adult piano instruction, iPhone, iPhone transmitted piano lesson, New York City, North Carolina, piano addict, piano blog, piano blogging, piano instruction, piano lessons by Face Time, Piano Street, piano teaching, Piano World, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, wordpress, you tube

Piano Lesson from the Big Apple by iPhone!

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It’s one thing to fly from California to New York, taking in awesome views from the plane.Over NYC JFK But would I lay back and lapse into surrendering a week of piano instruction just because I had a NYC based family obligation? No way! As long as I had my iPhone as backup, I would try to teach my North Carolina student from my landing on West 97th.

My best friend, Laura, Oberlin alum and ex-Big Apple roommate had given me her West Side digs that came with a rebuilt Steinway B, so I could play away and teach a lesson or two.

Steinway B at Laura

Using the iPhone with its Face Time application was a first for me! Would the tiny mic properly amplify my voice, demonstrations, and could the internal speaker provide the right volume as the student played? It seemed there were many variables to worry about.

Well, not a problem! Everything worked with a couple of shutdowns since I didn’t have my router or hard wire cable which seemed the best hardware for Online lesson transmission.

Some adjustments, however, seemed to improve the iPhone cyberspace: I reduced my USB extensions and switched to cellular, not relying on the local Wi Fi provider. (Different rooms had varied reception, some better than others)

Overall, I think the undertaking was a success– well documented by my tripod mounted camcorder that captured the whole lesson on video.

Here are a few samples:

high school reunion, NYC High School of Performing Arts, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten

My NYC High School of Performing Arts Reunion!

PA school pin

Saturday, June 6th Performing Arts High (FAME I’m gonna live forever!) Reunion!

A first for me that was worth a crowded subway ride to the heart of Times Square plus a zesty walk through throngs of tourists.

While I missed class photo shoots, I managed a pose with conductor, Gerard Schwarz before I sauntered over to Buca di Beppo for cuisine and kinship with alums I hadn’t seen for decades! Many were Music Department buddies and orchestra members. Others were well-established actors and dancers.

Luckily, I packed my camcorder to capture a few celebratory frames!

Without a doubt, Shirley Katz, PA Math teacher, and Bella Malinka, Dance Dept. faculty member stole the show with their big, engaging smiles!

It was a joyous evening packed with fond memories!

Fame emblem

LINKS

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/my-new-york-city-high-school-of-performing-arts-fame-yearbook-and-what-i-found/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/a-tribute-to-the-late-robert-degaetano-classmate-nyc-high-school-of-performing-arts/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2015/06/03/musical-memories-of-new-york-city-and-my-impending-journey-back-home/

Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, New York City, piano blog, piano blogging, visit to NYC

Musical Memories of New York City and my impending journey back home

Today, I’ll fly back to New York City for my mother’s Memorial, and in a tight 4-day span I’ll visit the edifice of my High School of Performing Arts,

a designated landmark at 46th and 6th Avenue. Ironically, I recently unearthed a graduation photo that shows me holding a Music award in the presence of my late father, and dear friend, Setsuko Nagata, violinist.

Performing Arts Graduation 1

(Over the coming weekend I’ll join in “PA” reunion activities that happened to fall during my stay–a nice coincidence.)

I’ll be sure to hop the IRT subway to W. 103rd, and saunter over to 105th and Riverside Drive where I took piano lessons with the late, Lillian Freundlich, expecting more than a gulp of emotion.

Two musical friends live fairly close by, so I’ll spend time with them, and tickle the ivories.

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The old Sohmer upright, that was my first “real” piano, and formerly housed in mom’s Inwood apartment was spared the dump after her death. A music teacher adopted it, though it’s more like a furniture centerpiece since the radiator in winter and excruciating humidity of summer swelled and contracted its soundboard to a point of no return. Forget the hammers, wippens, and flanges.

Sohmer upright

I recall dispatching a piano restorer long distance, who threw up his hands in futility at the very thought of refurbishing this once beautiful sounding instrument. (It had been owned by concert pianist, Lucy Brown)

My beloved parakeet, Tykie christened the piano leaving little droppings in his wake. He soared to the ceiling as I played Burgmuller’s “Harmony of the Angels,” and danced across the keyboard to “La Chasse.”

