Thursday, June 30, 2005

Fernando Landeros

Kudos to State University College at Oneonta! They will be producing a CD for Mexican pianist Fernando Landeros. According to the news report:

"His recording program is Sonata in E-flat Major by Franz Joseph Haydn; Robert Schumann’s Abegg Variations, Opus 1; Scherzo in B-flat minor by Frederic Chopin; "Estampes" by Claude Debussy; and Sonata No. 1 by Alberto Ginastera."

Read the rest.

You can read more about Fernando Landeros in a profile appearing here. (Spanish)

Thanks for the Memories

Actually this made feel a bit sad even though I've never been a real fan of player pianos.

"With their paper music scrolls and distinctive sound, player pianos survived the Great Depression, the "talkies" and even television. But the increasingly cheap cost of home entertainment systems and a decreasing interest in the instruments of yesteryear have meant the business is no longer viable."

Read the Rest.

This Week's Web Pick

Check out pianist Frederic Chiu's homepage and interact with him via his own forum. Chiu is one of the winning "non-winners" of past Van Cliburn competitions. If you haven't heard them yet, check out his Prokovieff recordings. They are among the best out there.

Chiu's Homepage.

Visit his Forum.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Red Hot Rachmaninoff

"Building on the popularity of modern composer Rachmaninoff, leading music publishing house Boosey & Hawkes has completed its collection of the composer's 'Masterworks' with a new full score of 'Symphonic Dances', combined with the Respighi orchestration of 'Etudes-Tableaux' and Rachmaninoff's own orchestration of 'Vocalise'."

More Details Here.

To be A Connoisseur

The Wall Street Journal has a very nice profile of David Dubal and his program "Reflections from the Keyboard":

""Where else, within a six-minute span, can you hear a movement of Schumann's 'Carnival' played by Rachmaninoff, Cortot, Hess, Arrau, Godowsky and Michelangeli?" asks Mr. Dubal, rattling off some of the greatest names in the history of piano playing. "Each one is so different it's hard to believe--some reflect the passionate side of Schumann's character, some the Apollonian." Read the rest here.

This is something I think I a lot of piano devotees do at home: listen to lots of recordings of the same work. Dubal is an excellent guide thru the literature and history of pianists. Dubal raises some interesting points (though I'm not sure I agree completely with his assessment of pop music).

You can hear Dubal's program online over WQXR's webcast here.

Grete Sultan

Sad news of the passing of Grete Sultan. She was a long time champion of John Cage's piano music (he composed the Etudes Australes for her). She celebrated her 90th birthday with a performance of the Goldberg Variations in NYC.

Details (German)More here (Spanish)

Link to the first volume in the Sultan legacy recordings. Check it out.

The Four Finger Pianist

I found this to be one of those inspiring stories that makes one step back and take stock:

"At 7:30 p.m., a young woman entered the room and positioned herself at the piano. She has only two fingers on each hand. Her legs end at her knees. But then the pianist began playing Ludwig van Beethoven’s ``Song of Joy,’’ and as the music took over, everyone forgot her physical limitations and just listened."

The rest is here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Pianos and Thugs: A Love Story?

Geez, looks like there's going to be a spate of movies involving pianos, classical pianists, and thugs. Earlier this summer we had Unleashed. A movie I found so bizarre and riddled with implausabilities (to say nothing of the acting) that I found it nearly unwatchable. Curiously, it may just be that I saw this around the time of the Van Cliburn and it somehow got colored by all that... I dunno.

Time magazine has a review of "The Beat That My Heart Skipped":

"In the case of Jacques Audiard's film, The Beat, his protagonist Tom (Romain Duris) is in "real estate." Translated, that means he beats up the tenants in the low-rent buildings he and his partners hope to turn into high-rent properties. On the side, he provides similar services for his slumlord father, who's fading into senility. His late mother, however, was a famous pianist whose talent he has inherited. One day he encounters her agent, who encourages his return to the keyboard. Soon his fingers are flying--and his strong arm is beginning to atrophy." Read the Rest.

This film is a remake of James Toback's "Fingers." Toback's movie is a great one and you really ought to see it. More about "Fingers" here. Somehow I think I'm going to like this one alot better than "Unleashed".

Speaking of pianists and movies, I'd be remiss not to mention the recent passing of Lorna Thayer who gave us one of the most memorable moments in the film "Five Easy Pieces". That scene has become famous as the "Chicken Salad Scene".

"In that memorable moment in the 1970 film, as the voice of authority opposite Jack Nicholson's rebellious Bobby Dupea, a classical pianist turned oil rigger, the middle-aged Thayer proved to be a formidable foil in what has come to be known as the "chicken salad scene." The scene, in which Thayer's character refuses repeatedly to change the house rules, is considered quintessential Nicholson and has had a long afterlife -- no Nicholson tribute or compilation of memorable Hollywood lines does without it. " Read the rest

Also at the movies is the new Batman movie which I really liked alot! In fact, I think it is the best of the Batman movies made so far. The score by Howard and Zimmer (with the help of two orchestrators), however, is probably the least likeable of the Batman movies. More interesting is the electronica work provided Ramin Djawadi. For a different take on the film's soundtrack check out this

Monday, June 27, 2005

jazz piano-player Vijay Iyer.

The Boston Globe has a write-up of jazz piano-player Vijay Iyer. The Globe writes:

"Like his predecessors in the ''percussive" school of jazz piano -- Thelonious Monk, Andrew Hill, Randy Weston, Muhal Richard Abrams, Cecil Taylor, all of whom he cites as influences -- Iyer has taken on the challenge of generating rhythm and phrase, structure and form. It means that he rarely lays out, nor does he take many conventional solos, when playing in a group. But he can also use rhythm and repetition to produce dense, haunting atmospherics working at his piano alone."

The "fluff" phrase "the challenge of generating rhythm and phrase, structure and form" seems an empty line, a meaningless if nice sounding turn of phrase. After all which pianist worth his or her salt doesn't take on that challenge? The more accurately descriptive line is: "dense, haunting atmospherics" which describes, to my ears, Iyer's playing at it's best. I believe it is best described as energetic if largely unremarkable playing. What is remarkable, at least at flow into and out of some currents of cultural fancy, is the Indian-American heritage of Iyer. But that seems of little consequence to the music: "The inflections from the Indian classical tradition in Iyer's work are very subtle; it's entirely possible to listen to the music without knowing about it." True enough and in fact makes the article's title (with its reference to genre bending) seem a bit daft.

