Ingrid Clarfield is an accomplished concert pianist, professor of piano at Westminster Choir College, and teacher in a private studio in Princeton. She performs across the country and has been honored with many awards. And one more thing: she plays piano with only her right hand.
Clarfield’s story is told in a new documentary, “Take a Bow: The Ingrid Clarfield Story,” which screens at Princeton Public Library on Monday, April 2, at 7 p.m. Clarfield and producer/director Lu Leslan will be in attendance for a post-screening discussion.
Clarfield, the daughter of Jewish European immigrants, grew up surrounded by the arts and studied at Juilliard, Oberlin College, and the Eastman School of Music. She started teaching piano lessons when she was in high school and never stopped. But on March 29, 2007, she suffered a severe stroke, which left the left side of her body paralyzed.
Most professional pianists would call it quits at that point, but not Clarfield, who against all odds has returned to performing and teaching despite being unable to use her left arm. Her trick: she uses a guest left hand. She plays the music written for the right hand, while another pianist or one of her students plays the left-hand part.
And despite her disability, her teaching has not suffered. In 2009 she was named the New Jersey Music Teachers Association teacher of the year. “I loved teaching,” Clarfield says in the film. “That is my passion more than anything. So I’ve been doing this a long time.”
‘Take a Bow: The Ingrid Clarfield Story,’ Princeton Public Library, 65 Witherspoon Street. Screening followed by discussion with Clarfield and Lu Leslan. Monday, April 2, 7 p.m. 609-924-9529.