Seymour Bernstein is a one of a kind. A brilliant pianist who preferred composing to performing. A teacher who brings out the genius in his students, and a philosopher whose life only appears to be a Spartan one. When we spoke by phone on March 11, 2015, I was delighted to be able to ask him some metaphysical questions that he had touched on in the documentary made about him by Ethan Hawke, particularly the synchronicity that has played such an important part of his life. We went on to discuss the physical effects of music on the brain, how music found him when he was just a boy, why he devised his own teaching methods, and why some people think that the universe resonates in b-flat.
SEYMOUR: AN INTRODUCTION is Ethan Hawke’s documentary about the brilliant pianist who favored composing over performing. His career has spanned more than half a century of composing and teaching, both private students and master classes, both of which we observe in the film as he shows infinite patience and infinite love for his students as he brings out the genius within them. We also listen in as Bernstein muses on his philosophy of life, his discovery of music, and shares the effusive and puckish personality that has made him beloved among his circle of friends, who now number those who have seen the film. I spoke with Bernstein by phone.