Life is a Circus

Three Things You Should Know About Cirque Du Soleil Piano Players

It takes experience, skill and great instincts to be a pianist at Cirque.

With so many touring and permanent shows in production, Cirque du Soleil is always looking for talented pianists. But if you ever want to play with us, there’s something you should know: our musicians have three essential qualities. 

First, you need to be a very accomplished musician. This is true for everyone at Cirque du Soleil – people like Gerald Peter, a composer and keyboard player from Vienna; Anne Charbonneau, who has been performing on stage since age 5; and Steve Bach, who has played with Stanley Clarke, Robbie Krieger and Sergio Mendes, among many others. The people who play in Cirque du Soleil shows have real chops. 

You also have to be dedicated. Many Cirque shows will run eight or more performances a week for several weeks at a stretch, including holidays like New Year’s and Christmas. It means that, for the time you are with a show, your life is all about that show and its music. Not every piano player can handle that pressure and level of commitment.  

And here’s a trade secret: you must be prepared to vamp. Most live music for Cirque shows has in-built vamps, sections that can be drawn out when needed, with some improvisation. Why? Because, although the music is formally composed, the precise length of many acts can vary from performance to performance. The piano player has to be in tune with what’s happening on stage, and be prepared to roll with it. 

Luckily for Cirque du Soleil, such amazing players exist, and we have them on our team. 

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