More here

The Other Thomas Moore

Via a post at RetroKlang I was introduced to a tremendous online resouce which nicely compliments today's Web Site of the Day. It is pianist Thomas Moore's collection of music links.

Check it out


Web Site of the Day

Today's pick is a resource that will no doubt be of interest to pianists and other musicians. It is the Sibley Music Library of the Eastman School of Music.

The Sibley Library makes available for online access a great many music scores and music-related publications that are in the public domain. They have a notification service you can sign-up for in order to receive news of recent additions. Perpare to spend quite a bit of time at the computer screen as it's a large and interesting collection.

Check it out here.

Bachauer Competition for Young Artists

"After 36 tense hours of piano playing (not to mention the nail-biting between rounds), the winners of the 2005 Gina Bachauer International Young Artists Piano Competition were announced Saturday. Sixteen-year-old Kuok-Wai Lio, from Hong Kong, emerged as the first-prize winner and will take home a $7,000 cash prize."


Names to file for future reference perhaps?

Winners of the Richter International Competition

The Winners of the Richter Competition (see some of the readers comments here for the usual competition induced contretemp) are:

(1st Place) Eldar NEBOLSIN (Russia)

2nd Prize: shared Yakov KATSNELSON(Russia) and Makoto UENO (Japan)

3rd Prize: Not Awarded

4th Prize: Yung Wook Yoo (Korea) and Vadim Rudenko (Russia)

5th Prize: Ani Takidze (Russia)

6th Prize: Not Awarded.

I find it curious that nobody merited 6th prize. Sigh.

Boston Amateur Competition Winners

Winners for the 2005 Boston International Piano Competition for Exceptional Amateurs are:

1st Place: Henri Delbeau, Physician, (USA)

2nd Place: Gerardo Molina, Computer Systems Engineer (Mexico)

3rd Place: Tim Adrianson, Food Technologist (USA)

4th Place: Robert Fraser, retired Lawyer (USA)

5th Place: John Rose, Special Education Teacher (USA)

Amateur, like all else, is somewhat relative. Make no mistake, these are all finally trained pianists who studied long and hard. Many have exceptional pedagogic pedigrees and advanced training, but for one reason or another a full-blown concert career (or at least one in music generally) never took root for them. They are not amateurs in the sense of the neighborhood pianist who rifles thru Chopin preludes and teaches piano lessons. and so on. They seem somewhere else in the spectrum of "professional" musicians. Perhaps the phrase "exceptional amateurs" hits it right. Still one wonders what keeps them from taking up music as their full-time career.

Many of these are familiar names as they have competed in this or other "amateur competitions" (for example, Delbeau and Adriason are alums. Mexcian pianist Molia has competed in others). Indeed, there is a whole circuit of amateur competitions to keep one busy. Some perform regularly and are deeply involved in the arts, other less so. All are worth hearing if you get the chance. Congratulations!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Up Blogoscope

Friday's Blog roll

Marcus Maroney has the goods on Respighi and Puppets and more.

Retroklang explores comic artist Jason Lutes' Berlin: City of Stones. (which reminds me Daniel Clowes, creator of Ghost World, has a new graphic novel "Ice Haven" that I really want to read this summer).

from On An Overgrown Path we learn that pianist Steven Osbourne talked like an angel (courtesy of a guest blogger)

from the Musings of a Middle Aged Woman comes news of "Music and Cats"

Reflections in d minor reports that there's no place for countertenors (at least not in Texas). Surpised. Nah.

A sort of notebook has tips for writers as she continues work on her novel.

Speaking of writing, Brian Sacawa offers haiku and an mp3 peek at his performance of Erik Spangler's pastlife laptops and attic instruments for alto saxophone, turntables, and electronics.

The literary beat of the musical blogsophere continues at Alex Ross' "The Rest is Noise" with a delicious quote from Stendahl's "Life of Rossini" and your own fill in the blanks post.

Punctus contra Punctus has a remarkable post ("the Harvest of Sorrows") about his travels in Chiapas and more.

Jessica Duchen brings back news, photos, and a recipe from her travels in Vilnius.

Ah, yes, to all things an order.

Boston Piano Competition for Amateurs

The 2005 Boston International Piano Competition for Exceptional Amateurs is underway in Boston. Alas, no webcast.

The Boston Globe has a nice write up on competition:

"In their professional lives, the contestants are lawyers, physicians, engineers, physicists, CEOs, homemakers, educators, and flight attendants. But their passion is the piano, and this weekend they share their talents with the public -- and with five highly discerning judges.
For audiences, the biennial competition offers an opportunity to hear a wide range of music performed by pianists committed to playing for the sheer love of it, which can offer an extra frisson of excitement and emotion as players stretch their limits. "

Read the rest here.

The website for the competition can be found here.

Rzewski: Audience Report

Adam Baratz has very nice post on his blog (Form and Content) about performances of Rzewski's music at NEC check it out!

Steven Drury gets extra helpings of kudos as I marvel at anyone who can play Rzewski's magnificent "The People United" (monumental variations on Chilean composer Sergio Ortega’s El Pueblo Unido Jamás Será Vencido from memory. I have heard from his students about this feat, but never from anyone who had seen/heard it done in recital.

While there check out the rest of Adam's blog! It's good reading.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Rzewski: Composer-Pianist at Work

A favorite composer/pianist of mine, Rzewski, is reviewed by the Boston Globe's Richard Dyer. Most interesting, at least to me, is his description of Rzewski at the piano. It's so how I've imagined it:

"He doesn't conform to the image of a concert artist, appearing onstage in a red shirt with his pens clipped to its breast pocket; his way of acknowledging applause is to scratch his ear. He made a point of welcoming latecomers (''let them in . . . but don't let them out," he quipped). He does not appear to be interested at all in the piano's historic ability to imitate other instruments, even a full orchestra, or the creamiest legato of an opera singer. Instead he revels in the piano's identity as the most complex and varied of all percussion instruments. Flights of finger-filigree lacework are not for him, but he is almost unrivaled in his range of attack, articulation, and dynamics, all propelled by a sense of rhythm as strong and flexible as a healthy spine. And while he is assaulting the keyboard, some of his music simultaneously requires him to pound patterns on the wooden parts of the instrument, grunt, moan, growl, shout words, whistle, even recite a nursery rhyme.

read the rest

Still hoping to see him perform live one day. Even more so after reading the above.

