He dedicated his whole life to his students. What you call "maestro" in Latin, or "guru" in Sanskrit. We often confuse that word with someone, a celebrity as we say, who performs all over the world, highly praised, having lots of affairs in his travels, having a flashy life with having apparently so many friends (especially in high places) but in reality having very few (or none at all) real friends he can trust. All those "friends" he has are just people waiting for the right time to stab him from his back.
Soetarno Soetikno, the real Maestro, was not that one I just described. He is a real one. And a teacher, as I always say, is the most underestimated, underpaid, underpraised and overworked job on earth. No, I am not talking about those pedantic university professors who earn a lot teaching how to do all those mental masturbations to the would-be intellectuals. I am talking about one who worked in a developing ( are we really ?) country with no social security and other facilities from the government. And he taught his students how to be artists, not intellectuals. And what he had suffered from his envious colleagues (some millionaires included) are just undescribable. I've seen it with my own eyes, back about 25 years ago. That's the price he had to pay for being honest and truthful to his job.

Requiescat in pace, Soetarno Soetikno. Without you, I (and many other musicians in Indonesia) wouldn´t be here now. Indonesian classical music world is deeply grateful to you (although we haven't treated you so well).