Piano Street's Classical Piano News

- your guide to the classical piano world.
LIVE STREAM: Beethoven with Barenboim and Berliner Philharmoniker

Daniel Barenboim joins the Berliner Philharmoniker for three performances of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, led by chief conductor Kirill Petrenko. We are immensely happy about our continuous collaboration with Berliner Philharmoniker’s Digital Concert Hall which enables us to invite our members to the live streaming of the January 11 performance in Berliner Philharmonie.

A long-time and renowned interpreter of Beethoven’s works, Barenboim performs as the soloist for this dark and dramatic concerto which marks the start of the Beethoven 250 year 2020. The program also includes Josef Suk’s expressive symphony “Asrael”.

Free tickets for Piano Street’s members

Thanks to a continuous collaboration with the Berliner Philharmoniker Digital Concert Hall, all Piano Street members enjoy free access for 48 hours to the Digital Concert Hall. Log in to your Piano Street account to get your free voucher code which gives you instant access to the Digital Concert Hall. Take the opportunity to hear a live concert with Barenboim, Petrenko and Berliner Philharmoniker on Saturday 11 January 2020 and to access all concerts in the archive for 48 hours!

No Piano Street account? Sign up here to get your live stream ticket!

Members: Get your free 48 hours ticket! >>

LIVESTREAM: Saturday 11 January, 18.00 (UTC/GMT)

Ludwig van Beethoven: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 3 in C minor, op. 37
Daniel Barenboim piano

Josef Suk: Symphony in C minor, op. 27 “Asrael”

In his Third Piano Concerto, Beethoven knew how to triumphally stage the pianist (himself, that is). After 111 orchestral bars, the piano begins with what could be called an imperious demonstration of power, as the soloist spans the whole keyboard in three run-ups, then practically gouges the main theme into the keys, forte and unisono: a show of manual strength with piled-up octaves, followed at once, admittedly, by an introspective piano reflection. The playful dialogue of Baroque concertizing is transformed here into existential seriousness: a matter of self-assertion and of unyielding subjectivity. Kirill Petrenko programmed this third Beethoven concerto with Daniel Barenboim as the soloist. His playing is characterised by a profound understanding of the score, a concentrated kind of music making that always remains open for the orchestra’s developments.


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Dear Glenn – Can Yamaha Bring Gould’s Genius Back to Life?

Yamaha’s ongoing project to develop a piano playing Artificial Intelligence system has been dubbed “Dear Glenn”, as a tribute to Glenn Gould. The project is “inspired by his unique creative style and launched to explore the future of music through the use of artificial intelligence.”

The famous Canadian pianist announced the end of his concert career at age 31 and began to concentrate on studio recording, broadcasting, and writing about music. The recordings from his later years, including his legendary 1981 Goldberg Variations, were recorded on Yamaha pianos. With the support of the Glenn Gould Foundation, Yamaha has now analyzed over 100 hours of Gould’s performance recordings to develop an understanding of his playing style, and turn his interpretations into music performance data. Here is a short documentary about Yamaha’s effort to bring Glenn Gould’s musical genius back to life:

Unique performances “in the style of Glenn Gould”

Rather than just reproducing Gould’s performances, the project’s aim has been to train a mapping between the music score and the performance data, so that the AI ends up being able to generate performance data to any music score. In other words, when the AI plays the aria of the Goldberg variations, it’s a new interpretation, supposedly “in the style of Glenn Gould”. In addition to Gould’s audio recordings, AI learning data included human input in the form of performances by pianists who were admirers of Gould and intimately familiar with his performance style.

Training of the AI in three steps:

The system is also able to interact and synchronize with fellow human musicians. This capability is achieved by controlling the playback based on an analysis of the sound and the motion generated by the human partner.

Would Glenn be horrified?

The pianist Bruce Brubaker, one of the projects advisors, says that many things remain to be done, but that “in its best moments, the project offers the sense that the playing we hear is expressive and does have a very strong connection to some sort of humanity rather than feeling machine-like”.