For those of you interested here's a link to the scores for some of his music courtesy the composer and Jenny Lin.


A cool website found via Musings of a Middle Age Woman that is full of interesting posts and ideas:

Music and Cats

Rock for Kids

Check out the "Rock For Kids" organization in Chicago. RFK seeks provide inspiration and music education to children that are homeless or in need. Link

Concert Pianist is Suing a McDonalds?

"A Boynton Beach, Fla., concert pianist sued a McDonald's restaurant Wednesday"

Details here.

Man says 62-year-old woman stole his piano


"She was an absolutely charming woman, who knew a lot about pianos. She seemed totally trustworthy," he said, noting her business was located on The City's famed Lombard Street. "She turned out to be a crooked woman on a crooked street."

Details here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Carnival of Music

If you haven't already seen it, zip on over to the Carnival of Music # 3 put on by Texas Best Grok. Loads of good music there and, blush, a link to Well Tempered Blog's CD Tip for the week. Check it out and bookmark it. It's a keeper, boys.

Rach Fest

via Punctus contra Punctus comes word that Adam Golka has gotten the Rachmaninoff Festival in Jalisco, MX off to a rousing start.

You can hear Golka playing the 1st mvmt of Rach 3 here.

Richter International Piano Competition Resumes

Webcast and schedule here.

And should you need to know what time it is in Moscow, check out this site.

Música visual

A very nice post is up at Retroklang on Mendelssohn. It is beautifully illustrated with pictures and music clips. Outstanding job!!

Check if out here

Also via Retroklang we discovered a very nice blog: La Idea del Norte (The Idea of North). There you'll find a nice post on some remarks of Charles Rosen's:

"Dice Charles Rosen -tan agudo como siempre- que la disposición tradicional del teclado en teclas blancas y negras ha influído en el desarrollo de la historia de la armonía dado que la mayoría de los compositores han utilizado el piano para componer. La observación -y su posterior argumentación- me ha llamado mucho la atención."

The rest is here.

And Glenn Gould ? Listen to the opening of his meditation on the idea of north

Are we music lovers also such notorious animal lovers?

Check in with
Jessica Duchen for the goods and more.

Cats or Dogs. Pop or Classical. Hmmm.

Beethoven or Bust: Beethoven's Music for Free

"Nearly 700,000 listeners of BBC Radio 3 downloaded live performances of Beethoven's first five symphonies, with number one proving the most popular. "

More here.

Transforming Lives Thru Classical Music

Amid the hand wringing over the lack of funding for musical education in many schools and the wailing over classical music's shrinking audiences, here's an interesting story about classical musics powers as an agent for social change in Venezuela.

"The program is the brainchild of Venezuelan conductor José Antonio Abreu, 66, who in 1975 envisioned classical music training as a social service that could change the lives of lower-income, at-risk, and special needs children. From 11 young musicians at the first rehearsal in a Caracas garage, his vision has grown into a national treasure, with 240,000 children as young as 2 -- some deaf, blind, or otherwise disabled -- now studying and performing in orchestras and choruses nationwide. Hundreds of them tour to international acclaim."

Read the rest of this story here.

And, in contrast, authorities in North America have found a decidedly different social role for classical music:

"A transportation agency is using the soothing sounds of Bach and Beethoven to combat teen rowdiness in rail stations here. " More here.

Kudos to Tyler Sanchez

Young pianist and composer Tyler Sanchez is putting out a CD of his music and donating the profits to charity.

"..born with only one kidney, Sanchez chose to donate 50 percent of the proceeds to the American Kidney Fund, the nation's leading source of direct financial aid to patients with chronic kidney disease."

More here.

J-yard and Money and More

"Under Mr. Polisi's leadership, Juilliard built a dormitory, began offering student health and mentoring services, started encouraging students to teach in inner-city schools, and broadened its curriculum to include more liberal arts. But sometimes Mr. Polisi has had to wait patiently for directors and faculty to come around to his ideas. When he proposed a capital campaign in 1994 aimed at increasing student financial aid and faculty pay, "I thought it was going to be a cakewalk, but [getting approval] took a lot of discussion," he say"

Read the rest here

Drug Dealers and Pianos

Strange story of pianos & drug smugglers in the UK.

"A drugs gang plotted to use fake pianos to smuggle millions of pounds worth of drugs into Britain, the Old Bailey heard today."

more here

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

News from the Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition

The winners of this year's Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition:

"Wen Yu Shen, 18, of Taiwan won the $30,000 top prize at the Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition, a two-week event that concluded Saturday at Walt Disney Concert Hall." The other winners are: Andrei Korobeinikov, 2nd place, Sofya Gulyak, 3rd place prize and, disappointingly, Denis Evstuhin, recived a "finalist" prize. link.

Perhaps I'm increasingly jaded or fussy, but I find it hard to believe that anyone 18 or 19 is really an "artist" ready for the gold medal at this or any other major piano competition . Oh sure, I'll keep my ears open and have a listen. But, time and again, the winners of most competitions are often disappointments for me. Frankly, I think there are perhaps too many piano competitions--I imagine only a handful really matter. The rest seem, at best, like farm clubs and proving grounds for those who'll continue wearily or cheerfully along the competition circuit for their alloted time. The Rachmainoff seems to be one of those caught somewhere in between. The model used for the Richter seems a good one, and I wish more competitions followed suit --particularly the Van Cliburn with it's grueling schedule of back to back performances with little pause.

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Well-Tempered Bizzle

This totally cracked me up! Appreciate a reader sending me the link....

Trippin' The World of Pianos n Pianists and keepin' it bootylicious

All right here.

Richter Piano Competition Series on Voice of Russia

Listen online to a series of radio programs focusing on the Richter International Piano Competition over Voice of Russia's radio website. Each program is an interesting mix of music and reportage.

Check it out.

A detail of the upcoming schedule is here.


Messiaen's Music Leads pianist to Adopt Catholicism

An interesting interview with pianist Jacqueline Chew

Chew was so taken with the work of Olivier Messiaen, a pioneering French composer known for his sacred Catholic music, that after hearing his composition "Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jesus" ("Twenty Contemplations of the Infant Jesus"), she began questioning her belief that God does not exist. The more she learned about the music, the more religious she became.

