Beth Levin ~ On Beethoven and A Single Breath

Levin-Beth-01

Pianist Beth Levin had a few minutes to discuss her thoughts on her current recordings of the last 3 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas titled A Single Breath. Please keep an eye on this wonderful soloist, she will be making some interesting music as well as some upcoming appearances, featuring even more performances of Beethoven.

You can purchase A Single Breath here or on the bottom link.

CM: Can you please talk about the significance of this recording of the last 3 Beethoven sonatas and why it’s titled “A Single Breath”?

Beth: Beethoven said that he wrote the three sonatas “in a single breath”. I think that when you perform them in one evening you get a sense of that.

CM: And you performed all 3 in a single program as well?

Beth: I’ve only performed them as a group six times now, most recently in Germany.

CM: And the 3 together represent the height of his creativity, like other late works of his?

blevinjulienjordas[Photo left, courtesy of Julien Jordas, NY Times]
Beth: Well, they may mark the end of the classical sonata form. After Op. 111, if you wanted to write a sonata you’d have to find another way.

CM: Yes, something he’d been trying to change all along.

Beth: It was so definitive, far-reaching, and as I said, an ending of a sort.

CM: The Arietta from the 32nd sonata–What are your thoughts about the “boogie-woogie” part?

Beth: Oh, I resist that comparison, I mean it’s an extreme dotted rhythm section…

CM: Well, it’s not jazz, but other pianists seem to think it’s like “proto-jazz”…

Beth: The last thing I think of is jazz when playing it, but it’s incredibly driving and needs to have precision…

CM: I guess the way he has it syncopated, it kind of has this swing to it.

Beth: I don’t quite see it.

CM: It isn’t quite jazz because he doesn’t have any blue notes in there, like Gershwin, but I’m sure some people would wonder if this was where that started.

CM: Do you have any special shows coming up next year?

Beth: First up, in Feb, I’ll be playing the Emperor Concerto with the Monmouth Symphony, then this coming March, I’m performing a cello/piano recital with Sam Magill at Bargemusic featuring a transcription for cello and piano of the Kreutzer Sonata, as well as selections by Barber, Rudin and Stubblefield.
Also next year I”m going to play OP. 109-111 in Philadelphia and South Carolina.

Click here to purchase Beth’s A Single Breath CD on iTunes

Her other CDs are here as well

Beth Levin (bethlevinpiano.com)

Battery ~ Randy Woolf and Kathleen Supove Kickstarting a Kickboxing Piece

Randall Woolf and Kathleen Supove–Photo courtesy of Randall Woolfrandywoolfkathysupove

Composer Randy Woolf and his wife pianist Kathleen Supove have made many interesting collaborative efforts together, but this one will probably be very hard to beat. They have been working on Battery, a concerto for piano and orchestra–a different kind of piano concerto that involves choreographed boxing. Sounds crazy in print, but if you take a look at what Kathleen does in the video link below, you’ll see she’s up for the boxing aspect of the task as well as the piano one.

The premiere of Battery will take place Feb 23, 2014, and the folks that are working with Randy and Kathy are choreographer Heidi Latsky and ensemble Le Train Bleu, with conductor Ransom Wilson. The funds of the campaign will be going to them.
Click here or on one of the bottom links to contribute.

Randy and Kathy had a minute to talk to us about it. Continue reading

Gregg Kallor at Subculture ~ Concert Preview

Photo courtesy of Steve PoolGregg Kallor - Steve Pool

Courtesy of Two Sheps That Pass

Gregg Kallor is the recipient of an Aaron Copland Award for composition. One of ten composers nationwide selected for this prestigious residency, Kallor composed a concerto for piano and orchestra during his time at the home of the late eminent American composer. He also began several chamber music pieces while he was there, including “Undercurrent” for cello and piano – which he will premiere at SubCulture tonight at 7:30 PM with Laura Metcalf (cello).

Kallor’s new album, A Single Noon, is a nine-movement piano suite – a musical tableau of life in New York City told through a combination of classical composition and improvisation. Kallor premiered the suite at Carnegie Hall in 2011. Five-time GRAMMY®-nominee Fred Hersch calls it “the work of an extraordinary pianist, a composer of great distinction and a true conceptualist… this ambitious and unique suite really takes us somewhere that is very deeply heartfelt and dazzlingly executed. This is 21st-century music that has clearly absorbed the past and looks to a bright and borderless musical future.”

Kallor’s first music video, “Espresso Nirvana” (think caffeinated hijinks), is set to the sixth movement of the suite. His new music video, “Broken Sentences” (set to the 2nd movement), will be released tonight at SubCulture. It celebrates one of the most exciting public arts programs in NYC: the Sing For Hope Pianos – 88 artist-designed pianos that were placed in public spaces all around the 5 boroughs for anyone to play. Art for all.

Trailer for “Broken Sentences”

Gregg Kallor
SubCulture, 45 Bleecker St, Downstairs
7:30pm
$20

Virtuosity matters: Evgeny Kissin in between the bar line

Sketch (on iPad) by Roman Rabinovich (pianist, visual artist)

evgenykissin


  

 
Written by Ilona Oltuski

Originally published on GetClassical.org

“Pure obsession!” commented a stage manager at the Berlin Philharmonic, when he almost had to escort Kissin off the stage, so it could be prepared for the concert later that night. “You would think he practiced enough by now.”  Such perplexed responses to his intensity when working at the piano are nothing new to Kissin; as a young boy coming home from school and rushing to the piano with his coat still on he already displayed the same kind of compelling drive: “I made it clear to my Mom even then that I was not to be held back,” remembers ‘Zhenya’, as those close to him call the 41-years-old Kissin.

