From Perugia with love: Pianist, Ilana Vered hosts an enticing summer music fest

Perugia Music Fest

I stumbled upon Ilana Vered’s dazzlingly performance of two Moskowzski Etudes in a televised Steinway anniversary tribute hosted by Van Cliburn. It was during this celebration that Murray Perahia, my Performing Arts High classmate, rendered Chopin from the basement of Steinway Hall on W. 57th. As it played out that afternoon and evening, great artistry rose above a particular instrument or its location and soared to divine heights.

Here’s a preview of Ilana’s bio that’s greatly expanded at her website:

“Ms. Vered began playing the piano at the age of three, and later attended the Paris Conservatory where she studied with the eminent pianist Vlado Perlemuter. Born in Israel, She graduated from the Paris Conservatory at fifteen, and completed her studies at the Juilliard School in New York City under the tutorship of Rosina Lhevinne, Nadia Reisenberg, and Aube Tzerko. She made her debut as one of the first winners of the Young Concert Artists International Competition….”

Vered’s musical triumphs are well-known, and her appearances with great orchestras all over the world are a testimony to her well-celebrated artistry.


Israel born, Ilana Vered is unique and multi-talented. She paints as passionately as she plays. A vivid sampling of her artwork accompanied by her music says more than a thousand words could express.

One phrase melts into another with a singing tone that lingers through a sequence of portraits to final cadence.

But there’s more than meets the eye and ear…

Ilana Vered is an inspiring teacher and founder of a highly praised music festival based in Perugia, Italy.

As artistic director and international mentor she excels.

A snatch from her series of TIPS about piano practicing bundled in musical expression is awe-inspiring.

And the tour de force Perugia Music Fest resonates with Vered’s love for nurturing young musicians; bringing master teachers to mentor them, and providing programs that audiences relish summer after summer. (There are opportunities to audit classes with a full range of participation)

It’s a serving of love on a cultural platter that’s in the heart of a European paradise, offering music, dance and theater as enticement.


For details pertaining to the Festival and Ilana’s illustrious musical career, visit her official website:

And don’t miss the one set aside for, Vered, The Painter

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4-hand piano prep and the joy of making music for two

I remember an astonishing concert that I attended at Carnegie Hall where two distinguished pianists sang like nightingales at one 9 foot grand piano. It was back in the 1970′s that I heard Paul Badura-Skoda and Jorge Demus perform the Schubert Fantasie in F minor as opener to a program featuring mostly Mozart works.

The duo recital was mesmerizing though years later I recall stumbling upon Murray Perahia and Rada Lupu playing the hauntingly beautiful Fantasie that left me spellbound with its slower opening tempo.

Recently, a music teacher colleague accepted my invitation to collaborate with her on this masterwork, though I initially shrank from the awesome task of playing the PRIMO part (The Treble–divided between the hands)

Once I became deeply entrenched in my practicing the Secondo, however, I couldn’t resist delving deeply into the Primo. And to satisfy my dual appetite to hear BOTH parts simultaneously, I recorded the first 58 measures (Secondo) on my iMac iMovie, and then clicked the PLAY button, while I recorded the Primo over the Secondo via my Sony Camcorder.

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As my journey continues, I will parcel out Primo and Secondo to final cadence.

Once fully prepped, I’ll arrange a rehearsal with my duo partner.


Murray Perahia and Rada Lupu

Second favorite Badura-Skoda and Demus (though I prefer a slower opening tempo)

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Dalcroze Eurhythmics on Display at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Dalcroze Eurhythmics was in full bloom in a lively space at the San Francisco Conservatory last Saturday. It was a refreshing morning of music and movement in perfect synthesis. Jessica Schaeffer, Alice Mosley, and Yoriko Richman led a group of educators, pianists, and other instrumentalists through imaginative rhythmic offerings that kept all participants on their toes and LISTENING attentively

According to presenters, “The Dalcroze approach to music education guides us to a deeper understanding of music – its fundamental concepts, its expressive meanings, and its deep connections to other arts and human activities – through imaginative techniques incorporating rhythmic movement, aural training, and physical, vocal and instrumental improvisation.”

More from WIKI:

“Dalcroze Eurhythmics, also known as the Dalcroze Method or simply Eurhythmics, is one of several developmental approaches including the Kodaly Method, Orff Schulwerk and Suzuki Method used to teach music education to students. Eurhythmics was developed in the early 20th century by Swiss musician and educator Émile Jaques-Dalcroze. Dalcroze Eurhythmics teaches concepts of rhythm, structure, and musical expression using movement, and is the concept for which Dalcroze is best known. It focuses on allowing the student to gain physical awareness and experience of music through training that takes place through all of the senses, particularly kinesthetic.

“Eurhythmics is one of several approaches to music education, developed by Swiss musician and educator Émile Jaques-Dalcroze in the early 20th century. The approach involves teaching concepts of rhythm, structure, and musical expression through movement. Eurhythmics often introduces a musical concept through movement before the students learn about its visual representation. This sequence translates to heightened body awareness and an association of rhythm with a physical experience for the student, reinforcing concepts kinesthetically. Eurhythmics has wide-ranging applications and benefits and can be taught to a variety of age groups. Eurhythmics classes for all ages share a common goal – to provide the music student with a solid rhythmic foundation through movement in order to enhance musical expression and understanding.”