Read the interview with Chew here.


Dog on the Blog

Biting Beethoven Posted by Hello


Sunday, June 19, 2005

Gina Bachauer International Young Artists Piano Competition

A profile of some of the teens and mayhaps stars of tomorrow competing in the Bachauer Young Artist Competition is online here.

Competition website.


Seattle pianist Dave Peck joins Marian McPartland

Kudos to Seattle jazz pianist Dave Peck. He'll be appearing on McPartland's "Piano Jazz".

Dave Peck is a pianist and composer who possesses great musicality, a sensitive touch and a lively sense of swing," says the grand dame of the airwaves. "I first heard him play when he was a teenager."

Very nice !

more here.


Frederic Rzewski: Composer-in-residence for Piano Institute

A couple of posts back I mentioned Frederic Rzewski's Winsboro Cotton Mill Blues. Well, here's a little more Rzewski for your pleasure. He is will be the composer-in-residentce at this year's Summer Institute for Contemporary Piano Performance.

The Boston Globe has a nice write-up on Rzewski. Among the interesting things his quoted as saying in the article is this:

Rzewski cherishes the immediacy of performance, and he has a corresponding disdain for recordings and the current state of the record industry. ''I think the days of recording are numbered," he says by phone from Cincinnati, where he's participating in a new-music festival. ''When the Beatles were around, there were hundreds of smaller record companies. Now there are about three. So the music industry has transformed itself in 20 or 30 years into an enormous mega-monopoly." He hopes recordings will eventually be rejected as ''a sort of counterfeit money. I think there is an awareness now that something else must happen."

Read the rest of it here. I thought his remarks interesting in light of some of the conversation about classical CD's at The Overgrown Path.


Bartok in the Desert: CD Tip for the Week

Check it out! Posted by Hello

Heard about this gem and clips on studio360 broadcast. Outstanding playing and a remarkable story behind it. Irén Marik studied piano with Bela Bartok (as did one of my own teachers) and later sunk into undeserved obscurity. Many of these are from private recordings. You can download and hear her performance of Debussy's Cloches à travers les feiulles here. Lovely! link


Richter Competition Finalists Announced

The finalists for the Richter International Piano Competition have been announced. They are:

Yung Wook Yoo (Korea), Ani Takidze (Georgia), Makoto Ueno (Japan), Yakov Katsnelson (Russia), Eldar Nebolsin (Russia), Vadim Rudenko (Russia).

The performance schedule and webcast information are all on the competition website. Follow the above link.

A number of readers have posted their thoughts on the competitors, and I appreciate their drawing attention to Nami Ejiri, a pianist by all accounts well worth hearing.

Looking forward to hearing Eldar Nebolsin playing the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto no.1 and more of Yung Wook Yoo (who should get kudos for programming Rzewski's Winsboro Cotton Mill Blues - such a great piece of music), and Makoto Ueno (Brahms piano concerto no2).


Thursday, June 16, 2005

What Might Have Been: Elgar's Piano Concerto

Nice history and links relating to Elgar's efforts to write a piano concerto are all found here. Came across this while looking for information on pianist Margaret Fingerhut. I hope to hear her recording of the concerto's slow movement (realized by P. Young).

This week's "Web Pick"

The National Piano Foundation's official website "PianoNet".

It's stuffed full of piano facts and information.

Check it out here


HyperPiano and orchestra

If you're in or near Boston, you might want to check out the Boston Pops' "Pops on the Edge" concert on June 22nd. On the program is
Tod Machover's concerto of sorts titled "Jeux Deux for Hyperpiano and Orchestra". A description of this interesting sounding work can be found here. As someone interested in computer technology and music production, I'm excited about the use and development of hyperinstruments in live-performance. In a broad sense, there's nothing particularly new in the interplay of electronica and accoustic instruments. What's engaging, at least to me based on the works description, is the ways in which the hyperpiano interacts with the pianists work. More, I wonder at what point "hyperinstruments" stop being "hyper pianos" or "hyper violins" and become "instruments" in their own rights? After all that's how I'd like to think of them.


The People’s Music School

An interesting story on the driving force behind Chicago's thriving and "free" music school:

"The People’s Music School is a human symphony. Young, old, and every color, conducted by a woman who first learned music pounding a piano keyboard painted on her dining room table. Rita Simo was good enough to get a scholarship, study at Julliard, and become a concert pianist. But she wanted to share her love of music with others. “Music is a gift,” she says, “Pass it on!”....The first 300 or so who show up each semester get in. Simo says her reasoning for the first-come, first-serve policy is “because nobody’s better than anybody else. You want it? Get here! And that's it. The pope can come and he's not making it unless he's in line.”

You can visit the music school online here. Be sure to check out the "Music Fundamentals Study Guide" at the top of the school homepage.


Jaime Mendoza-Nava Dead at 79

"A native of Bolivia, he trained in piano and composing at New York's Julliard School, and later at conservatories in Europe. He came to Los Angeles in 1953 and soon went to work for Disney, where he composed music for "The Mickey Mouse Club," "Zorro" and other T-V shows." Link

The Beethoven Sonata Cycle

BBC further endears itself to me by making available for online listeners the complete cycle of the Beethoven piano sonatas. The pianist is Artur Pizarro.

Check it out here.

The next Elton John ?

"With lyrics that own the poetic and raucous grace of a true piano man, more at home in a dusky bar with a dollar-filled fish bowl, he is a young Billy Joel. His songs dwell on the banality of the everyday and the superficialities of love, but his earnest voice sells every lyric because you know he's been there like you. "

More here.

And Elton John?

"A lifesize chocolate statue of British pop star Elton John was unveiled on Tuesday at London's famous wax cabinet, Madame Tussauds."


Royal Chops

The Prince of Wales recently gave an impromptu performance of "Chopsticks" while visiting a refurbished home:

"Charles took to the keys to give a brief rendition of Chopsticks as he was shown round a newly-restored home within the former military complex....Ms Saez said she had been taken by surprise when Prince Charles began playing her piano but said she had enjoyed it.“It’s going straight on eBay tomorrow,” her husband joked. " Link.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Round Two Competitors Announced for Richter International Competition

They are:

Claudio Carbo Montaner (Spain), Yung Wook Yoo (Korea), Ani Takidze (Georgia), Nami Ejiri (Japan), Vadim Sakharov (Russia), Jong Hwa Park (Korea), Sergey Koudriakov (Russia), Natalia Taldykina (Russia), Makoto Ueno (Japan), Yakov Katsnelson (Russia), Eldar Nebolsin (Russia), Vadim Rudenko (Russia), Eleonora Karpukhova (Russia).

