Kirill Gerstein wins Gilmore Artist award
31 March 2010
Russian-born American pianist Kirill Gerstein has been named as the 2010 Gilmore Artist. The award, given every four years, is decided on a non-competitive basis by a large jury and given to a pianist ‘who, regardless of age or nationality, has the potential to sustain a career as a major international artist’. He received $50,000 plus a further $250,000 over the four-year period to use for projects and activities that will enhance his musicianship and career.
The decision-making process done in secret: once the committee has decided on the nominees, members listen to recordings of the pianists and travel anonymously to hear them perform in concert, thus avoiding the artificially intensive atmosphere of the competition circuit.
Gerstein was understandably thrilled to receive the award: ‘It feels very gratifying and flattering to have my work recognised and supported by such a distinguished panel of experts in the classical music world. I’m overwhelmed by the myriad of projects that this award makes possible, and I’m looking forward to working with [director of the Irving S Gilmore International Keyboard Festival] Dan Gustin and his staff at the Gilmore to realise some of my creative dreams.’
Gerstein initially studied jazz piano in his hometown of Voronezh, south-west Russia, before turning to classical music and becoming the youngest ever student to study at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. He also studied under Solomon Mikowsky in New York, Dmitri Bashkirov in Madrid, and Ferenc Rados in Budapest. He divides his time between America and Germany, where he is professor of piano at the Stuttgart Musikhochschule.
LANG LANG MOVES FROM DG TO SONY CLASSICAL
31 March 2010
Chinese pianist Lang Lang, one of classical music’s highest-profile
stars both in China and in the west, has signed a ‘long-term’ agreement
with Sony Music Entertainment.
The news has made headlines across
the classical music and business communities, coming as it does at a
time when record labels are treading carefully when it comes to
committing themselves to expensive long-term contracts with artists.
Not only is Lang Lang’s contract described by Sony as ‘long-term’, it
is also purportedly worth several million pounds, although Sony has so
far declined to release the official figure. Lang Lang, 27, previously
recorded with Deutsche Grammophon – the first Chinese pianist to do so
– from 2003. His first recording for DG was Tchaikovsky’s B flat minor
and Mendelssohn’s G minor piano concertos, with the Chicago Symphony
under the baton of Daniel Barenboim; his first recording under his new
contract with Sony Classical will be a live recording of the pianist’s
upcoming recital at Vienna’s Musikverein.
media-savviness and business nous have struck a harmonious chord with
Sony, which is keen to explore new and diverse opportunities with the
pianist. Lang Lang has an existing association with the record label as
worldwide brand ambassador for Sony Group; in addition to recordings,
label and artist will collaborate on various other media projects
including 3D video and internet based music education initiatives. Rolf
Schmidt-Holtz, CEO of Sony Music Entertainment, revealed that the new
deal would include ‘educational and philanthropic activities’.
enjoy the innovative and creative energy of Sony,’ said Lang Lang.
‘They are not just looking into the future, they are shaping it, and I
am thrilled to be a part of this exciting process. We share a vision.
This is why our relationship is not just about making great recordings;
it’s also about technology and its future.’
Two other high-profile signings have also been announced this month. Lang Lang’s compatriot Yundi Li, who also formerly recorded with DG, has rebranded himself ‘Yundi’ and signed an exclusive recording contract with EMI. The contract embraces recordings of Chopin’s complete solo piano works and the first disc, to be issued in March, will feature the complete Nocturnes. Meanwhile, the New York-based pianist Simone Dinnerstein, whose 2007 Telarc recording of the Goldberg Variations brought her to worldwide attention and reached No.1 on the US Billboard Classical Chart in its first week of sales, has also signed an exclusive contract with Sony Classical. The repertoire for her first Sony disc will be announced in the spring.
INTERNATIONAL PIANO AWARDS 2009 RESULTS ANNOUNCED
9 November 2009
SERVICES TO MUSIC AWARD: MARIA CURCIO
A lifetime achievement award for someone who has made an immeasurable contribution in the fields of piano recording, piano playing, piano repertoire, piano education and other areas of the piano world. Maria Curcio was a piano teacher whose influence spread far and wide. Until her death earlier this year at the age of 89, few people outside the piano world had heard of this tiny Italian woman who gave advice to an endless stream of pianists – among them many of today’s foremost international concert artists – from her basement flat in north London. But within the piano world her reputation was massive. In our article, published in IP September/October 2009, five of those pianists who played for her offered their memories of a woman who left an indelible impression on their approach to piano playing.
