Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Barenboim to take over?

Curious and surprising.

Speaking at an unrelated news conference on Tuesday, Mr. Maazel let drop that earlier in the day he had written a letter to the orchestra’s board putting forth a name. He said he supposed those in the room were curious who it was. He paused dramatically. The room was hushed. “Daniel Barenboim,” Mr. Maazel said.
Read the rest here.

I rather like the idea.

The Music Machine

A home recording studio rolled into a piano is up on e-bay. Along the lines of the upright piano-turned into a desk thing (example here). Looks nifty enough. Find it here.

Fresh Pod

Reminding us that "opera isn't always pretty" is "Operatic Podcast"

and the CBSO (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra) podcasts are no-to-be missed. Check out the "pod extra" with pianist Imogene Cooper. Find it all here.

Monday, November 27, 2006


This does sound interesting

"Naxos, the feisty, budget-priced classical label, has launched MPkey. Talk about a user-friendly concept: This series of downloadable releases is aimed at music lovers intimidated by the newfangled downloading phenomenon."

Read the rest here.

Nano piano?

What does it mean to tune it? It being the world's smallest "piano wire".

"Researches today have claimed to have engineered and 'tuned' the world's thinnest piano wires. The wires, which were made by scientists from Delft University of Technology and FOM (Fundamental Research on Matter) Foundation, are made of carbon nanotubes that measure approximately two nanometers in diameter."


Radio Waves

Much appreciated is Danielle Bennett's invitation to visit "radioopensource.org" for a very interesting program with pianist Daniel Barenboim. You'll find it and more here.

look of the new

Think "The Jetsons". Think piano.

Voila! A lovely space-age looking piano from Fazioli.

You can see one in action here .

Monday, November 20, 2006

downsizing classical music


"Late last week, Sony BMG Music Entertainment underwent a major downsizing. Among the casualties were the key staffers in what has come to be called Sony BMG Masterworks – encompassing Sony Classical, Columbia Masterworks, BMG Classics, RCA Red Seal, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi and pretty much every other classical or classical-related label under the legendary companies once known as CBS Records and RCA Records."
Read the rest.

According to a statement from Sony, "“This will make the label leaner, more responsive and more effective in adapting to the new realities of reaching the classical music consumer." (link)

Huh? I just don't get it.

Painted Piano

You just know it's gonna be far out. Very far out there. What is it? A piano painted by Peter Max.

"World-renowned artist Peter Max will unveil a one-of-a-kind Baldwin Baby 5'2" Grand piano.." Read the rest here.

Then there were 12: Hamamatsu Update

The 12 semi-finalists have been announced. Here they are in order of ranking, nationality, and age.

Claire HUANGCI U.S.A. 16
WANG Chun China 16
Alexej GORLATCH Ukraine 18
KIM Tae-Hyung Korea 21
Evgeny CHEREPANOV Russia 22
Alessandro TAVERNA Italy 23
LIM Hyo-Sun Korea 25
Sergey KUZNETSOV Russia 28
Dinara NADZHAFOVA Ukraine 17
KITAMURA Tomoki Japan 15
Slawomir WILK Poland 24
Nikolay SARATOVSKIY Russia 19

Good luck to all. More info here.

Remember you can listen to the competition and view streaming video in real-time or by way of the archive of past performances) here.

the art of news music

At last a website devoted to exploring "the art of news music". That's right, the music that accompanies evening news programs has a website. You can find it all arranged in various topics "weather", "sports", "breaking", etc. The site also has a forum for those who wish to delve deeper. You find it all right here.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Mozart: past perfect

Now that's a birthday party:

Of all the tributes to Mozart for the 250th anniversary of his birth, none could be more exciting and deeply, seriously satisfying than Tuesday's recital by Paul Badura-Skoda.
Read the rest here.

How to Murder a Piano

A must-not-miss beautiful essay for pianophiles appears in the Washington Post Magazine Online. It's topic? What to do with an old and infirm family piano. A piano nobody wants.

I CAN STILL FEEL THE THICKNESS OF THE HANDLE IN MY HANDS, hear the horrible crunch and splintering of wood, and the last crashing notes of an instrument played as it was never intended to be played -- by ax head instead of felt-tipped hammer. A wall of sound, the kind of wall they stand you up against before a firing squad.
Read the rest here.

And to find out about aged and decayed pianos enjoying a very different fate, visit the brilliant

The World Association for Ruined Pianos.

Listen to ruined pianos making a joyful noise here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hamamatsu International Piano Competition

Kudos to the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition! They've done a great job of providing streaming video, including archived video from completed performances, to piano lovers everywhere. You'll find the video here.

And, as if that weren't grand enough, the competition has it's own message board/forum for fans to discuss the HIPC. It's found here. The competition also has an interesting "news" site with running commentary on the performances and some "backstage" conversations with the pianists.

