1. When you practice, start in the middle sometimes. Start in different spots, out of order. Always starting at the beginning of the piece can get you in a rut, making you less attentive. Then when you memorize the piece, you might only remember the beginning!

    — John McCauley, piano instructor, 92Y School of Music

  2. The Brentano String Quartet and Vijay Iyer give the world premiere of Time, Place, Action for Da Camera of Houston, Feb 15, 2014. Photo from @theeastenders.

    A new piece takes flight at 92Y

    Grammy-nominated composer-pianist Vijay Iyer comes to 92Y this Saturday to give the New York premiere of his new work, Time, Place, Action, for Piano and Strings, with the Brentano String Quartet. The music is inspired in part by the improvisation dance form, “flocking,” where a group takes its collective cue from a leader, like birds in migration.

    Yet throughout the piece, Iyer notes that performers may add their own dynamic, rhythm and energy through interpretation, making each performance thoroughly unique. Check out this exclusive preview of the score of Time, Space, Action, and be sure to join us Saturday to see and hear what “flocking” is all about!

  3. Russian pianist Olga Kern will give a recital at 92Y on Feb 1. She is dedicating it, and all her upcoming appearances, to the memory of American pianist Van Cliburn, who died Feb 27, 2013. In 2001, Ms. Kern won the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, and they soon became close friends. Below, Kern pays tribute to her mentor and recalls a special performance of his. I would like to dedicate my recital to the memory of my mentor and friend Van Cliburn, as we are now approaching the one-year anniversary of his passing. The program that I chose for this recital has some of Van’s most favorite compositions. He would be so happy to hear it.  I will never forget how he performed Chopin’s Sonata No. 2 and Rachmaninoff in his historic concert a couple of years ago at the Moscow Tchaikovsky State Conservatory. I was so inspired by his performance. At the end of the concert, I went on stage to give him a beautiful bouquet of 70 dark-red roses, which I bought especially for him, as I knew how much he loved the roses and this color of flowers. He couldn’t see me, because the bouquet was so big that it covered me completely! When I finally turned the flowers to the side, Van saw my face and became so happy. He asked me to stay with him on stage, next to the piano, in front of the full concert hall, and he played for me—especially for me, just for me. It was one of his encores—the Rachmaninoff Prelude in G-sharp minor. That was such a special moment in my life and I will never forget it.  Van Cliburn was always a great inspiration for me, and he will always be a great inspiration. He was the greatest musician and greatest person. He was a genius. Every word he said and every note he played was dedicated to the most incredible magic in this world—MUSIC! I will always follow his advice and his way in the life of heavenly, beautiful music.

    Russian pianist Olga Kern will give a recital at 92Y on Feb 1. She is dedicating it, and all her upcoming appearances, to the memory of American pianist Van Cliburn, who died Feb 27, 2013. In 2001, Ms. Kern won the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, and they soon became close friends. Below, Kern pays tribute to her mentor and recalls a special performance of his.

    I would like to dedicate my recital to the memory of my mentor and friend Van Cliburn, as we are now approaching the one-year anniversary of his passing. The program that I chose for this recital has some of Van’s most favorite compositions. He would be so happy to hear it.

    I will never forget how he performed Chopin’s Sonata No. 2 and Rachmaninoff in his historic concert a couple of years ago at the Moscow Tchaikovsky State Conservatory. I was so inspired by his performance. At the end of the concert, I went on stage to give him a beautiful bouquet of 70 dark-red roses, which I bought especially for him, as I knew how much he loved the roses and this color of flowers. He couldn’t see me, because the bouquet was so big that it covered me completely! When I finally turned the flowers to the side, Van saw my face and became so happy. He asked me to stay with him on stage, next to the piano, in front of the full concert hall, and he played for me—especially for me, just for me. It was one of his encores—the Rachmaninoff Prelude in G-sharp minor. That was such a special moment in my life and I will never forget it.

    Van Cliburn was always a great inspiration for me, and he will always be a great inspiration. He was the greatest musician and greatest person. He was a genius. Every word he said and every note he played was dedicated to the most incredible magic in this world—MUSIC! I will always follow his advice and his way in the life of heavenly, beautiful music.

  4. Rosalyn Tureck performing Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in A minor BWV 895, from 1962.

    Tomorrow, Dec 14, is the 100th anniversary of the birth of the great Bach pianist and authority Rosalyn Tureck. Dec 14 is also the recital of Sharon Isbin at 92Y, dedicated to Tureck, Ms. Isbin’s friend, mentor and scholarly collaborator. She wrote this tribute.

    Read More

  5. We visited pianist Jonathan Biss in his home for talk about Beethoven Sonatas, how he came to play the piano, and the pleasure of performing with his mother.

    Listen to Biss and his mother Miriam Fried, “a glorious combination,” perform at 92Y on Nov 2.

  6. khaliszt:

    My favorite pianist. The great genius Lang Lang. The freshness of his recitals and interpretations mixed with the huge passion transmitted in every note make him be the one that enriches my life through music the most.

    His way of playing, being a bit clowny (he even waits for the piano solo looking at his nails in this video), moving the hands out of the ratio and stuff, but at the same time, being the pianist whose interpretations are the clearest of all, with every single notesounding perfectly compassed, perfectly timed, perfectly strong, perfectly pedaled, with such a great speed and control of the score, makes him be the best pianist in the world for me right now.

    I love many, there are many awesome pianists, but Lang Lang is special. He is able to make you feel that the song itself was composed with the purpose of being played by him. He loves it, he plays it, and he makes you love it. Genius.

    Master Hands

    Lang Lang will be at 92Y on Oct 14 for a revealing conversation about his career, his philanthropy foundation and his belief in the future of classical music, illustrated by one or two brief musical selections. Joining him as moderator will be Sir Howard Stringer, Chairman of the Board of Sony Corporation.