The violin I left behind:

A few years ago, my then 97-year old mother informed me that my violin, known as the
“cigar box” that was retrieved from my grandparent’s dusty old closet in very bad shape, was given away to a neighbor. Amazingly, he restored it to playing condition despite the fact that it never played well enough to be considered playable. Who could imagine its rebirth.

The last exposure I had to my cigar box was in the Bronx, performing “Exodus” at a Junior High music festival on the eve of Yom Kippur, a poignantly sad occasion. Dr. Loretan, Board of Ed Music Director, happened to be in the audience, and came back stage to offer his sympathies. He arranged for me to “loan” a violin from the School District in Brooklyn. I thought it was a “Stradivarius” before my violin teacher, Samuel Gardner, took out his magnifying glass and clarified that it was a “copy.” My hopes and dreams were shattered.

Perhaps I’ll find time to visit the very area on W. 68th where I took my violin lessons, before Lincoln Center ate up the greater part of the neighborhood. I remember the rubble, carefully monitoring my footsteps as I walked along the route from the West 66th Street subway station to Lincoln Towers. It was the perfect backdrop for West Side Story which hadn’t yet made its movie debut….

Which reminds me of the evening I attended the Dimitri Metropoulos conducting competition at Avery Fisher Hall on W. 66th after the area was transformed by Lincoln Center’s presence.

Sejii Ozawa, one of the competitors prevailed, along with tied finalist, Claudio Abbado. As I was standing on the subway platform about to board the IRT back to my apartment, I caught a glimpse of Sejii looking like a teenager with his impressive shock of black hair. It was a memory I’ll always treasure.

Not too far from Lincoln Center is Carnegie Hall on W. 57th where I spent many evenings soaking up performances of legendary pianists, cellists, and violinists. Most memorable performers: Emil Gilels, Sviatislov Richter, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Rosalyn Tureck, Nathan Milstein, and Daniel Shafrin. At one of these I met my future piano teacher, Lillian Freundlich and the rest was history.

Carnegie Hall better

Perhaps I’ll walk over to Carnegie and ponder the space its former neighbor, Patelson’s Music House occupied. A hub for serious musicians seeking Urtext editions and rare manuscripts, it sadly closed its doors in 2009. Marsha Popowitz Patelson, an alumna of the High School of Performing Arts during the years I attended, was its owner and champion after husband, Joseph, passed away.

Patelsons music store

Patelson’s had such a homey atmosphere, like Wurlitzer’s where violinists gathered to try out Strads and Amatis that were hanging in rows. I always spotted a famous musician over there as I was looking to purchase a decent set of Italian made strings, and I never failed to solicit an autograph.

How shall I preserve the memory of being taken to Lewisohn Stadium in the Bronx to hear Van Cliburn play the Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto no. 1 in Bb minor following his momentous victory in Moscow?

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Will I have time to travel away from Manhattan? I wonder if this outdoor concert hall still exists? I recall having heard Marian Anderson sing there as well.

I think she narrated Copeland’s “A Lincoln Portrait” which tied into my recollection of Leonard Bernstein’s “Young People’s Concerts,” one of which I attended in Carnegie that made an indelible impression. Actually it was a rehearsal along with one conducted by Stokowski and the American Symphony. Those were the days.

I’ll be lucky to make three nostalgic visits if weather permits. In Spring New York City is very lovely, but you can feel the winds gusting up now and then. It gets people going. I notice the pace of steps in the Big Apple is brisk. The same quickness of meter is mirrored here in the Bay area. Watch out, or you’ll get mowed down at the Bart station.

Robert Levine, one of my relatives, wrote a book about this very geography of time, and included my quote about “tempo rubato” as part of the volume’s introduction. He traveled the world counting footsteps and came to conclusions about cultural differences in time perceptions. Very fascinating.

I don’t think I’ll have time to mark my own walking rhythm or that of others in the Big Apple. I’ll be lucky if the trains run on time so I can take my journey down memory lane without too much inconvenience. Wish me luck.