Of course, the inevitable question is what Gould himself would say about this. “It’s possible that on one hand he might be horrified, but then on the other I think he would be really thrilled — probably a little of both”, says Brubeker. What fascinates him about the Glenn Gould project is really not the project itself, but how much it tells us about what the future may hold: “AI can be used to capture the artistic personality and ethos of a human player.”

Doubtless, this project raises a lot of questions. Watch the extract from a concert featuring the “Dear Glenn” AI system and form your own opinion. How far have Yamaha got towards capturing Glenn Gould’s “artistic personality”? What do you think the future may hold in terms of human vs. AI music performance?

Feel free to post your comments below!


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Piano Street’s Top Picks of 2019

Happy New Piano Year!

We wish you a Happy New Year with a list of highly recommended reading from Piano Street. These are the 15 most read, discussed or shared articles of 2019.

/The Piano Street Team

P.S. The top list is also published on our Facebook page. Feel free to share the list your piano playing friends!

Digital Piano? Oh No – 100% Analogue!

What happens when innovative acoustical ideas come across a vintage broken piano? Well, Ukrainian musicians transformed it into a unique and completely analog hybrid of 20 different instruments that are each connected and controlled by the piano keys. Read more >>

Igor Levit’s Eternal Transcendence: “Life”

Igor Levit’s acclaimed album “Life” has attracted a lot of attention and its selected works have also been included in Levit’s recent recital programs worldwide. This is a profound, versatile and firm reaction to the death and loss of his best friend reflecting inner calm elaborating on an existential level. Read more >>

What’s Inside Steinway’s Secret Vault?

To get inside Steinways’s new secret addition to their New York Factory, you must be invited. “The Vault” has over $3 million in exotic veneers, waiting for the right buyer at the right time. Read more >>

Claire Huangci’s Complete Perspective: The Rachmaninoff Preludes

Pianist Claire Huangci, winner of the Geza Anda Competition 2018, just played in New York celebrating the launch of her new Rachmaninoff Preludes album on Berlin Classics. Like her complete Chopin Nocturnes album before that – for the same label – the complete Rachmaninoff 24 Preludes has been received with great acclaim internationally. Piano Street asked the ever touring pianist a few questions about her latest release. Read more >>

David Klavins Exploring the Limits of Piano Construction

Back in 1987, the German-Latvian piano maker David Klavins introduced the world’s largest upright piano; Model 370, which is two floors high. On display to the public for the first time on Friday this week, the even bigger Model 470i has already created a buzz among piano enthusiasts. Piano Street’s Patrick Jovell had a talk with David Klavins about his latest innovations. Read more >>

Piano Practice and the 10,000-hour Rule

A recent study seems to have dealt a blow to the often cited idea that 10,000 hours of practice will make an expert of anyone. “The idea has become really entrenched in our culture, but it’s an oversimplification,” says Brooke Macnamara, a psychologist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Read more >>

Keep Track of the Latest Piano Albums with Piano Street

Piano Street’s mission is to promote classical piano music, and we are always looking for new ways to enable you to listen, learn, and play. There’s no question that piano playing is thriving all over the world, and on the World Wide Web – just look at the flood of new recordings, videos, and streamed concerts constantly available just a few clicks away. Read more >>

200+ Pieces Added to Piano Street’s Sheet Music Library

There is no end to our efforts to render the Piano Street sheet music library more and more complete. In recent months, we’ve added a large number of pieces by some of the greatest composers – Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Brahms, Debussy, and Grieg. Read more >>

Chopin and His Europe

The whole piano world is teaming up for the 18th International Chopin Competition to be held in Warsaw, 2 to 23 October 2020. Stanislaw Leszczynski of The Chopin Institute talked to Piano Street’s Patrick Jovell at the Philharmonie in Warsaw. Read more >>

Build a Paper Piano with Nintendo Labo!

