International Piano is a unique bi-monthly publication written for and loved by pianists and discerning fans of piano music all over the world.

Each bi-monthly issue includes interviews with top pianists and rising talent, performance tips, news, features, analysis and comment. You will find exclusive tutorials by concert artists, in-depth articles on piano recordings and repertoire, masterclasses on piano technique, and festival, concert and competition reports from around the globe.

Every edition includes a five-page Symposium, hosted by Jeremy Siepmann, which brings together leading experts and international pianists for a round-table debate.

Our comprehensive reviews section examines the latest recordings, books, DVDs, sheet music and concerts.

Plus, each issue includes free sheet music – often rare or newly released works – for readers to add to their collections.

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British piano teaching guru Dame Fanny Waterman has announced that she will step down as artistic director of the Leeds International Piano Competition after its September instalment. Waterman co-founded ‘The Leeds’ in 1961, and the contest has propelled the likes of Murray Perahia, Radu Lupu and Artur Pizarro into the spotlight. (It has also seen its share of historically amusing placements: András Schiff famously came third in 1975 – but then he was against Dmitri Alexeev and Mitsuko Uchida, who took first and second prize, respectively.) Waterman has made an invaluable contribution to the music world, and under ordinary circumstances, this column would simply speculate on the appointment of her successor. However, Waterman’s recent comments in the UK press must be addressed.

In an interview published in the Observer, Waterman appeared to blame the popularity of digital pianos for the UK failing to produce performers who can compete internationally. When asked if the standard of British playing has deteriorated, Waterman replied: ‘Definitely’ and suggested that few teachers in Britain were teaching students ‘the subtleties you can bring out of the piano’.

Firstly, this is hugely offensive to the vast swathes of piano teachers who are doing exactly that. Secondly, where is the evidence to support that British playing has deteriorated? There may well be fewer British entrants to The Leeds – and other international competitions – but this is not an accurate barometer of talent levels. 

The issue of digital pianos is more complex and has been discussed at length in these pages. There are many types of electronic instruments, from entry level to grand piano. Waterman is incorrect to liken them to ‘playing the violin but studying the guitar’ – perhaps this was the case 20 years ago but technology has developed. Of course, an aspiring professional pianist at conservatoire level should be playing an acoustic the majority of the time. But if they live in a flat and practice with headphones, is that such a terrible thing? And what about the families that cannot afford an acoustic instrument but can provide their children with a keyboard? For better or worse, electronic keyboards have democratised piano playing: isn’t that what Dame Fanny and her colleagues have been fighting for?

Claire Jackson 

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In The Next Issue of International Piano: May/June 2015

Double trouble
Alice Sara Ott and Francesco Tristano talk piano duos and compositional pyrotechnics

Ferruccio Busoni
Experts discuss the great concerto – and more

Composer focus
The overlooked piano works of Roger Sacheverell Coke

Porter's pianos
Cole Porter and the American popular songbook

All the usual news, reviews, interviews and comment from the piano world


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