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Speaking of Pianists » 2010» January

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    Archive for January, 2010

    Links for the Week: Jan. 22-30

    Saturday, January 30th, 2010

    Speaking of Pianists: Kuerti in PDX soon! “Just like the work itself; every Kuerti performance is new and innovative.”


    Only when the form grows clear to you, will the spirit become so too. Schumann: To Young Musicians …


    Speaking of Pianists: it’s not too early to plan for Schumann’s 200th, including a performance of his opera ” Genoveva”.


    Speaking of Pianists: Barenboim: “..the hottest musical event in London.” Great Jessica Duchen article:


    Speaking of Pianists: Composer Josipović elected President of Croatia, has written orchestral, chamber and solo works.


    Speaking of Pianists: from The Accidental Music Lesson: “Music (is) an obsession, a calling and your purpose in life.”

    Speaking of Pianists: One of the great pianists of the past: Video clips of Friedrich Gulda:


    Nothing communicates better than art. It is quicker than language & clearer than philosophy. F. Weisman


    Speaking of Pianists: Gramophone Instrumental Award goes to Bavouzet:


    “Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.” – Ludwig Van Beethoven, looking forward to my…


    Speaking of Pianists: Best Ever recording of Chopin’s music goes to Dinu Lipatti’s classic 1950 EMI disc of the Waltzes.


    Speaking of Pianists: Read Susan Tomes’ excellent article about collaborative piano

    Speaking of Pianists: Must read Jessica Duchen today re Mozart’s birthday: The Magazine | Standpoint

    Speaking of Pianists:1 of our greatest pianists: Russell Sherman “steps out for Mark Morris’ Dances” -


    Speaking of Pianists: RT @MargoDrakos: RT @instantencore: Happy 254th Birthday Wolfgang! (1/ 27, 1756)


    Gilmore Young Artist, Yuja Wang, now named Gramophone’s Young Artist of the Year. Read more here.


    Speaking of Pianists: “Shostakovich: 24 Preludes and Fugues.” Jenny Lin, piano: 1 of A.Midgett’s Best of ‘09: Pdx in July:

    Speaking of Pianists: Stephen Kovacevich named Editor’s Choice Award by Gramophone:


    Speaking of Pianists: Garrick Ohlsson interview on KQED before a performance


    Speaking of Pianists: Lots about Kuerti and Beethoven “Diabelli” Variations here - Pdx on 2/7.


    Speaking of Pianists: Chen in Pdx with her toy piano on June 3rd:


    Speaking of Pianists: Jonathan Biss: “We performers are interpreters. Re-creators. Vessels, if you will.” · 


    My favorite pianist, Martha A, talking about older musicians, practicing, etc.


    Speaking of Pianists: Matt Haimovitz: “It’s amazing what happened in 300 years; composers lost all trust in us!”


    Op-Ed Contributor - The Dark Side of Piano Competitions -


    Speaking of Pianists: Yuja Wang interview on NPR: “A Pinch-Hitter Takes the Lead”:


    Speaking of Pianists: Anthony Tommasini wonderful article on Chopin & Schumann, both celebrating 2010 bicentenaries.


    Speaking of Pianists: Earl Wild dies at 94:


    Speaking of Pianists: Barenboim: “To build a solution - easier said than done. And that is why Beethoven is vital now..”


    “Love life and life will love you back. Love people and they will love you back.” Arthur Rubinstein


    UPNE will publish the first full biography of Sviatoslav Richter in April 2010:


    Speaking of Pianists: Today in History: The premiere of the Franz Liszt’s Piano Sonata in b minor, in Berlin, Germany in 1857.


    Menahem Pressler once taught identical twins: couldn’t tell them apart so he assigned each different rep so he knew who was who.





    Earl Wild dies at 94

    Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

    One of the great American pianists, Earl Wild, died on Saturday at the age of 94 at his home in Palm Springs, California.

    The New York Times story is here.

    “Earl Wild first became known as a Gershwin specialist, and that soured his reputation among many critics and the intellectual audience.  How could any pianist who ran around playing the Gershwin Concerto in F and the Rhapsody in Blue be taken seriously?  But professionals appreciated Wild’s craft.  They knew that he had an utterly spectacular technique, on the Horowitz-Bolet stratospheric level; that he was a serious musician who was all but unapproachable in certain aspects of the literature, especially Liszt.  Like Bolet, Wild was playing Liszt long before it again became fashionable to do so.  In the 1985-1986 season, on the occasion of the centenary of Liszt’s death, Wild celebrated with a three-concert series that he played in the United States and Europe.  He named the programs Liszt the Poet, Liszt the Transcriber and Liszt the Virtuoso.”