Ethan Hawke, Ethan Hawke documentary, piano blog, piano blogging, piano teaching, Seymour Bernstein, Seymour: An Introduction

Run! to see Seymour: An Introduction, Ethan Hawke’s film masterpiece

Seymour in scarf

I went! I cried! I applauded! Those of us immersed in the arts as students and teachers, felt especially validated.

On the East Coast, harpsichordist, Elaine Comparone was riveted to the Big Screen just as I nestled into a snug seat at the Albany, California Landmark Twin theater. (East Bay, California)

She perfectly summed up what seemed beyond words to express:

“I found it moving, touching and masterfully put together! How did you like that performance at the end that moved from his studio to Steinway Hall? Wonderful job of editing. And the camera work throughout was artistically first-rate—not gimmicky. The clip at the end of various musical performances was just the cherry on top. The part about his service in Korea and how he made the best of it was great. Also the reaction to his seeing the fawn at the warfront and thinking he had died and gone to heaven…I thought the whole thing was just wonderful! That young man who played the Rachmaninoff—-wow!! I loved it all. It deserves to be nominated for the Academy Award. I hope it wins! Kudos to Ethan Hawke for his fine work! And that Kimmelman, NYT Architecture editor and piano student, what a sweet, sensitive man!”

If some of these characters interwoven into a gorgeous mosaic sound unfamiliar, please satisfy your curiosity, and ingest 84 minutes of heavenly film work. A pleasurable afterglow will linger for days, weeks, months and years….

For me, it was a joyous cinematic journey in the good company of Jocel, Alana, and Bernie who generously shared their enthusiastic responses to Ethan’s treasured documentary.

Thanks to all!

NOTE: The photo I took, and gave to Seymour as a gift in 2012, sits on the wall of his apartment’s entry-way. It’s seen fleetingly mid-point in the movie.

houseboat on water

LINKS:

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/love-the-second-time-around-seymour-an-introduction/

http://www.seymouranintroduction.com/theaters/

Classical music blog, Irina Morozova, Mannes College the New School for Music, piano blog, piano recital

Pianist, Irina Morozova in Concert at New York’s Mannes College

Irina Morozova concert release

Each year, when compiling my favorite You Tube beamed performances, I invariably dote upon the artistry of Irina Morozova. Her playing is simply heavenly, resonating with a heart-melting singing tone that weaves through undulating, well-sculpted phrases.

It took only a smattering of HD transported Chopin offerings to catapult me to Subscriber status and then virtual Facebook Friendship. Naturally, such boundless cyber ties were transcended in my cross-country journey to Morozova’s teaching sanctuary in the heart of Lincoln Center. (The Special School/Kaufman Center proved to be a rich repository of budding musical talent)

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2014/10/12/manhattans-special-music-schoolkaufman-center-has-a-wealth-of-gifted-students-and-teachers/

As a privileged bystander, riveted to my camcorder and iPhone capturing inspired pedagogical interplays that would reach the blogosphere, I especially treasured Irina’s generous offer to share her thoughts about Chopin’s heart-throbbing Nocturne in Eb in poetic framing.

Such inspired outpourings have an immediate hypnotic effect and provide a teasing opener to what will prove to be an amazing display of music-making on February 23rd, 8 p.m. at Mannes College the New School for Music, where Irina is a faculty member.

So please don’t miss this event!

***

BIO: Irina Morozova

Piano; B.M. with Honors, Rimsky-Korsakov College of Music; M.M., Manhattan School of Music; piano studies with Vladimir Shakin, Galina Orlovskaya, Arkady Aronov; performances include Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, New American Chamber orchestra; participated in Film America’s “Music in the 20th Century” series; awards include Frinna Awerbuch, San Antonio International Piano Competitions; teaches, performs at International Keyboard Institute and Festival in NY; faculty, Mannes College of Music, Manhattan school of Music, Special Music School.

“Irina Morozova made her New York debut with a solo recital at Carnegie Hall in 1996 after winning Artists International Auditions. Critics raved, “Morozova possesses an astonishing beauty of sound and power of ideas…she is the sort of pianist who can turn a simple phrase into magic….”