Not enough space for a piano? A foldable paper piano may solve that particular problem but don’t expect to play your favourite piano pieces on it. Read more >>

Through Nupen’s Eyes: Young Legends Play Mozart

On 11 March 1966, two great young pianists appeared together in public for the first time: Daniel Barenboim and Vladimir Ashkenazy played Mozart’s Concerto for two pianos at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon. Looking in the back mirror we realize the unique importance of this performance hi-lighting the two young pianists in the middle of building world famous careers. Read more >>

Alexander Gadjiev – To Save the World

Our meeting took place in Krefeld, at Kawai – the Japanese make of piano with which Alexander Gadjiev has become so familiar since his success at the Hamamatsu competition. Now his career is really taking off in Europe too: Gadjiev is a BBC New Generation Artist until the end of 2021 and is also one of the 25 chosen contestants at the upcoming 16th International Tchaikovsky Competition, 17-29 June in Moscow. Read more >>

Success, or Just a Sensation? Stuart Isacoff on Van Cliburn’s Moscow Win — 60 Years On

Piano Street has met the author of When the World Stopped to Listen: Van Cliburn’s Cold War Triumph and Its Aftermath, a personal and moving book presenting a sympathetic but honest account of the life of the legendary American pianist. Read more >>

The World of Piano Competitions – New Issue

As a collaborating partner Piano Street is proud to present the second issue of The World of Piano Competitions, a new magazine initiated by PIANIST Magazine (Netherlands and Germany) and its Editor-in-Chief Eric Schoones. Here we get a rich insight into the world of international piano competitions through the eyes of its producers and participants. Read more >>

Nelson Goerner – Exploring the depths

Nelson Goerner is a sort of ‘rare bird’ on the concert platform. Each of his concerts is a unique experience. His most recent CDs featuring major works by Brahms, Godowsky and Paderewski are simply breathtaking. Eric Schoones met him in Groningen to discuss his recordings, his views on his artistry and about Maria Tipo, with whom he studied. Read more >>


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Sleigh Ride – A Holiday Greeting on 440 Keys

Enjoy The Five Brown’s new rendition of Leroy Anderson’s joyful season’s celebration wondrously arranged for five pianos!

This eternal holiday favorite was composed during a severe heat wave in the summer of 1950 and has been a fixture with holiday concerts for more than half a century. It’s said that the main melody of “Sleigh Ride” was used as the main theme of Victor Young’s score for the 1949 western Streets of Laredo, with no credits to Anderson. The original orchestral version included humorous sound applications such as horse clip-clopping, and a whip used to get the horse moving. A percussionist provides these sounds on temple blocks and a slapstick. Toward the ending of the piece, a trumpet imitates the sound of a whinnying horse.

Leroy Anderson was an American composer of short, light concert music, of which many were introduced by the Boston Pops Orchestra and conductor Arthur Fiedler. Composer John Williams described him as “one of the great American masters of light orchestral music.” Anderson was born to first-generation Swedish parents in Cambridge, Massachusetts and played trombone in the Harvard University Band in the late 1920s. In graduate school he studied composition, organ and double bass as well as Scandinavian languages, which he used during Second Word War as head of the Scandinavian desk in U.S. military intelligence. His composition teachers at Harvard University included Walter Piston and George Enescu.


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A Jazz Piano Christmas 2019

NPR’s traditional season’s celebration ”A Piano Jazz Christmas”, was recorded live from The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. and offers a joyful mix of musical Christmas glitter from both the East and the West Coast of the United States.

This year’s pianistic line-up features Joshua White from Southern California, known for combining the passion of a young man’s discovery of jazz with an intellectual side, San Francisco based Rebeca Mauleón, who also anchors a thriving Afro-Caribbean music and jazz scene in the Bay Area, George Cables, who can be heard on so many classics over the decades and is also known as Elder Statesman of the West Coast jazz scene and Mark G. Meadows, who represent the East Coast; a jazz talent who also teaches and acts.

More information at NPR >>


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