Surprised that Phillipov's name is not among them. What's interesting here is that there is no competitor is admitted younger than 23 years of age. This rule makes sense. I think the Van Cliburn would do well to raise the bar similarly.

Some of those to keep an ear out for: Yakov Katsnelson, Vadim Sakharov, and Spain's Claudio Carbo Montaner.

Good luck to all!

The competition resumes on Friday with webcast available.

See some fotos from the competition.

Maestro Carlo Maria Giulini RIP

"Carlo Maria Giulini, the Italian-born conductor who as music director for the Los Angeles Philharmonic from the late 1970s into the early 1980s brought renewed attention to the orchestra with his serene manner and a subtle Old World style of music making, has died. He was 91." link.

Beethoven and the BBC: Setting the Music Free

BBC has available for free download the Beethoven Symphonies.

If you haven't been over there yet, check out the BBC's "Beethoven Page". It's just about everything a Beethoven fan could hope to find. Great site!!

Bravo BBC

BBC Beethoven Fest

Mo Better E Flat Pythagorean Whole-tone

"Scale of the Day: E Flat Pythagorean Whole-tone - Lydian Mode "

That drops the scales from the eyes !

Check it out here at HurdAudio. There is actually quite a few "Scale of the Day" posts. Nice blog.

Your Morning Blog Roll: Hullo Seattle

Check out The Emerald Orpheus, a blog on the Seattle classical music scene. Follow the interesting post on the price of classical CD's in response to a very provocative post at the The Overgrown Path. Is recorded classical music too cheap? Hmmm.. More on that later.

Jazz Pianist Michael Wolff, Steinway Artist

"Pianist Michael Wolff will join the ranks of Steinway Artists in an invitation-only ceremony at New York City’s Steinway Hall on June 23. " Check it out.

Mei-Ting Sun: Review

"Mr. Sun has the outlines of a fine pianist and performer, from impressive virtuosity to the easy air with which he addressed his audience from the piano, in lieu of program notes. Would that more performers conveyed in such an easygoing way why the music interests them."

If NYT's Anne Midgette is right, it appears the rigors of touring have taken a toll.

"By the first movement of Beethoven's "Hammerklavier," Mr. Sun sounded almost punch-drunk - or perhaps it was his much-pounded Yamaha piano. There seems to be a fiery technique here, but the end product, on this evening, was a factory second."

Read the rest of it


Composer David Diamond, Dead at 89.

"He was part of what some considered a forgotten generation of great American symphonists, including Howard Hanson, Roy Harris, William Schuman, Walter Piston and Peter Mennin. They had something of a comeback in the 1980's and 90's, promoted by conductors like Mr. Schwarz, who said that Mr. Diamond's Second Symphony was arguably the greatest American symphony of the 20th century. Mr. Diamond was born on July 9, 1915, in Rochester and attended the Eastman School of Music there. He went to New York to study with Roger Sessions and blossomed as a composer in Paris, where he went to study with Nadia Boulanger in 1936. In Paris he crossed paths with figures like James Joyce, Gertrude Stein and Igor Stravinsky. " more.

Read about his life and his works here.

Check out NPR's fine "Performance Today" tribute to David Diamond here.

Hear some of his chamber music here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

''Motion Picture Moods for Pianists and Organists"

Sounds like a book I'd like to read. What's more, I'd really like to hear Richard Hughes:

Hughes carted his Yamaha electronic piano and a pair of 16-mm film projectors to 430 shows last year... ''The best part of showing a silent movie is the community feeling I get out of it," Hughes said. ''It's more of an interactive thing. The music is live, so it's got more of the feel of a live performance than a canned movie."

What fun! Read the rest here.

Wild at Heart et gauchere

What fitting description for the talented Hélène Grimaud. I am looking forward to reading her book "Variations Sauvages". I came across a very nice write up by Melinda Bargreen for the Seattle Times. Among the many interesting things, Grimaud says is this:

"The right hand stands for normality and order, and the left for fantasy," she has written. "I am very happy to be gauchere (left-handed)."

For me, it's the other way around. Hmmmm...

Read the rest of it

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Richter International Piano Competition

The Richter International Piano Competition is underway.

And, best of all, they are providing a webcast of this competition. We'll be listening in on the competition rounds.

You can find it all here

The Good Doctor's Hobby

I envy folks who have the patience and skill to work at something as grand as rebuilding a piano

"A podiatrist with a practice in Manhattan, Shulman began tinkering with pianos about four years ago. Originally drawn to the instrument by a profound family loss, Shulman's passing interest will soon become a business. Piano restoration, which Shulman says closely resembles his "real" job as an orthopedic foot surgeon, has introduced the foot doctor to a new world of copper strings, minute screws, plastic flanges and felt hammers."

The rest is here.

Jamaican Pianist, Orrett Rhoden

"Jamaica is not just for reggae. Its for all types of music. I see my role as bringing classical music in a fresh and unique way not only to Jamaicans but to people all over the world." Rhoden has a strong following in North America and Europe. "An artists, mission is to bring about joy and peace. I think that my mission or work is to do just that," the pianist says.. "

Read the rest here.

A pianist to a keep an eye (and ear) on.

Hitler's Pianist

A noteworthy write up in the SMH (Sydney Morning Herald) of Peter Conradi's book "Hitler's Piano Player". Ernst Hanfstaengl was at one time a friend and personal pianist to Hitler, later Hanfstaengl wound up working for Franklin Roosevelt:

"And then there was Hanfstaengl's piano playing: when he crashed out the prelude from the Mastersingers of Nuremberg or the liebestod from Tristan and Isolde, it would send Hitler into paroxysms of delight. He would play martial music to get Hitler into a fighting mood before he addressed rallies. When Hitler was unable to sleep, he would summon Hanfstaengl to his modest Munich flat to play more soothing melodies. "

Read the rest here (registration req)

Hitler's Piano Player- The Rise and Fall of Ernst Hanfstaengl, Confidant of Hitler, Ally of FDR
is Available from and elsewhere.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Today's Found on the Web Pick

Technic the Outgrowth of Musical Thought Vladimir Horowitz.

