If you’ve enjoyed any of the live streams or on demand concert videos on Bachtrack At Home in the months since it launched, you may well have wondered a few things: who else is watching? Where do they live? Are they seasoned classical music fans or are they newcomers? We’ve wondered those things, too. So, here we present the first in a series of features on the users of Bachtrack At Home. Introducing 51-year-old At Home user “Jack Steinbeck”...

Eddie, who loves Sibelius and Mozart just like his owner © Jack Steinbeck
Eddie, who loves Sibelius and Mozart just like his owner
© Jack Steinbeck

BT: Which town do you live in, and what do you do?

JS: I’m a small business owner (pet sitting, dog walking, cat care etc.) and I also work with young children (age 4-5) who display signs of autism. I reside in Greensburg, Pennsylvania which is about an hour east of Pittsburgh.

When was the first time you attended a concert? What can you remember about it?

In grade school the Pittsburgh Symphony performed at my school. I only recall Mozart K550 being performed, but I was greatly impressed by the timpanist, Stanley Leonard. Leonard became a hero of mine, and in my senior year in high school I earned the position of timpanist for the state high school orchestra.

Out of all the concerts you’ve attended in your life, which performance is the one that stands out the most?

Last summer I saw Rachel Podger and Kristian Bezuidenhout perform Mozart. I’ve never heard Mozart performed any better. Supreme virtuosity and wonderful humanity in the service of Mozart’s sonatas for keyboard and violin.

Who is your favourite composer?

Mozart is my favorite composer with Jean Sibelius a close second. Mozart soothes my often world-weary soul. His music is sublime and makes me proud to be a human. The Clarinet Concerto, Piano Concertos no. 11 and no. 23, the utterly charming Concertone K190, the “Gran Partita” and the Symphony no. 29 are to me the most wonderful of human creations. It’s tragic that Mozart died so young. The music of Sibelius is often dark and brooding and his last two symphonies are my two favorite non-Mozart works. The Sibelius Violin Concerto is my favorite concerto for any instrument.

Who is your favourite performer?

I listen to an awful lot of Billie Holiday and Lester Young. Andrew Bird and the band The National are two of my favorite rock/pop performers. I’m kind of hooked on the recordings of Ernest Ansermet, Charles Munch, Ferenc Fricsay, John Barbirolli and the wonderful István Kertész. Of today’s musicians Jean-Guihen Queyras is a favorite of mine. Janine Jansen, Martha Argerich, Rachel Podger, Julia Fischer and Gidon Kremer always impress me with their humane recordings. Amandine Beyer and Giuliano Carmignola always impress me with their passion. I’m an avid fan of the conductor Thomas Fey and hope that his health improves so that he can take the podium once again. Young maestros Pablo Heras-Casado, Rebecca Miller and Christoph König are terrific. I also have to mention Maurizio Pollini, whose body of work amazes me.

What was the last video you watched on Bachtrack At Home?  

The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2016 Nobel Prize Concert featuring Gianandrea Noseda and Janine Jansen.

What is your favourite video performance you’ve seen at Bachtrack At Home, and why?

Same as last answer. Jansen is terrific!

What piece would you love to see on Bachtrack At Home that we don’t yet have? Are there any performers that you’d love to see on Bachtrack At Home but can’t find?

The Toronto band Tafelmusik is a wonderful baroque orchestra. Also the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra is a highly impressive group. More American music is always welcome. If you want to really impress me the Brahms-Schoenberg Piano Quartet Op.25 is a truly great work that few know about. It’s totally kick-ass.

How do you watch videos on Bachtrack At Home?

I use MomoCast to watch them on my TV from my iPad.

Do you sit down to watch an entire piece or do you watch bits of videos?

Both.

Do you watch with friends/family or on your own?

Mostly just me but occasionally with my wife.

Do you physically attend concerts in the hall or are you unable to get to a concert hall?

My wife and I see 2-3 PSO concerts each season. We will also be traveling to Baltimore in May to see Freiburger Baroque with Kristian Bezuidenhout.

What’s a piece of music that you would recommend to anyone who is trying to find a way into classical music?

I’m an avid fan of the Mozart Piano Concertos. But the Dvorák Slavonic Dances are intoxicating. They’re a gateway drug.

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