BEST INTERPRETATION OF STANDARD REPERTOIRE
- WINNER Debussy Complete Piano Works vol.4 – Images, series I & II. Etudes, books I & II. Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (pf). Chandos CHAN10497
- RUNNER-UP Rachmaninoff Complete Preludes. Steven Osborne (pf). Hyperion CDA67700
- RUNNER-UP Satie Avant-dernières pensées. Alexandre Tharaud (pf). Harmonia Mundi HMC902017
BEST REISSUE/VINTAGE RECORDING
- WINNER Shura Cherkassky – The Complete HMV Stereo Recordings. First Hand Records FHR04
- RUNNER-UP Percy Grainger – Grieg Piano Concerto. Rex Lawson (pianola), Oyvind Bjora (vn); Kristiansand SO/Rolf Gupta. 2L 060 SABD
- RUNNER-UP Vladimir Sofronitzky Edition – Live recordings made between 1946 and 1960. Brilliant Classics 8975 9
BEST RECORDING OF NEW PIANO MUSIC
- WINNER Beat Furrer Piano Concerto. Nicolas Hodges (pf). Kairos 0012842KAI
- RUNNER-UP Simon Holt A Book of Colours. Rolf Hind (pf). NMC CD D128
DVD OF THE YEAR
- WINNER (EDUCATION CATEGORY) András Schiff (pf). Masterclass Media Foundation MMF001, 002, 003.
- WINNER (PERFORMANCE CATEGORY) Alfred Brendel Plays and introduces Schubert, vols.1–5. Medici Arts
BOOK OF THE YEAR
- WNNER The Art of French Piano Music by Roy Howat. Yale University Press
- RUNNER-UP Menahem Pressler: Artistry in Piano Teaching by William Brown. Indiana University Press.
BEST DEBUT CD
- WINNER Yuja Wang Sonatas & Etudes. Deutsche Grammophon 477 8140
- WINNER Ilona Timchenko Brahms Paganini Variations op.35. Schumann Kreisleriana. Clara Schumann 3 Preludes and Fugues op.16. Landor Records LAN 286
BEST SHEET MUSIC
- WINNER (NEW WORK CATEGORY) Alban Berg, Marvin Wolfthal Lulu Fantasy for piano. Universal Edition UE 33970
- WINNER (EDITION CATEGORY) Mozart Sonata in A K310. Wiener Urtext Edition (with facsimile). Schott/Universal Edition ISMN M-50057-283-1
- WINNER (EDITION CATEGORY) Chopin Four Ballades. Ed. Jim Samson. Edition Peters
READERS’ CHOICE AWARD FOR BEST RECORDING
- WINNER Piotr Anderszewski at Carnegie Hall. Virgin Classics 6 94688 2
- RUNNER-UP Garrick Ohlsson Scriabin Complete Etudes. Bridge 9287
The full list of winners, including citations, is published in the November/December 2009 issue of International Piano magazine.
Antique keyboard instruments brought to life
3 July 2009, London, UK
The harpsichords, clavichords and early pianos on display at Fenton House in Hampstead, London, have always been out of reach to most visitors, along with the secrets of how they sound. These antique instruments are too fragile to touch, and incapable of staying in tune.
Now, thanks to the efforts of researchers from the University of Abertay in Scotland, visitors will now be able to discover for themselves what these instruments actually sound like. The team, led by Dr Kenny McAlpine, has recreated the sounds of two of the instruments – a c.17th century Italian virginal and a 1777 two-manual Kirkman harpsichord – by making detailed forensic recordings of each individual note. The sounds are then ‘housed’ inside a specially built two-manual electric keyboard that visitors can play.
Listen to the instruments by visiting our new downloads section or click here.
In order to make the sounds authentic, the team captured some very delicate sounds such as the jacks and the plectra as they make contact with the strings and return to rest. McAlpine said: ‘There’s always the question of balancing the needs of access to old, fragile instruments and preserving them for future generations. Our process answers that “red velvet cord” problem.’
McAlpine says he now plans to digitalise the sounds of the other 19 instruments in the collection.
Fazil Say will face trial under hate laws after acquittal calls rejected
19 October 2012, Alex Stevens
Facing trial: Fazil Say
The trial of Turkish pianist and composer Fazil Say has been adjourned until 18 February after a Turkish court rejected calls for an acquittal.
Mr Say is being prosecuted for comments he made on Twitter, under laws against inciting hatred and insulting the values of Muslims.
The BBC reported one of the tweets as reading: ‘I am not sure if you have also realised it, but if there's a louse, a non-entity, a lowlife, a thief or a fool, it's always an Islamist.’
He also reportedly mocked a short call to prayer before making reference to Muslims’ forbearance of alcohol, tweeting: ‘Why such haste? Have you got a mistress waiting or a raki on the table?’
The maximum sentence for the crime is 18 months, but if Mr Say were found guilty his sentence would be likely to be suspended, said the BBC.
Mr Say has served as a cultural ambassador for the European Union and has also been a vocal critic of the Turkish government and its prime minister Tayyip Erdogan.
He has played with the London Symphony Orchestra and the world premiere of his Four Cities, a BBC commission, was given by cellist Nicolas Altstaedt and pianist Jose Gallardo at this year’s City of London Festival.