Fazil Say faces trial over Tweets
10 September 2012
Turkish pianist and composer Fazil Say, 42, has been charged with insulting Islamic religious values in comments he made on Twitter. The pianist denies the charges and faces trial on 18 October.
The case has captured the attention of pianists worldwide, including fellow Turk AyseDeniz Gokcin, who played Say’s piece Alla Turca Jazz on 50 different street pianos in London during July to show her support of the artist. The pianos were presented by the City of London Festival as part of the ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ project created by British artist Luke Jerram, that has been touring internationally since 2008.
Gokcin says that the project ‘represents my wishes for a more democratic and tolerant Turkey in which artists, writers and intellectuals can think and speak freely.
‘Music represents freedom. It is everywhere just like the
air we breathe, and as long as the universe exists, it cannot be destroyed, nor
can its freedom be taken away... Because the power of the notes is stronger
than anything you can ever imagine. I wish artists, authors and thinkers in
Turkey, my home country, could also be as free.’ The video can be viewed here.
Say, who has frequently criticised the pro-Islamic Justice and Development Party government over its cultural and social policies, publicly defines himself as an atheist – a controversial admission in Turkey, which is overwhelmingly Muslim. He could face a maximum one and a half years in prison if he is convicted.
Aung San Suu Kyi becomes honorary ambassador for The Leeds International Piano Competition
1 September 2012
Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has become honorary ambassador for the Leeds International Piano Competition, and the competition’s top prize will be named after her, to become the Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Gold Medal.
The Burmese politician is an amateur pianist and during the 15 years she spent under house arrest in Burma she would often play – on one occasion so fiercely that she broke some of the piano’s strings. British prime minister David Cameron (pictured with Aung San Suu Kyi during her recent visit to London) commented: ‘The Leeds International Piano Competition is one of the great classical music competitions in the world. It’s a tremendous advert for Leeds and for Britain as a whole.’ Dame Fanny Waterman, chairman and artistic director of the competition said: ‘This is the greatest honour our piano competition has ever received.’
Former prize winners of the Leeds International Piano Competition have included Murray Perahia, András Schiff and Mitsuko Uchida, and have spanned 28 different countries. The 17th edition of the competition is currently underway and concludes on 16 September. More than 270 pianists entered, from which 80 have been selected to compete in front of an international jury.
ABRSM publishes new piano syllabus
9 July 2012
Examination board ABRSM has published new Piano and Brass syllabuses which take effect from 1 January 2013.
The Piano syllabus comprises 158 newly selected pieces from a range of classical and contemporary composers. The syllabus will be supported by new Piano Exam Pieces sheet music and recordings. Further support for piano teachers will be available through a series of seminars to introduce the new repertoire later on this year.
syllabus offers a colourful range of works from a diverse array of countries
including Chinese pieces at Grades 2 and 6, a piece by Venezuelan composer,
Federico Ruiz at Grade 4 (his first appearance on an ABRSM syllabus), and a
rare Chopin arrangement of a Polish song at Grade 3.
All the syllabus material is available to purchase from the Rhinegold Shop. Click here for more information. Music teachers save 10% - enter RGEDUCATE at the checkout.
Welcome, Odradek Records!
1 July 2012
A new classical music label with a specific focus on
artist-controlled material and piano repertoire is now in operation.
Based in the US but with a global outreach, Odradek Records
is the brainchild of the company’s director John Anderson. Anderson was
inspired to create a record label that could offer recording facilities for
musicians who want to remain free from the constraints and demands of larger
commercial companies. ‘We are convinced that there are many artists who can give an original and high
quality contribution to musical research, and who are unsatisfied with the
current musical world,’ says Anderson.
‘We think that these musicians are only lacking a voice, a channel that permits them to express their talents in a way which is clean and financially accessible, independent from economic and political considerations, or from the criteria of a star system. We believe that classical music, produced in this way, has not only an already existing affectionate public, but a potentially much larger new public, waiting only to be reached.
‘In short, Odradek Records wants to be a voice for artists
who share our philosophy and a channel between them and the public.’
As well as providing a platform to record material, Odradek Records offers all its net profits to the artists. ‘We don’t accumulate capital, only recuperate its expenses. This buys us freedom from the markets and the logic of the star system and culture industry,’ explains Anderson. ‘Artists join our label through an honest and open application process, without consideration of their backgrounds, financial status, political connections, or past successes.’
The label has chosen to specialise in piano works and has attracted pianists from across the globe, such as Duo Miho and Masumi Hio, and Domenico Codispoti. In addition to its recent releases – including the complete piano works of Schoenberg by Pina Napolitano – Odradek Records has received the first recording rights from Boosey & Hawkes for Unsuk Chin’s Piano Études. The label is currently programming its first series of music festivals around Italy this July.
Odradek records are available to buy through Amazon, with digital versions available via the company website and iTunes.
Purchase the July/August edition of International Piano magazine for a FREE 22-track download of piano music, including works by Ravel, Ligeti and Schoenberg, as well as eight exclusive tracks from Javier Negrin's future release and a world premiere recording of Unsuk Chin's Six Etudes.
Elijah Wood to star in thriller 'Grand Piano'
14 May 2012
Pianists make scintillating subject matter for filmmakers – see: The Pianist, The Piano et al – and now Grand Piano, a thriller starring Elijah Wood as the piano-playing protagonist, is slated for creation later this summer, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The film, described as ‘Speed but with a piano’ features Wood as a once-great concert pianist who has developed crippling stage fright. After spending five years away from the stage, he returns to perform at a gala, only to discover a threatening note on his music sheet. Wood must then play to save both his own life and his wife’s.
Eugenio Mira will direct, working from a script by Damien Chazelle, and Buried team Rodrigo Cortes and Adrian Guerra are involved as producers.