A pretty impressive jury will have their work cut-out for them with a full roster 94 pianists.

Best of luck to all!

Bill O'Reilly: The Opera

Enter Igor Keller, a tenor saxophone player from Belltown, Washington, who has re-imagined the O'Reilly saga as a 31-part, concert-length baroque oratorio titled, rather theatrically, Mackris v. O'Reilly.
Good heavens! Some things just beg more questions. Read the rest here.

website for it here.

Monday, November 13, 2006

You're not just playing it, You're wearing it (Part 2)

"scientists have invented a T-shirt that allows air guitarists to play actual music as they strum the air" Link.

See it in action here.

Piano Competitions

Some thoughts and recommendations from one blogger can be found here. I like the improvisation idea.

My own wish? Podcasts.

Interview with Marc-André Hamelin

"I do keep myself informed to a degree about what goes on as far as new works, but on the whole I have to say that my heart really belongs in the past. ..But I have to say that my focus is on the whole more on 19th- and early 20th -century repertoire, if I had to generalize."

That said, he will be performing a new work by Kevin Volans with San Francisco Symphony.

Read the interview online here.

What's in a Name

Oscar Peterson's name will grace a new hall at the University of Toronto. link.

Ivo Pogorelich

This century's Glenn Gould of a sort? I really wonder.

"While it's vain to presume what goes on in another human psyche, this physical powerhouse of a man - think Yul Brynner - is arguably a troubled, tortured yet deeply sensitive soul. The result was a string of musical phrases and artistic exclamations that were rendered with unabashed passion. Sometimes achingly beautiful, sometimes menacingly angry, his music making was utterly absorbing.....Plenty of other oddities peppered the evening, as well. Pogorelich opened the program so abruptly that an adjustment of the piano bench and music stand followed awkwardly while he continued playing. Some hefty coughs ensued, which were later explained in the pianist's surprisingly forthcoming remarks. It turns out that he wasn't feeling well and that he will be seeking medical attention during his stay in Denver." Link

and then there's this

Asked what he thinks today when he hears himself described as "eccentric," "arrogant," and "difficult," the pianist said, "That was my image. I worked on it myself like a child making a toy. That was the price a 22-year-old had to pay to make an awful lot of money. People are always after the 'dark power,' like in Star Wars." <

You can see Pogorelich playing Scarlatti here.

The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes

I've posted before on the upcoming film "The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes" and happy to report it has a release date of Nov. 17.

You can see a trailer for the film online here. (Requires Quicktime). Who wouldn't be excited about seeing Assumpta Serna? (And that reminds me that I really want to see this movie).

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Trivia you need

not remember:

"Lowest note a shark can hear: 10 Hertz (or 1.5 octaves below the lowest key on the piano)"


Friday, November 10, 2006


If you have alot of time on your hands you might think about this (no pun intended).


Rock for Peace: Calling All Bands

Strange. Too Strange.

Nothing says, "Get your rock on" like North Korea.

"If you are a band playing any kind of rock, including heavy metal, then you can participate 'ROCK FOR PEACE' in Pyong Yang, the capital city of North Korea. This is the very first time in history that North Korea allows western musicians in the heart of DPRK territory to play capitalist popular music."

More here on the North Korea's call for bands to join the Rockathon. Time to resurrect my garage band, eh?

A Birthday Party

Send your good wishes to "The Collaborative Piano Blog"! It reaches 1yr (old in cybertime).

Happy Birthday!

better yet. go see the intrepid blogger himself in performance.

website of the day

Piano Red

Everything you could want. The variety of resources and materials available to piano lovers at this site is amazing. It's going straight to the WTB list of piano related links.

Check it out today. Link.

the wild ones

A review from a reviewer who I generally find a disappointment of Helene Grimaud's recent Carnegie Hall appearance. You can read it here.

You can read a really wonderful profile of Grimaud and her devotion to the wild things here. She really is in my estimation one of the great beings who also happen to be great pianists.

IF you haven't already got your hands on it, run, don't walk, to the book store to pick up her "Wild Variations". The recent English translation of her autobiography. Or even better pick up a copy of her Brahms CD. Transcendent.

Water Music

A piano made of water. Well really it's a hydraulophone. But, hey, I'll take it.

Find it here.

Piano and Country Music

I didn't know country music had a piano man. Really. Details. But watching the recent CMA Awards reminded me that Merle Haggard was right. There really isn't any country music anymore. Just rock band wannabees.

Sorry Daniel

But Buck Rogers has got nothing on the "Disco Godfather"!

Put your weight into it!

A Tangled Web We Weave

One of the best blogs around is "On An Overgrown Path". Hands down.

