Friday, December 29, 2006

Allegro di Wolffgango

And yet more on the "new" Mozart.

A recently discovered piano concerto, believed to be one of the earliest works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, will be performed for the first time today in Salzburg, the city where the composer was born.

Experts believe that the composition, entitled Allegro di Wolffgango Mozart, was written by the child prodigy at some time between the ages of 6 and 10.

Read the rest here.

And just to keep us from getting to carried away, we're reminded by Richard Morrison that

Mozart showed his true genius not by slipping effortlessly into this easy, graceful style at the age of 8 or 9. His greatest achievement came 10 or 15 years later when he was able to transform this “simplistic” language to create operatic and symphonic masterpieces that touch the most sublime heights of musical expression.

Beethoven Intercollegiate Piano Competition

Congratulations to Samantha Ward first prize winner of the competition.

You can read about the competition and performances here on the always excellent "Music and Vision" website.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Unimportance of Being Oscar

A bevy of choice quotes to mark the birthday of pianist Oscar Levant.

"Roses are red, violets are blue, I am schizophrenic, and so am I."

"I used to call Audrey Hepburn a walking X-ray."

"Everyone in Hollywood is gay, except Gabby Hayes — and that's because he is a transvestite."

"Underneath this flabby exterior is an enormous lack of character."

"When asked what he does for exercise, Levant replied, "I stumble, then fall into a coma."

"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility, there are so few of us left."

"I'm a concert pianist, that's a pretentious way of saying I'm unemployed at the moment."

"Leonard Bernstein is revealing musical secrets that have been common knowledge for centuries."

You'll find these and more on the Wikipedia page for Levant. It's found here.

And if you want more Oscar there's always his own writings.

New Piano Work by Mozart

Something new to close out the "Mozart Year" celebrations.

Experts believe the composition to be one of Mozart's early works, written when he was aged between 6 and 10. The music had been compiled by two piano instructors working during Mozart's lifetime at the Salzburg court music school.
Read the rest here.

More here.

Post-Holiday Holla Back

I had a great holiday break!

Not quite back to full-speed blogging yet. Hey.. There's still New Years eve ahead of us

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Oldest Song in the World

How old is it you ask? About 3,400 years. Find it and more about it here.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Garrick Ohlsson: Interview

Ohlsson's recording of the Beethoven sonata cycle is shaping up to be one for the ages. In a recent interview with writer/pianist Joseph Smith, Ohlsson provides an glimpse into this approach to the project: 

In recording, though, I really put the screws to myself. I stretch my own limits, because I take all the experiences I've had with the individual work, with Beethoven and with performing altogether, and I try to distill them. It isn't just a matter of effort, though, but also of absolute time — a live performance takes exactly as long as the piece, whereas a recording of a single sonata might take eight hours of takes, listening, making judgments, and balancing possible choices.

and I think he gets it right with this observation:

"If a man from Mars were dropped on the earth and the only Beethoven left was the piano sonatas, he could actually form a pretty complete idea of who Beethoven was. They present a full, accurate portrait."

Read the rest of this fascinating interview here.


 Currently listening to: Schubert,  Impromptu D.935 - 3 in B flat 

Gershwin Revisited

Check out the excellent review of Howard Pollack's new biography of George Gershwin. A work that clears away the debris and reveals Gershwin's work in a different light.

"It's helpful to be reminded that the clarinet introducing "Rhapsody in Blue" echoes the flute that begins Debussy's "Afternoon of a Faun," that Rachmaninoff attended many Gershwin performances, and that Gershwin not only witnessed the American premiere of Schoenberg's "Pierrot Lunaire" but played tennis with the composer, painted his portrait , and subsidized recordings of his string quartets. Under Schillinger's tutelage, Gershwin even composed 12-tone rows."

Currently listening to:
Milton Babbitt - Reflections for piano and synthesized tape

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Link of the Day

"There ought to be but one large art warehouse in the world, to which the artist could carry his art-works and from which he could carry away whatever he needed. " - Beethoven

the Internet? A website setting out to make good on Beethoven's wish is today's "Link of the Day":


Providing a forum for musicians (soloists and ensembles) to post their performances of works in the public domain. There is a eclectic mix of things and a forum to chat with others.

Give 'em a visit.

Friday, December 15, 2006

tone deaf ?

Wonder no more.

Now there's a clever little online test you can take to find out. There is also a test for pitch perception and one to find out if you are rhythmdeaf.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

How Many Mozarts?

This looks like a very interesting CD:

"Mozart: great pianists (Orfeo), an anthology of performances at the Salzburg Festival, illustrates how familiar scores can be enlivened and transfigured by strong-minded interpreters. The set is built around contrasting performances of two Mozart sonatas. Claudio Arrau makes K310 a model of keen classical precision, after which Emil Gilels discovers in it a perturbed Romantic intensity. Clara Haskil, Shura Cherkassky and Glenn Gould interpret KV330."


