Thursday, August 31, 2006

Ready. Set. Surf: Happy Blog Day 2006

To celebrate Blog Day 20006, I give you five blogs you'll want to bookmark and visit often !

Renewable Music : a lively blog of modern music and composers.

The Piano Podcast: Mario Ajero's blog/podcast that explores the intsections of piano pedagogy, technology, and loads of useful things for the web savvy pianist.

Eram: pianist David Martínez's serves up a splendid blogging of his daily adventures at the keyboard and away.

Night After Night: A convivial and eclectic blog charting both classical and pop music. Don't miss his "Saxophone Colossus" post.

Paterre box: Opera and camp. I'm already seeing Jessye Norman in a whole new light. It's a must click blog.

Chris Foley's excellent "Collaborative Piano Blog" is also celebrating Blog Day. So check it out! (CNN... Hmmmm.. I can dig that).

Surf's up !

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


SpiralFrog offers free legal music downloads - It will be interesting to see what comes of this project. Some ap thoughts from Wired are here.

Pod Operas

Check out the downloadable opera podcasts from the San Diego Opera. You find them here.

Toothless and Teaching at Columbia

Yes. That's the sad fate of Mozart's librettist Lorenzo da Ponte.

Read and weep. Link.

Mozart and the Evolution of the Piano

A great piece in the New York Times on Mozart and the development of the piano.

Check it out, folks !

and I do second their recommendation of "The Secret Mozart":

"....“The Secret Mozart” (Deutsche Harmonia Mundi), third in a continuing series of intimate portraits of famous composers seen through the lens of the clavichord, Christopher Hogwood offers a range of works — from a four-handed sonata to a little piece the 12-year-old composer doodled on the back of a program — on three different 18th-century clavichords, one of them Mozart’s own. (Even tuning was in flux; each instrument is tuned to a different, increasingly higher pitch.)"

Also check out this CD.

Blog Day 2006

Tomorrow is the 2nd "International Blog Day 2006" !!

Are you ready to celebrate??

Detail about the event are here:
BlogDay posting instructions:

"1. Find 5 new Blogs that you find interesting

2. Notify the 5 bloggers that you are recommending on them on BlogDay 2005

3. Write a short description of the Blogs and place a a link to the recommended Blogs

4. Post the BlogDay Post (on August 31st) and

5. Add the BlogDay tag using this link: and a link to BlogDay web site at"

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Celebrity Piano Auction

So if you've a $100,000 US Dollars or more, you might be interested in bidding on a Steinway piano (M model). But it's not just anyway Steinway.

The colorful piano is signed by the stars (Colin Ferrel, David Caruso) of the film "Miami Vice" and the piano has been painted by pop artist Romero Britto.

The proceeds go to a reconstruction fund for Dillard University which was devastated by hurricane Katrina.

You can put your peepers on the piano by going here.

Villa-Lobos Competition Winners

16 year old Chinese pianist Chun Wang has taken first prize at the Villa-Lobos Competition. 2nd prize winner was Jie Chen and 3rd prize to France's Romain David. Details in brief here. (in Portuguese). Congratulations to all.

Recent Addition

New to the WTB's list of general links (see the general music links on the RH side) is the Future of Music Coalition that's described as "a not-for-profit collaboration between members of the music, technology, public policy and intellectual property law communities. " Check 'em out. Link.

TSO Part 2

A few posts back I mentioned the TSO's current tour. So it was with interest that I read a recent AP story on the orchestra. Read it here.

If interested here's a bit about the orchestra's previous director, Ali Rahbari (Alexander Rahbari), who's made a number of fine recordings imho with Belgium's BRT Orchestra.

Monkey Business

At last a near perfect solution for organizing and playing mp3 files. If you haven't tried it yet, I say give it a try. It's MediaMonkey. It's free. It's easy enough to use and does just about everyting you'd need it to do. I love it.

You can find it here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

worlds first self playing violin

The player piano has some new competition. Meet the world's first self-playing violin. Wah?

"Who says you have to practice for years to sound like a professional musician? The world’s first self-playing violin has been tracked down! It’s called the “Virtuoso” and it works with an electromagnetic system that does the same job as fingers on the strings."

check out the video demonstrating the violin playing with an orchestra.

Find it all here.

Monday, August 21, 2006

An American Piano by way of China

"There's always been a wish on our part to be able to bring our brand back," manager Tim Oliver said during a tour of Cunningham, whose offices and showroom occupy a former Masonic Hall on Germantown Avenue. The company plays host to occasional recitals and concerts in the Masons' old second-floor meeting room, up a marble staircase. Bowing to 21st-century economic realities, the new Cunningham pianos, which sell for $2,700 to $10,000, are being built in Shanghai, China."

Read the rest here

Hope this proves a sucessfull venture for all.

You can visit th company's website here and get a peek at that glorious 19th century steinway mentioned in the article. One drop dead gorgeous piano.

Anne-Sophie Mutter and Andre Previn divorce

Anne-Sophie Mutter and composer-pianist Andre Previn have divorced. Details here.

ritual groove music

A very interesting interview and an eclectic sensibility. Check out the interview with keyboardist NickBaetsch

Commitment, Movement, and the Batman Spirit

Sound and Place: Acoustic Ecology

Check out the website for the New York Society for Acoustic Ecology and set yourself to exploring the intersections of sound and place constitutive of the aural experiences that are New York City.

Best of all, they have an aural map. Check out the the NYSoundmap found here and here.