A very nice site all around.

Where has all the Muzak Gone?

"What happened to instrumental music? The entire world must want a vocal track playing somewhere in the background." The rest is here.

Ya know, I was just wondering the same thing. I recently saw the movie "Crash" and found myself irritated to no-end with the crappy female sing-song chantingesque rubbish used for the film (I half expected hobbits and faeries to appear on screen), without fail cranked up for every single "montage" of reflections. I suppose this is Hollywoods idea of "music for deep thoughts".

The Lost Bach Aria

More Details here.

Blind Pianist Yuki Nagasawa Earns Masters Degree


"Nagasawa, a native of Osaka, Japan, was blind at birth, and began studying the piano at the age of three, after hearing Chopin on the radio and telling her parents it was so beautiful she wished she could play. She won her first competition at the age of 16, and continued to give performances and win competitions throughout the world. "

read the rest here

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Mei-Ting Sun Plays Carnegie Hall

Sometime back I posted about pianist Mei-Ting Sun as one of the rising stars of the concert stage. You'll have a chance to hear him recital at Carnegie Hall on June 13 at 8 p.m. Details are here. This is one not to miss folks!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Faziolis Make Their Way to Oregon

I'd love to play on one of these babies....

"Considered to be the most perfectly built piano in history and ringing with resonant timbre, the Italian-built pianos are working their way into Oregon, with three of the state’s six Faziolis residing in Medford."


Check out the Fazioli website and take a peek at their artcase grands.

And Speaking of Glenn Gould....

Recipient of the "Glenn Gould International Protégé Prize in Music" has been announced.


Previously UnKnown Bach Aria Discovered!

How cool is this?

"A previously unknown aria by German composer Johann Sebastian Bach has been discovered in the eastern town of Weimar, a researcher said on Wednesday. The handwritten music represents one of the few surviving pieces from Bach's early period, said Peter Wollny, research director at the Bach Archive Foundation in Leipzig."

Read the rest here.

More from the BBC here.

When A Recording Isn't Good Enough...

I posted on this awhile back and now here's bit more....

""The fundamental root of the problem is that I don't want to hear a recording," Walker said. "I want to hear the young Horowitz, Schnabel, Fats Waller, Thelonious Monk on an in-tune piano." If the claims he is making for his new technology are accurate, he will soon be able to. His plan is to approach the major labels with his software and delve into their back catalogues, acting as a record producer to make old recordings new. Josef Hoffman without the scratches, Glenn Gould without the mumbling: brought back to life and performing on modern pianos, recorded with modern technology."


"Today scientists around the world are turning computers on human performance, seeking to quantify an element once thought to be intangible: the expressivity of a human artist. "

Read the rest here.

Ya know... I'm not sure I'd care to hear Gould without the humming and mumbling... It just seems to be an integral part of the "Gould experience".

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

After the Music Died

This is a story that really touched me. I can't imagine not being able to play piano. Or, even more drastic, I can't imagine a life without music.

"After that summer, my second and third fingers in the right hand gave out on me and the next thing I knew I was re-learning how to play C major scale (right hand only) two months before my graduation recital."

Read the rest of this remarkable story here.

Driving Brahms

This is totally weird science.

But I wouldn't mind giving it a try.... I love gadgets.

"The score used as the test case in the development of ESP is the Hungarian Dance No. 5 in G-minor by Johannes Brahms. The piece was selected because it contains numerous moments of extreme speed ups and slow downs. To guide the musical performance, Chew and her colleagues used information from the score to create a "road" that corresponds to the structure of the piece. "

Your Weekly Movie Tip

Obscure, but worthy of a little time in your DVD player.

Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street.

Thriller Content: High.

Musical Content: What?

Beethoven: The Newly Born Narcissist

"The composer was certainly a genius, but he diverted music from elegant universality into tortured self-obsession ." So says Dylan Evans, senior lecturer in intelligent autonomous systems at the University of the West of England. Oh, sure we can't all be Beethoven fans, but it does seem Evans' own piece is just a wee bit stuck in the Stade du Miroir.


Read it

Die hard Beethoven fans need this.

Kobrin Revisited

NPR has done music lovers a nice turn and made available for listening online Kobrin's performance of the Mozart Piano Concerto no 20 and a Brahms' Intermezzo.

You'll find it right here.


Crazy Crazy

Just as I was recovering from the histrionics-a-go-go of Joyce Yang came this tidbit from Lang Lang land:

"I'm young and crazy. As I get older, I'll naturally regain my sanity,” says Chinese pianist Lang Lang.... "We may need a computer game that gives you a score as you play the piano so that children can be brought closer to classical music." Read the rest.

Crazy the man says.

It's not so much his seemingly buffoonish antics, it's what strikes me as a lack of mature musicianship that grates the most.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Elgar conundrum

Nice post and pics over at Jessica Duchen's blog. Congratulations on a very fine performance --and there's another coming up on June 10th! Check it out here.

Brendel Gets Honorary Citzenship

You can read all about it here.

And if you haven't seen it, you ought to check out Maestro Brendel's official website. Very smart. You'll find it here.

Kobrin: Congratulations

A round of press pieces this morning for Alexander Kobrin.

ABC News.

Very nice essay by Jennifer Autrey in the DFW Star-Telegram.

My two favorites for the 1st prize, Kobrin and Cabassi, became fast friends at the competition:

"When they arrived, they became fast friends — discussing music during cigarette breaks and joking around while playing pool.Although the three-week event that launches classical music careers has been intense, it lacks the element of cutthroat competition among contestants — leading to a camaraderie between Cabassi and Kobrin and other pianists...Before the semifinalists were announced two weeks ago, the stocky Cabassi hammed it up for photographers and told the slim Kobrin to jump on his back to be carried into Bass Hall. Both advanced to the next round. Then before the finalists were named earlier this week, Kobrin again rode on Cabassi's back into the building. Both made the cut." Read it here.

The Baltimore-Sun has a nice run down on the Cliburn finalists and winners --including the Yang (who makes Lang Lang look positively comatose) and her freakish play-acting at the keyboard. Key graf:

"By contrast, Yang took top honors for oh-so-emotive physicality while playing. As she reached the end of the Brahms Sonata No. 1, she leaned way back on the piano bench, arms and legs thrust out. I don't know if she reached a transcendental state, but she very nearly achieved a horizontal one. " Read the rest.

