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Pianist Magazine Celebrates 100 Issues

Not only Claude Debussy and Leonard Bernstein celebrate centennials this year, but also the London based Pianist Magazine which celebrated its 100th issue on January 26. Pianist Magazine is one of the most widespread and appreciated sources in the international piano world today. We called the magazine’s editor Erica Worth not only to congratulate, but also to ask her a couple of questions:

- Congratulations on your 100 issues Erica!
- Thank you!

Pianist Magazine issue 100- Your magazine is well-known to many, not at least for all the sheet music on all levels that you generously provide. But, how and when did it all start?

- It all started in the autumn of 2001. We launched Pianist because we felt there was a gap in the market for a real ‘how to play’ piano magazine, for people who love to play the piano. We knew there were thousands of amateur pianists out there – with other daily jobs, or retired – wanting to return to the piano. Piano has always been the No 1 instrument at the home. We wanted to bring that ‘home’ lesson to them, with our sheet music for all levels, with learning tips, and with the sound files so they could listen to the pieces before they played them. Also, with lessons around the pieces from our expert writers.

- You are a classically trained pianist. Which areas and angles are you able to discover and promote in your work, compared to a non-musically trained editor?

- Easy! I play through all the pieces that I’m choosing for the scores! That way, I can really know what the piece is like in terms of level of ability and so on. It’s so important to play the pieces before deciding whether to place them in the magazine or not. A piece can look so different on the page to how it feels in the hands!

erica-w-3

- Which is the toughest part of your work with the scores? Fingerings and pedaling are often subjects of discussion as well as choices of editions.

- Yes, both of those subjects are very tricky – and there’s never a ‘right’ or a ‘wrong’ way. One of the things that takes time is finding the right mixture of pieces (the right balance) that I have in one issue of the magazine. I have to make sure that not only do we have beginner to advanced pieces, but that we have a mixture of keys, mixture of time signatures, mixture of moods and so on. It’s no good having four moderato waltzes in the key of A flat, for example!

- While youngsters move out to the Internet and learn music through YouTube tutorials and synthesia videos, music teachers have noted for some time that score reading is getting weaker and weaker. How can we safeguard this essential skill in a fast changing world?

- We need to ensure that piano players, amateurs and alike, realise the importance of having a teacher. It’s fine to watch hundreds of videos, and read advice online and in books on how to improve, but there’s nothing like a teacher sitting next to you, guiding you. Players also need to realise that it might take a while to find the ‘right’ teacher that suits their needs. A teacher also gives structure in the whole journey of learning the piano.

- In your opinion, which are the best ways to promote pianoplaying in the world today?

- ONLINE, that’s for sure! However, when it comes to learning the piano, one needs to be careful. There are sites out there that claim they can teach you piano in a month… that’s rubbish! I take pride in my contributors; their words of wisdom come professionally qualified. The upside of social media is that there are more people listening to pianists in 2018 than ever before. Would you like to watch Rubinstein play Chopin? Hear Rachmaninov in one of his own preludes? Horowitz interviewed by Abram Chasins? Piano playing – past and present – comes to life on YouTube, Spotify and other streaming platforms. And it can only get better.

More information about Pianist Magazine:
www.pianistmagazine.com


/patrick
 
     

The Art of Cultivation – A Music and Friendship Bootcamp for Young Pianists

On the shores of Lake Maggiore, in the municipality of Laveno-Mombello, stands Villa Caterina, a very special house with very special guests. Here they all meet and study: PianoFriends, a musical association founded by Vincenzo Balzani and Catia Iglesias. The aim is perfecting the musical training of piano talents and to offer them multiple opportunities to perform in concert.

A cozy and familiar environment welcomes students eager to create a solid foundation from which to enter into the world of professionalism. They study under the guidance of Vincenzo Balzani, an esteemed pianist of the international music scene and professor emeritus of the “Giuseppe Verdi” Conservatory of Milano, who regularly serves on competition juries and gives master-classes and lectures both in Italy and abroad.

The strong conviction that studying from an early age with great masters can encourage the development of natural talent, Vincenzo Balzani has conceived his PianoFriends as a kind of laboratory in which each is taken care of and followed from the beginning until the formation of an authentic musical personality.

PianoFriends in Villa Caterina Laveno Mombello

Prof. Vincenzo Balzani with students in Villa Caterina (Laveno-Mombello, Italy)

Playing in public, dealing with a knowledgeable audience and performing in prestigious locations, is an important step in the artistic and personal growth of the young artist. PianoFriends offers many opportunities to perform. These include master classes with pianists, representing important European piano schools and important collaborations such as the Campus Youth Festival, which is organized in partnership with Festspiele Südtirol, the South Tyrolean Festival which organizes a final concert in the prestigious Sala Mahler.