Geographer meets Husserl.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Tehran Symphony Orchestra

While Western words are not good, Western composers are.

The Tehran Symphony Orchestra hits the road playing Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and, most surprising of all, Frank Zappa.

Details here.

A natural Brahmsian

"But nothing Hamelin does convincingly suggests he is a natural Brahmsian. "


Best Brahms concerto 2 I've ever heard: Garrick Ohlssohn' s.

Duke Jordan, 84, RIP

Duke Jordan, 84; Pianist in Charlie Parker's 1940s Quintet - Los Angeles Times

Charles Foreman

He will the first Canadian to have a go at performing the complete cycle. All part of a series called "A Chopin Portrain". Details

Earle Voorhies,

Earle Voorhies, So Cal pianist and teacher, dead at 93

Where to Put the Piano?

Things to think about when moving the piano from one room to another...


or perversity

And who the other two pianists are is what I really want to know.


Gould's Byrd recordings are top-drawer.

Friday, August 18, 2006

A Giant Whoppee Cushion

That's the first thing I thought of when I read about this.

Sitting on a cube activates a musical note and as more people sit down, more of the score is revealed. Owners of Bluetooth phones will also be able to receive a free ring tone of the Philharmonia Orchestra playing. People can also record their own sound and then send it to the orchestra using this technology.

Read the rest here

Piano Bars Galore

Wow. They really love a piano bar in DC. Piano Rooms

piano competitions

Are they a good thing?

""Some critics say you can't judge one person's art as better than another person's art, but of course you can," Pollei says. "Competitions encourage pianists to strive for excellence, and without them we wouldn't have great pianists like Manny Ax or Krystin Zimerman. They wouldn't have had careers. Besides, people love piano competitions, and there's evidence they're even beginning to replace piano recitals.""

I think that assessment isn't quite right. I hope not anyways.



In a comment to one my earlier posts, Jessica Duchen referenced the Tchaikovsky competition and that reminded me of this news: The competition organizers have announced plans to broadcast the competition over the Internet.

The competition's website for the 2007 event is presently an excessively long, splash page (why use it? these type of splash pages are more often annoyances that you can't wait to click thru). The rest of the site, as of this morning, is VBS error'd out. Have a look see here. Hopefully it will all fixed before the competition.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

I wondered about all those visitors from the UK.

I much appreciate the the BBC's Scottish Symphony Orchestra's kind recommendation of the "The Well-Tempered Blog" on their own very fine blog. Check it out!

And while there poke around their whole website. There are plenty of treasures. Special note: cellist Anthony Slayer's looking to whip up some blather. Any takers?

Silent in Seattle

Speaking of dust-ups, this just was brought to my attention and I'm not sure what to think of it:

"...the U.S. Musicians Union (AFM) has threatened fines of up to $50,000 against AFM members who perform services including composing, arranging, orchestrating, copying, and other services related to film and television scores recorded in Seattle after October 1, 2006."

Read about it here.

Is this really helping musicians in the US?

Virtual piano

For 130 bucks you can own the piano of the future. Well maybe not quite.... But it looks very interesting... Details.

More Chopin, Please

Check out the "InfoChopin" website. It's almost information overload. Loads of good links.

Schiff on Mozart

Some interesting food from thought from András Schiff on playing mozart with his own ensemble. First oboists take note.

"Established orchestras have played this music too often," he says. "If I do something with them, I have to accept certain conditions because I'm a guest. But if we don't understand each other well or if I don't happen to like the tone of the first oboist there is nothing I can do about it."
Read the rest here.

And a write-up on Schiff's handling of Beethoven sonatas ("...the adagio was painfully slow and light on meaning, highlighting Schiff's lack of emotional engagement with the music.")is here

Villa-Lobos Part 2

More on the Villa-Lobos competition dust-up appears in Playbill. Not much more there than appeared elsewhere. Find it here.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Space Age Pop

Your web pick for the day is the web's most comprehensive guide to "Space Age Pop".

Swoop over and check out this webtastic guide to the highways and by-ways of space age, light classical, lounge, cocktail, and Outsider groovy music.

As the site notes: "Space age pop often doesn't fit neatly into any of the standard genres such as jazz and rock, so many of the men and women who created space age pop have gone unrecognized, absent from any standard reference book or history."

You find it all here.

And don't miss this mp3 sweetness with Dick Hyman on keys. Fresh, hot, and groovy.

The Music of Volcanoes

Strange and wonderful world of science. I was amused and intrigued by news that scientists are using the "music" of volcanoes to assist them in predicting future eruptions.
The research project, which brings together experts from Europe and Latin America, digitally collects geophysical information on seismic movements before using data sonification to transform them into audible sound waves, which can then be 'scored' as melodies. The resulting 'music' is then analysed for patterns of behaviour and used to identify similarities in eruption dynamics and so predict future activity.
Read the rest here.

Holiday Road

As promised here's some pics

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Politics of Piano Competitions

An interesting dust-up is unfolding around the Villa-Lobos International Piano Competition :

"This is to be a political selection, with one from each country," Rechtman quotes Neschling as telling him at a closed-door meeting in April just before he was fired. "Let's select three Chinese, but we must make sure there are more Brazilians than Chinese. After all, this is a Brazilian competition."

One often hears complaints about the various "politics" of compettitions, but I think this enters into a whole new realm. No? Read the rest here.

There also a post from Rechtman explaining the selections. You find it here.

All Good things

..come to an end. Including vacations. Pictures and sounds of mine to follow later.