I’d like to harken back to another recent piano recital in Weill Hall, in which its fine Steinway was brought into a sound world quite different from those of Christina Kobb and Thomas Nickell, whom I heard play shortly before the artist in question—Terry Eder, a New York pianist who specializes in Hungarian piano music, beginning with Liszt, and including Dohnányi, Bartók, and Kodály....
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On Friday at Carnegie Hall, two formidable pianists, Leif Ove Andsnes and Marc-André Hamelin, ended their concert with a fearless, incisive and surprisingly alluring account of this “original” version of the “Rite.” The audience may have been as overwhelmed — in the best way — as that group in 1912. Familiar episodes of this score — the pummeling “Dances of the Young Girls,” the ritualistic “Spring Rounds,” the mysterious introduction to the second part — came through with stunning freshness and clarity. There was a long standing ovation....
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Cagean Rumblings

April 28, 2017- The New York Times
In a video on the New York Times Facebook page, the excellent organist Paul Jacobs issues an invitation for viewers to visit his class at the Juilliard School. I did so on Thursday, and it was a heartening experience to see seven young players display their immense talents. It was also a welcome chance to experience new sounds and techniques from the fine Holtkamp instrument in Paul Hall. The most startling came from — who else? — John Cage, in his “Souvenir,” when the player, Daniel Ficarri, repeatedly reached to the bottom of the pedalboard with his left foot to sound a tone cluster in the organ’s deepest register that was mostly sheer vibration, devoid of recognizable.
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Till Fell­ner’s pi­ano teacher told him that the five Bee­tho­ven pi­ano con­certi are like a fam­ily. The first two are teen­agers; the fourth and fifth are par­ents. And the Con­certo No. 3, which the Aus­trian pi­a­nist per­formed with the Pitts­burgh Sym­phony Orches­tra on Fri­day night, is like a se­ri­ous young man.
When Mr. Fell­ner de­scribed this tight-knit fam­ily in a pre-recorded video that in­tro­duced the con­cert, it prompted a sigh, an “a-ha” mo­ment, from the Heinz Hall au­di­ence. And his com­men­tary pro­vided a use­ful de­vice through which to un­der­stand Mr. Fell­ner’s el­e­gant in­ter­pre­ta­tion: The mu­sic may be full of bra­vado, but Mr. Fell­ner would take that se­ri­ous young man as se­ri­ously as he takes him­self....
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Paul Jacobs on video

April 22, 2017- The New York Times on Facebook
We're with Paul Jacobs, a Grammy Award-winning organist, at the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, home of the LA Phil. Leave your questions in the comments, and NYT reporter Josh Barone will ask some of them.
Watch video.
Fortunately for Seattle music lovers, Benaroya Hall was one of the stops on the current tour of the Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and his Canadian duo partner Marc-André Hamelin.
Both artists are at the top of their field; Andsnes is probably more famous for his lyrical musicianship and Hamelin for his technical finesse, and together they make an imposingly unified team. Their remarkable performance Monday evening under auspices of the Seattle Symphony proved that the two pianists can sound like a single keyboard orchestra while still preserving their distinctive individual voices....
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Pianist Till Fellner says he greatly enjoys playing music of the present, but is happy to be part of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's look at the Vienna of the past.
“It is wonderful to play the music of Mozart and Beethoven,” he says, “but I love to play new music because I live in the now.”
But this weekend he will be part of programs that look at the glories of the past. He will perform Ludwig van Beethoven's concerto No. 3 in concerts April 21, 22 and 23 at Heinz Hall, Downtown....
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As alpha dogs of the musical world, star pianists often lead a lonely touring life. But on Friday, April 28, two of the most accomplished masters of the keyboard join forces for a recital of music for two pianos at Carnegie Hall..
The virtuosic powerhouse Marc-André Hamelin and Leif Ove Andsnes, known for his poetic sensibility, perform works ranging from the sunny simplicity of Mozart’s Larghetto and Allegro for Two Pianos and Debussy’s “En blanc et noir” to two bravura pieces by Stravinsky: the sparkling Concerto for Two Pianos and the composer’s own brilliant arrangement of “The Rite of Spring,” which challenges the players to faithfully render the score’s vivid orchestral colors on black and white keys.
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At 18, Thomas Nickell, even in a world populated by numerous prodigies who began to play in public at very young ages, still deserves to be considered a young, emerging artist, and this concert showed him to be a notably mature and tasteful one.  He is currently a student at the New School, Mannes College of Music, studying piano and composition, both with equal seriousness. He has already played programs in concert and with orchestra in the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, and Chicago, and has been honored as a Steinway artist and is represented by Alexander & Buono International. The concert, a repeat of his London debut, gave the full house something else to be grateful for: a visit from an outstanding British chamber orchestra—in this instance all strings—The Orchestra of the Swan, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, under the direction of its founder and music director, David Curtis, who is as enterprising and personable as he is musical. (Look for our upcoming interview with him soon.) He founded the orchestra twenty-one years ago. Today they play regularly in the major urban centers of the Midlands, notably Town Hall Birmingham, as well as London, and they tour internationally. As well as Mozart, Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Brahms, they specialize in the twentieth century British classics for chamber orchestra, especially strings, and in newly commissioned works by living British composers. The major work on the present program was in fact quite a recent work, David Matthews’ Piano Concerto, Op. 111 of 2010....
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New organ christened by famed organist at All Saints Episcopal