Sunday, June 05, 2005


1st Place Kobrin
2nd Place = Joyce Yang

3 rd Place - Sa Chen
Chamber music Award: Joyce Yang
Taylor Smith Award: Joyce Yang

Well Tempered Blog correctly predicted 1st Prize and 3rd prize winners
! Just enormously sad and surprised to see Yang snagged a medal. A disappointing decision I believe by the judges on that score. Well at least she didn't place first !


As promised earlier, here's the prediction fromthe Cliburn in-house "bloggers":

Carl Tait predicted

1st Prize: Huang,
2nd Prize: Kobrin,
3rd Prize: Yang

Mike Winters predicted and hedged his bets with ties:

Kobrin and Huang – share gold medal
Yang and Chen – share silver
Plano – crystal

Cliburn Chatter: Best in Show

As stated waaaay back, there is only two real candidates for the gold: Kobrin and Cabassi.

Kobrin is the one I believe who will take the gold. His performance of the Rachmaninoff was electrifying. Musical, dashing, and completely in step with the orchestra. This is was playing with passion and command. The only thing that could have been more fiery would have been if we'd had the chance to hear Beus' concerti. But it's all Kobrin now. He has developed quite a following at the Cliburn and among web listeners. He is a polished artist and likely to prove an interesting figure on the international music scene.

Huang looks like a solid lead for 2nd. Very musical and very reliable performer. She was one of the ones I didn't think the jury would pick. I'm so glad they did advance her. Just gorgeous playing.

Sa Chen or Cabassi for 3rd. Cabassi would be my pick for no. 2 slot, but he has just not had the polish of Huang in the last performances, but who knows (I'm going to cautiously hold out hope he'll place 2nd, even tho I don't think it will tip that way). Chen has impressed me with her keen musical sensibilities and tireless ability to come back after falls that would have knocked out a lesser pianist (say, Plano). Really like her playing alot.

We'll see what others in the blogosphere are predicting and report back. If you have read the in-house commentary by Tait, you should today if only to see how one of his readers bites back. Ouch.

More later.

Plano is done. His Rachmaninoff concerto was just never got off the ground, the few flubs were mere trifle, but he never seemed to gel with the orchestra, and just took the tempi too damn sloooowww. Grinding along, really. I'm suprised at how weak a pianist he has turned out to be.

Music and Healing for Children

An interesting news story on using music to heal children:

"I can see sometimes big changes in their personality and their learning ability,” said Tubbs, who published an article on the emotional effects music has on people last year in the Chippewa Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists’ newsletter. “Taking lessons has been documented to help students emotionally, physically and intellectually,” Tubbs said. “It’s hard to say how much the piano’s doing it, but I do know it helps students in many ways.”

Read the rest here.

Pope Gets His Piano -- But no cats

The pope has finally gotten his piano moved in to his new digs.

"Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as was, is an accomplished pianist with a special passion for Mozart and Bach. In the past he played duets with his housekeeper, Ingrid Stampa, a mistress of the antique viola da gamba."

Read all about it and more here.

Blog Rollin'

New to the WTB (Well Tempered Blog) blog roll today is "Retroklang". This Spanish language site is witty and diverse. Nice blog and we appreciate their mention of WTB. Check it out:


Saturday, June 04, 2005

Blog Roll

New to the WTB blog roll is NY critic Alex Ross' excellent blog
The Rest is Noise. Appreciate his mention of WTB and adding us to his blog roll.

Check out today's post on pianist Jeremy Denken's musing on Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time.

It's a keeper.

Cliburn Chatter: Eyes Wide Shut

That's the only way to listen to Yang.

When I'm not distracted by her facial contortions something else comes into the view: her seeming lack of command and understanding of the music she is playing. I believe what one hears, eyes wide shut, is a very gifted piano student, but not a finished product. The artistry, such as it is, is only fragmentary and it is way too early to say what may come of it.

Music seems more as a prop for her emoting, she stretches the very idea of "concert pianist" to the point of absurd characterture, making it more about spectacle than about art itself. It is the same feeling I get with Lang Lang. Another wag has already taken to calling her Yang Yang. No surprise.

What was the jury thinking in advancing her to the finals?

A wonderful contrast was Sa Chen. A strong performance that sparkled with verve and pianistic panache.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Cliburn Chatter: Yang

I can't stand to watch it's too painful. Is she playing the piano or acting? I'm sorry folks, but it just looks sooo contrived and idiotic to me.

Cliburn Chatter: Is There a Morning After?

Probably not for Roberto Plano.

A real question for Cliburn watchers has been whether or not Plano could pick himself up after the tumble he took in his final recital. The answer: No.

Indeed, it's very hard to imagine that he'll make the gold. Despite promise in the earlier rounds, the recital came across as a wandering mess --clunkers, framed by a faltering command of structure, and pinched tone. The magnificent Brahms f minor piano sonata at the heart of his programme was a huge pox on the evening. The work just seemed utterly beyond his grasp. Between wrong notes and a seeming inability to keep a steady pulse, I thought he came off sounding overwhelmed and underprepared. At best, the whole thing could be characterized as a very fine graduate student recital. For the "I heart Plano" crowd it must be a very bitter disappointment.

If one hoped for improvement in his concerto performance (Beethoven 3), they surely must have came away disappointed. While he seemed in better form (the work at least seemed better suited to his abilities), he churned out what was a polite, if mainly enemic, performance. By contrast Cabassi's performance of the same concerto earlier, was nothing just of magnificent. Beautiful singing tone, dramatic, and the third movement was delightfully carried off. In short, a perfect Beethoven 3rd.

I was disappointed by both Sa Chen's concerto and recital. I had hoped for better. But her Beethoven (no. 5) concerto was ruined by tendency to play too loud, producing an ugly banging tone. There was no magic to this seemingly hurried performance for me. Her recital served up more of the same with only fleeting moments of poetry, but utlimately crashed and burned on Barber's Piano Sonata.

The remaining high point is Kobrin. His performance of the Mozart Piano Concerto in d minor was in a word: Brilliant. This was everything you'd expect of a world class artist. Sparkle. Elegant phrasing, wonderful tone, and superb interplay with the orchestra.