    Quoted from Harold C. Schonberg’s The Great Pianists


    Links for the Week

    Thursday, January 21st, 2010

    Speaking of Pianists: Interview with pianist Helene Wickett on “Artists on the Arts,” Tues 1/12 - Beethoven’s last 3 sonatas.


    Speaking of Pianists: The Top 100 of 2009; requests for classical music at KQAC


    Speaking of Pianists: Perahia: Yes to Bach, no to Debussy. His stories, some political views. 


    Speaking of Pianists: Feb. 7  Anton Kuerti performs Diabelli Variations, based on a ditzy waltz…4 p.m. Newmark.


    Speaking of Pianists: Aimard in NYC: “charmingly added that coughing is ‘the loudest acoustical phenomenon’”


    Speaking of Pianists: On today’s date in 1958, Leonard Bernstein asked a question: “What does Music mean?” Composers Datebook host John Zech on American Public Media.


    Speaking of Pianists: Evgeny Kissin, from The Gift of Music: “One shouldn’t forget about the tastes of their audiences.”


    Speaking of Pianists: Rzewski: “I love really strict counterpoint…like the army, there’s a rule for everything!”

    Rhapsody in Blue story:

    Gilmore and Cliburn

    Saturday, January 16th, 2010

    A friend wrote recently to alert me to Kirill Gerstein’s recognition as a Gilmore Artist, and also asked if Portland Piano had presented any of the other pianists recognized by the Gilmore Foundation.


    Yes, we have presented these wonderful and varied pianists from the very beginning. Piotr Anderszewski appeared in 2001, Davis Owen Norris on two occasions – 1998 and 2000, and Ingrid Fliter this past season.  The latest artist to be chosen, Kirill Gerstein, appeared on the series in 2004.


    The two remaining on the list, Ralf Gothoni and Leif Ove Andsnes are remarkable talents, but so far the stars have not been aligned for hosting them in Portland.


    The Gilmore is unique (and I don’t use that word often) in that it is not a competition in the usual sense.  In the words of the foundation, “Gilmore Award candidates are not judged in a competition, but rather they are evaluated discreetly and over a period of time and numerous performances for their musicianship and performing abilities.”


    That makes for some exciting stories from award winners who didn’t even know they were in the running!



    But we also present “real”competition winners. I’ll write later about the medalists we have hosted from the most prestigious piano competition in the U.S., the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.  That event is held every four years in Ft. Worth, Texas.  We have already presented two of the 2009 finalists in Portland, and will announce a date for a third who will perform here later this year.


    By the way, PPI has already reserved a block of tickets for the Fourteenth Van Cliburn Competition in 2013.  We had almost 40 patrons attending the 2009 competition, and plan to travel with about the same number in a few years.  Start making plans!


    But how many pianists have we presented on this series in the 31 years of its existence?  The number is astounding.






    Gerstein Not the Only Gilmore Winner

    Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

    Last week the world of classical music was full of news about pianist Kirill Gerstein being awarded the coveted Gilmore Artist Award.  And rightly so - Gerstein is a terrific pianist who certainly deserves this honor.  I hope it propels him to another level in terms of his career.  His playing doesn’t need any push because he is already a fantastic musician.  An award of this kind can make someone a “household name” almost overnight, just as it did Ingrid Fliter a few years back (well, at least among pianists).


    Gerstein appeared on Portland Piano’s series in 2004, and only a few months ago with the Oregon Symphony in Leonard Bernstein’s Age of Anxiety.


    But another Gilmore award winner has had far less press.  Twenty-one year old Centralia, Washington pianist, Charlie Albright, is not only one of the 2010 pianists named as a Gilmore Young Artist, but he has also recently won the important Young Concert Artists Competition in New York City.


    Charlie is a remarkable young man.  How many people his age can say they have scholarships named after them?  Read about this and more at his website here.  And the press release from Young Concert Artists is here. Congratulations to his teacher, Nancy Adsit, for knowing just how to mentor this young man over the years.


    Charlie performed Menotti’s Ricercare and Toccata at a Portland Piano International summer master class several years ago, blowing everyone away. You can view Albright playing the Menotti piece here.