Stealing Glenn Gould Part 2

And now we know how it ends:

"Barbara Moore, the 62-year Texan college professor charged with illegally possessing Glenn Gould memorabilia, was sentenced to 60 hours of community service yesterday, reports the Associated Press." Link

Elvis Presley's Piano

If you've got the scratch for it, you might want to have a go at bidding on Elvis Presley's 1911 Knabe grand piano. Photos, details, and more here.

"We just turned down an offer of $1 million for it," said Daniel Jelladian, CEO of, where the King's piano is on auction. "The guy called to ask us to stop the auction for $1 million." Jelladian said he expects the piano to fetch more than $2 million, and he has reason to believe.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Groovy Link of the Day

Via YouTube, enjoy a senior citizen chorus rockin' it with Sonic Youth's "Schizophrenia"


A New World Record

So many questions. So little time.

Congratulations to Mr. Brunner

"The magic fingers of Charles Brunner endured 64 hours of excruciating pain and cramps in order to finally break a record that he has held twice before." Read the rest.

David Fray

I think this is great news:

"The 25-five year old French pianist David Fray has signed an exclusive recording contract with Virgin Classics, reports Gramophone Online. His first disc, to be released in May 2007, will include Bach's Partita and French Suite in D minor and Boulez's Douze Notations and Incises."


More here about Fray.

Music Without Music

Music Without Music, trading as, has perfected a website which enables people to watch, slowly and in detail, how a tune is played so that they can pick it up without needing sheet music.

Somethings just speak for the themselves. Read the rest here.

Made in China

Interesting bit in the news about guitar maker Gibson's plans to buy a state-owned piano factory (Dongbei Piano) in China -you might have encountered Dongbei's work in the form of their "Nordiska" piano.

Gibson also owns "Baldwin" pianos.

"The sources declined to confirm whether Gibson would authorize the Dongbei factory to use the Baldwin brand for piano production and sales." Read the rest here.

If not, I'm thinking it will be something suitably German sounding.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Great Mozart Crash

Sometimes a great idea can be just a little too good. When the International Mozart Foundation placed the vast works of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart online Monday, its organizers had no idea how swiftly the news would travel.

The response was immediate and immense. Just hours after the news became public, as of 1 a.m. Tuesday local time for Salzburg, Austria, the site where the composer’s works were placed appeared to have crashed.
Read the rest here. You'll find the International Mozart Foundation here.

Yup it's down as of this post. Hope it's up soon.

And in other news. Light blogging due to holidays and work. More regular blogging to following before long. In the meantime, check out the "Blogs of Distinction" and show 'em some blog love.

Happy surfing.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Mozart died on Dec 5 in 1791 and left behind an unfinished masterpiece. And now

"Musicologist and pianist Robert Levin, who earlier prepared a compelling new realization of the "Requiem," has now done the same for the "Mass." German Helmuth Rilling, a noted early music and choral specialist, conducted the well-received premiere at Carnegie Hall in Jan. 2005 and this weekend is leading the Detroit Symphony Orchestra through Levin's version of the "Mass." Kudos to the DSO for closing its two-week Mozart Festival with a jolt of fresh thinking." Link

Classical Paws

"Classical Paws is a once in a lifetime event that will combine two common passions, music and dogs, and will be brought to life by two of the finest and most respected musicians in the world today. Jody Karin Applebaum, a world renowned soprano, and Marc-André Hamelin, one of the most sought after concert pianists to ever hit the music scene, will be performing live to a unique audience of canine enthusiasts and music lovers in what will most certainly be the event that everyone will be talking about."

Details here for the lucky folks in Philly.

God bless Maestro Hamelin and his wife (and their two dogs named Frasier and Niles).


Winter is always a good time for visiting Miami, especially if the Miami International Piano Festival is underway.

Wish I was there. (sigh).

Read about it here.

CD Note

One of my all time favorite recordings of the Brahms 2nd piano concerto. Link

But virtuosic nervousness? I just don't hear that in this recording.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Click and Listen

You can find some mp3's from Hucbald's new CD on his excellent blog "A Monk's Musical Musings". You find it all here.

Proper Velocities?

Velocities or tempi? What's proper here.

"He has the velocity to race at top speed through the latter’s whizzing coda, can handle the awkward physical pitfalls of the C minor Sonata and has a genuine feel for the mysteries of its last moments." Link.

Oh well... That then.

competition note

The winners of the Wideman piano competition have been announced. Details here.

One Symphony to Rule Them All?

"After the complete "Return of the King" score is released next year, Shore (who is currently orchestrating an opera inspired by David Cronenberg's film "The Fly," which he scored) will eventually record the two-hour, 10-minute "Lord of the Rings Symphony," which is still being performed to sellout crowds around the world. " Link.

I liked the music. But 2 hours? That's really pushing the envelope for me.

Young Canadian Composers

The deadline for applications to National Arts Centre’s Summer Music Institute is fast approaching. December 11 to be exact. More info here.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Sticks and Stones

Most overused word in music criticism? My vote goes to "overpedaling". They'd be sunk without it.

