Sunday, March 30, 2008

All Good Things

Just getting back in the blog saddle after a short holiday. Photo from our annual easter bash. More to follow.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

More Bach

Usually associated with playing Bach at the piano, here is Glenn Gould at the harpsichord playing Bach.

And for the uber-interested here is a telling essay by Wanda Landowska on the interpretation of Bach's much.

Spring is Bach

"I did play Bach as a student," he says, "but not very seriously. In a way, it's a lifelong challenge for me to play Bach on the piano, because, when I was growing up, the wisdom was - and it came from many great pianists, including Clifford Curzon and Claudio Arrau - that the piano wasn't the right vehicle for Bach. I felt that this had to be wrong, because, first of all, Bach is very important for any pianist, simply from the point of knowing about counterpoint, structure and harmony."
Perahia gets it right and then some. Read the rest of this fine article with Murray Perahia here.


Dublin - A young English pianist had his finger ripped off in an attack by a group of youths in the centre of Dublin on St Patrick's Day, Irish national broadcaster reported on Wednesday.


The Shape of Things to Come

Spring fever came early this year. I can hardly wait for the explosion of color and scent.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A tale of two pianists


Li has recorded Chopin before, and very beautifully at that, but his performances of a Nocturne and four Mazurkas from Op. 33 were not even phoned in, but text-messaged in, with vacuous emoticons substituting for the real thing.


Man Burns Piano, People Applaud

Why are all the good ideas taken? Really. I had this idea when I was like 12. I also had an idea for piano, 6 radios, and a cement mixer. I'm not doing anything with it, so that one's a freebie.

At a sunset performance on at beach in Ishikawa Prefecture, western Japan, the 66-year-old Yamashita, wearing a firefighter's uniform, recently played an improvised jazz piece before about 500 spectators seated in a wide semicircle around him.
Details and video clip here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Three Blogs to Brighten the Day

I have three blogs I want to share, all added to the WTB list of Blogs of Distinction, that touch on classical music and much more.

Paris-Broadway . Did I mention I'm a fan of Poulenc?

Moderato A lovely blog from Sarajevo that covers literature, art, and music.

The Failed Misanthrope. I'd feel right at home with this blogger's music collection. Not too shabby for an amateur, eh?

Grace Nikae

Today's web pick is "Stretching Intervals" website and blog of pianist Grace Nikae. (I appreciate her kind mention of my humble little spot on the blogosphere.). There is loads of good stuff on her site, including links to a number of excellent blogs (some of which I hadn't encountered before). And what's more, you can even download and enjoy her recordings of Scriabin, Granados and Liszt for less than the cost of a cup of coffee!

It's all found right here.

Special note for WTB's readers in Spain (and I know there's more than just a few), she has an upcoming recital in Madrid. Details are here. Animate!

Pianos: Coming to a Street Near You

The inimitable "Celebrity Series Boston Blog" points the way to a delicious article on street pianos in the UK. You'll find all the details right there on the blog.

And for good measure the Collaborative Piano Blog also flags it. Deets here.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Food Court

The look on their faces says, "OMG". Priceless.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The King of Bling: Liberace

Maybe I'm just a sucker for hot pants, but as long time readers know I'm fan of Liberace. So I was pretty happy to come across news that the uber-"King of Bling" is coming back. Big time (as Kath would say):

"...look for Liberace in new places. His sequined self is plastered on postcards, bumper stickers, T-shirts, tote bags, wallets, and a book of paper cutouts called "Liberace: Your Personal Fashion Consultant" that has sold 10,000 copies. Online, fans can buy Liberace rings, Christmas ornaments, teddy bears, shot glasses, thimbles, and even a $1,600 Swarovski crystal miniature grand piano." READ the rest here.
Personally, I am very excited about the Liberace line of sneakers (image left). I can easily imagine a pair of these on Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Then again I have had a fever for the past 3 days. Anyhoo, you find these and other bling things at the Liberace Foundation's online shop here.

Happy shopping.

Pyrophones, Intonarumori, and things that go bump in the ear

"Noisejunk". It's a website that's well worth exploring. It offers some of the most unusual music/sounds found anywhere on the net.

The site is born out of love for sounds, where sounds can be every kind of noise produced by whatever object.
The instrument itself can be insteresting, but the sound produced by it is what I love the most.
Sounds created by musical instruments, buildings, plants, electronic circuits, sound sculptures... it doesn't matter.
On this site you can expect the weirdest musical instruments, novelty interfaces, ... ever produced by mankinds. T

check it out here.

Rocket or Piano

I can't say I'd want one of these, but it would be fund to check it out.

At a first glance the Schimmel Pegasus Piano doesn’t look like a piano. With those beautifully sculpted curves this piano looks more like a futuristic spaceship.


Light blogging this past week thanks to a parting gift from Old Man Winter: Bronchitis.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Speaking of YouTube

Pianists Gone Mad!

Props to pianist and fellow blogger Chris Foley for pointing the way to an interesting article detailing some of the quirks of the great pianists.

Get it and more goodness at the The Collaborative Piano Blog.

Cliburn YouTube Piano Competition

The Cliburn Foundation and the Cliburn International Piano Competition, the crown jewel of piano competitions, have always been at the head of the class in combing creativity and innovation. So I shouldn't be surprised by this:

The Van Cliburn Foundation announced today the first Cliburn YouTube Contest, welcoming cyber-video entries of 5-10 minutes in length. The videos will be judged by online viewers and the winner will be entered, application fee-free, in the 2011 International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs.

