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Doctor and Piano Man

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Doctor and Piano Man

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Doctor and Piano Man

Doctor and Piano Man

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Henri Delbeau, an internist from New York, is the winner of the third Washington International Piano Amateur Competition. He played Schubert and Liszt, competing against other doctors, lawyers, chemists, a psychiatrist and an Argentine gymnasium owner. He tells Scott Simon about the competition.

(Soundbite of Rachmaninoff's Prelude in G Major, Op. 32 No. 5)

SCOTT SIMON, host:

Might recognize this music as Rachmaninoff, Prelude in G Major, Op. 32 No. 5. But it also bears the stylings of an internist from Jackson Heights, New York. Dr. Henri Delbeau is playing, and last week in Washington, DC, Dr. Delbeau won the Third Washington International Piano Amateur Competition.

(Soundbite of Rachmaninoff's Prelude in G Major, Op. 32 No. 5)

SIMON: In his final round at the Corcoran Gallery of Art he competed against other doctors, lawyers, chemists, a psychiatrist and an Argentine gymnasium owner. Dr. Delbeau joins us from his office in Jackson Heights, New York.

Thanks very much for being with us.

Dr. HENRI DELBEAU (Internist; Winner of Third Washington International Piano Amateur Contest): Oh, thank you very much for having me on. Henri, please.

SIMON: And what kind of prize did you win?

Dr. DELBEAU: Certainly the most special award I got was the Audience Award; basically won the popular vote from the audience. I would say sentimentally that's really, I think, what really meant the most to me. I also got a cash prize, and the recital is in late October, so it means I have to practice more and balance it with, you know, my unpredictably, sometimes busy schedule.

SIMON: You're an awfully busy man, Dr. Delbeau.

Dr. DELBEAU: It's really not too bad. Currently I don't have a family. A lot of people have families.

SIMON: Oh! He's not only a doctor, he's a pianist. You'd be quite a catch.

Dr. DELBEAU: Oh, oh, well, thank you. I've always told myself that I probably would never, never want to be married to a fellow pianist. I had an uncle that was visiting for a number of weeks, and I just had to repeat a part in the Chopin concerto. Literally, I was doing it for an hour and a half a day. It was about a one-and-a-half-minute passage, and I had to do it again and again. Finally, he comes up to me and he says, `Is that all you know?'

SIMON: (Laughs) Dr. Delbeau, I mean, how do you balance that? For example, how much piano do you play a week?

Dr. DELBEAU: When it comes to really doing time and thinking about spending time at the piano, the real meaning of discipline is not doing the kind of weekend warrior kind of thing where you practice eight, 10 hours a day on a Saturday and do nothing the rest of the week. But really I think it's just in pacing yourself and essentially being the tortoise vs. the hare.

SIMON: Well, Dr. Henri Delbeau, doctor of internal medicine at the North Shore Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Jackson Heights, New York, thanks very much for being with us.

Dr. DELBEAU: No, no, no. Thank you so much.

SIMON: And we'll go out with some Alexander Scriabin(ph).

(Soundbite of piano music)

SIMON: And it's 22 minutes before the hour.

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