Van Cliburn's named popped up on one of the piano forums. Would he have made the same formidable impression in today's Moscow Competition as he did in 1958? The answer is simply YES, and resurrecting a flashback of his winning performance sheds light on how and why his Tchaikovsky 1, at least for me, stands… Continue reading Van Cliburn’s Tchaikovsky No. 1 concerto revisited
The word "competition" in the realm of music-making doesn't work for me. Those who serve the poetry of music and view technique, not as athletically driven, but as a means to a higher artistic end can be offended by glitzy, media-hyped productions that show young Asian, American, Russian, etc. flowers of youth posing for thumbnail… Continue reading Piano “Competitions”–Do we need them?
A friend sent me a link to her favorite performance of Tschaikovsky's Bb minor, WARHORSE concerto-- the one with the big splash CHORD opener. Pianists dream of conquering these sonorities without a falter, but not necessarily in their lifetime. For me the easiest way to reach to the stars on this one, was to sit… Continue reading Rekindling memories of Van Cliburn, the Cold War, Kirill Kondrashin, etc
This is the program that I preserved from the event. It was contained in a boxful of musical artifacts that my mother sent me. On March 28th, 1960, I was present at Madame Rosina Lhevinne's Eightieth Birthday celebration concert held at the Juilliard School, and it was an evening to remember. I received the ticket… Continue reading An ageless pianist and her historic concert (I was there)
This remarkable piece of film footage inspired a stream of others. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ur7SoOVRhk Nadia Boulanger (b.1887-d.1979) the esteemed teacher, composer, theoretician, organist, pianist, taught and influenced so many great musical creators such as Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copeland, Virgil Thomson, Walter Piston and Philip Glass. From Wikipedia: "Boulanger's teaching methods included traditional harmony, score reading at the… Continue reading Great Piano Teaching Moments
Today was by no means a first for me, a long-haired musician raised on Bach, Beethoven and Brahms teaching a teen some pop tunes by John Ondrasik and Taylor Swift while I sailed through the universe of "Liz on Top of the World" with another student. Videotaping portions of piano lessons was the natural result… Continue reading Teens, popular music then and now, Taylor Swift, throw in Five for Fighting “100 Years”