An Evening With Janina Fialkowska

After recovering from a rare and debilitating illness, celebrated Montreal-born pianist reflects on a lifetime of practicing for perfection. Performs works by Grieg, Chopin and Schubert.

CBC concert documentary looks back on career of celebrated Montreal-born pianist

Janina Fialkowska discusses her life and career with host Jeanette Kelly (Carrie Haber)

"In the early '70s, there were no women concert pianists from North America. It didn't happen," explains Janina Fialkowska as she reveals the obstacles and enlightenments of her storied career in a new CBC documentary.

Fialkowska is one of the world’s most celebrated concert pianists, and admittedly suffers near-paralyzing stage fright in her aim to control each and every note of the most beautiful and difficult pieces written for her instrument.

In her feature interview with Jeanette Kelly, the frank and amusing Fialkowska reflects upon her meeting with Tibetan Llamas to discuss what happens in the mind of a practiced, prepared performer in pursuit of an ever-shifting goalpost of musical perfection. Having overcome a rare and debilitating disease that attacked her left arm and threatened to end her ability to play, her deep humansim and hard-won wisdom are sure to inspire anyone who has strived to play an instrument.

In May 2012, the Montreal-born musician was awarded a Governor General’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to the arts in Canada.  

The documentary by filmmaker Carrie Haber takes place around Fialkowska's 2013 concert performance as part of the the CBC McGill series and features the works of Edvard Grieg, Frederic Chopin and Franz Schubert. Hosted by CBC Montreal’s Jeanette Kelly.

WATCH full documentary here.