Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Cuban Mazurka

Saturday is lookin' good!

Friday, May 29, 2009

classical music going down the tubes

So they are piping more classical music on the tube in the UK. And how's that going? Apparently not to well. Still I give them kudos because I'd like it. On the other hand this really can't be about "soothing" stressed out commuters can it? I mean don't half or more them have an iPod or other mp3 player plugged into their ears?

Deets here

quote: "Camden Town is the first station on the Northern line to get a dose of Puccini, although there have been trials in Brixton, Vauxhall and Wood Green. The station has 40 hours of music to choose from. One staff member said it was “too early” to tell if the music was a help or a hindrance, but said anything was worth trying to encourage customers to behave more politely towards harassed staff."

Noteworthy Net

An interesting spot on the Net that merits your attention is the "Project Martha Argerich"
You'll find it here. why visit? multimedia baby! Check out the links of the piano participants to performances you can listen to online. Favorite of the moment: Montero.

cliburn chatter: the semi-finals

So the semi-finalists have been announced and it's pretty much as expected. The only surprise, at least for me, was that Beus didn't move forward. By and large, it's been a pretty snoozy competition. Lots of boring safe playing (think Spencer Myer) and lots of goofy facial expressions (during the prelims Ran Dank looked mostly like he was taking bong hits rather than playing the piano). Here's the list of semi-finalists. In bold are those I think have a strong change at advancing further.
More chatter later.

Evgeni Bozhanov
Ran Dank
Alessandro Deljavan
Kyu Yeon Kim
Eduard Kunz
Andrea Lam
Michail Lifits
Yeol Eum Son
Nobuyuki Tsujii
Mariangela Vacatello
Di Wu
Haochen Zhang

Friday, May 22, 2009

Shopping for a Piano

Here's a nice bit on the NEC search for a new concert grand:

This week, a posse of pianists on faculty at the New England Conservatory traveled from Boston to the Steinway & Sons piano factory in Queens, N.Y. Their mission was to try out and buy a new concert grand for Jordan Hall, the NEC’s world-class performance space. 


.. and the money quote: "“They’re not like violins,” he says. “They don’t, for the most part, improve with age. They’re more like cars than violins." Yea? Tell that to the folks on craigslist who've put grandma's spinet up for sale :)

Piano Bling

It's really almost blinding.....

Record Length Piano Performance

This is pretty amazing!

Canadian musician and producer Gonzales broke the world record for the longest-ever solo concert Monday, successfully playing piano for 27 hours, three minutes and 44 seconds.
I'm exhausted just thinking about it !


Cliburn Chatter: And They're Off!


They've drawn "lots" at the Cliburn and here's the lineup (names in bold I'm interest in hearing):


1. Natacha Kudritskaya, Ukraine, 1pm
2. Stephen Beus, USA, 2:05
3. Ran Dank, Israel, 3:10
4. Chetan Tierra, USA, 7:30
5. Spencer Myer, USA, 8:35
6. Eduard Kunz, Russia, 9:40
7. Soyeon Lee, Korea, 1
8. Di Wu, China, 2:05
9. Vassilis Varvaresos, Greece, 3:10
10. Nobuyuki Tsujii, Japan, 7:30
11. Naomi Kudo, USA/Japan, 8:35
12. Zhang Zuo, China, 9:40
13. Ning Zhou, China, 1
14. Michail Lifits, Germany, 2:05
15. Alessandro Deljavan, Italy, 3:10
16. Lukas Vondracek, Czech Republic, 7:30
17. Feng Zhang, China, 8:35
18. Mariangela Vacatello, Italy, 9:40
19. Victor Stanislavsky, Israel, 1
20. Evgeni Bozhanov, Bulgaria, 2:05
21. Ilya Rashkovskiy, Russia, 3:10
22. Ang Li, Canada, 7:30
23. Andrea Lam, Australia, 8:35
24. Haochen Zhang, China, 9:40
25. Amy J. Yang, USA/China, 1
26. Yoonjung Han, Korea, 2:05
27. Kyu Yeon Kim, Korea, 3:10
28. Yeol Eum Son, Korea, 7:30
29. Mayumi Sakamoto, Japan, 8:35

Friday's lineup looks interesting. First there's the Beus (who generated buzz at his last go at the Cliburn), Ran Dank, and finally, grizzled old man of the competition, Spencer Myer.

You can catch all the fun by way of live webcast: Find it all here.

Piano Fingers

I'm filing this one under "creepy".

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Holiday Over

I have been away enjoying some much needed vacation time. Spent my time in North Carolina and I can tell you the "blue" ridge mountains really do look look blue. Ate lots of yummy food and enjoyed Asheville very much. Lots of hikes. Visted an old timey auto museum. Loads of fun all around.

Here's a quick couple of snaps -more to follow.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Andre Watts Interview

Read worthy Q&A with pianist Andrew Watts. You'll find it here.

Disturbing Strokes

Music does indeed make all the difference. A clever "experiment" of sorts. Replace the cheery jingle that accompanies the opening credits of the old sitcom "Different Strokes" with some creepy Hitchcockeque atmospheric music.

That's what I'm talkin' bout Willis.

Soyeon Green or Bag Lady Extravaganza, Eleganza?

OK. OK. Kidding aside.

Soyeon Lee is married to an enterprising recycler  (force behind TerraCycle). He has posted up photos of Soyeon's gown made from recycled tea labels, the CD case for her albume rEinvented (a CD of, you guessed it, transcriptions and what nots), and he has a podcast. Check it out.

Soyeon Lee returns to compete in this year's Van Cliburn. Best of luck.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Even More Uses for Old Pianos

Make a Retaining Wall

Friday, May 01, 2009


Today's web pick is "An Eroica Project". A website that is dedicated to exploring everying nook and cranny of Beethoven's Symphony no3 since recordings of it started -check out the 1926 performance by Sir Henry Wood and company.


Practice, Practice, Practice: Composers for the 2009 Cliburn

This is the part of the competition I would find the hardest -unless I really liked the work.

Yesterday, the competition announced the four finalists it had selected from 28 entries solicited from notable composers. They’re a strong group: Mason Bates (whose new piece for the San Francisco Symphony is having a sneak preview when the YouTube Symphony plays one movement of it on tonight’s Carnegie Hall concert), Derek Bermel, Daron Hagen, and John Musto (known to Washington audiences for his operas Volpone, at Wolf Trap, and Later the Same Evening, the Edward Hopper piece done by the Maryland Opera Studio).

More here

and then there were none: last UK piano factory closes

Some sad news.

"Kemble and Co in Bletchley has been making pianos for almost 100 years. Main shareholder Yamaha decided that it was no longer viable."

Read more here.

The Proms Line Up for 2009

Deets from the Beeb for this year's Proms.

The Must not miss: Argerich and Pierre-Laurent Aimard