This is more like it:

In 1795, Beethoven composed what has come to be known as Rage over a Lost Penny. Paul Lewis looked as though he had found the penny, but had previously lost a pound. He didn’t appear to enjoy himself, and showed little rapport with the audience. For him, this seemed to be ‘just another one for the mortgage’. What a difference it would have made to see him smile, to hear a short introduction to one or two of the pieces, and perhaps an encore at the end. Even the moonlight was a little dim.

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 "" 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

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

John Lennon's Upright

Most interest bit here: George Michael now owns it.

"Pop star George Michael will lend the piano on which John Lennon
composed his famous 1971 peace anthem "Imagine" to an anti-war
exhibition in the United States organised by his partner Kenny Goss." Read the rest here.

Sa Chen Note

If you thought the recital was irratic wait til you read the review.


transfixing: water, rain, brad

Uhhhh.. I guess that's one word for it.

Details here.

Ross serves up better fare with an earlier post on "keeping the score". (Hey SFSO, why isn't this a podcast yet?).

Then there were five: Honens competition finalists

Revenge of the old dogs or what.

Hinrich Alpers Age 25 Germany
Minsoo Sohn Age 30 South Korea
Serhiy Salov Age 27 Ukraine
Spencer Myer Age 28 United States
Hong Xu Age 23 China

Most the finalists for the Honens are over 25 (competitions usually have age limits around 30 0r so). Surprises? Myer made the finals. Perhaps he wins this one after leaving the Leeds empty handed.

Good luck to all. Details and more here (including the link for the audio webcast)

Malcolm Bilson - Smithson Medal

This is one award that is well-earned. Bilson's done more to promote the fortepiano than anyone I can think of and his recordings are top-notch.

"Bilson, professor emeritus of music at Cornell, was awarded the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal Oct. 8 at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., for his "extraordinary lifetime achievements" as "a pioneer in the performance of period instruments and chamber music in general."

Read the rest.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Need a Helping Hand?

Then check out the "The Pianist Concert Hand".

The manufacturers say that you'll be fascinated by their precise movement and precision-tuned mechanical genius as the digits play selections from Beethoven's ‘Fifth Symphony’, Scott Joplin's ‘The Entertainer’, or Chopin's ‘Minute Waltz’. " The various gears and levers inside this battery-powered clear plastic hand interact to move the fingers as if they are playing one of six classic piano pieces.

Added bonus: Creepy enough for Halloween fun.

Details ahoy. And here.

And then there were 12: Honens

Semi-finalists for the Honens announced:

  1. Stanislav Khristenko, 22, Russia.
  2. Gregory DeTurck, 24, United States.
  3. Hinrich Alpers, 25, Germany.
  4. Minsoo Sohn, 30, South Korea.
  5. Spencer Myer, 28, U.S. 
  6. Angela Park, 28, Canada
  7. Hong Xu, 23, China.
  8. Soyeon Lee, 27, South Korea.
  9. Sergei Saratovsky, 24, Russia.
  10. Evgueni Starodoubtsev, 24, Russia.
  11. Serhiy Salov, 27, Ukraine.
  12. Maria Mazo, 24, Germany/Russia.

Good luck to all!

I'll be suprised if  Khristenko, Mazo, and Alpers don't pass to the finals.


Don't forget you can listen online to this top-notch competition via streaming media. Check it out here. Wonder when competition will get around to podcasts?

Currently listening to: Frank Martin - Ballade for piano & orch

Leonid Hambro

A remarkable pianist and long-time force at the California Arts Institute, Leo Hambro is dead at age 86

Hambro made more than 100 recordings and toured worldwide, appearing as a soloist with many orchestras including those in Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and London. He was known as a skilled chamber musician, who collaborated with Fritz Kreisler, Jascha Heifetz, Isaac Stern and others. He performed under the batons of Toscanini, Mitropoulos, Bernstein, Ormandy, Stokowski and many other distinguished conductors.
Bela Bartok's son selected Hambro to record all of his father's piano music, including the premiere recording of the First Piano Concerto with the Boston Symphony. Edward Jablonski, George Gershwin's official biographer, asked Hambro to record 18 of the composer's songs as Gershwin himself had played them, and to introduce them at the Prague Spring Festival.

Read the rest


And here's an exchange, reported in the NYT,  that took place at one of his Carnegie Hall performances:

"When a pair of latecomers took their seats after the second piece, he asked, "Where are you from?" When they said New York, Mr. Hambro said: "Isn't that funny? I'm from Los Angeles and I got here before you did.""

Monday, October 23, 2006

Happy birthday to Franz Liszt !

Happy birthday to Franz Liszt ! Born on the 22nd of October, 1811

"I have judiciously made up my mind not to trouble myself about my compositions any further than the writing of them. Supposing that they have any value it will always be found out soon enough either during my life or afterwards. I can wait."
- Franz Liszt

Here's the wiki for Liszt with loads of information and interesting links to keep you busy. And, of course, you might just want to check out the film Lisztomania. More about Liszt at the movies (rather interesting list of things) can be found here.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


I knew there was a reason I love her music:

Higdon came of age listening not to J.S. Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven but to rock 'n' roll, folk, reggae and mountain music, courtesy of her counterculture parents. She played flute in a high school marching band.

