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Igor Levit: ‘This is what keeps my inner light burning these days’

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Pianists and promoters reach out to audiences online

12:00, 21st April 2020

With concerts cancelled across the world and artists facing strict social distancing measures, many are taking to the web to share their music-making. From live social media streams to archive concert recordings, here are some of the highlights for you to enjoy:

  • Igor Levit is broadcasting ‘house concerts’ every evening at 7pm CET (6pm GMT) on Twitter. The pianist tweeted on 19 March: ‘I have probably never felt the actual life saving meaning of music and sound before – not in this existential dimension of today. Thank you for allowing me to share this with you. This is what keeps my inner light burning these days.’
  • Angela Hewitt has been posting daily videos on Facebook since 21 March, offering followers the opportunity to see her hands close up in repertoire ranging from Bach to Ravel. She told IP: ‘Music sustains us, and gives us an important outlet for our feelings. And if it brings a smile to the face or a laugh, then so much the better!’
  • Boris Giltburg is streaming live lunchtime recitals from his home every Monday and Wednesday at 1pm CET (12pm GMT) on Twitter and Facebook. He’ll also be giving recitals on the Fridays when he isn’t adding a new Beethoven sonata to his ‘Beethoven 32’ project: a year-long quest to learn and film all of Beethoven’s piano sonatas in celebration of the composer’s 250th anniversary.
  • Lise de la Salle is running ‘Confinement Live’ events every Tuesday and Saturday at 7pm CET (6pm GMT) via her Facebook page. Audience members are invited to send in questions which De la Salle will answer during the live sessions.
  • Jonathan Biss can be heard performing the last three Beethoven sonatas in a free video recorded to mark the anniversary of the composer’s death on 26 March. Originally scheduled as a live, ticketed event at New York’s 92nd Street Y Kaufmann Concert Hall, this concert is now available via the 92Y website.
  • Junction Piano Trio pianist Conrad Tao has uploaded a streamed performance to Facebook of Frederic Rzewski’s epic The People United Will Never Be Defeated – 36 variations on a Chilean protest song and anthem of unity.
  • The LSO and Sir Simon Rattle have launched ‘Always Playing’, an initiative that will see archive concert recordings streamed at the orchestra’s usual concert times of 7:30pm GMT on Thursdays and 7pm GMT on Sundays. The series includes major piano concertos by leading artists – keep checking the website for updates.
  • Deutsche Grammophon is presenting live streams and delayed relays of concerts via Facebook and YouTube. The video series entitled ‘Moment Musical’ features DG artists filmed live at Berlin’s Meistersaal. Each performance will be available on demand for 72 hours.
  • Klavier Salon München is posting regular videos of piano recitals via Facebook and YouTube. A recent series called Piano Hour featured 14 one-hour programmes, including a performance by Yulianna Avdeeva of works by Schumann and Schubert. Tune in to hear German pianist Brigitte Helbig give the world premiere of Piano Sonata No 1 and other rediscovered pieces by the Jewish composer Hans Winterberg.
  • Russian pianist Yulia Chaplina has launched a free online video series featuring ‘light and positive’ repertoire designed to help listeners feel better. She says a lot of her upcoming concerts have been cancelled, ‘so this activity is great for my wellbeing too!’
  • James Rhodes, on lockdown in Madrid, is sharing videos daily on Twitter and Facebook, with a particular focus on the music of Chopin.
  • British pianist Julian Jacobson is streaming a Daily Coffee Piano Moment at 11am (GMT) each morning via his Twitter page and video app Periscope
  • Every Friday from 27 March, Christina McMaster will post a new video combining music, restorative yoga and meditation as part of her ongoing initiative ‘Lie Down + Listen’.
  • Pianist Tom Poster and his violinist wife Elena Urioste got caught on lockdown in Philadelphia, so decided to do something to keep up their own spirits: they invited fans to suggest pieces they could arrange and film themselves playing. The results range from touching to ridiculous and can be viewed via the jukebox page on Urioste’s website.
  • Streaming site Sonoraspace hosted a Virtual Piano Festival of upcoming young artists on 29 March to mark Piano Day 2020. The full programme lasting nearly three hours is still available to view online via YouTube. Performers include Luca Longobardi, Marika Takeuchi and Simeon Walker.
  • The American Pianists Association is hosting a five-week streaming series called ‘Live from the Piano Bench’, featuring interviews and short performances with its past and present Awards winners on Sunday afternoons (26 April to 31 May at 3:30pm EST). Artists include Kenny Broberg with 1981 Awards winner Jonathan Shames (10 May) and Sam Hong with 1985 Awards winner Frederic Chiu (31 May).
  • If you’re a fan of Grieg’s ‘Lyric Pieces’, tune in to watch Leon McCawley’s daily videos on Twitter.
  • Meanwhile, Charles Owen is offering a sneak peek into his preparations for a new album of music by Liszt to mark his 50th birthday next year.

We will aim to keep this list updated. Please let us know of any other online piano concerts you come across!

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