Thursday, April 24, 2014

Chamber Music Connection: Promoting the Role of Chamber Music in a Musician's Development

One of the biggest challenges with developing musicians has always been how to create opportunities for learning chamber music. The Chamber Music Connection is a non-profit that looks to fill that void:
The Chamber Music Connection (CMC), located in Worthington, Ohio, provides an environment where student musicians (age 7 to 70) realize their potential and flourish. Studying and performing with local and nationally acclaimed musicians, while connecting with peers in small ensembles, the musicians who come to CMC grow both musically and personally. Leadership, responsibility, and cooperation are learned small ensembles where each person must play a different musical part. Students are grouped together based on many factors: age, musical ability, and their potential to learn from (and teach) each other. They must collaborate to achieve their musical goals. Musical mentors, including local pedagogues, members of the Columbus and New Albany Symphonies, university music professors from Denison, CIM, and Baldwin Wallace, and visiting chamber music artists performing at the Southern Theatre, coach the student groups in learning to play together and creatively discover their own musical ideas. CMC is a place where people, music, and life connect.

What an amazing mandate! Some young musicians from the CMC program playing intermediate-level piano quintets:

You can check out the Chamber Music Connection calendar here.

Christiane Karg and Malcolm Martineau Perform Richard Strauss' Ständchen

As Gerald Moore famously remarked, Strauss' Ständchen is considerably easier to play in the original key of F# major than in transposed keys (the F major middle key is fiendishly difficult). Here are Christiane Karg and Malcolm Martineau performing the song (in the original key) for their recent Strauss recording on Berlin Classics.

Keyboard-Operated Harp in Brussels

I'm not sure if this instrument in the Brussels Musical Instruments Museum is plucked or struck, but what a conversation piece it must be. If you know anything more about this wonderful and unique instrument, leave some info in the comments.

Update: It's a Dietz harp-piano! Thanks for the info, Yee-Ning.

Brussels- Musical Instruments Museum
xian_kath / flickr

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Free CD Giveaway: Schubert's Winterreise with Jonas Kaufmann and Helmut Deutsch

Of all the great song cycles, Schubert’s Winterreise is the one that has the greatest capacity for repeated listenings, with its bittersweet emotions, unanswered questions, and downward trajectory of the protagonist. There is no doubt that something unimaginably profound happens in the final song, but as to what that might be and where it leads after the end of the cycle is left up to the listener.

Jonas Kaufmann and Helmut Deutsch’s new recording on Sony Classical is sure to fascinate for a long time to come. Helmut Deutsch’s pianistic colors are bolder in scope than what you’ll find in many recordings and strongly driven by poetical details. Kaufmann’s use of Wilhelm Müller’s text brings to life the psychological narrative, and the degree of specificity of poetic imagery (and artistic risks!) give an excellent account of the cycle.

To commemorate the relase of this memorable recording, Sony Music have graciously offered to give away a copy of the Kaufmann/Deutsch Winterreise to one lucky Collaborative Piano Blog reader.

A huge thanks goes to Sony Classical for sponsoring this latest Collaborative Piano Blog giveaway.  So here we go...

Competition Rules and Regulations

1. Send an email to collaborativepiano [at] gmail dot com with a) "Winterreise CD Draw" in the subject line and b) a link to your favorite Collaborative Piano Blog article about art song in the body of the article. Not just any article, but it has to be a link to an article about art song.

2. Only one entry per person and per email address will be accepted.

3. The deadline for entries is Sunday, April 27th at 10pm EDT. After that I'll randomly draw one entry from the pool of accepted responses and announce the winner on the morning of Monday, April 28th.

4. After that, I'll email the winner of the CD and send it to them at my expense. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email, after which I'll pick another winner.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Job Opening for Music Instructor, Hutchinson Community College

Northwest of Wichita, Kansas lies the city of Hutchinson, whose community college has an opening in piano. Here are the duties:
Essential Functions

1. Teach music related courses including class piano, individual piano lessons (for music majors), recreational piano, aural skills, music appreciation, etc.
2. Assignments may include occasional evening courses and teaching via alternative delivery systems, such as online, and/or ITV.
3. Provide piano accompaniment for student recitals, faculty recitals, and vocal ensembles including vocal jazz.
4. Coordinate student recitals and other activities such as concerts (on- or off-campus), touring possibilities, clinics, festivals, workshops and/or master classes.
5. Recruit students for music and other fine arts programs and make scholarship awards within published deadlines.
6. Foster positive professional relationships with area high school music program directors/faculty and with community members who support HCC music programs.
7. Maintain donor database for the purpose of raising scholarship funds. Communicate with donors regularly and develop the donor base for music programs.
8. Maintain records and files as requested by the department chairperson.
9. Collaborate with other faculty in the department on classes, concerts, trips, workshops, recruiting, clinics, and performances.
10. Collaborate each school year with the theatre program on a musical. Duties may include music direction, providing musicians, rehearsing with the cast during the rehearsal process, and playing during rehearsals.
11. Maintain skills in teaching methods and course development as recommended by HCC.
12. Serve actively on campus committees.
13. Arrive on time for work and successfully complete the responsibilities of the position.