A class with Yoriko Richman, Pre-college and Collegiate faculty (S.F. Conservatory)

My Interview with Yoriko

Collegiate Faculty, San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Early Childhood Education


Yoriko Richman earned a B.A. in piano performance from the Musashino Academia in Tokyo, Japan, and studied jazz drums at the Yamaha Drum School. Upon her arrival in the United States, she received a professional performance degree in jazz piano and arranging from the Berklee College of Music. Richman’s Dalcroze Method experience is extensive: she graduated from the Dalcroze School of Music in New York, receiving a Dalcroze International License, and attended the postgraduate program at Institut Jaques-Dalcroze in Geneva, Switzerland. Her extensive teaching experience includes teacher training programs at the Dalcroze School of Music, the Maister Music School, the Microcosms Music School and The Dalcroze School in Japan. In addition, she has taught the Dalcroze method to children at Showa Academia Musicae in Japan. A former preparatory faculty member at Mannes College, Richman also teaches in the Preparatory Division at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Yoriko Richman can be contacted at 415.503.6200 x6614.

Louise Milota, pianist/teacher and former President MTAC, Alameda branch, spoke about her experiences with Dalcroze Eurhythmics

A Dalcroze class in New York City with Anne Farber


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Dedicating my birthday to Chopin!

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I’m often asked to name my favorite composer, and nearly always, it’s the one whose music I’m currently studying and teaching.

In this case, Chopin’s posthumous Waltz in A minor, discovered by musicologists in the 1950s, is the CHOSEN.

Not cluttered with reams of intricate runs and fancy ornaments, it’s a good first Waltz to teach among the composer’s rich collection. And students can separately piece out the melody, fundamental bass notes, and after-beat chords before a synthesis is made in baby steps. I always have pupils explore pedaling last.

One of the big challenges in this composition is PHRASING. One must shape lines like a singer, with curves and contour. Third beats should be lightened, and dynamics need to be varied. Rubato playing gives character and nuance to the Romantic era style and is a vital ingredient of interpretation.

It’s a challenge to immerse oneself deeply in this music, so a layered learning process is worth the investment of time.

CONTOURING and Phrasing Chopin’s A minor Waltz

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Physical fitness and piano playing

me at gym upper arm workout

For the past few years, I’ve adhered to a fitness program that includes daily exercising at the Y gym. I don’t use weights because of their stress on my wrists, but I find the Gravitron (demonstrated in part one of my video) to be an upper body strength-builder. Particularly when I need added dead weight to apply directly into the keys, this pull-up routine has perfect application.

I set the bar at 70, meaning I have 40 of pounds resistance based on my 110 lb. body weight.

My second favorite work-out is at the tilted table holding a 6-pound ball that I swing from side-to-side, alternating with ab crunches.

The power ball also helps with leverage into the keys, especially when an extra big dynamic in the FORTE range is required.

“The Captain’s Chair,” so nicknamed by one of the Y resident trainers, is more of an ab tightener, though overall its fitness value is way up there.

The remaining machines showcased in my footage are used for bicep development–again to help with my upper body delivery of weight into the keys.

In a flashback video, I demonstrate my use of a 65 cm Go-fit stability ball which was obtained to relieve an acute back spasm that paralyzed me several months ago (without explanation) as I was sitting on the piano bench.

My routines with this ball have cured my back problems while they continue to promote spinal elasticity.

Daily brisk walks of 2 miles plus, round out my exercise program.

A Musical Journey: Scarlatti, Schubert, and Chopin

Scarlatti and Chopin

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She plays “red-blooded” harpsichord!

It’s well-known to a wide audience of admirers that Elaine Comparone has a commanding presence at the harpsichord. And while she sits this one out in a bedazzling reading of Bach’s D minor concerto, she’s made headlines standing before her beloved as Queen of a Chamber Band that’s produced reams of high quality performances.

Comparone, in royal fashion, continues to champion the harpsichord as a front and center player among its keyboard kin. In solo and ensemble appearances, her resonant Dowd or Hubbard make a profoundly audible impression to final cadence, leaving an entranced audience with an insatiable appetite for more.

What better way to showcase the impeccable artistry of Maestra Comparone than to post her most recent gift to a growing league of You Tube fans and subscribers: an inspired recording session at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in New York City.

J.S. Bach Harpsichord Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1052

Elaine’s music can be found virtually everywhere, starting at Arabesque:

Comparone’s You Tube Channel:


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The SINGING ingredient of phrasing

When I studied piano in New York City with Lillian Lefkofsky Freundlich, she always sang over my playing as well as her own. Her habitual voice-overs that lingered for years and seeped into the depths of my musical consciousness, gave me a sense of phrase-loving that would spread far and wide in my own teaching. Yet I would endure criticism from a portion of my You Tube audience, who wanted my focus to be on the fingers and where they traveled over the keyboard. (NO distractions please)

If we eavesdrop on Master Classes of the greats: Boris Berman, Dimitri Bashkirov, Richard Goode, and Murray Perahia, as well as others, we observe their sometimes raspy and imperfect vocal expression that nonetheless communicates shape, nuance, dynamics where fingers alone can’t achieve the same.

In the attached video sample, I play and sing at key moments–and at one point I expose dual lines–fleshing out one “voice” as I render another.

(Tchaikovsky’s “In the Church,” Op. 39, was chosen because of its “singing” choir dimension)

Some of the most gratifying interactions I’ve had with students centered on a vocal exchange where lines and contours were discovered, but simultaneously wedded to a physical understanding of musical expression. (Awareness of harmonic movement, modulations, resolutions, and the flow of breath were always part of the integrated whole)

Here I demonstrate a supple wrist to aid the singing tone.

In the Church

In the Church p 2


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