“Born to a musical family, Irina Morozova began her musical studies at the Leningrad Special Music School for Gifted Children and graduated with honors from the Rimsky-Korsakov College of Music where her major teacher was Galina Orlovskaya. Studying with Vladimir Shakin at the Saint-Petersburg Conservatory, she performed in the concert halls of Saint-Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, and many other cities in the former Soviet Union. She also toured former East Germany and appeared with the Berlin Radio Symphony in the famed Schauspielhaus.

(A list of performance credits is too long to tabulate, though they encompass a variety of international venues.)

“Ms. Morozova received her Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music where she studied with Dr. Arkady Aronov. Since 1997 she has been on the faculties of Mannes College of Music and the Special Music School at Kaufman Center.”

***
My catalog of interviews, etc. with Irina Morozova that explores her wide range of musical activities: performing, teaching and recording

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/pianist-irina-morozova-blends-a-satisfying-career-of-teaching-and-performing-videos/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/ethereal-piano-playing-another-irina-with-an-i-in-the-middle-brings-heaven-to-earth/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/irina-morozova-pianist-shines-playing-gershwin-virtuoso-transcriptions-on-cd/

http://www.amazon.com/Irina-Morozova-Plays-Gershwin-Concerto/dp/B001FOC3HS/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326918501&sr=8-1-fkmr1

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2014/10/11/irina-morozova-pianist-waxes-poetic-about-phrasing-chopins-music-in-words/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/the-right-chemistry-between-piano-teacher-and-student/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2014/10/14/a-six-year-old-child-is-awakened-to-the-singing-tone-and-how-to-produce-it/

https://arioso7.wordpress.com/?s=teaching+piano+with+artistry

piano blog, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, Wave Hill, word press, you tube

Wave Hill, Toscanini, and Heaven on Earth

To cap off my Big Apple journey, a bus ride to Riverdale in the Northwest Bronx rekindled memories of Maestro Arturo Toscanini. Both he and Mark Twain had once been tenants of a country estate and family home owned by William Lewis Morris, a prominent New York lawyer.

“This Greek Revival structure, clad in gray fieldstone was purchased two decades later by William Henry Appleton, a publisher with an influential circle of friends including T.H. Huxley and Charles Darwin.”

During the years 1870 to 1871, Appleton leased Wave Hill to the family of a young Theodore Roosevelt.

The main section, Wave Hill House overlooks the picturesque Hudson, framed in flowers and foliage. One can only imagine walks taken by Toscanini during his two year tenancy from 1943 to 1945.

Today the estate contains a lush public garden, and a newly renovated Wave Hill House that hosts concerts and fine arts events. To date nearly one million visitors have been welcomed.

SCROLL DOWN TO PHOTOS

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NYC, Shirley Kirsten blog, Shirley Kisten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, shirley smith kirsten blog, Shirley Smth Kirsten, Sohmer upright, Sohmer upright piano, word press.com, wordpresss.com, youtube, youtube.com

Scenes from Manhattan

First day in the Big Apple:

These are popular picture postcard themes yet worth memorializing.

I took this photo set as I trekked from 34th Street and Penn station to the West Side ‘Y’ gym at 63rd off Central Park.

Bogged down with luggage, I approached Columbus Circle at W. 59th Street (off Central Park)

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Columbus Circle

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The Y Gym where I have a six-day guest pass

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Day two:

My visit with Elaine Comparone, harpsichordist (and pianist)

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Elaine discussed Baroque ornaments while displaying her impeccable artistry at the harpsichord and piano. Her riveting interview will be posted after my return to California.

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Today, Sunday (Day 3)

I’m going to my mother’s 100th Birthday celebration at her apartment on 218th Street in Manhattan.

Mom’s  place overlooks the Hudson River at the picturesque northern tip of Manhattan.

I’ll take the ‘A’ train to 207th and then climb a steep hill to Park Terrace Gardens.

Once arrived, I ‘ll be sure to capture the old Sohmer upright, my first REAL piano after I endured treacherous years practicing on an abysmal sounding Wieser (aka WHEEZER)

Sadly,  the Sohmer has deteriorated  from extreme temperature and humidity shifts over decades, so it’s now a living room centerpiece and photo gallery.

More to come….