Classical 91.5

Piano

Bryant Keicher

Pianist Henry Kearse has a simple mission – and an easy way to measure if he is succeeding at it.

I wish to make everyone happier, if I can, with something I can play. If I come up with a song out of the blue that means nothing to anyone, then I’ll play it once and then I’ll go on to another song.  I want audience satisfaction. That’s proven by the tip cup, silly as it sounds – if the tips are good, you’ve been a success, if they’re not there – well go home and study some more.

 

The annual Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival kicks off Friday.

Festival founder John Nugent joins us in studio to preview the acts, share some behind-the-scenes stories, and talk about how the festival has grown over the last 16 years. We also hear from two of this year’s performers: Laura Dubin and Mike Cottone.

Pianist and composer David Costello wants you to relax.

His most recent album “XVII” is a series of unnamed instrumental piano pieces – not exactly classical music, but something drawing on different styles he has played. 

Ralph Lauer

I think of it as the “piano Olympics,” but perhaps the best description of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition comes from the Boston Globe: “a cross between the Miss America Pageant, the Olympic Games, the Academy Awards, and the Pulitzer Prize.”

Every four years, since 1962, pianists from around the world gather in Fort Worth, Texas to compete for prizes and glory.

Previous Cliburn Gold winners include  Jon Nakamatsu, Vadym Koholodenko, and Olga Kern.

“Mompou is evoking in music the silence…and the silence is music.”  

When guitarist Rafaella Smits visited Rochester, she played and spoke about music by Catalan - French - Spanish composer Federico Mompou (1893-1987).

I think it’s fair to say Mompou is one of the composers with a “cult” following – he’s not mainstream famous, even among those who routinely listen to classical music, yet his music is beloved and revered by those who are in the know.  

Steinway

“I know a professor who painted a piano…”

“WHAT? That damages the sound! How could he? Was it an old junker?”

“Actually, it was a Steinway…”

 - Conversation backstage before an orchestra concert last week

You can cause some damage if you just start slapping paint on a piano in any old way. The frame of the piano affects the sound and resonance of the entire instrument.

It’s another thing if you are a trained artist, commissioned by Steinway to create one of their limited edition or special pianos.  There are some absolute beauties that have been created over the years, and one recent one - called "Pictures at an Exhibition" is particularly stunning. 

May 2017 Gilmore International Keyboard Festival Listings

May 1, 2017
http://www.the-wagnerian.com/2015/08/where-creative-paths-of-wagner-and.html

A very unique relationship: Richard Wagner and Franz Liszt did not always see eye to eye.  Though Wagner made Liszt nervous with his neuroticism, Liszt still championed Wanger's music.  After all, they were family!  Wagner's second wife and only love was Cosima, Liszt's daughter.  With such history, it's fascinating to listen to music composed by one and arranged by the other! Read more about the leading avant-gardists of the "New Germans" here.

Join WXXI for Classical 91.5 Presents, a series that spotlights classical music connections in film. 

Classical 91.5 Presents...The Pianist on Saturday January 21st at 3pm at The Little TheatreThe Empire Film Music Ensemble will play in the cafe before the movie starting at 2pm, and the movie will be followed by a discussion.

December 2016 Listings for the Cleveland Orchestra

Dec 1, 2016
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This month, the Cleveland Orchestra hosts two international piano competitions, and you can hear all the action here on Classical 91.5