Read the Rest

Whilst writing this, I was listening to: Georges Cziffra play Liszt - Apres une lecture de Dante

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Piano Fest in Cambridge, MA

This sounds like good fun! Piano Fest.

- there are 36 pianists scheduled; the event goes on for two days; the Zeitgeist has moved, and the space is now called the Lily Pad - the keyboard celebration is much the same as it's been since that first day.

Website fo the festival is found here.

Read the rest Here

Currently listening to: Beethoven - Piano Sonata 32

Anna Russell, Dies at 94

Anna Russell, revered by music-lovers for her 22-minute sendup of Richard Wagner's epic, four-opera ``Ring'' cycle at New York's Town Hall and other venues, died today in Batemans Bay, Australia. She was 94.

Read the rest: Muse

Currently listening to: Beethoven - Piano Sonata 32

Give it up, please !

This cracked me up


My 11-year-old cousin is an amateur musician, but his "music" consists of pounding on piano keys as loudly as possible for hours at a time. (He's not disabled or autistic, just an average kid.)

His piano playing becomes a problem when he and his family attend holiday gatherings at my parents' home.

For the entire time his family is at our house, he is pounding on our piano, even during Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

Been there. Done that. Got that t-shirt.

read the rest here


Currently listening to: Beethoven - Piano Sonata 32

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wild Harmonies

 I don't know how this escaped my attention earlier. Hélène Grimaud's autobiography is now out in English and is going to the top of my must-read list. Most fascinating is her interest in wolves.

In her early 20s, she became deeply involved in the study of wolves and went on to found the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, N.Y., about 50 miles north of Manhattan. It now houses 17 animals and receives more than 20,000 visitors a year.

Read the rest: Here


Currently listening to:  Liszt: Hexameron (Morceaux de concert)

Cappella Andrea Barca

Speaking of Mozart...

Mr. Schiff, 52, could be forgiven his crankiness in this, the jampacked 250th-anniversary year of Mozart’s birth. After all, his Cappella Andrea Barca, a crack ensemble handpicked from his most musically accomplished friends and acquaintances, was created eight years ago precisely for the occasion.

Read the Rest Here  So if the Morgan Library isn't your cuppa tea this might do the trick.

Currently listening to: Erik Satie- Trois Sarabandes (N°3)

Mozart at 250

The Morgan Library and Museum presents the exhibit Mozart at 250: A Celebration, through January 7, 2007. The Morgan Library & Museum celebrates the two-hundred-fiftieth anniversary of the birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) with an exhibition that traces Mozart's brief life through manuscripts, letters, and first editions of his works.

This should be very good. Very!

Read more here: - The First Art Newspaper on the Net

Website for the exhibit:  Link  (loads of interesting things online)


Currently listening to: C.P.E. Bach - Concerto in c Wq.37 - Presto

Glenn Gould Case

Barbara Moore, 62, of Austin, Texas, is accused of pilfering documents from the Gould collection at the Canadian Library and Archives. The items include a ``doodle page'' the musician signed 18 times and a handwritten musical composition.

curious. curious.

Link to Muse


Currently listening to: Sviatoslav Richter - Prelude & Fugue No 8 in E flat minor BWV 853

Big Pianist

One for the "Who knew?" file:

Imagine our spy's surprise when he saw none other than famed porn star Ron Jeremy sitting at a piano, playing. As it turns out, Mr. Jeremy is quite the accomplished ivory-tickler.

Read the rest here: Ron Jeremy -- Big Pianist -


Currently listening to: Sviatoslav Richter - Prelude & Fugue No 7 in E flat major BWV 852

Honens International Piano Competition

The Honens International Piano Competition gets underway tomorrow. And there will be live audio/video. Some familiar faces the competition circuit trying their hand at another go. Competitors list here. And, yes, live audio webcast! Find it here.

A Love Supreme

A very splendid write-up of pianist/composer Alice Coltrane.

She filled in for McCoy Tyner as Coltrane's pianist in 1966, helping drive her husband's music to new avant-garde dimensions. After John Coltrane's death in 1967, she made a series of albums weaving Hindu and one-world religious messages with free jazz and modal improvisations, switching between outlandish timbres like jazz harp (a historical first), jazz organ, sitar and tamboura. She was accompanied and assisted on those recordings by such artists as Tyner, Ornette Coleman and Pharoah Sanders.
Read the rest here. She's playing a show in NJ and I'd give a tooth to be there.

Calling All Composers

well, those under 35 at least. The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra wants a theme song:

" The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra has launched an international competition, inviting young composers to create a musical work as a component of the city's Charter 300 celebration."

Details and more here. Visit the ASO online here.

Vaugh Williams

Plucking a CD from your collection that you haven't listened to in awhile can lead to some pleasing surprises. Last night one of those was Vaughan Williams "Sixth Symphony". Positively temperamental and dazzling. More curious, was pushing on a tape in the car, one of those 100 greatest piano hits, and hearing Beethoven's "Fur Elise". Given enough time even it can sound "new" again.