PianoFriendsAmong the central activities is the PianoTalents Competition, which will take place from June 5 to 10, 2018 at Casa Verdi in Milano and will feature young pianists from age 5 to 21. Milano works like a second home of PianoFriends.

These are just some of the initiatives promoted by PianoFriends. Vincenzo Balzani says: “We all know how important it is for the maturation of an artist to constantly compare what has been learned and what has been done. PianoFriends is happy and honored to be able to create a bridge between organizers and the bodies or associations asking for collaboration.”

In order to help talents with limited economic means, PianoFriends encourages the public to support them through economic contributions that will help to pay tuition costs, purchase or hire of a piano, fees for participation in competitions or master classes etcetera.

So who joins PianoFriends? What are the requirements to become part of this great musical family? Not only talent, attitude and love for music, but also and above all; rigor, devotion and the knowledge that this artform requires the willingness to fully dedicate one’s life to it.

The air you breathe at PianoFriends is truly unique, an atmosphere of friendship and that special bond that only music can create. At Villa Caterina these young pianists study, learn, grow and prepare together for a life dedicated to music.

Read more at pianofriends.eu

This article is a contribution from PianoSolo through Piano Street’s International Media Exchange Initiative and the Cremona Media Lounge.


PianoSolo.itPianosolo.it is a project in favor of thousands of Italian speaking people with a common passion: the piano. Online since 2008, pianosolo.it was the first Italian blog completely dedicated to this theme. It offers daily news, lessons with video tutorials, interviews, reviews, in-depth articles, reports and opinions on piano world news, pursuing the aim of a widespread dissemination of musical culture at all levels.


/patrick
 
     

Piano Street’s New Year Score Hunt 2018!

Piano Street's New Year Score Hunt 2018

Welcome to join Piano Street’s New Year Score Hunt and get some exclusive pianos scores for free, as well as a chance to win a Gold Membership (value $129)!

Top Picks 2017Follow these four steps:

1. Find three free piano scores (downloadable pdf:s) hidden within some of the twelve articles in our Top Picks of 2017! (The scores are usually exclusively available for Gold members but now temporarily available as free downloads.)
CLICK HERE >> to start the hunt!

2. Find the three hints at the bottom of the last page of each of the three sheet music pdf files.

gold card3. Figure out which important year in the piano music history these three hints have in common.

4. Send your answer to webmaster@pianostreet.com with subject line “Score Hunt 2018″ no later than Sunday January 7 2018.

Among those who submit the correct answer we will draw three winners who receive a 1 Year Piano Street Gold membership (value $129).
Good luck!

P.S. If you have found the three hints but cannot figure out the answer, the corresponding web pages here at pianostreet.com could be helpful…


UPDATE January 10: Winners announced

The correct answer is year 1810, the year of the birth of Chopin and Schumann and the year Für Elise was most likely composed.
Among the many correct entries, three winners of a 1 year Gold membership has been drawn:

Claire Spence
Tzvika Krugliak
Voon Chow Fui

Congratulations!


/nilsjohan
 
     

Piano Street’s Top Picks of 2017

Happy New Piano Year!

We wish you a Happy New Piano Year with a list of highly recommended reading from Piano Street. These are the twelve most read, discussed or shared articles of 2017. Enjoy!

/The Piano Street Team

P.S. Please share this Facebook post with your piano playing friends!


New Year Score Hunt!
Welcome to join Piano Street’s New Year Score Hunt and get some exclusive pianos scores for free, as well as a chance to win a Gold Membership (value $129)! Read the rules here >>


Congratulations Maurizio Pollini 75!

On January 5th the Italian pianist celebrated his 75th birthday. Countless, celebrated concert performances are behind him along with awards and recordings. Piano Street congratulates one of the great pianists of our time and shares a lovely filmed portrait on his life. Read more >>


Belated London Premiere for Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel on International Women’s Day

As part of its special day of programming for International Women’s Day, BBC Radio 3 broadcasted a live performance of the Easter Sonata, a major piano work which until recently had been attributed to Felix Mendelssohn, but is now proved to be the work of his sister Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel. Read more >>


Immersed in Mozart – Roberto Prosseda on Recording the Early Sonatas

The Italian pianist Roberto Prosseda has previously recorded Mendelssohn’s complete piano works. Now he is embarking on a new, slightly less encyclopedic but equally ambitious project, that of recording Mozart’s complete sonatas. Read more >>


