Attention teachers! Trinity Guildhall launches new piano syllabus
6 July 2011
Trinity Guildhall has released a new piano syllabus for 2012-14, including freshly selected repertoire and newly composed exercises for the ‘technical work’ section of the exam. The updated syllabus is valid from January 2012.
The new syllabus for Piano and Piano Accompanying continues Trinity’s flexible approach to exams, offering further choice within the exam framework. The Initial Grade will also be accredited, providing extra recognition for beginner pianists.
A set of repertoire books and CDs is available, including the repertoire and new exercises for each Grade (Initial-Grade 8). The CDs feature the repertoire from the books performed by the well-known composers, teachers and performers John York, Pamela Lidiard and Peter Wild. The new repertoire publications are available in three formats – book only, book with CD and CD only.
The Estonian Piano Orchestra – broadcast review
25 June 2011
The Estonian Piano Orchestra, brainchild of
member Lauri Vainmaa, was created ten years ago by combining four piano-duet
teams, and promptly commissioned new works from local composers. Cunningly, perhaps, the best came
first. Jaan Raats’s ten-minute Concerto Op 126 – upbeat, motoric, foot-tapping
– recalled John Adams: piano teams anywhere, please repeat. Ulo Krigul’s bleak and unexpectedly
sparse 14-minute Aquaspherics introduced more adventurous techniques, some of
them (delicate, and scarcely audible) from inside the piano. One effect, a cascade of top-register
twitterings spiralling down the keyboards and falling off the bottom, recurred
in Urmas Sisask’s Voices of the Universe, Op 88 and formed one of that piece’s
best moments: elsewhere the material was – disappointingly, for such a cosmic
title – commonplace, and its 20 minutes failed to cohere.
The whole programme was completed by a non-piano interlude (Erkki-Sven Tuur’s orchestral Cystallisato), Sisask’s Ave Maria, and the best-known solo piano piece (Für Alina) of Estonia’s best-known composer, Arvo Pärt. Piano ensembles have a long history, studded with famous names like Czerny, Liszt, Rachmaninov, Grainger, Stravinsky and Orff. They deserve a separate article – meanwhile, the Estonian Piano Orchestra proudly displays a small country punching well above its weight. I look forward to its next commissions.
Gear up for a Prom-com
21 June 2011
Why did the chicken cross Kensington Road? To get to the Albert Hall, of course.
Aussie pianist-comedian Tim Minchin (pictured) hosts a Proms first on 13 August – a Comedy Prom. If Minchin’s previous form is anything to go by, you might have to take some extra pants. The prom also features BBC’s Maestro winner Sue Perkins and cabaret duo Kit and the Widow.
Some stuffed shirts might say the world’s greatest music festival is no place for laughter, but British pianist Danny Driver, who is taking part in the evening, says: ‘Music can encompass and express the entire gamut of human emotion and experience and this surely includes humour. I think it’s rather nice when audience members chuckle (quietly!) when the music being played takes a comical turn.’ He adds: ‘Such moments are to be found in anything from Bach to Ligeti. Haydn and CPE Bach, for instance, often indulge in deceptive trickery with sudden pauses and unexpected harmonic progressions; Bartók ridicules Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony in his Concerto for Orchestra. Where there is humorous intention in a score, I don’t hesitate to bring it out, though always with good taste and a sense of appropriate balance in mind.’
On the night Driver says we can expect some surprises: ‘Reizenstein’s Concerto Popolare is a hodge-podge of themes from several famous piano concertos. However, the orchestra and soloist don’t always agree on which one is to be played at any given moment. A few popular tunes also make appearances, disguised to a greater or lesser extent, sometimes behaving badly, sometimes actually “infecting” parts of a well-known piano concerto.’
But the comedy element has a serious point too. Says Driver: ‘Comedy is not just about laughter, it’s also a deeply probing form of social commentary. Listening to the Concerto Popolare and its lampoonery of the “greatest hits for piano and orchestra”, and we might be faced by some surprisingly serious questions: why do we listen to certain works and not others, and how do we listen to them?’ So, not time to stick on the red nose and pull out the custard pie just yet...
Artur Pizarro to perform London recital to help the homeless
31 May 2011, London
Acclaimed concert pianist Artur Pizarro is to perform an exclusive recital at Chappell of Bond Street, London, on 30 June featuring works by Chopin, Debussy and Ravel.
Only 45 tickets are available and the event is the second in Chappell’s 200th anniversary fundraising concert series in aid of Centrepoint, the leading charity for homeless young people.
The evening will be hosted by presenter Mark Goodier, who will provide audience members with the opportunity to meet and hear Artur Pizarro discuss his chosen repertoire.
Tickets for this one-off event are £50.
Doors and pre-concert drinks/canapés from 7pm. Recital at
To book tickets, please contact Ruth Eldridge: firstname.lastname@example.org or Steve Parslow: email@example.com
International Piano magazine goes digital
23 May 2011
International Piano magazine is now available via digital subscription and as an app for the iPad and iPhone.
Digital subscriptions cost £24.99 for six issues and are available through distributor PocketMags.
The International Piano app for iPhone and iPad can be downloaded for £1.99,
and comes with one free issue of the purchaser's choice: further single
issues or subscriptions may be purchased within the app.
All subscribers are entitled to an accompanying e-subscription of the magazine.