In The Hall of the Mountain King [MP3's ahoy]

Here is what the great composer Edvard Grieg had to say about one of his own works:

It is an immensely difficult subject, and I've done something  to the Mountain King, that I myself find unable to listen to - it reeks of cow-dung, Norwegian-Norwegianess and absorbed in it's own Norwegianess! But I expect the irony to be pungent, especially when Peer, after the ordeal with the Mountain King utters against his will 'Both the dance and the playing was [cat scratchily] beautiful.'"

We really are our own worst critics, no?  Read the rest here: In The Hall of the Mountain King


Currently listening to: Jean Sibelius - Rigaudon, Op. 78 No. 4

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Looking for a Used Car?

Perhaps your search has come to an end. Liberace's stylish Kanzler is now up for bids on e-bay. Little less than a day to go. I like the "get low monthly payments". Sure.

Check it out here:

Link to eBay Motors: Other Makes : Kanzler (item 280037047938 end time Oct-18-06 18:15:00 PDT)

Currently listening to: C.P.E. Bach - Sonata Wq.90 No.3 in C

Desktop Music Composer


Desktop Music Composer can do more than just compose music, it can also work as an alarm clock

composing? I'm not so sure about that, but I'd like the "gadget-ness" of it.

details and more here: Desktop Music Composer » Coolest Gadgets

Currently listening to: Ivan Moravec - Chopin - Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52

Composer dedicates music to slain Russian reporter


Arvo Part is dedicating all performances of his music during the 2006/7 concert season to the memory of recently slain Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

details here: Composer dedicates music to slain Russian reporter -


Currently listening to: Miklos Rozsa - Theme and Variations for Violin, Cello and Orchestra

scary movie

Halloween is on the way and you can get things started with "Mad Love".

An insane surgeon's obsession with an actress leads him to replace her wounded pianist's hands with the hands of a knife murderer which still have the urge to throw knives.

Although I myself cheated and started my "scary movie" fest with "Plaga Zombie". Check 'em both out.

Van Cliburn

 A fine write-up of legendary pianist Van Cliburn

"Great music is the breath of God," he said. "It's eternal."

Read the rest here: Star-Telegram | 10/14/2006 | Throughout his life, spirituality has struck a chord with Cliburn


Currently listening to: Miklos Rozsa - Theme and Variations for Violin, Cello and Orchestra

In the footsteps of Rubén González

A precociously talented and witty jazz player, like all top Cuban music graduates Fonseca has the discipline and prodigious classical repertoire of a Soviet-influenced system that prizes memory and virtuosity. On stage with Ferrer he often put this to good use, bringing the crowd to their feet in Moscow by veering off mid-solo into Tchaikovsky, and in Warsaw by sliding into Chopin.


A nice profile of two pianists working in the long shadow of Gonzalez.  Read the rest here.

Currently listening to: Jean Sibelius - Devotion (Ab imo pectore), Op. 77 No. 2

Monday, October 16, 2006


How many classical musicians do you know with the mettle to pause during a piano piece and utter, “Stop the war,” then resume playing not once but 12 times?

Not many to be sure. The pianist? The inimitable pianist/composer Frederic Rzewski. More here.

Barenboim Interview

A very interesting interview with Daniel Barenboim is up today on the CNN website. Check it out. Link

Sunday, October 15, 2006

William Shatner's Musical Brilliance

Click over to "A Million Little Fibers" to behold the magic for yourself.

More about Maestro Shatner here on Wiki.

Currently listening to: Johann Sebastian Bach - Concerto in Am BWV1065

Technorati tags:

Chopin's Dream Coming to US as "Eternal Sonata"


Trusty Bell, at least in Japan, is the story of the famous composer Chopin just before his death, as he enters a dream world and meets a magical little girl with a "terrible destiny" yadda yadda yadda. It looks pretty and the music should be grea

Source: Trusty Bell: Chopin's Dream Coming to US as "Eternal Sonata" - Kotaku

Thanks to "A Million Little Fibers" blog for the tip.

Currently listening to: Morton Feldman - Patterns in a Chromatic Field - 3

John Cage Festival

 Yet another reason why Canadians are lucky.

What:Silence: John Cage
"Vancouver New Music has assembled an impressive four-day survey of Cage's music. Performances of Variations I, III, and IV (Wed Oct 18) presage the next evening's performance by Cage compadre (and BC resident) Gordon Mumma, who screens his documentary film *TIMESPACE*/Time'sPace and then performs David Tudor's Rainforest. "
When:Sunday, October 15, 2006 7:00 PM
vancouver,   canada


Link to Vancouver New Music 2006-2007 Festival


Currently listening to: Morton Feldman - Patterns in a Chromatic Field - 3

vandals and musicians

Crickey, this really does sound ugly.

