Cosmo Buono: How to Achieve the Success You Want as a Classical Musician

Cosmo Buono

Cosmo Buono is a Steinway Artist and the Chairman and CEO of Alexander & Buono International. He played in major capitals and festivals throughout the world. In addition to performing, Mr. Buono has distinguished himself not only as a sought-after piano coach but also as one of the foremost teachers of the Leschetizky Method in the United States.  

Leschetizky was known for producing pianists capable of “a resonant, almost voice-like quality” on the piano. Advocating rich, expressive playing, Cosmo discourages students from note-perfect performances that lack enthusiasm, and in favor of a complete understanding and communication. 

Cosmo, alongside Barry Alexander, are cofounders and CEOs of Alexander & Buono International (ABI). Together with experts in the industry, they provide consulting services to accomplished and rising musicians.  

ABI offers a number of worldwide music competitions including piano, voice, string and flute. Each year, they bring together some of the most committed and talented students from around the world to a music festival they created. The festival includes intensive training and opportunities to perform at renowned venues in Europe that help young musicians excel in their music career.

One of my favorite quotes from ABI is: 

“We treat classical music like any other business, while showing clients how to assess, market, and develop their skills in order to create greater visibility and awareness of their work.”

In this conversation, Cosmo walked us through not only the field-tested methodologies from ABI, but also related his own experience as a young musician tracing back to when he was a young boy and through his education at the Juilliard School.  

What makes this episode extra special is that ABI is also one of Feisworld LLC’s proud clients. I hope you get a sneak peek into the work I do for Feisworld, our services, and offerings that drive and generate results for our clients, and more importantly – why we build lifelong relationships with them beyond the duration of the project.

If you find this conversation any bit helpful,  please consider sharing with your family and friends. 

To learn more about ABI, please visit their website:

To learn more about ABI’s international music competitions (they are accepting applications now for Piano and Flute), please visit:

Recommended Videos

Watch our conversation and New Paradigm, New Imperatives: Barry Alexander & Cosmo Buono at TEDxNashville

Show Notes

  • [06:00] How is your professional life today? How has this journey been so far?
  • [09:00] You have a very peaceful approach to how things changed in music and the industry. Are you aware of this? Is this on purpose?
  • [11:00] You mentioned that the students’ personalities matter a lot and that you encourage them to find themselves. How do you do that?
  • [14:00] Fei and Cosmo share experiences about how music moves people beyond the intellect right into emotions.
  • [19:00] When did you discover that you liked to play the piano and that you wanted a career in music?
  • [23:00] What would be your advice to students studying music or playing the piano, who are struggling with a particular teacher?
  • [26:00] What were your transitions from Bard to NY University to Julliard?
  • [28:00] What was it like for you to be in a very competitive school like Julliard?
  • [33:00] Could you tell us a bit about your early stages as a pianist? How were your piano competitions when you were young?
  • [36:00] How do people support your foundation and organization?
  • [41:00] How is your teaching methodology and why is it so effective?
  • [44:00] Can you share the ABI response to feedback and the musician’s fear to play?
  • [48:00] What are the biggest fears and doubts your students have? How do you teach them to overcome them?

Favorite Quotes

[07:00] This wonderful music could possibly die if we don’t do something. This music is such an intricate part of our legacy and heritage as human beings and it is the greatest part of the human spirit I think. It is my great passion, my great delight to work with people. Our business brings people to the 21st century.

[09:00] When I work with students I encourage them to bring their own experience. Music is really just dots on a page. And unless someone interprets them, they remain dots on a page. Everyone’s personality must come into this.

[11:00] Music should be a celebration, and learning should be a celebration. You can bring knowledge to a student, and also make it happy and joyful.

[16:00] We are not doctors, we can’t cure people with illnesses, but we can move them, and bring them to a higher level spirit.

[24:00] I think it’s important that one educates oneself. You are not gonna get all the knowledge, even if you have the best teachers, and certainly, if you are dealing with not the best teachers. I always encourage students to be their own teachers. To me, as a teacher, the best thing  I could teach someone is to be independent.

[29:00] There is an environment where people start to feel ‘if I can pull you down, then I can get a step higher’. It doesn’t work that way. You have to develop yourself, you have to have a good business sense, but not a cut-throat one. Many schools like this are more anti-art than pro-art.

[50:00] If there’s something I could leave people with, it would be ‘believe in yourself, do you work and it’s going to be fine…

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