The multi-talented Mitchell Zeidwig is one of a kind. While Victor Borge considered the safety of the piano bench his principle domain give or take a few slips and slides, Zeidwig tempts the gods by going the greater distance with his super-daredevil routines. He’ll climb in and out of a grand piano’s cramped space and bedazzle an audience by his breathtaking stunts. Off the top of his head, he grabs a violin from the Concertmaster of a symphony orchestra, balancing the scroll on his nose while twirling an album of music. The poor violinist shivers with anxiety. Are we witnessing the Evel Knievel of staged piano antics? In a shift of gears, Zeidwig supports a string bass on his face, while reeling off a few melodies at the piano. What’s next?
In a creative frenzy, he might opt for a back-handed performance of a celebrated composition evoking Mozart doing the same in the movie, Amadeus. Then watch him cradle a score with his toes while playing Bach’s Prelude no. 1 from the Well-Tempered Clavier. His arms and hands reach over to the keyboard behind him. It’s a well rendered performance from any angle.
How about note poking with his nose? He manages to peck out the AVE MARIA to the sonorous Bach Prelude in C.
Zeidwig’s bio fleshes out his feats of coordination. Not just a comedic acrobat who builds his act around a classic grand piano, he can play up a storm during his more serious moments. When not fooling around, Zeidwig will deliver a bravura performance of the Tchaikovsky Bb minor Piano Concerto with chops and musical sensitivity. But then again, one never knows when his devilish side will emerge quite unexpectedly. Suspense is what keeps an audience riveted to him.
“Mitchell Zeidwig was originally headed toward a professional baseball career, but before spring training, while in the middle of his ski racing season at McGill University, a revelation inspired him to suddenly stop in his ski tracks and aspire to become a pianist at 19 — an age generally considered impossible as a starting point of a concert career. Nonetheless, against all odds, he journeyed on to enormous critical acclaim throughout the world not only as a concert pianist, but as a comedian and later as a Composer. The International Press of Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America have described Zeidwig’s work as “Breathtaking,” “Poetic,” “Genius,” “Sensational,” and “Perfect.” Domestically, the reviews have been equally enthusiastic: “Masterful and hilarious,” “Thrilling,” “Mesmerizing,” “Extraordinary,” and “Uplifting.” ‘
From what I pleasantly discovered, Zeidwig studied piano with Seymour Bernstein and in a revealing You Tube posting celebrated him as “the greatest teacher in the history of music — in every aspect.”
Obviously, Mitchell Zeidwig was well-prepared for his unique and exciting career.
The only rival act to Zeidwig’s, is brought to us by Igudesman and Joo. (“A Little Nightmare Music”)
Here’s a classic potpourri of routines:
Uncannily, I first spotted pianist, Richard Hyung-ki Joo in the Rachlin ensemble playing Saint-Saens Carnival of the Animals.
In this performance, Joo has a blast performing, “PIANIST,” as he pumps out a series of dreaded scales in duo with Mihaela Ursuleasa.
When it comes right down it, pianists may be natural comedians if they act on impulse once in a while, and let their imaginations run wild.