Vandalism, mail tampering, a razor blade, anonymous threats — it all sounds like something out of a "Sopranos" episode. But it appears to be musicians, not sopranos, who have been targeting their Seattle Symphony colleagues with anonymous acts that one player calls "orchestral terrorism." Thus far, there have been no injuries and no police involvement, although the symphony's acting executive director, Mary Ann Champion, said Benaroya Hall security is working on the matter.


Link to The Seattle Times: Arts & Entertainment: Vandalism, threats strike sour note in Seattle Symphony Orchestra

Currently listening to: Morton Feldman - Patterns in a Chromatic Field - 3

Bebo Valdés


Link to Far From Cuba, but Not From His Roots - New York Times

Words to Ponder

"Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art." - Frederic Chopin

Currently listening to: Schubert- Three Piano Pieces D946

Day of the Dead Composers

What a brilliant idea! A concert in the Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge. Though I suspect some might be more frightened of a night of living composers. Well, some folks. Link.

Currently listening to: 01 - Schumann - Piano Concerto in A minor, Op.54 - I. Allegro

Technorati tags:

Freddy Fender

I was saddened to learn this morning of the death of Freddy Fender.

"Three-time Grammy-winning country musician Freddy Fender, best known for his '70s country hit "Before the Next Teardrop Falls," died at noon Saturday at his Corpus Christi home with his family at his bedside, according to a spokesman. He was 69."Link..


Currently listening to: Vienna Octet - Dvorak String Sextet, Op.48 Allegro Moderato

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

I've added a new site to the WTB's list of "Piano Links" and it's a great one. The site is "" which provides a wealth of resources for pianophiles. You find it here.

Currently listening to: Sofia Gubaidulina - Musical Toys - VIII. A Bear Playing The Double Bass etc

Is Wagner going to the Dogs

Maybe. And for a good reason:

"Richard Wilhelm Wagner, best known as the composer of the series of four operas that make up The Ring Cycle, had a strong faith in the musical appreciation of dogs. His dog Peps, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, was required to be present when Wagner was composing. A special stool was provided for Peps, and he was expected to stay awake and listen while Wagner would play on the piano or sing passages that he was working on. The composer kept his eyes on the dog and modified passages based on how the dog reacted."
I'll bite. After all at least one of the WTB's mutts seems to like listening to me practice. Read the rest here.

what to put on your iPod?

I think emejota is on to something with this apt remark, "tell me what's on your ipod and I'll tell you who you are". Now something to add along with your music is "Wikipedia". That's right. Read about it here.

Fall Scene

Today's Web Pick

Today's web pick with pianist Mathieu Papadiamandis' website. Why? The magic of flash. Lots of graphics and animated images. Quite a project. Perhaps too much, but fun enough.  After that check out his new Liszt CD.  You find it all here.

Cliburn in Colorado

A standing ovation seemed to surprise Cliburn as he walked onstage with newly arrived Colorado Symphony associate conductor Scott O'Neil. Naturally, when he finished playing Grieg's Piano Concerto, the crowd rose again .

That's the good news. In between ovations, things didn't go so well. Link.

The Piano Tuna

Ah the spoils of young love:

X FACTOR favourite Ben Mills’ ex-girlfriend hid chunks of stinking TUNA under his piano keys after he cheated on her. Link.

So mean.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Exploring the Piano Concerto

Those lucky Canadians!

CBC Radio is producing and broadcasting a 10 part series with pianist Emanuel Ax that explores the history of the piano concerto. It will air this fall.

In each program, Ax chats with Studio Sparks host Eric Friesen about a particular piano concerto, ranging from Mozart to Schoenberg and American composer John Adams. Ax offers an insider's look at each piece, talking about its qualities and technical challenges and its place in the composer's musical output. With a piano in the studio, Ax performs brief excerpts to illustrate his points, and he and Friesen listen to some of Ax's favourite recordings.

Read the rest here .

Visit the CBC website for the series here . You can hear some takes from the series (music and conversation) here. (note: in .ram format).

You can even submit questions for Maestro Axe via the web.

Mark your calendars the series runs Friday October 13th until December 15, 2006.

La Jeune née: Franz Schubert?

This is definitely one for the "things - that - make - you - go - hmmm" file:

"...least one influential 19th-century writer maintained that Schubert resembled a black woman. When Schubert's remains were exhumed in Vienna in 1863, his skull was described by an early biographer as having a "delicate, almost womanly structure" as well as a "Moorish (Negroid) appearance.""

Schubert as a woman? Read the rest here.

What to listen to?

This is pure piano goodness.

Read a review here:

The youth and enthusiasm that Davide Cabassi transmits to these four piano transcriptions makes for a truly thrilling recital

You can get your copy online here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Harpsichord Made of Legos

Amazing. A working harpsichord made entirely of legos. Wow.

Next a piano? Not likely. "Originally, upon thinking about the potentials of making a LEGO musical instrument, I had hoped to reproduce a piano, but ditched the idea due to the enormous tension involved (40,000 lbs.)--there's a reason why pianos have steel frames. "

Click here for details, photos, and mp3's of the lego harpsichord.

