It is a stunning few bars and under any other circumstances would have been lost to all but those in attendance.
In this particular instance however, Pires, one of the world’s greatest pianists, was expecting to play something different.
Shock fails to adequately describe her reaction.
Captured by director Frank Scheffer in his documentary Attrazione d’amore, the salient moment can be seen on YouTube.
On first watch it is hard to see anything other than Pires as she visibly transforms from initial shock to school girl embarrassment to near panic to emergent resolution and finally to courageous action.
Close your eyes while listening and you’ll have no idea what is happening.
It is mesmerizing.
A second viewing however, affords an opportunity to focus on the conductor Riccardo Chailly.
Imagine how easy it would have been to stop the proceedings — a mere wave of the arm and the orchestra would have ceased, apologies would have been made, and a new piece would have shortly sounded forth. This was after all a rehearsal of sorts.
But he didn’t do that.
Rather he kept on, showing not a worry about Pires’ ability to recall and perform a piece she knew well though wasn’t prepared to play from memory alone.
Watch his face. He never flinches, never pauses, never stops smiling.
He simply keeps the moment alive. Encourages her to move forward and shows nothing but complete and utter confidence.
As she wades into the opening phrase, it almost appears that he himself is willing her to play.
And it is that moment which perfectly captures the essence of leadership — the ability to see, focus, and place into action the capabilities of others.
To serve simultaneously as an amplifier of talent and a beacon of clarity — that is the hallmark of a true leader.
It is to you to guide your team through the inevitable fog, doubt, and uncertainty that accompanies all endeavors.
To hold confidence in others when they themselves are filled with doubt — along that path lies the possibility of greatness.