June 8, 2018
WQXR: Roads Not Taken

When a great pianist takes the stage and delivers a performance that’s thrilling and moving in equal measure — when we hear recordings of the finest artists interpreting the sublimely challenging piano repertoire — it feels as if all is right in the world. From a very young age, pianists invest themselves fully in practice and performance. Their commitment is so deep and their talent so inspiring that it’s difficult to imagine them doing anything else.

But what if these artists had never started playing the piano at all? What if they had turned toward another interest or passion? In their own words, here is what some of today’s greatest pianists might have been if they had never touched those 88 keys.

Orli Shaham
"It’s hard for me to imagine not doing something in music. But, if I eschewed music altogether, I would have been a Supreme Court Justice. Why? As an immigrant, I’ve always been fascinated by the Constitution and its framing of human rights. I pursued my bachelor’s in Modern European History at Columbia University because it is a perfect background for much of the music I play, but it’s also a great major for law school applications. So, when the Court calls, I’m ready."

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