Friday, July 27, 2007

Robotic Monkey Hand

" They have demonstrated for the first time that neural activity recorded from a monkey's brain can control fingers on a robotic hand, making it play several notes on a piano."

Color me scared. Link

China Hearts Ohio

A deepening mutual respect between the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the people of China has caught the attention of the Chinese national television network. They network dispatched a four-person video crew to create a documentary about this week's 13th Annual Oberlin International Piano Competition and Festival.


I hope this can be seen here.


Norwegian pianists have their own entry in Wikipedia.

Find it here.

For the record, I love Norway.

today's web pick

Pianored music y pianos

Just added to the WTB's list of pianos sites! This is a great resource.

And it's where I found this bit of tasty playing

The Human Piano

I am not so sure about the "piano" part of this, but it does look very much like a lot of fun.

A few years ago I had this idea of building a monstrous instrument that would be played with giant wire-bound gloves and big copper bars. After making the prototype I accidently grabbed one of the bars with my hand and realized that the sound went through me!. That led to the idea of a whole piano made up of human hands

Details and video are found here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tuesday's Tube


Monday, July 23, 2007

Damaged Goods: Mind, Music, and Musicophilia

"In 1994, when Tony Cicoria was forty-two... he was struck by lightning. He had an out-of-body experience. 'I saw my own body on the ground. I said to myself, 'Oh shit, I’m dead.' …Then—slam! I was back'... Life had returned to normal, seemingly, when 'suddenly over two or three days, there was this insatiable desire to listen to piano music.' This was completely out of keeping with anything in his past. He started to teach himself to play piano. And then, he started to hear music in his head. In the third month after being struck, Cicoria was inspired, even possessed, by music, and scarcely had time for anything else."

Read the rest here.
Via the always splendid Music Thing, I read with interest that Oliver Sacks has a new book out. This one explore the musical obsessions and transformations of the human mind as brought on by serious brain injury. The book is titled "Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain. You'll find it here.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Pimp My Keyboard

Whoa! Did you all know about this?


Lang Lang

And there's this to mull over

Meanwhile, Lang Lang is reinforcing his status as a Steinway artist by helping to launch a children's piano now being marketed in China. The "Lang Lang" Steinway comes with a front panel that converts into a whiteboard, and, with 20 million Chinese now studying the instrument, sales will be huge.

Good Grief

It's stuff like this that makes take a deep breath and then laugh:
"As if that wasn’t enough, the pianist returned following intermission to perform Beethoven’s final piano concerto, “No 32 in C Minor (Op. 111).”"


And in Cleveland

The Cleveland International Piano Competition, a familiar stop for many a pianist on the way to the major piano competitions, gets under way this week.

Information about it can be found here.

Be advised that clicking on the link to the competition web page will load a short audio clip. Note to webmaster: it. is. totally. annoying.

Interestingly the competition will also feature a "junior jury" of teen pianists who do some voting as well.

And Cleveland's "Plain Dealer" has set-up a full-on special section devoted to the competition. Find it here. (see thier article "Stardom remains fleeting for most winners of Cleveland International Piano Competition". Thanks for sharing).

Kapell Competition Winner Announced

Sofya Gulyak is the winner of the 2007 William Kapell International Piano Competition. The International Jury awarded First Prize to Ms. Gulyak after the three Kapell finalists performed in the concerto round with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and conductor David Lockington on July 21 in the Center’s Dekelboum Concert Hall to a sold-out house.

2nd prize went to Sara Daneshpour and coming in at 3rd Spencer Myer

Audience prize went to Guylak as well.

In the online voting for winner the ranking was:

1st - Sara Daneshpour
2nd - Spencer Myer
3rd - Sofya Gulya

Details here.

Congratulations to all !

Some behind the scenes video of the competition can be found here.

Could Have Been?

Holly Hunter (of "The Piano" fame) :

"I've suffered a little from stage fright in my time. I started mwanting to play the piano when I was six years old, and my parents finally got me a piano when I was nine. So I was thinking, 'This is what I want to do, be a mconcert pianist.' "I was kind of obsessed. But then I realised I couldn't play in front of people. I went to a couple of recitals and left the bench in the middle of the concert.

There's your "curious factoid" of the day.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Interivew with Christopher O'Riley

Pithy but linkworthy.


And check out of the review of his latest reworking of Nick Drake songs.

Find it here.

Visitor Map

The well tempered blog's "Visitor Map" (link in the r.h. column) is back online. My most fervent wish is for markers from Iceland and Norway. I am completely obsessed with Norway nowadays. Actually, I think it might be because I am completely obsessed with Grieg's piano music -especially the variations- after so long a time of not caring one wit or another about it. Make your mark on this blog today!

Vroom Vroom = Duh duh duh duuuuuuh

Classical music has been put to all kinds of uses - everything from chasing away teenagers to purportedly building the gray mass of events. Now this from the world of public relations.

Beethoven would be rolling over in his grave if he could hear his Symphony No. 5 "remixed" for Hyundai Motor America's latest sale.
The 'Duh' effort is based on 'the idea that it's a no-brainer to pick a Hyundai,' says Jeff Goodby.
The 'Duh' effort is based on 'the idea that it's a no-brainer to pick a Hyundai,' says Jeff Goodby.
That's because Hyundai's version of the song, along with seven other classics, contains a single lyric: "Duh.