It might well be that this passionate love for the piano, in combination with his indomitable spirit – have both contributed to making Kissin into the person he is today: an exceptional artist and virtuoso pianist who, undeterred by any potential for negative fall-out, neither shies away from calling his own shots, nor from speaking his mind on a range of issues some would consider not fit for a pianist to comment on. Continue reading

Cory Smythe ~ On the Recent Tour with Hilary Hahn and Related Things

corysmythe1

ICE‘s Cory Smythe, the lucky (He earned it because he is really THAT good; let’s just say fortunate) gentleman that just finished touring as a pianist with Hilary Hahn in Europe and the US (and a gig in Turkey as well), is here to discuss that experience with The Glass!

Cory is gearing up to preview a new work of his this Saturday at NY’s Dimenna Center, and he is planning to release a follow-up recording to 2011′s pluripotent this coming fall, which oddly enough, is when we can expect to finally see the release of Hilary Hahn’s In 27 Pieces encores CD, which Cory also happens to be featured on. Look out for these and more performances with ICE this season. But for now, we needed to ask him about working with HH. :) Continue reading

Anthony de Mare ~ On Liasons II: Re-imagining Sondheim

storyteller-anthony-de-mare

On Saturday, March 9 (7 pm), as part of Symphony Space’s The Music of Now Series, pianist Anthony de Mare returns to the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre for the second installment of Liaisons: Reimagining Sondheim from the Piano. Marrying his reputation as a champion of contemporary classical music with his deep respect for legendary musical theater composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim, de Mare is building a unique piano repertory by commissioning 36 leading contemporary composers from the classical, jazz, theater, and film worlds to write short solo piano pieces inspired by Sondheim’s music.

Anthony de Mare’s sold-out Symphony Space concert last April featured seventeen of the commissioned works, including pieces by Steve Reich, William Bolcom, Fred Hersch, and Marc-Anthony Turnage. On March 9, de Mare will premiere fifteen new compositions by Eve Beglarian, Jason Robert Brown, Mary Ellen Childs, Michael Daugherty, Peter Golub, Annie Gosfield, Phil Kline, Nico Muhly, John Musto, Thomas Newman, Eric Rockwell, Frederic Rzewski, Rodney Sharman, Bernadette Speach, and Nils Vigeland. The works draw on famous and lesser-known Sondheim songs from Sunday in the Park with George, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, Follies, Company, and other shows.

For tickets/info, click here or on the link on the bottom.

Anthony de Mare had a few minutes to speak about the beginnings of the project and the workings of the production. Continue reading

Jenny Lin

Pianist Jenny Lin had a few minutes to discuss her new CD Get Happy, an album of theatrical show tunes arranged very superbly for solo piano by some of the greatest soloists of piano today such as Christopher O’Riley, Marc-André Hamelin, Greg Anderson and the late Alexis Weissenberg just to name a few (EDITOR’S NOTE: Jenny played the pieces just as superbly).

Jenny also has a couple of shows coming up in NYC on Tuesday, Nov. 27th at Le Poisson Rouge at 7:30 PM (Doors open 6:30; This one being the CD release party for Get Happy) and Thursday the 29th at Greenwich House Music at 8 PM; a show titled unCAGEd: FOR MERCE (A duet show with Lois Svard)

CM: I really enjoy listening to the new CD Get Happy! I’m a fan of arrangements transcribed for piano (solo, piano-duo, 2-piano, etc), and the people that worked up these arrangements are people I really like as well. Are the pieces mostly arranged for you and this project?

Jenny: The Greg Anderson piece, the Hamelin–those were written for me. The “Eliza in Ascot” by Stefan Malzew–that was also written for the project. Uri Caine also wrote one of “Honeysuckle Rose” that didn’t make it onto the CD, and that’s a bonus download on iTunes. The other arrangements all existed already. Continue reading

Jenny Q. Chai ~ Reflections in Blue at LPR (A Review)

Reflections in Blue: Jenny Q. Chai at Le Poisson Rouge
Jenny Q. Chai, piano
Le Poisson Rouge, NYC
Sunday, Nov. 4th, 2012

Written by Scottie Roche

On Sunday, November 4th, I had the immense pleasure of leaving behind the troubles inflicted on New York City and much of the East Coast by Hurricane Sandy to be transported to that other realm we call Music, by way of Jenny Q Chai’s show at Le Poisson Rouge. Understandably, things had been tense of late with a pivotal national election looming and the city devastated by a storm that had left the very area of the concert’s venue in total darkness for a week — Le Poisson Rouge was without power until the night before the concert.

That the performance happened at all is a testament to the resilience of New York City and the perseverance of an endearing performer who though she had difficulty reaching NYC from China and had spent the last few nights sleeping on the couches of friends (which she assured us were very comfortable.) “The show must go on,” the old adage maintains. I’m glad it did. Continue reading

Inna Faliks ~ Music/Words at LPR (A Review)

Music/Words–Corigliano, Eaton and Beethoven
Inna Faliks, piano
Sandra Beasley, poet
David Adam Moore, baritone
Le Poisson Rouge, NY
Sunday, September 23, 2012

Le Poisson Rouge was the scene where pianist Inna Faliks resumed her Music/Words series with a program of classical and contemporary classical music mixed with spoken word, and immediately sprang into action with Rodion Shchedrin’s “Basso Ostinato”, a piece that didn’t even appear on the printed program, but seemed to set a strong pace for the evening’s selections. It turned out that Inna was really playing the encore first instead of last because she says that the Beethoven piece she closed with (the Sonata Op. 111; We’ll get into this shortly) is so epic that it cannot be followed by an encore. It was probably a good call. Continue reading