March 26, 2017- The Frederick News-Post
On Sunday, the church hosted famed organist, Paul Jacobs, for an organ dedication recital. Jacobs is the only organist to ever win a grammy — in 2011 for Messiaen’s “Livre du Saint-Sancrement.” Jacobs also chairs the organ department at Julliard School.
“It’s not like I can just tell the congregation we’re going to have a grammy winner come play for us on Sunday,” said Rev. Adrien Dawson, the church’s rector. “So this is a really exciting opportunity for us.”
Jacobs performed 11 works ranging from Johann Sebastian Bach to Franz Liszt in front of a packed congregation. Jacobs performed Bach’s Trio Sonata, a three-layered melody in which the right hand plays on a keyboard, the left plays the organ and the feet play the pedals to create three different lines of music....
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Hamelin Kills It In Medtner 2 and Rachmaninov 3

March 22, 2017- Classics Today
Hyperion already has excellent recordings of both of these concertos, from Demidenko (Medtner) and Hough (Rachmaninov), but as they saying goes, “greatness is its own justification,” and this is a great disc. At eighty-two minutes, it’s also a very generous one. In a way, these concertos belong together. Not only were the composers friends, but both works, while cloaked in romantic virtuoso garb, are heavily symphonic in structure and syntax.
That makes Hamelin an ideal advocate. He is, of course, an exceptional keyboard virtuoso, but one of a very special type. The harder the music is to play, the easier he makes it sound. You can take the technical security completely for granted and focus entirely on matters of form and expression. In music that exists largely for virtuoso display, where a sense of strain is part of the point, this very quality can make his interpretations sound somewhat slick; but where the atrocious difficulty of the solo writing isn’t the primary focus and serves a larger purpose, as here, he is incomparable. Hamelin isn’t just a technical wizard–he’s a smart one....
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Marc-Andre Hamelin never won the Cleveland International Piano Competition, but he handily won over a portion of its audience Tuesday night at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
From a recital organized by the competition, the Canadian pianist emerged brilliantly victorious after repeatedly wowing a crowd of discerning listeners with an eclectic and often fiercely difficult slate of music. He even delivered a bewitching encore: Debussy's "Reflets dans l'eau."...
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From Tafelmusik, a Bach That’s All Business

March 16, 2017- The SunBreak
Tafelmusik, the early music group based in Toronto, has brought us another of their enlightening takes on Baroque music, this time zeroing in on the resources composer J. S. Bach, based in Leipzig from 1723 until his death in 1750, had to realize his compositions.
Presented Saturday evening by Meany Center for the Performing Arts jointly with the Early Music Guild and titled “J. S. Bach: The Circle of Creation,” the seamless show comprised a narrator, Blair Williams, and 15 musicians who stood and sometimes strolled around according to how prominent their parts were, except for the seated cellos and harpsichordist....
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Artistic Director of El Paso Pro-Musica and Grammy Award winning Cellist Zuill Bailey will join Grammy Award winning organist Paul Jacobs  in a special appearance at the El Paso Pro-Musica Concert this Saturday.
Zuill Bailey will join Paul Jacobs in “The Swan,” the classical work by Saint- Saens, during the performance by the Organist, who along with his performing career, is the Chairman of the Organ Department at the Juilliard School of Music.
Jacobs will also perform works by Bach, Brahms and Liszt. Jacobs performs all of the works in Concert from Memory....
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Toronto’s Baroque orchestra Tafelmusik brought its multidisciplinary show “J.S. Bach: The Circle of Creation” to Oberlin’s Artist Recital Series in Finney Chapel on Tuesday, February 28. It’s an impressive celebration of the Thuringian master’s genius in the field of instrumental music, as devised by the orchestra’s bassist Alison Mackay.
The program also looks into the circle of instrument makers and their suppliers who enabled Bach’s music to come to life in performance. Modern versions of those artisans are now plying their trades in time-honored fashion in the service of the historical performance movement....
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“J.S. Bach: The Circle of Creation” illustrates how the genius didn’t work alone — someone made his paper, his candles, his instruments. Tafelmusik captures that cycle of creativity in “Circle.”
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Eder opens the door to Bartók in Key Pianists series

March 3, 2017 - New York Classical Review
Pianist Terry Eder is the creator of the Key Pianists recital series, now in its second season. Designed to bring lesser-known musicians who have developed insights into particular corners of the repertory, the series presented Eder herself Thursday night at Weill Recital Hall.
Eder is an example of the unique and valuable breed of scholar/musician. Her interest is the Hungarian piano literature tradition. She has studied the music at the source in Hungary, learned the Hungarian language, and worked with pianist Zoltán Kocsis. Kocsis, who died last November, was a great Bartók player, and that composer is one of Eder’s most salient interests—she has recorded his music and delivered lecture/performances on him....
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Key Pianists presents Terry Eder in Review

