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NEW PIANO MAGAZINE: The World of Piano Competitions

As a collaborating partner Piano Street is proud to present the very first 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.

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Contributing Editors: Gustav Alink (Alink-Argerich Foundation), Stuart Isacoff, Patrick Jovell (Piano Street), Mario-Felix Vogt, KaJeng Wong

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Piano Street is happy to share this first issue with our readers free of charge: The-World-of-Piano-Competitions-issue-1-2019.pdf


The piano enjoys a tremendous popularity worldwide and has the universal quality to be able to communicate through cultures, history and geographical borders. The value of piano competitions cannot be overestimated in terms of focus on the piano as an instrument and piano playing. The competition industry engages a multiplicity of concerns including hi-end piano manufacturing, media coverage and broadcast, repertoire spotlight and pedagogy, concert and lecture production and not least, career opportunity and exposure for laureates and non-laureates. All this contributes to a richer cultural life and can powerfully promote the aim we all share: to spread the joy and riches of the art of piano playing.

”Piano music, especially live, is incomparable and can be a great source of joy for players and listeners. We all should strive to allow as many people benefit from it as possible. For that, this edition of The World of Piano Competition is an excellent form of encouragement. I hope its message spreads widely! I wish everyone much joy reading it and, later on, attending a concert!”
— Guido Zimmermann, President Steinway & Sons Europe


Gustav Alink reports
8 Edvard Grieg in Bergen
24 Concours de Genève
30 Chopin on Period Instruments, Warsaw
32 Bechstein Jazz, Berlin (report by Mario-Felix Vogt)
34 For Young Pianists, Ettlingen

10 An organisor’s view: Franz-Xaver Ohnesorg
11 A teacher’s view: Barbara Szczepanska
15 A director’s view: Rob Hilberink
19 A jurors view: Leslie Howard
27 One to watch: Yaroslav Bykh

In Profile
7 Queen Elisabeth Competition, Brussels
32 International German Piano Award, Frankfurt
33 Merci Maestro, Brussels
37 Piano Val de Travers
37 Euregio Piano Award, Geilenkirchen
39 International Telekom Beethoven Competition, Bonn
42 Mozarteum University Salzburg
42 Piano Lovers over 40, Milan

6 Partners
12 A Historic moment: Van Cliburn
16 Competitions online
20 After the competition: Anna Vinnitskaya & Seong-JinCho
23 Column: KaJeng Wong
29 Steinway Prize Winner Concerts Network
40 Innovation: Maene Straight Strung Pianos

is published twice a year by PIANIST, as a part of the regular edition, and also worldwide as a separate magazine.

PIANIST (regular edition) is published four times a year in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxemburg, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands and Belgium.


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International Piano – Jan/Feb 2019

A new issue of the magazine International Piano is out!

Andalusian pianist Javier Perianes strikes the perfect balance between sweetness and objectivity as he prepares to tour Beethoven’s concertos; Alfred Cortot’s shocking wartime record as a ruthless cultural arbiter for the Nazi regime; Burkard Schliessmann explores Schumann’s dual nature; and the unique legacy of eccentric Soviet pedagogue Heinrich Neuhaus.

Plus, Israeli pianist and painter Roman Rabinovich introduces his new album of Haydn sonatas; Poland’s new competition for Chopin on historic instruments; achieving tonal variety through judicious pedalling; Italy’s leading international exhibition for musical instruments; Leeds winner Eric Lu; practical courses for pianophiles; spiritual seeker and jazz pioneer Alice Coltrane; Jerome Rose recalls his influences as a ‘grand-pupil’ of Artur Schnabel and protégé of Rudolf Serkin; guitar masterpieces for the piano; and sheet music to Amy Beach’s ‘Cradle Song of the Lonely Mother’.

Piano Street Gold members have instant online access to the digital version of the magazine.
For print subscription, visit rhinegold.co.uk


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Ear-opening Explorations: Sabine Liebner plays Stockhausen’s Solo Piano Music

Sabine Liebner’s unfaltering decision to only play music to which she feels an inner affinity has led to her being primarily active as an interpreter of new music. She has premiered many works by contemporary composers and made important contributions performing and recording the music of 20th century composers like John Cage, Morton Feldman and Galina Ustvolskaya. For Liebner, music making is the solitary exploration of unknown terrain. She tries to listen to a score with no preconceptions, to discover its innate musical language. The results are often intriguing, and can sometimes even prove addictive, as in her recording of Stockhausen’s Klavierstücke I-XI.