A Glimmering Christmas Celebration from Kennedy Center

A wonderous pianistic display of female artists and piano jazz styles, NPR present A Jazz Piano Christmas – the annual holiday tradition featuring four celebrated jazz pianists performing their favorite seasonal music. Read more >>


Barenboim on Chopin’s Ballade no. 1

Chopin inspires musicians to greater artistry and, as Barenboim says in this video, makes them want to sound as if the music is simply emanating from them as light from a candle. In this ballade, Chopin also takes us on a leisurely stroll through his own private musical world. Read more >>


Now is the Hour by Christopher Norton

Following the successful Eastern Preludes collection by the composer Christopher Norton, the Pacific Preludes are now set to be released on April 4. Piano Street’s Patrick Jovell talked to Christopher Norton, who gives us an exclusive glimpse into his compositional world. He is also generously offering Piano Street Gold members the score to Prelude no. 7 “Now is the Hour” as well as an instructive manual for how to practice the piece. Read more >>


The Media Lounge Debut and a World Gathering in Cremona!

Cremona again marked its presence as the world capital of instrumental music exhibitions with the 2017 edition of the Cremona Musica which combined top level artists, manufacturers, academia and pedagogy. Piano Street was invited to the new Media Lounge where 30 journalists from the major specialized newspapers, magazines, broadcast media and web-based media met to share ideas on musical critics and journalism elaborating on common issues, differences and possible collaborations in the classical music field. Read more >>


French Pianist Goes Wild in German Chorale

As a combination of supreme musicianship and Seasonal Celebrations, what would be more suitable than a traditional German Lutheran Chorale in the hands of the sensational French pianist Lucas Debargue, who is also known as an outstanding improviser and composer? Read more >>


The Audiovisual Study Tool (AST) Updated

In a significant improvement of Piano Street’s Audiovisual Study Tool (AST), all pieces in the digital sheet music library are now connected to hand picked recordings, 11 248 tracks by the greatest pianists on labels such as EMI, Decca, Deutche Grammophon, Sony Classical and many others. All recordings are available for unlimited online streaming for Piano Street Gold members. Read more >>


Mozart Can Tell the Difference

For the first time in the history of The Cliburn Competition, semifinalists were required to perform a Mozart concerto. This was not only based on the fact that the Cliburn Foundation’s CEO Jacques Marquis is a classical concerto fan, but rather from the aim of judging how competitors show musical maturity and the delicate world of the Austrian master. Read more >>


New Year’s Eve Celebration in the Berlin Philharmonie – LIVE STREAM

Thanks to a continuous collaboration with the Berliner Philharmoniker Digital Concert Hall, all Piano Street members enjoyed free access to the Digital Concert Hall before the champagne corks popped to celebrate the turn of the year. We experienced first-class virtuosic piano playing when Daniil Trifonov stepped up to the podium at the New Year’s Eve concert of the Berliner Philharmoniker. Read more >>


Ode to Joy at the Proms 2017

Hear Igor Levit’s encore at First Night of the Proms 2017. Liszt’s piano solo version of Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Read more >>


Want more? Here are previous years’ Top Picks:
Top Picks of 2014
Top Picks of 2015
Top Picks of 2016

Please let us know which article you find the most interesting and feel free to share if you have any specific plans or goals for your piano playing for next year!


/nilsjohan
 
     

A Glimmering Christmas Celebration from Kennedy Center

NPR Jazz Piano Christmas 2017

A wonderous pianistic display of female artists and piano jazz styles, NPR presents A Jazz Piano Christmas – the annual holiday tradition featuring four celebrated jazz pianists performing their favorite seasonal music.

Winner of the Kennedy Center’s Mary Lou Williams Jazz Piano Competition Helen Sung and 2018 NEA Jazz Master Joanne Brackeen return to the Terrace Theater, along with Brazilian virtuoso Abelita Mateus and Cajun blues master Marcia Ball. This perennially sold-out event was recorded for broadcast and streaming online.

About the artists:

”Abelita Mateus has, in abundance, those indispensables of the musicians’ craft: sensitivity, creativity, and a prodigious technique. Most of all, she sparkles with refreshment – and for a jazz musician to sound refreshing in 2017 is no ordinary thing!” – John Lee, renowned jazz bassist and producer

”Miss Brackeen succeeds where others have failed because she balances her swarming chord clusters with straightforward melodic statements and percussive bass figures. Her music breathes, and it sings.” - The New York Times

”Marcia Ball’s rollicking roadhouse rave-ups and soulful Gulf Coast R&B, her barrelhouse playing and her feel-good party tunes are iconic.”
– USA Today

“Live jazz doesn’t get any better.” - AllAboutJazz.com, on Helen Sung


/nilsjohan
 
     



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