Ethan Hawke on Mentorship, Artistic Identity and Directing "Seymour: An Introduction"

Email a Friend
From and

We've all had great teachers in life—the ones that imparted crucial life lessons and hold a place in our memories for years. For generations of piano students, that's who Seymour Bernstein has been. The former concert pianist is both a brilliant teacher and thinker, encouraging his students to be their best selves not just on the stage, but in their offstage lives as well.

The life and work of Bernstein is captured in the new documentary, "Seymour: An Introduction," which is directed by Ethan Hawke.

"What Seymour is all about—what the movie is about, what his teaching is about—is drawing the best from ourselves and being in control and having agency of our own art," Hawke tells The Takeaway. "Not being manipulate and abused." 

Hawke first met Bernstein at a mutual friend's dinner party. At first, Bernstein was unfamiliar with the celebrity. 

"I had to 'Google' him and when I did, I said, 'Oh my God,'" Bernstein recalled. "My first feeling was, why does he want to make a documentary on the likes of me? I'm not so special." 

But Hawke disagreed and saw something remarkably special in Bernstein and his passion for his work. The two discuss the project and their new friendship, and what it's taught them about the importance of finding mentors and being true to one's artistic identity. 

Check out a trailer for the film below.