The Courage of Alice Sara Ott

The courage of Alice Sara Ott
Alice Sara Ott plays Tchaikowsky.
A very courageous performance indeed ……
Searching for information about the pianist on Google as information was sadly lacking from the programme as is so often the case these days
due to PR packaging, I was taken aback to find not only details of her studies and family but also a declaration that she has been diagnosed with MS .One is reminded of Jaqueline Du Pre all those years ago stricken with MS at the height of her fame at almost the same age as Alice.
Born in 1988 of Japanese mother and father a German civil engineer…. she and her sister,Mona Asuka Ott studied with Karl Heinz Kammerling at the Saltzburg Mozarteum.
I then found this declaration that filled me with great admiration for the dedication to her great artistry that we had witnessed tonight from this waif like shoeless pianist.
Playing with a range of sound from the almost inaudible to sounds that could easily compete with the magnificent London Symphony Orchestra under the even more petite Elim Chan,winner of the 2015 Donatella Flick LSO conducting Competition:

Donatella Flick applauding the winner of her competition of 2015
“Today I would like to share something very personal with you.
As some of you may know, I have recently had some issues with my health which raised concerns and impacted upon my work. After many medical appointments and examinations, I was finally diagnosed with multiple sclerosis on 15th January this year.
When the doctors first raised the possibility of it last year, I felt as if the world had collapsed around me. I went through a roller-coaster of feelings of panic, fear and devastation. I had many, many questions. How would this impact my life? My work?
I have since spent a lot of time researching multiple sclerosis and its implications and have met with many doctors. With each new piece of information, I realise I previously had a false image of this disease. Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system and, while no known cure exists, thanks to huge medical advances over the years a large majority of people affected by it are able to live full and fulfilling lives.
It’s going to take me a while to get to know this condition and how I will manage it for myself. There will come times when I will have to face challenges and make adjustments, but in finding the right balance of treatment I am confident and optimistic that I will continue to live my life – and travel and perform – as before. I’m looking forward to continuing my season as planned.

A standing ovation for Alice after a magnificent Tchaikowsky concerto at the Barbican
Sharing this with everybody was not an easy decision, but I believe it is the right one. MS is a very misunderstood disease in our society and by being open about it I hope I can encourage others (especially those who are diagnosed with it when they think their lives have only just begun) to do the same.

Generosity of applause and congratulations from the pianist to her colleagues
An acknowledgement is not a weakness, but a way to protect and gain strength, both for oneself and for those around us. I am grateful to my loved ones who have shown me so much support and love over the past few months. They have not only had their own emotions to deal with but have also had to face questions about my welfare. In clarifying my situation, I also hope to relieve them and give them the time and space to process this.
Sometimes life leads you on an unexpected path, and I am at the very beginning of this new one for me. However I strongly believe it is up to us to make the best out of it.”
Alice

Elim Chan and the LSO at the end of Scheheradzade

Linn Rothstein talking to one of the orchestra after the concert.Linn with her husband Jack Rothstein had been close companions of Jaqueline Du Pre in her long fight with MS .

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