My quick take. Lighten up folks. Link

Rolando Luna

Congratulations to Rolando Luna

Cuban pianist Rolando Luna won the first prize of Swiss international jazz contest "Piano Solo" recently concluded here as part of the 2007 International Jazz Festival, in which he also got the Audience Award.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Leon Fleisher

This doesn't sound good at all.

Pianist Leon Fleisher, who for three decades was unable to play with his right hand, has canceled a performance at Tanglewood because of an inflammation of both hands.

Fleisher was scheduled to play Beethoven's "Emperor" concerto on Sunday _ the day before his 80th birthday _ with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He will be replaced by Marc-Andre Hamelin, the orchestra said Friday.


The Week's Well Tempered Rotations

One Day in Brooklyn - 7/7/07

One day in Brooklyn 77 drumkits gathered. And this is what is looked like: Here

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Our Man in the Science Hall

Now this is interesting:

Dr Barry Cheetham, a senior lecturer in The School of Computer Science at The University of Manchester, is seeking to combine his academic expertise in communications, networks and digital signal processing with his love of choral singing.

He is looking for funding to drive forward a project that will bring together amateur and semi-professional singers across Europe for seamless and polished live performances.

Read the rest here

Where do I sign up?

CD I'm Most Looking Forward to Listening to?

This one. David Fray is indeed one to watch.

International Keyboard Institute & Festival

One reason to love NYC in the summer is the International Keyboard Institute & Festival at Mannes.

It runs until the 29th of this month. Check it out.

Brochure here

Kapell Competition: Finalists

The jury for this year's University of Maryland "William Kapell International Piano Competition" have announced the finalists:

Sara Daneshpour (USA)
Sofya Gulyak (Russia)
Spencer Myer (USA)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Today's Must Click Blog: Squeezytunes

Squeeze some time into your day to visit "Squeezytunes". It is a delightful blog that "covers electromechanical and mechanical keyboard instruments (ie. not modern synthesisers), including all types of organs, squeezeboxes and pianos." Not to be missed are the old timey piano lesson postcard reproductions. Check it out!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Verbier Festival

The gears are turning for the launch of Verbier Festival and Academy on Friday (July 20 - August 5).

If you're not able to attend, you're still in luck. Internet users everywhere will be able to enjoy online (in hi-def audio/image) webcasts of concerts, rehearsals, and interviews. Among the artists slated for this year are Martha Agerich, Nelson Freire, Helene Gabriella montero, Sarah Chang, Renee Fleming Grimaud, Hillary Hahn, Mikhail Pletnev, Zubin Mehta and many more.

Broadcasts can found here

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Body and Soul

a very interesting post by Teresa on her fine blog contemporá/âneas included this remarkable clip of the piece "optical identity". Check it out.

Steinway’s Double-Keyboard Piano

This really is a monster of sorts: a piano 164 keys and four pedals. And what's more it's the only one of its kind.

It does not add a new sonority. The double-keyboard piano sounds like a piano, but with fuller chords and denser harmonies. Unlike an organ with additional stops and pipes or a harpsichord with separate strings for the second manual, the double-keyboard piano still has only one set of hammers and strings.
Read more all about it here.

And a nice video clip let's you see it in action here. Pianist Christopher Taylor discusses the instrument and its possibilities.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

William Kapell International Piano Competition

The Kapell competition is underway. The semi-finalists are:

Vadimas Chaimovicius (Lithuania)
Sara Daneshpour (USA)
Alexei Gulenco (Moldova)
Sofya Gulyak (Russia)
Grace Eun Hae Kim (Korea)
Kana Mimaki (Japan)
Spencer Myer (USA)
Aleyson Scopel (Brazil)
Ti Xin (China)

A last hurrah for Spencer? Must be pushing the upper-age limit for most competitions by now. Best of luck to him and all the others.

Details and more here

Free events to note. Pianoluscious links.

And while you're out and about on the net, why not visit the William Kapell webpage.

The Joy of Liberace

I want this!
Joy of Liberace, Retro Recipes from America's Kitschiest Kitchen is the first-ever officially sanctioned book by the Liberace Foundation; complete with many never-before-seen archival photographs and coupled with the brand new concept of Bling Cooking™.
Bling cooking? I want to know about bling piano playing. You can get your copy right here.

Piano Bar - Coming to a Computer Screen Near You

This has got to be popular in Washington DC. Seems that place is awash in piano bars.

What is it? "The Piano Bar Online". Check it out, here.

At home with Schnabel

A special treat. A teacher of my teacher. Does that date me?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Monkey's Uncle

I came across this interesting little website. It's a short quiz consisting of a series of paintings. Your job? Correctly identify which were painted by professional artists and which were done by an ape. Find it here.

And speaking of monkeys, I had no idea there was a contretemp about the possibility of indcuting the 60's band "The Monkees" into the rock and roll hall of fame. I say why not? After all if the "Banana Splits" can be in the Hall of Fame, why not the "Monkees"? Actually, the "Banana Splits" aren't, but it'd be kind of cool. No?

When Pianos Attack

Have you ever worried about your piano attacking you? I didn't think so. I hadn't either.

But I have given it a few thoughts after seeing this video clip.

Scariest. Piano. Ever.

all good things come to an end

And that includes my vacation. It was good, long, and full of mountains, fresh air, baseball, magnificent starlight, good books, family, and pretty much internet-free. And still it's good to be back.

Regular blogging to resume. Yay!