Piano Sales Looking Up During Lockdown

A recent article in the Times reveals the surprising finding that many piano dealers across the U.S. have seen an upswing in sales during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“Isaac Namias, who sells restored acoustic pianos in Brooklyn, said email inquiries shot up when the virus hit New York. Under lockdown, he said, he sold nearly twice as many units per month as during normal times, mostly instruments in the lower price range, about $2,500 to $6,500. About half his business was driven by piano teachers referring students. Notably absent from the client list were professional performing pianists. Mr. Namias said, ‘They want to touch the piano, they know exactly what they’re looking for.'”

Maturity of Emotion: Claire Huangci at the IKIF

Claire Huangci performed works of D. Scarlatti, Schubert, Chopin and Debussy at the IKIF.

Two years ago, when I attended my first performance at the International Keyboard Institute and Festival, I spoke with a fellow attendee. The recital we were about to see was one of the last in the series, and she had made a point to attend every one. Looking back, which performer was her favorite? Her answer was Claire Huangci. On the second day of this year’s festival, Claire Huangci showed an abundance of the skill, style and emotion that made her an audience favorite in 2016. These also helped her win the Jury Discretionary Award at the 2013 Cliburn, first prize at last month’s Concours Géza Anda competition in Zurich, and all our hearts in her recordings and in the professionally produced videos featuring her, which can be found online. Continue reading

The Art of Synchronization: Christina and Michelle Naughton at the Rockefeller University

Are we at risk of betraying an infatuation with the playing of Christina and Michelle Naughton? After all, they provided our first interview and were the subjects of one of our first reviews. But how could we resist writing a note about so memorable a performance as last Wednesday’s at the Caspary Auditorium at the Rockefeller University, that edifice of scientific advancement. Continue reading

Labyrinth: David Greilsammer at the Crypt Sessions

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David Greilsammer performed his imaginative program, Labyrinth, at the Crypt Sessions in New York, on September 27, 2017.

If we think of a musical performance as a work of art, how then can artistic satisfaction be achieved for the solo musician who longs to be as fully involved in the artwork as, say, a painter is in her canvas? Such a musician may feel in conflict with schools of thought, whole intellectual movements, epochs, which dictate that the proper role of the musician is in clear and faithful interpretation of the composer’s intent. If the artist is the composer, problem solved: each performance is in and of itself fulfilling both objectives. But that approach is limited to one artist, one career. For the artist who wishes to communicate a performance channeling the genius of multiple composers living and dead, spanning centuries, it is necessary to appropriate. And the composer must trust his reputation in the hands of the performer. That is the bargain made by composers with musicians in order to achieve fame and, with rare good fortune, immortality.
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