Liebner is a very sensitive sound explorer, and uses her sophisticated and hugely varied tonal range to create truly magical soundscapes. The close recording catches these nuances beautifully, rendering the piano’s resonances with impressive detail. The first eleven Klavierstücke by Karl-Heinz Stockhausen (1928—2007) are considered to be some of most important solo piano pieces by the radical post-war European composers. They belong firmly in the somewhat hard-edged and abstract avantgarde sound world of the 1950’s, which may discourage some people from listening at all. Nevertheless, there is a possibility that this album will convert quite a few, if they only give it a chance.

The beginning of Klavierstück I (sample score from Universal Edition):

A New Way of Listening

One of the most interesting decisions Liebner has made concerns Klavierstück XI: in order to show the different possibilities of this work, she has recorded it twice. The score consists of a single large page with 19 groups or fragments, the order of which is decided during the performance. The pianist starts wherever the eye happens to fall, and ends whenever one of the groups has been played a third time. At the end of each group Stockhausen has noted the tempo, the type of touch, and the dynamics to be used in the group next chosen by the performer. In other words, while this work is very exactly notated every performance is a different, unrepeatable experience — a quality it shares with Cage’s legendary “silent” piece, 4’33’’, and Boulez’s unfinished Third Piano Sonata.

Perhaps there is no better way of experiencing the mysterious processes of this music than listening with a couple of good over-ear headphones in a dark room with absolutely no outer disturbances. After all, Stockhausen intention was not to provoke, but rather to train our mental abilities toward a new way of listening — in his own words, “to perceive vibrations and vibrational relationships, organisms, and processes in order to become more alert, intelligent, thoughtful, polyphonic, aware, and sensitive”.

NEW! Click the album cover to listen to the complete album.
This feature is only available for Gold members of pianostreet.com
Stockhausen: Solo Piano Music| Play album >> | Download CD cover >> |


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Gould’s $100.000 Holy Grail

A rare item that belonged to Glenn Gould has sold at auction in New York on December 5th for $100,000 US. The score of Bach’s Goldberg Variations contains the Canadian pianist’s detailed markings used while making his iconic 1981 recording of the piece.

Gould’s extensive autograph contains notes and annotations on a C.F. Peters printed score, and was used during his historic 1981 recording and film of his (second) interpretation of the Goldberg Variations– black flair pen, with orange crayon, lacking wrappers, some soiling, stray pen marks with tearing at the staples. “There’s no romantic or pictorial stuff. It’s really all about how to assemble tapes, microphones, and cameras… It’s almost like a shooting script for a film.” says Tim Page, a music critic and Glenn Gould scholar, who knew Gould personally.

The 1981 recording was his last studio album, which earned him a posthumous Grammy Award in 1983, a year after his death at just 50. Since then, he has become the most famous, and controversial, interpreter of Bach’s iconic work.
By 1964 he had given up concertizing in favor of making records. Excessively involved in the production of his recordings he conducted his takes, constantly adjusting sound levels chasing the quality of the live moment.

We all know Glenn Gould as one of the most original musicians and personalities of the 20th century. He was known and criticized for the technical manipulations of his recordings and in this area he can be regarded as a pioneer. He foresaw innovations we now take for granted in the field of global sonic transmission for example. Technical manipulation was something he frequently did also as a radio broadcaster. Few know Gould the radio and documentary broadcaster and producer, where he would interview interesting personalities both musical and otherwise on a variety of subjects. By combining cuts he used technology as a creative tool, to help create what he could not otherwise achieve. We can call it artistic expansion or maybe a wish to transcend the boundaries of reality. As a broadcaster and recording artist his interest in technology might well have reflected his need to explore his own ideas about spirituality, with and without music.

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The Brain’s Piano Spot Discovered

Brain mapping has come far in the world and we can read a lot about recent research in this area. Scientists have for instance been able to map the mutual brain connections utilized in language development and musical training. A newly-charted region in the human brain, which so far has not been seen in other animals, may be responsible for extremely fine motor control such as our unique ability to play piano.

Professor George Paxinos of Neuro Research Australia (NeuRA) said the discovery of a previously unknown part of the brain was ”starting me in the face for 30 years”. The size of a pea, the area is embedded in a major neural connection that links the spinal cord and the brain and is strongly linked to the control of our limbs. Paxinos spent more than forty years hand-drawing extraordinarily detailed maps of the human brain with the aid of a 4B (very soft) pencil. Human brains resemble monkey brains but they are bigger.

When Paxinos was searching for this new region in other animals, he just wasn’t able to find it. Thus, it seems to be a unique human part of the brain related to movement control. ”Monkeys, you don’t see them playing pianos, do you?” Paxinos joked. As one of Australia’s most important scientists, his atlases of the brain are among the most renown publications in neuroscience and are used in surgery for example.

So, how is brain mapping done? When starting a new atlas, a sample brain is cut horizontally into about 200 ultra-thin slices. These are photographed in extremely high resolution, and expanded to 100 x 100 centimeter prints before being placed on tables around a hall-size space.


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