March 2, 2017 - New York Concert Review
A musician’s musician is the phrase I kept returning to mentally during Terry Eder’s distinguished Weill Hall recital, the second of this season’s Key Pianists series. She is a pianist with utter seriousness of conception, beauty of tone, lyrical sensitivity, never any “grandstanding.” It is so important that we hear artists like this to remind us of what matters musically, and to balance the seemingly endless parade of flashy virtuosi....
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Marc-André Hamelin sometimes thinks that music should have its own semantics. “Deep down I would like the public to be affected by music and respond to music as they would respond to something which has a narrative structure and a message to deliver,” he told me in a February 10, 2017 phone conversation. “And I’ve always said that a performer should be able to express almost any adjective in the dictionary through their playing. Even though it’s kind of a fantasy, it’s a nice goal, a good aspiration.”
We were chatting in advance of Hamelin’s appearance March 23 in a recital presented by Music Toronto. The occasion was a follow-up to my profile of the master pianist that appeared in the December 2015 WholeNote. Hamelin was his usual affable, thoughtful and convivial self. We spoke about his ambitious all-sonata program for the concert – a late Haydn, the first two sonatas by the little-known Russian pianist-composer Samuel Feinberg, Beethoven’s Appassionata, Scriabin’s White Mass and Chopin’s Second which is built around a funeral march....
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New York Choral Society spans the centuries with Duruflé, Haydn masses

February 7, 2017 - New York, Classical Review
 If choruses had “juries” the way conservatory students do, the panel would probably ask them to sing the Requiem by Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986) followed by a Mass by Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), to show how conversant they were in the styles of different eras.
The New York Choral Society took that test Monday night in Carnegie Hall, and if they didn’t exactly ace it, the singers and their music director David Hayes clearly were making the effort, and producing some very Duruflean and Haydnesque moments along the way.
Which is saying something, since these two composers’ music can seem to be from not just different eras, but different planets—Duruflé mystical, indistinct, head in the stars; Haydn granular, conversational, down to earth. About all they had in common was their devout Catholic faith.
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Bucolic and Pyrotechnics

February 6, 2017 - ConcertoNet.com
Was the program New York Choral Society presented on February 6 at Carnegie Hall an attempt to show two dissimilar ways of worshipping God by its Catholic composers or was it to juxtapose these two possibilities: one composer, Maurice Duruflé, known for about the smallest output of works published and the other, Joseph Haydn, whose fourteen masses were only a small fraction of a huge body of compositions? Regardless of the programmatic intentions, here the venerable New York Choral Society under its Music Director David Hayes presented two scores that had little in common yet were both attractive, each in its own way....
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Xanadu, a word, that conjures ephemeral images of the exotic drifting in the mists of time, foreign lands, colorful people, and the intangible just beyond the ken of human imagination. Friday evening’s Toledo Symphony Classics Concert Organ, Orchestra and Xanadu lived up to this legendary sobriquet.
The program was a study in threes: three works, three musical guests, three diverse musical vocabularies. At the helm was the gifted young conductor Lio Kuokman who handled the baton with a grace and ease that matched the aesthetic of the musical landscape he sought to craft.
The guest soloist, organist Paul Jacobs, has a worldwide reputation as a musical genius. His appearance at the Peristyle stood true to form....
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Paul Jacobs, the only organist ever to have won a GRAMMY Award, will perform in all three works on our Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast this coming Sunday, January 15th at 1 pm.
As part of the 10th Anniversary celebration of the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ at Verizon Hall, the Organ Concerto of Christopher Rouse was given its world premiere just before intermission of the concert last November....
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“You’re not going to believe this,” Marc-André Hamelin said from his home in Boston, “but they asked for the Medtner Second. Specifically.”
Goodness. Specifically.
The pianist was referring to the authorities of the Bavarian State Orchestra in Munich and a piano concerto by Nikolai Medtner, 1880-1951, whose post-romantic works are viewed affectionately by some pianists but seldom asked for by name....
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Tonight, the legendary Charles Neidich expressed the clarinet part from the most lyrical place imaginable—his lifetime of living with the single-line instrument leaving no inflection unexplored, no color unpainted, our dear nightingale indeed. It was a master class for all musicians, really. Here, I felt the Parkers could have provided a deeper, darker velvet carpet for the clarinet to “walk” on. Though the ensemble was perfect, particularly the way the violist leaned physically toward her clarinet neighbor, the strings’ inflections were “paler” than the clarinet, sometimes giving the impression of a background rather than a full chamber texture. a note....
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Vancouver-trained pianist Jamie Parker is part of the 2017 Screening Jury this coming May, as is Janina Fialkowska. Pianist/composer Marc-André Hamelin wrote the “imposed piece” for this year and is part of the 2017 jury, while Vancouver Recital Society artistic director Leila Getz has just been appointed to the Cliburn’s International Advisory Council....
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