Details and regulations found here.

The Van Cliburn YouTube Site is found here. I am so looking forward to this!

Ran Dank

Kudos to Mr. Dank! Winner of this years Hilton Head International Piano Competition.

"He did select works that took courage, knowledge and depth of feeling," said Menahem Pressler, founding member and pianist of the Beaux Arts Trio and chair of the committee.
Dank, 25, received a $15,000 check, a recital at Carnegie Hall and a performance with the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra in 2009.
More here (and short video clip).

In addition to the cash Dank will no doubt enjoy a boost up the competition food chain.

You can hear his performance of Chopin's Etude Op10no1 here.

And Your Little Piano Too

Toy Piano + Solfege = ?

"I thought it would be a wonderful learning tool," Colleen said.
Until one day when she and Autumn were playing with it.
DO - RA - ME - FA - SO...
And Autumn played a section backwards...
Except that it didn't sound so wholesome coming out of the piano.


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

iPiano Redux

A follow-up to the earlier post on the iPhone as musical instrument.

A trio of tabletop musicians have turned their gadget lust into an art form, using two iPhones and an iPod Touch to form the "iBand".

The three art students from Vienna in Austria have eschewed roadies and regular instruments in favour of custom music applications loaded on to the touch-screen gizmos from Apple.
Read the rest here.

If you would like to check out the band and download their music, visit their website here.

e-Piano Competition

One of the more interesting competition about is the internation e-piano competition.
During the Piano-e-Competition, participants will have the opportunity to perform on Yamaha CFIIIS concert grand pianos. What is unique about these instruments is that they are equipped with state-of-the-art Disklavier Pro recording technology. This system, which was pioneered by Yamaha, is the fusion of the acoustic piano and computer electronics and allows all solo rounds of the competition to be downloaded via MIDI to be enjoyed anywhere in the world.
The junior division of the competition is this year. The contestants selected are:
  • Anna Denisova, Russia
  • Frank Duepree, Germany
  • Nansong Huang, China
  • Arthur Khmara, Belarus
  • Noa Leigh Kleisen, Holland
  • David Yoshiaki Ko, Japan
  • Julia Kociuban, Poland
  • Vladimir Levitsky, Russia
  • Tami Lin, Canada
  • Jan Lisiecki, Canada
  • Yuqing Damon Meng, China
  • Osip Nikiforov, Russia
  • Song Yang, China
  • T. J. Keanu Tario, United States
  • Reed Tetzloff, United States
  • Andrew Wang, Canada
  • Benjamin Woo, Canada
  • Sijing Ye, China
  • Hao Tian Tim Zhang, Canada

Website and details here.

Rubinstein International

Take note. The Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition gets underway this week.

The 12th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, one of the highlights of Israel's cultural scene, will start with a gala concert on March 8 and continue through to the finals on March 27 when a winner will be declared.
Read more here.

The competition website is located here.

Some familiar faces from the circuit are to be found among the competitors. Check the website for broadcast details and updates on their progress. Good luck to all!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

What Punctuation Mark Are You?

According to this online quiz, I am a question mark.



You seek knowledge and insight in every form possible. You love learning.
And while you know a lot, you don't act like a know it all. You're open to learning you're wrong.

You ask a lot of questions, collect a lot of data, and always dig deep to find out more. You're naturally curious and inquisitive. You jump to ask a question when the opportunity arises.

Your friends see you as interesting, insightful, and thought provoking.
(But they're not always up for the intense inquisitions that you love!)

You excel in: Higher education

You get along best with: The Comma

Pianists and Bad Manners

I'd say this gets it just about right:
Elaborate arm waving and heaven-bound gazes, at any rate, seem to have become part of the conservatory curriculum, like accurate scales and counterpoint.....Responsible teachers ought to be beating these kinds of histrionics out of their students but are too often perpetrators themselves. One answer might be for conservatories to hire time-and-motion experts, professionals who could point out that the flailing arm, the bulging eye and the balletic upper torso are extraneous work in a business best devoted to doing the most with the least.

Let the beatings begin! More here.

One More Reason To Practice

We're all "safe" for now, but somebody is thinking about it.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Classical Idol

The José Iturbi Foundation today announced that The Second Annual José Iturbi International Music Competition, the contest with the largest cash bounty (more than $250,000) of any classical piano and singing competition worldwide, will take place again this summer June 16 - 21 at UCLA's Schoenberg Hall in Los Angeles. Applications for pianists and singers to compete in the weeklong competition that adds features of "American Idol" to the world of classical music may be completed and submitted online at April 15, 2008 is the application deadline.
No word on who plays the Simon Cowell part.

More info on the contest found here.

Northern Ireland Young Musician of the Year

Congrats and Kudos !

Fionnuala Ward beat off competition from talented musicians across Northern Ireland to take the title in Comber at the weekend.


Just added to the WTB list of Keyboard links is the website for the "British Harpsichord Society". Loads of information and mp3 audio files to check out. Pluck your way on over!


Our Man in the Recital Hall

Well one out of two isn't bad, eh?


'bout the same here.


Walking the shore at evening, I hear nothing. Nothing but music.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi: St David's Day

In honor of St. David's Day a few links to keep ya' busy.

Welsh Music Information Center

Welsh composers and music on eMusic

Hompage of composer John Metcalf. And a pianist taken with Metcalf's music.