I am almost certain that the gold medal is coming down to a choice between Kobrin and Cabassi.

Hit Me Baby: A Remembrance of Things Past

Let me just push the pause button. I gotta say that the new reality show "Hit Me Baby" strikes me as one of the worst things on TV. Well... I could think of some others, but just the concept itself is vile. Here's a nice write-up in the NY Daily New that hits the proverbial nail on the head.

I'm equally amazed and repulsed by the Tony nominations for the musical "Spamalot" (based Monty Python and the Holy Grail). Blech...

What next? "Caddyshack: The Musical". Ya never know...It is the film's 25th anniversary .

Radiowaves 2: Listen Up

I'm a fan of NPR's "Performance Today" (I'm really hooked on Bruce Adolphe's ever so clever "Piano Puzzler" segments), and if you've not been following along, PT has been doing some interesting coverage of the Van Cliburn Piano Competition. You can listen on line here. Looks like they'll be chatting today with host families and listening to Sa Chen's playing. Should be interesting.

The Pianist and the Prisoner

Here's a very interesting story I came across in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about an unlikely meeting between a federal prisoner and one of the pianists in the Cliburn competition.

Check out this nice lead:

"The letter, two paragraphs handwritten neatly on lined paper, was from a fan who was across town but who might as well have been a million miles away. "Dear Alexandre Moutouzkine," it began, "I have been a federal prisoner almost as long as you have been alive."

It's definitely a fascinating story. Read it here.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Blogging and the Cliburn

The local FW and Dallas papers have been doing a generally fine job covering the Van Cliburn Competition and providing interesting side-stories. Well worth checking 'em out.

Recently the Dallas News ran a story on blogs and the competition that gave me a good chuckle. Here's the key graf:

"As the Well-Tempered Blogger, he [Thomas Vitzthum] regularly blogs for, a German-language Web site that reaches 180,000 classical music fans and receives well over a million hits a month. The site was invited by the Cliburn Foundation through a London agency to give a European presence to the competition, "which is not so famous in Germany," Mr. Vitzthum says."

read the rest here. Confusion in blogland! Hmmmm, guess I better start brushing up on German. : )

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Beethoven, the iPod, and the mp3

The BBC is making available for download all 9 of the Beethoven symphones, plus doing podcasts. Yay!

Some details:

"The MP3 offer was set up to gauge audiences' appetite for music downloads and guide the corporation's future strategy for audio downloads and on-demand content. Downloading technologies can transform the value we deliver to listeners and make our programmes more accessible for both new and existing audiences," said Simon Nelson, controller of BBC Radio and Music Interactive."

Read the rest here .

And, don't you just know it, somebody somewhere is always a kill-joy:

"..the move has predictably ruffled some feathers within the orchestral community, with many pointing to a major cannibalization threat. That mirrors larger concerns within major labels, with many top executives and lawyers viewing the format as a simple variation of illegal file-sharing."

More here.

And even more here.

Radiowaves: A Cliburn Competition Series

This looks interesting:

"WFMR-FM (106.9) will broadcast a 25-week series on the 12th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, starting at 9 p.m. on June 10...The first eight programs (to air June 10 to July 29) feature contestants from past Cliburn Competitions. "

details here and here.

More on Dogs and Music

More on classical music and dogs in this recent online article fromthe Christian Science Monitor:

This gave me pause:

""Dogs hear in essentially the same range that we do, but they also hear ultrasound," he explains. "Some high-pitched instruments, such as violins, could have an effect on the dog like nails down a blackboard."

Read it here.


Nice piece on Mozart appears online in Slate. Read it

Cliburn Chatter: Play it as it lays

A few thoughts this morning on the Cliburn.

I intended to write about this yesterday, but then that would mean calling this the "I really should be practicing" blog --to borrow from the title of Graffman's book.

Two of the finalists I look forward to hearing are: Davide Cabassi and Alexander Kobrin.

I'm keen on Davide Cabassi' playing, but to my ears Kobrin has made a strong case for himself. Kobrin's playing may not be to everyone's liking, but it is I think a bracing tonic to the world of over-wrought performances and silly stage antics. I should think he would make a fine gold medalist.

Carl Tait, who writes the in-house commentary for the Cliburn, has apparently decided to re-consider his assessment of Kobrin. Previously Tait had this to say about Kobrin:

"I find his playing the chilliest and most calculated of anyone in the competition. I was so repelled by his Rachmaninoff Etudes-tableaux that I nearly had to leave the concert hall. Afterwards, I was almost physically ill and could hardly speak."

And earlier invoked the name of "Pollini" in speaking of Kobrin's Schumann.

But it's not the name of Pollini that comes to mind to these ears. It's names like Berman, Backhaus,and Richter that come to mind. I think there is something of the architect in his playing. Perhaps that's off-putting to some. But I think it is a grand architecture he fashions, one of fire and ice. You can hear some more of Kobrin here.

Roberto Plano could get the nod. But to my liking, he would be the safe pick, the least offending or controversial. I hear plenty of beauty in his playing, but nothing that so far sounds singular. Open to persuasion though.

Sa Chen is a also someone to watch. Maybe she's the dark horse in this race?

Mark Your Calendars

Jessica Duchen is gearing up for her performance next week in the 'Music at Woodhouse' series in Surrey. As readers know, she's been keeping us posted on her practice, but I think this is the first time she's mentioned the programme. It's a good one!

ELGAR (1857-1934): Violin Sonata in e minor
DELIUS (1862-1934): Legende
ELGAR: La Capricieuse
DEBUSSY (1862-1918): La plus que lente (arr. Leon Roques)
GABRIEL FAURE (1845-1924): Violin Sonata no1 Op13

She'll be performing the same programme tonight at the Elgar Museum!

Best of luck Jessica and wish we could be there ! (..and don't forget to look for a foto of"Solti")

Check it out here.

Piano Man Mystery Still Unsolved

Dang! It seemed so promising a lead, but the tip that England's "Piano Man" might be a Czech national has not panned out. Read about all about it here.

Practice Makes Perfect

Good news, ahoy! Waterfall from "A Sort of Notebook" is back from what sounds like a rewarding break from the blogosphere. We missed her.

And she's started back up the "Practice Pact", her online group practice journal. It's a really nice way to share your experience working at the keyboard and stay motivated.

Check it out! Practice Pact. See ya in the practice room.