So how sweet it is to read this.

Red Hot and Unhinged: Ravel

Read all about it here. Why?

"Schumann may have been unhinged, but he never wrote character pieces about nightmarish things like spiders, night moths and the scaffold for hangings."
Now that's a recommendation. More here.

And it's performed by Minoru Nojima. 'nuff said.

Copying Beethoven

A review of the film "Copying Beethoven". I'm looking forward to seeing this one. Review notwithstanding.

Read it online here.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pink Slip for Kovacevich

"Only days before he was to make his debut as an opera conductor, Stephen Kovacevich has been replaced by the management of Geneva's opera house."

My jaw dropped. Read the rest here.


You can read a recent interview here.

Not by cuppa tea. But others do.

2006 National Medal of the Arts

William Bolcom is one of 10 recipients of the 2006 National Medal of Arts. Link.

Currently listening to: Sviatoslav Richter - Prelude & Fugue No 5 in D major BWV 850

The Missing 18

A long lost manuscript of works by German 17th century keyboard maestro Johann Jacob Froberger, also believed to have been a part-time spy, goes on sale later this month with a price tag of 500,000 pounds ($953,500).

The manuscript includes 18 previously unknown works. More here.

Currently listening to: Schubert - Piano Trio in B Major, Op. 99 D898- 3- Scherzo- Allegro

Composer of the Week

George Lloyd ! Radio 3 has named him composer of the week.

"After a long and determined campaign by his friends and admirers, the Cornish born composer George Lloyd has at last been granted the accolade of Composer of The Week by the BBC."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Blog of the Day

Today's pick is MG Blog. Music, Technology, Visual Arts, and more. You find it here!

Garrick Ohlsson

I'll second this review and look forward to the Garrick Ohlsson CD set from Bridge Records. X-Mas gift.


And this is good for who?

For the "Not Surprising" file:

"The Copyright Register recently announced its decision that ringtones do not constitute derivative works, and as such are covered by Section 115 -- a statute originally written to create a market for the distribution of piano rolls in 1909. "

And what's in it for songwriters and composers? Apparent not much.

"the decision is part of an ongoing battle between the RIAA (record labels) and industry songwriters/publishers. The RIAA wanted to be able to distribute ringtones without securing new licenses from songwriters, who technically own the composition."
Read the rest here.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Honens: from drab to fab

Fine write up that's more revealing about the nature of the Honens International Piano Competition than anything else.

Key grafs:


"We're not looking for the kind of sensational virtuoso that galvanizes an audience so they're so overwhelmed by the rush that nerve endings are practically sliced off," says Aide, the former head of the keyboard division at the University of Toronto's faculty of music. "We're looking for someone with comprehensive versatility -- someone who has unbelievable technical prowess in the service of the score and can convey a commanding personal response to the score.


""I'm not saying we're sexing up classical music, but when you see a young person who is stylish and confident and has it together going out onstage, the audience feels the magic in the air.

"Musicianship is still the most important thing. But if they're going to get ahead, they need the balls to sell themselves."

And just to be sure about it, the winners get a make-over:

"Their first week of career development includes a consultation with a stylist, shopping for performance clothes, a photo shoot with a fashion photographer and a visit to the Banff Centre, where they will be encouraged to start thinking about how to expand their repertoire and develop a niche."

Sounds like a job for the fab five.  (just kidding)

Read the read rest here.


Currently listening to: Artur Schnabel - Beethoven - Rondo in A WoO49

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Of popcorn and pianos

My only CD of piano music from the movies has long been this splendid disc by Santiago Rodriguez. But I think I've found a new CD to compliment it, a recent recording by Jean-Yves Thibaudet of music from the movies. Read about it here. Looks tasty.

Minsoo Sohn - Honens Winner

CBC has up a nice write up here.

blog of the day

You'll do yourself right by clicking on over to Interimssion: Impossible, a witty blog that will do more than keep you in touch with the fine doings of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Here's two posts that caught my attention.

One on Leon Kirchner and another on the axis of gilles.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Honens Competition- Winners

Not first prize, but not a bad night at all for the talented Hinrich Alpers taking home 2nd prize and 2 of the 3 special awards .

Of the five finalists of this year's Honen's competition, the top prizes went to

1st Prize - Minsoo Sohn, Korea

2nd Prize - Hinrich Alpers, Germany

3rd Prize - Hong Xu, China

4th Prize Finalist, Spencer Myer

5th Prize Finalist, Serhy Salov, Ukraine


Additional Prizes:

Hinrich Alpers, Prize for Best Ensemble Performance

Hinrich Alpers, Best Performance of Commissioned Work

Gregory DeTurck, Prize for Artist with Special Promise

Congratulations to all.

