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A heartbreaking story of commitment

The New Yorker published this article about early Facebook employee and serious amateur violinist Eric Sun, whose life was cut dreadfully short by brain cancer.  Knowing that his time was short, he devoted himself more than ever to his music. A Tech Pioneer’s Final, