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Alexandre Kantorow Wins Tchaikovsky Competition

The 16th International Tchaikovsky Competition concluded at night on June 27, naming the winners across its six categories. In the piano category the Gold Medal went to the French pianist Alexandre Kantorow.

Notably, Kantorow was the only finalist playing Tchaikovsky’s Second Piano Concerto and not the ever popular First. Hear his performance of this work and Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 in the Final Round at medici.tv

Alexandre Kantorow in the middle section of Fauré’s Nocturne no. 6, opus 63 from the second round of the competition:


The young French pianist recently released a much-praised album of Saint-Saëns piano concertos for the BIS label. BIS started to record with him already five years ago and surely must be very proud over this collaboration.

”Kantorow is the real deal – a fire-breathing virtuoso with a poetic charm…”
— Gramophone, June 2019

An Unexpected Special Prize Awarded

The jury led by Denis Matsuev awarded two Silver Medals and three Bronze medals (see full list of prize winners) but this year’s competition will also be remembered by a significant administrational blunder.
The Chinese pianist Tianxu An was awarded fourth place and a “Special Prize for courage and restraint” for his ability to handle the orchestra’s mix-up of Tchaikovsky First Concerto and the Rachmaninov Paganini Rhapsody. See his confusion in this short video clip.

The official explanation of the incident:
“Due to a gross error committed by an employee of the State Academic Symphony Orchestra “Evgeny Svetlanov” on June 25, 2019, before the Competition performance of An Tianxu, the musical scores by Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Sergei Rachmaninoff for the orchestra and the conductor were arranged in a reverse order which differed from the pattern requested by the participant. In this connection, the performance began with a failure, because the participant was unable to immediately understand what had happened, and switched to another musical piece already during the performance. By a unanimous decision of the Jury, Denis Matsuev, the Jury Chair in the Piano category, officially invited An Tianxu to re-play his program. The participant officially refused.”


The Tchaikovsky Piano Competition is held every four years in Moscow, and is considered one of the more prestigious competitions in the world, alongside other events like the Van Cliburn Competition (Texas) the Leeds Competition, The Chopin Competition (Warsaw), The Queen Elisabeth Competition (Brussels) and the Arthur Rubinstein Competition (Tel-Aviv).

Recent winners of the Tchaikovsky competition included Daniil Trifonov (2011) and Dmitry Masleev (2015).

All performances of the 2019 competition are available at:
tch16.medici.tv/en/replay/


/patrick
 
     

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.

Steinway’s highly secure selection room that’s reserved for only its top clientele, showcases some of the rarest and most grail-worthy pianos the company has ever built.

Currently, seven Steinway limited edition pianos are on view in The Vault. A John Lennon “Imagine” Model B Spirio sits in the left hand corner, with reproduced Lennon doodles and, of course, a signature – created in celebration of the late musician’s would-be 70th birthday.

Another standout among this exclusive crowd is the Lalique Heliconia Model A. Droplets of Lalique glass adorn the piano, styled as crystalline leaves upon swirling white branches.

Journey through imagination

The Vault’s crown jewel is the “Pictures at an Exhibition”. This unique concert grand piano unites Modest Mussorgsky’s immortal work for solo piano with classical painting of Russian history and folklore: landscape, the witch Baba Yaga’s clock hut, the Great Gate of Kiev, and many more.

Pianist and artist Paul Wyse started the design process in 2012 and the finished piano was revealed in May 2017. Hear him introduce the project:

Learn more about this piano on steinway.com.

Follow along into the Vault!

The guys at Gear Patrol recently visited Steinway’s factory and headquarters in Queens, NYC, to witness the crafting and manufacturing process first-hand. Follow them exploring the new hyper-exclusive Vault in this video:


/nilsjohan
 
     

German Piano Award 2019

Frankfurt Musikmesse kicked off its 2019 edition by presenting the 9th edition of The International German Piano Award’s Grand-Prix-Final Concerts initiated by The International Piano Forum (IPF), which was founded in 2008 by friends and supporters of classical piano music. It offers outstanding young national and international artistic personalities a platform accompanying them on their way to an international career. The prize money amounts to a total of €20,000.

Jeung Beum Sohn

This year’s winner in the finals at Alte Oper Frankfurt on March 31 was South Korean pianist Jeung Beum Sohn, presently a student at the Conservatory in Münster. Jeung Beum Sohn’s rendition of Brahms’ D minor Concerto defeated the other finalist Luka Okros’ in Rachmaninov’s C minor Concerto who received the Audience Award and €3,000. The competition attracted some one hundred applications and six nominated semifinalists were invited to come to Frankfurt. All nominees will be supported by The International Piano Forum in their following careers. IPF arrange concert series and performances internationally and establish contacts with both orchestras and their leaders. This platform is named IPF-MASTERS.

Despite countless other piano competitions, something like the International German Piano Award has never existed before says IPF Patron Dr. Peter Ramsauer. Patrons Maestro Valery Gergiev and Dr. Petra Roth points out the award to be a cultural highlight and a commitment and support for young pianists in their international careers. Also pianist Lars Vogt finds it especially important to pinpoint the young pianists’ ”deep understanding of one’s self and the boundless vastness, which is slumbering in all of us and composers have wonderfully expressed across all boundaries of time”.

Watch videos from past and current events on International Piano Forum’s YouTube channel.

9th International German Piano Award 2019 – Frankfurt, Germany – Impressions:


/patrick
 
     

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 ne able to play your favourite piano pieces on it.

Nintendo surprised many last year when it first revealed the initial set of cardboard-based constructible toy-sets that are a part of its Nintendo Labo product line. These ‘Toy-Cons’ have accumulated a split reputation, with some being quite fond of the concept – like elementary school children and their teachers – and others feeling as though it’s a waste of time.

One of the toys you can build with the “Variety Kit” is a playable cardboard piano – including keys and knobs – that can even be used to record tracks with a simple DAW. It’s part of a legacy of music-making on Nintendo devices that stretches back to the music editor on Mario Paint on the SNES in 1992 and continued with the Korg DS-10 for the DS in 2008.

It is encouraging to see that a toy replica of an acoustic piano is included in a mainstream toy set, but can it be used as some kind of serious musical instrument, or at least as a source of musical inspiration comparable to Apple’s iOS app GarageBand? FACTmagazine have been seeking answer:

What is even more impressing though is that Dutch paper folding virtuoso Jean-Paul Leconte using some glue, scissors, construction paper and a lot of skill has managed to squeeze all of the functionality into a pop-up book that it can seamlessly fold and unfold!

The piano uses the same Joy-Con controller as Nintendo’s version to control the companion Switch game. Watch the pop-up paper piano in action:

Related reading:

Build a LEGO Piano to Learn Basic Piano Mechanics!
Super Mario – The Czerny Studies of Our Time?
John Cage: Suite for Toy Piano


/nilsjohan
 
     

LIVE STREAM: Daniil Trifonov in Berlin

Daniil Trifonov, the Berliner Philharmoniker’s Artist in Residence this season, plays a sold-out solo recital in the Philharmonie on February 21. As one of today’s most in-demand classical virtuosos, known to always capture the true spirit of music no matter which repertoire he touches, he will perform some of the less often played cornerstones of the piano repertoire. The recital will be live streamed in Digital Concert Hall.

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 pianist Daniil Trifonov on Thursday 21 February 2019 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! >>

“He has everything and more, there is tenderness and also the demonic element. I never heard anything like that,” — Martha Argerich

LIVESTREAM: Thursday 21 February 2019, 19.00 (UTC/GMT)
Program:
Beethoven: Andante favori in F major, WoO 57
Beethoven: Piano Sonata op. 31 No. 3
Schumann: Bunte Blätter, op. 99
Schumann: Presto Passionato *
Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 8, op. 84

(* First Version of the finale from the Piano Sonata Nr. 2, op. 22)

In 2011, he was awarded first prize at the Arthur Rubinstein Competition, and in the same year he won a gold medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition; Deutsche Grammophon immediately added the recording of his first appearance at Carnegie Hall in New York to its series of artistically outstanding recordings in 2013, and following his German debut three months later – which is said to have taken the breath away of none other than Alfred Brendel – a critic of the Süddeutsche Zeitung was convinced that he had experienced “one of the most successful and incredible piano talents of recent decades”. Daniil Trifonov, born in 1991, is undoubtedly one of the most astounding pianists of his generation – and perhaps already one of the best in the 21st century.

Following his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker, which he made in 2016 with Sergei Rachmaninov’s breakneck Third Piano Concerto, and other concerts as part of which he performed piano concertos by Schumann among others, Trifonov is the Berliner Philharmoniker’s Artist in Residence this season. In this role, he will appear as a soloist in concerts with the orchestra, as a lieder accompanist and chamber music partner, and as a mentor and musical dialogue partner of the Karajan Academy. However, Trifonov’s most personal pianistic calling card is this recital, which shows off all the facets of his technical and interpretive mastery: with works by Beethoven, Schumann and Prokofiev he takes a journey through those 150 years in which piano music enjoyed its heyday.


/nilsjohan
 
     



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