14. May advise prospective and current students in appropriate curricula.
15. May recommend upgrades for music technology and development of curriculum and/or online/hybrid delivery formats.
16. Perform other responsibilities as assigned by the appropriate Department Chairperson and/or the Vice-President of Academic Affairs.

You can find the full listing here.

Job Opening: Associate or Professor of Music in Piano, Chowan University

Chowan University in Murfreesboro, North Carolina is looking for a new piano faculty member. Here's what the job entails:
The Department of Music of Chowan University, a member of NASM, seeks candidates for an appointment at the Associate Professor or Professor level beginning August 2014. The successful candidate must have an earned doctorate in music and be eligible for a tenure-track appointment. The exceptional candidate may also be considered for department Chair.

Responsibilities include teaching applied piano, piano pedagogy, class piano, music history, music appreciation and/or music theory. Additional responsibilities include student advising and committee work. Responsibilities of the Chair include implementing the mission of the department, maintaining accreditation, administering the academic program, and recruiting majors. Candidates must be committed to undergraduate teaching, advising, and the mission of a Christian university. Chowan University is a graduate, coeducational, residential, church-related university located on a beautiful campus in northeastern North Carolina in the historic town of Murfreesboro.

For more information, you can find the complete job listing here. The position will remain open until filled.

4 Things To Know Before Buying a Used Steinway

Just over a year ago, I made a huge decision and bought a 1928 Steinway M. Finding the right combination of model, vintage, and quality was a huge challenge for me, and I was fortunate to have bought a first-rate instrument. Today's guest post is written by the folks over at Park Avenue Pianos, a specialty seller of high-quality Steinway grands in New York, who talk about what you should be looking for before buying a Steinway grand. You can find Park Avenue Pianos at 230 Central Park South in New York City, just a short walk from Lincoln Center. 

Buying a used Steinway piano is a big and exciting undertaking. A great Steinway is sure become the centerpiece of your piano playing life but it’s also a pretty big investment. Here are four things that you need to know before picking out your very own used Steinway.

1. Always check the serial number and age of the piano. You always want to determine the age of a Steinway to try to infer what type of life it has had since it left the factory. Different eras of Steinway production imply different things. For example, Steinway’s Golden Age was between about 1900 and 1955, and Golden Age Steinways are highly sought after. Identifying and aging a Steinway iseasy with this serial number age chart. Simply find the serial number on the cast-iron plate between the pins, and the number there should correspond to a year on the chart.

2. Learn the different types of used Steinways on the market. Each Steinway piano leaves the factory a technically perfect piano - what happens next is anyone's guess. There a few different categories of used Steinways on the market, and each suggests a different life the piano has had since leaving the factory. The trick is to get to know the different varieties of used Steinways out there. Steinways built with in the last few decades which have had regular maintenance are a great investment. They will most likely not require any repair work in the medium-term future. On the other side of the coin, restoring a Steinway in non-working condition is a big undertaking. It seems obvious but should always try to gauge your investment properly. Get as much information about the piano as possible, learn about any repairs it has had, any repairs it might night need, and if it’s had routine maintenance throughout its life.

3. Know what a soundboard is, and ask about it! The soundboard is the heart and soul of any piano. This is the piece of wood above which the string vibrate, the resonance of the wood amplifies the string’s vibration as well as adding its distinct tone. Steinway fabricated their own soundboards from close-grain Sitka Spruce. This is what gives Steinways their unique sound. When purchasing a used Steinway you want to make sure that the soundboard is in good condition or has been refurbished well. Remember that the soundboard is what gives a piano a lot of its auditory character.

4. Steinway pianos are a financially sound investment. As the cost of factory new Steinway pianos increases, so do the prices of used Steinways at a much higher rate than inflation. For example, a Model B Steinway built in 1985 now sells for over twice the original price. A Model B built in 1960 sells for over nine times the original price. Steinways have always been a sound and potentially profitable place to invest your money. The craftsmanship and integrity of Steinway & Sons insures that the pianos will continue to retain their value for a long time to come.