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Woman who has played piano for more than 100 years explains why music is ‘everything’

June 05, 2019

Colette Maze, a 103-year-old woman from France, has been playing the piano for more than a century — a practice that she says not only contributes to her mental well-being, but also her physical health.

“I don’t count the years. I’m no good at math, so what’s the point? I was old at 15, I am much younger now,” she told BBC News. “Even on the piano there is a kind of gymnastics. You have to keep moving. The human frame has to be supple.”

Recently, the centenarian released a CD of her takes on the work of Claude Debussy, her favorite composer. Debussy, she notes, died in 1918 — when Colette was about to turn 4 years old.

“He lived quite near me, so we could have seen each other, perhaps. With his funny beard!” she laughed. “For me Debussy is nature — and love in nature. All these delicate feelings.”

Her love of the piano, she said, began when she was just 2 or 3 years old. Later in life, before WWII, she went on to study music at the famous Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris.

“I used to copy on the piano with my finger all the little songs that the children upstairs sang or played on the piano. My parents were astonished at how I could make the same tunes,” she recalled.

When asked what playing the piano had brought her in life, she replied, “Everything. Everything, because, well you know what men are like — not exactly reliable. But the piano is always faithful. It responds. You ask and it gives.”

Watch Maze’s interview with BBC News below — and listen to her beautiful piano playing.

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