Sugar Chile

Put some sunshine in your face and head over to YouTube to catch boogie-woogie child prodigy "Sugar Chile" Robinson doing "Caledonia". Link.

A history of group piano lessons

A very interesting article on the topic of group piano instruction: "1815, Johann Bernhard Logier (1780-1846) started teaching group piano lessons in Ireland. He quickly gained international fame, and in 1818 at least two teachers traveled from the eastern United States to take his pedagogy course.1 Prior to the Civil War, classes in piano were taught at schools for females in the South." Read the rest here.

The entire website is a worthy bookmark for piano students and lovers to visit often.

No Support for Quarter Note Piano

"Iranian music teacher Hamidreza Rezaii complained on Wednesday over the lack of official support for the mass production of his invention, a quarter-note piano" Details. Color me not surprised

Everybody gets a new Steinway

or so it seems. Brown. Ithaca.

A history of the Casio Keyboard?

You'll find it here. It's the go-to if you wondering how a manufacture of calculators got into making instruments.


1492. Granada falls and the Reconquista ends, Nebrija's Grammatica sees the light of day, and Columbus sails the ocean blue. I believe they are all ingredients that significantly shape the history that unfolds from the Columbean voyages. And for centuries.

I had got to thinking about Columbus by way of a post on Circomper about the term "culture". It seems there are two notions of "culture" at work in that post that aren't clearly distinguished and that "culture" in it's anthropological/social scientific sense finds its genesis earlier than the 18 and 19 centuries. I think the very outlines of modernity's idea of "culture" starts with the colonial writings of folks like Bartolome de las Casass (Historia de Las Indias) and Bernardino de Sahagun (Cosas de Nueva Espana). Perhaps I'm wrong about that. But so it seems to me.

Lessons Learned

Always have a back-up of your post. That said, I have been playing with Live Writer which is very nice. But I'll stick to writing the posts the old fashion way. Online. Sadly W.Bloggar is not compatible with Blogger Beta. But still if you're on the fence about migrating to blogger's beta platform (hint, hint emejota), I say go for it. Tags/labels and the ability to create your own widgets. All good stuff.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Accoustic Triumph

Piano giant Van Cliburn lights up the new Carnival Center in Florida. Details.

Technorati tags:

Glenn Gould's Sweet Hereafter

The Lincoln Center's "Voices and Visionaries" swings into view this month. Details here. Noteworthy is the event's attention to Glen Gould. Which is just fine with me as I'm a diehard Gould fan. The event will include a wildly late NYC premiere of the film "Glenn Gould Hereafter". Happily you don't have to be in New York City to enjoy it. It's also available on DVD. You can find it here on

And that reminds me of two reviews of "Glenn Gould Hereafter". The first is a bit of what stricks me as some misplaced snark from Tim Page at the Washington Post. Most curious graf: "As things stand now, it is a bitter irony that Glenn Gould, one of the most original and articulate of musicians, is still not permitted to speak for himself."

The ponderable terms here are the words "still not"? Permitted?

Compare with this from another review, "Monsaingeon's 106-minute film, however, has its own inner logic. Pulling together remarkable archive material, it tells Gould's story in his own words and indeed his own voice."

Critics. Go figure. Or better go see the film/dvd.

After thought. Maybe the 20th century visionaries and voices can be boiled down to three (and why not three): Gould, Elvis, and Lacan.

Friday, October 06, 2006

WNYC Radio's Beethoven Festival

Tomorrow WNYC Radio's big ol' Beethoven love fest gets underway.

Visit their webpage for details and links. It's right here

San Marino Competition Winners

1st Prize
Evgeny Brakhman

2nd Prize

3rd Prize ex aequo
Domenico Monaco
Gabriel Alexandru Teclu

Special Prize "Repubblica di San Marino 2006"
Domenico Monaco

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

More of the Reich Stuff

If you didn't catch it over the radio, I found you can still catch audio clips of Reich's music and an interview with him on NPR's website. Find it all here.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Interivew with Iturbi Winner

You can find it here.

I like what I read. I agree with this view point 100 percent.

"¿No piensa, pues, dedicarse exclusivamente a la carrera de concertista?
-No lo tengo todavía decidido, pero lo que sí creo es que hoy en día un músico, un intérprete, no puede ser, como quizá sí en el siglo XIX, un virtuoso de su instrumento y nada más. En mi caso, por ejemplo, me interesa la dirección de orquesta y la composición. Y la pedagogía. Ah, y también escribir." (emphasis mine).

Curiosités pianistique

That's the focus of a recent great post at WTB's most recent "Blog of the Day" tip.

Click on over and say, "hello".

Today's blog pick is: Paris - Broadway

De klank als handschrift

Maestro Haiitnik is not a happy camper:

"Haitink is so angry about a biography about him that he is threatening to boycott an event at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw to mark the 50th anniversary of his first appearance as conductor with its orchestra"

and why is he reportedly angry? Nobody seems to have a clue.