Currently listening to: Bax: Piano Quintet

Friday, November 03, 2006

Too bad a I missed this auction

piano driven car on ebay.



Karaoke gets netlicious.

instrumentalist stereotypes

Absolutely brilliant! Check out this post over at "Daily Observations". Here's a taste:
"The bass section is where the first rumblings (pardon the pun) start when break time comes near, and one of their rooms on tour is where the best, most liquor-soaked party is to be found (not to mention the possibility of poker and strippers, not necessarily in that order). Bass players tend to be the philosophers of the orchestra, given that they often have so much free time on their hands."
We're a long ways from "Rusty in Orchestraville" here.

The whole post is a classic keeper.

Modern Day Bernstein?

"It’s a moment right out of the Young People’s Concerts playbook; there is our long-awaited modern-day Bernstein." Linkage.

Uh. Not.

Not Paying the Piper?

Musicians take note:
...the music labels effectively taking a bribe to cause trouble for Google/YouTube video competitors, ignoring YouTube to let it grow for a while, and pocketing all of the money without giving it back to the artists they supposedly represent. The claim is anonymous, but the pieces certainly fit together nicely.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


What's up with Pogo's shaved head? He's starting to look just a little like Max from the classic film "Sunset Blvd".

Seems Ivo Pogorelich has been serving up shocktober treats for the critics. Read here and here.

Yes, yes, Pogorelich is a cult figure, but more importantly he is one of the few truly original pianists about. No doubt you'll hate him or love him. Like Glenn Gould, you can't ignore him. The critics? Ignore 'em. Go see Pogo.

Horowitz Piano Competition

For the under 14 set.

Details here.

You're not just playing it, you're wearing it...

When I think of a Steinway, I think of a lot of things. One of them is not causal sportswear. But then what I do know? Linkage.


Composer-pianist William Bolcom chats it up with the Cleveland "Plain Dealer".

n the 18th century, most composers didn't have that priority, but Haydn had that mad sense of humor. He loved surprises. I feel a certain identity with him."
read the rest here.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

the piano

Out and Around Blogsville

Check out the 92nd Street Y's Blog. It's not just for New Yorker's! There's loads of good stuff to found there for anyone interested in the arts. I found this recent post on music and technology especially interesting. Money quote:

"2002 Classical Music Consumer Segmentation Study, which found that of those Americans who consider themselves lovers of classical music, only half attend concerts regularly, with the other half choosing to listen in their cars or on their home stereo systems, computers, etc."
Find the rest of it here.

Click-worthy is "Mr Dan Kelly's Blog" which rolls into November with a lovely post on composer Josquin Des Prez: "Early, pre-Elizabethan music is a fascinating field. The "rules" for classical music had yet to be set by 17th and 18th century composers, so it all sounds beautifully alien to the modern ear, especially the choir pieces." Link.

Long overdue for mention is Professor Heebie McJeebie's delightful "Classical Pontifications" blog. Classical music's answer to Stephen Colbert. Bookmark and visit often. Most tasty is the Professor's warning on over-relying on inspiration.

There's also an interesting blog by a music librarian that's worth keeping an eye, and it's most recent post is on Horowitz' book "Classical Music in America: A History of Its Rise and Fall". Find it here.

Brian Sacawa, concert saxophonist and blogger extraordinaire, has a new cyber home. Find the blog here and the webpage here. Blogerati everywhere have already updated their bookmarks. You should too.

I'd be remiss if I didn't point you to this sweet post by Cathy Fuller: Good Vibrations. "If Debussy's insistence that you get your piano to sound like it has no hammers is a little bit too taxing an illusion to maintain, maybe it's easier to consider the sweet, flexible nature of those hammers, and the profoundly magical result that comes from their vibrations. " I was thinking of her post this weekend while my friend and piano technician's shop. The photo with this post is a result of said visit.

And by way of Oboeinsight (a long time WTB favorite), I discovered a new L.A.-centric arts blog that's too good not to mention. Check 'em out.

Me and you and a dog named "Nick". Here's one of many a little lesson to be found on one of the best blogs on the Internet: "La Idea del Norte". (I just realized now that I've probably seen other fotos of emejota and not realized it. A fine mug to match a fine blog).

From dogs to swans. The BofA Celebrity Series Blog teases and pleases the little grey cells with five little known facts about Swan Lake. Check it out.

And by way of " A Million Little Fibers" you can savor pianist Pollini playing Stockhausen. You find it here. from 43 seconds in to the end is priceless. It's so like.. Seeing reading.

Surf's up!

The Sound of Wiki

If you're not familiar with it already, check out Wikipedia's treasure chest of classical music downloads (copyleft and public domain) by various artists including Germany's Fuldaer
Symphonische Orchester (FSO)

Find it all here: Wikipedia:Sound/list - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia