“Ethan Hawke might strike you as an unlikely guide to classical music. But in directing his first documentary, Seymour: An Introduction, he created an intriguing and ultimately profoundly moving tribute to a largely unknown artist, 86-year-old pianist Seymour Bernstein,” writes Anastasia Tsioulcas on Wednesday (3/11) at NPR’s Deceptive Cadence blog. “A student of Clifford Curzon, Nadia Boulanger and Georges Enescu, Bernstein seemed in the 1950s and ‘60s to be a serious star ascendant.…  That never quite happened…. At age 50, he decided to dedicate himself completely to teaching, composing and writing. In 1977, he gave a farewell performance, though unbilled as such, at the 92nd Street Y.… Hawke illuminates Bernstein as an artist and teacher whose wisdom reaches far beyond the confines of classical music…. Hawke appears on screen … to discuss paralyzing stage fright with his new friend and quasi-mentor. It’s a subject Hawke and Bernstein can commiserate about; the film’s narrative suggests that stage fright was part of the impetus for Bernstein’s decision to quit his performance career. Yet he tells Hawke, in essence, that if you’re not feeling fear, you’re not doing it right.” The film opened in limited release Friday; a national release will follow.

Posted March 16, 2015