Read about it here. Anyone got more on this story?

cell phone concertino

A few days back I put up a post on a composition featuring cell phones. Here's a review:

" "You are a part of history," Freeman soberly informed his listeners as he gave them their pre-performance pep talk. When a green light flashed, the downstairs audience was to switch on their ring tones; when a red light appeared, it was the cue for the upstairs crowd to do the same.

Audiences, however, seldom do exactly as they are told, so there often were moments of chiming, jingling chaos as various cell-phone noises went off randomly when they weren't supposed to. (John Cage would have adored the effect.) Order was restored—sort of—when four players onstage sounded repeating figures on their mobile devices that were picked up by the rest of the orchestra."

Does sound fun ! Link.

collusive activity?

Curious to see what the courts make of the counter-suit:

"Lime Wire's case is that the RIAA is an anti-trust operation out to destroy any online music distribution service they did not own or control, or force such services to do business with them.The countersuit charges that the RIAA is carrying out antitrust violations, consumer fraud, and other misconduct."

Details here.


New gym t-shirt?

Naw.. I'll pass. But have a look.

Move Over World Piano Competition

Get Ready for "The Ultimate Pianist" Competition. "

"...experience the finest pianists outplay each other in a competition to prove the ultimate pianist."

I'm so there already.

Pedro Burmester's new CD

Another reason why there's never enough Schumann.

Full review here.

Interview with a Piano Technician

Best graf:

"And the career prospects?
I could take a map of the world and stick a pin into any country to go and set up as a piano technician and I'd be busy all the time"

Ménage à trois

Now this does look interesting:

"On her new recording, "Reflection," French pianist Helene Grimaud digs into the complex, special relationship that developed among these three composers and the way it's reflected in their music."

Those three composers: Brahms, Robert Schumann, and Clara Schumann. Get the full dl here.

Not sure if this a promo for a Dateline segment or a new classical cd, but it does sound tempting.

The Other Martha

"Is Condi playing Jazz at all? Or is she just thumping her fists down on to the piano keyboard in a random fashion in the only way that someone who is learning to play the piano can?"

You decide for yourself. Check it out.

From the Vestibular Syndrome Files

Some things just speak for themselves:

"When the sound of sledgehammer on piano was music to my ears"


Seattle Post Intelligencer get's it right in this nice write-up: "Pianist Stephen Beus a joy to hear". He caught short changed at the last VC.

Happy Birthday Steve Reich

Celebrate the Maestro. Go here.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Josu de Solaun Soto - Wins Iturbi International Piano Competition


Josu de Solaun has taken first prize at the Iturbi competition. As the winner he recieves over 20,000 dollars (US), a string of performances in Europe and the United States, and a recording deal. Josu de Solaun is a protege of Cuban virtuso Horacio Gutierrez
in the doctoral program at the Manhattan School of Music in NYC.

Valentina Igoshina of Russia took home the 2nd Prize and Andrei Yaroshinsky, also of Russia, was the third prize winner.

Patrick Hemmerle (France) and Sofia Melikyan shared the prize for "Best Performance of Spanish Music".

Details and more here.

Full list of awards and prizes here (in pdf).

This year's Iturbi was reportedly one of the most exciting and fierce with a high caliber of talent throughout. Congratulations to all.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Gramophone Artist of the Year Award.

Brava !

"Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt has won the 2006 Gramophone Artist of the Year Award.The award, voted on by fans, is presented annually by classical music magazine Gramophone. "

Her Bach is some of the most glorious to be found. (what is it with Canada and Bach?) And she plays a Fazioli !


She has a fantastic website that's definitely worth a visit. It's here.

Taste Test: Music and Personality

I recently posted on a recent study that revealed some surprising statistic of sorts about drug use and music taste. Adrian North , author of that study, is now looking to recruit more folks (10,000) for more study of musical taste.

You can participate by visiting his website at the University of Leicester and filling out an online survey.

You find it right here (English) or here (en Espanol)

Digerati and Classical Music

Just what I suspected all along.

"Fans of classical music have shed their stuffy image and embraced technology, according to Gramophone magazine. A survey of its readers found that 75% use a computer, MP3 player, or digital radio to listen to music. It also discovered that fans over the age of 50 downloaded an average of eleven pieces of music last year. "

I bet that last number will keep on climbing!

A Shostakovitch World Premiere

Piano lovers with a bent for the music Shostakovitch likely already know about the two-piano arrangement of 'Babi Yar'. And now they can hear it:

"..Shostakovich made a two-piano version, never published, of his "Babi Yar" Symphony, No. 13, to verse by the Soviet dissident poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko. (The two-piano reduction was, however, used to play the work for Soviet censors in order to get permission for the symphony's first performance.) Thanks to special permission from the composer's widow, a portion of that arrangement is having its world premiere tonight in New York City." Read it here.

Not Too Smart

This rates a good chuckle or two:

"A burglar who broke into a house in the Dutch town of Tiel could not resist playing the piano he found there after ransacking the living room, police say. Unfortunately for the 20-year-old thief, his music woke the owner of the house, who called the police. " link