Viewing: Pianists - View all posts

Does it Matter Who Plays the Music? 

Here is wonderful article about a pianist's interpretation:  The Way is Not the Only Way

I remember being asked in college to identify a pianist simply by listening to a recording and thinking, how in the world can I identify a specific pianist? Doesn't all classical piano sound the same? Little did I know that each person brings a piece of themselves into each performance, regardless of how "common" his choice of repertoire. 

When a listener takes the time to listen to the same piece of music played by…

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Becoming an Artist, Part 6: Memorizing Hard Stuff 

Memory has always been the hardest part of piano playing for me. I can sight read much of the repertoire comfortably (I'm not speaking about Faure or Ravel, haha!) but memorizing has always been a challenge. Case in point, I have been working on Ginastera's Suite de Danzas Criollas for about a year now and had memorized it in its entirety for a performance last spring...except for the third movement, for which I shamelessly used the score. But since I am including this suite of dances on my new CD project…

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Becoming an Artist, Part 5: Channeling Yuja 

I am continually amazed at Yuja Wang and her flawless live performances. How she can perform piece after piece on different pianos, without having a lapse in concentration, a memory slip, a slight miss on a jump, is incomprehensible to me. 

I have been working on Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in G-sharp Minor for months now. It has been fully memorized for quite a while, and I have worked out technical challenges, dealt with memory slips in different places, and grown in expressing my interpretation and style. I…

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Becoming an Artist, Part 4: Working with Pawel Checinski 

I had the most amazing piano lesson this month with Pawel Checinski, the teacher of one of my pianist friends. We met formally for an hour, and as often happens with a master teacher, I was given enough material to work on for the next few months! 

I had not had a piano lesson since my years as an undergrad, so I was a little hesitant going in. My inner critic is enough of a challenge as it is, and a lesson felt quite intimidating at first. However, I was met with the most encouraging and constructive…

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Becoming an Artist, Part 3: Developing True Artistry 

Listening to myself play on a recording is quite eye-opening. Stepping back from behind the keys and hearing myself play gives me a new perspective, unclouded by what I “think” I sound like! From this position I am far more attuned to nuance and shape and color, or the lack thereof. I listen to recordings by amazing (famous) pianists like Arthur Rubenstein, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Vladimir Horowitz, Murray Perahia, Yuja Wang, and hear incredible sensitivity and attention to detail, beautiful tone colors and…

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What Can I Play? 

I just read a great article about having pieces "at the ready" to play. It spells out my experience as a classical pianist so well - the tendency to consider time at the piano as work; constantly working to get music up to performance level before performing it and moving on in favor something new. When I am continually learning new pieces, it is easy to feel as if I have nothing to play. Mastery happens just before performance and then gives way to the challenge of learning new music. Yet Andrew Eales…Read more

Seeing Yuja Wang 

My dad and I saw the fabulous Yuja Wang last week. She was performing with violinist Leonidas Kavakos at Benaroya Hall. Wow, wow, wow. Both are spectacular musicians, and have been written about a gazillion times (including on these pages, which list Wang's performing schedule and reviews back to 1994. Their program this time included Schubert, Debussy, Janáček and Bartok - beautiful but also difficult pieces to play (and sometimes, to listen to, not being the most melodic or accessible to unaccustomed…

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Bringing the "cool" factor into classical music...

Helene Grimaud is one of my favorite living pianists: gorgeous sound, impeccable technique, and creative artistic vision. Her new CD, "Water," blends modern electronic elements with acoustic classical piano. I love it. Reviewers are mixed about the project. Not everyone likes the electronic transitions between pieces. I, however, think they are brilliantly effective and relevant. I love the concept of perpetual sound running throughout the record, in…Read more

New Year, New Project 

There is a longing in me, deep down, to write. I want to share ideas, encourage, inspire, console, comfort, love...through my words. I aim to do this with my piano playing, too, and I think that at times the music is far more effective than any word I might speak with my mouth.

I want to do better at both this year - playing and speaking my words. So once again, after a long respite, I return to this blog, hoping something I write might "speak" to you.

Since it is a New Year, full of promise and possibility…Read more

Bach on the Brain: Inside the (Wandering) Mind of a Pianist 

Have you ever wondered what goes on inside the mind of a performer during a concert? When I am in the audience, I am usually so engrossed in the music that I don't think about that until afterward. However, when I am the one performing, it is hard to shut out the self-conscious voice and concentrate solely on the music!

Last Sunday I had the opportunity to play the first movement of Bach's Italian Concerto as part of Master Chorus Eastside's Masterworks concert. The conductor, Dr. Linda Gingrich, had…Read more

My First House Concert  

It's been awhile since I have posted anything to this blog.  My apologies!  The last year has been incredibly busy with a move to a new house and the addition of our third child.  We are finally settling in to life as a family of five, and even get to sleep through the night sometimes!  In the midst of all the life changes, I found a little time to practice and dream, and Indie Musikhaus was born.

As it stands today, Indie Musikhaus is a series of once-a-quarter private concerts held in my living room.  The…Read more

Balancing Act 

I came across another pianist's blog today:Susan Tomes.  She has a great post illustrating the challenge of balancing "involvement" and "detachment" during a performance.  I laughed at the end because I can so relate!  I remember my piano teacher in college once told me that I needed to play with passion but not "lose control."  There is a point where one must restrain one's passion during a performance or the playing will become sloppy.  However, a performance lacking passion quickly becomes boring, so one…Read more

Inspiration: The President's Piano Series at UW 

I just booked two tickets to see Murray Perahia at the University of Washington's Meany Hall in October!  I am so excited to see this piano "great" after having listened to his recordings for many years.  My dad, fellow pianist and classical music enthusiast, will be joining me.  Unfortunately for us, we will be sitting near the back; however, the recital hall has an intimate feel and will be featuring a close-up look at all the pianists in the series via a screen mounted above the stage!  A couple other…Read more