    Links for the Week

    Monday, January 11th, 2010

    Kirill Gerstein awarded Gilmore Artist Award

    Chopin Museum to open

    Music lovers expect extraordinary feats from us pianists,” says Anton Kuerti. “We’re expected to perform physical motions of extreme accuracy…”

    A genius! For 37 years I’ve practiced fourteen hours a day, and now they call me a genius!
    —Pablo Sarasate

    10 things I Wish I Knew When I Was a Young Musician… from Charles Noble

    Chopin’s 200th anniversary around the world


    Interview with pianist Helene Wickett on “Artists on the Arts,” Tues 1/12 - Beethoven’s last 3 sonatas.

    Gilmore Pianist Announced

    Thursday, January 7th, 2010

    Pianist Kirill Gerstein, one of Portland Piano’s featured artists of the 2004 season was awarded the coveted Gilmore Artist Award in November.The award is music’s equivalent of the MacArthur Foundation “genius” grants.

    Gerstein, noted by the committee to be “a superb pianist and a profound musician”, also performed with the Oregon Symphony recently.

    The story of the surprise announcement to Gerstein and details of the Irving S. Gilmore Keyboard Festival is in today’s New York Times.

    Piano Concerto No. 0

    Monday, January 4th, 2010

    Few listeners have heard Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto in D Major, Op. 61a, modeled by the composer after the far more effective Violin Concerto.  At least the composer had the courtesy to leave the pianist four cadenzas to this hastily written transcription, whereas he provided the violinist with none.

    That D Major work comes almost at the end of Beethoven’s list of concerti for the piano, followed only by the great “Emperor” Concerto, Op. 73.

    On the other end of the line is the Eb Piano Concerto, WoO 4, written when the composer was only 14 years old.  It has had several incarnations over the years, but a new variant will be premiered in a few days by Canadian pianist Anton Kuerti at a concert with the National Broadcast Orchestra at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts in Vancouver, B.C.

    By the way, for readers who may not be familiar with the cataloging system for Beethoven’s works, the “WoO” indication above stands for the German, “Werke ohne Opuszahl”, Works without Opus number.  This marking was given to works not assigned  an opus (work) number by Beethoven, a practice that had become more common during this era.

    Musicologist Willy Hess first orchestrated the work from Beethoven’s notebooks  in the 1940’s, but Kuerti has taken the original material and filled in both orchestra and piano parts with as much simplicity as possible to reflect what he believes is more stylistically correct.

    Kuerti is the next artist performing on Portland Piano’s 2009-2011 Series in the Newmark Theatre.   His all-Beethoven recital on Sunday afternoon, February 7, will include the great Diabelli Variations, Op. 120.

    Read the entire National Broadcast Orchestra of Canada story here.

    For information about Kuerti’s Portland recital, go to


    A Month of Links and Quotes

    Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

       Joshua Kosman: The new pianists/ .DTL#ixzz0b69aU3PA

    How much talent? Include music study! really-born-with?src=rss    


    Michael Parsons: el-parsons-gives-the-lowdown-on-the-music-biz/:


    “After the Golden Age is a lively reminder that classical music once passed for mass entertainment… “–John Terauds, Toronto Star 262/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262448425&sr=8-1


    On Rhythmic Harmony: “When I listen to Richter, very often my hand begins spontaneously to conduct.” (Neuhaus)


    Great Rubinstein interview at 


    Jonathan Biss interview question: Music that makes you cry? “The emergence of major in literally any minor key work of Schubert.”

    Rachmaninoff: “They should, of course, possess the grace of a gazelle. But they must also have the unremitting ferocity of a tiger.” 

    Beethoven: “Silence is not what we artists want.” 


    A great holiday gift: tickets to Anton Kuerti’s February 7th all-Beethoven recital in Portland. Go to


    Anxiety over wrong notes is a relatively recent psychosis (from a review of Kenneth Hamilton’s “After the Golden Age”).


    Mompou and the “music of silence”: ting-with-mompou/ (Stephen Hough)

    The first mistake: underrating tone. The second mistake: overrating tone. (Neuhaus)


    Good Mae West advice, though probably not about practicing: “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing slowly.” 


    Horowitz told Perahia, “If you want to be more than a virtuoso, first you have to become a virtuoso.”


    “Nothing mixes old and new quite like classical music.” - Michelle Obama

    Bronfman/Bartok great! And check him in this funny video: do.html


    Pianist Georgy Cziffra plays Franz Liszt’s Gnomereigen Amazing!

    “I’d walk across town to hear.” - Scott Cantrell on Hoachen Zhang, pianist in recital on Sunday, Oct. 4 in Portland -