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Jeremy Denk performs Ligeti's Etudes for an In Practice recording session. (NPR)

In Practice: Jeremy Denk

Jun 20, 2012

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Reported by

Tom Huizenga

Jeremy Denk has his own personal "piano boot camp." Actually, it's his cramped Manhattan apartment. Beside his beloved books, a trusty coffee pot and a laptop, there's not much to do except practice. Which Denk does, hours and hours a day on a Steinway wedged into his living room. On a good day, he brews pot of coffee number one at about 11, then plays for about five hours. Perhaps a run to the gym, then pot number two is brewed at about 6, followed by more playing — until the neighbors complain.

When we invaded his "camp" he was seriously practicing the piano etudes of György Ligeti. His music is "continuous madness," Denk says. "Wonderful, joyful madness." Denk has a great talent for making you fall in love with the most complex music, letting it sound completely natural. He admits, "I'm atuned to the weirdnesses. I guess that's something I like about music that's on the edge of destroying itself."

Credits

Producers: Mito Habe-Evans, Anastasia Tsioulcas; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Production Assistants: Amanda Ameer, Nick Michael; Executive Producers: Anya Grundmann, Keith Jenkins

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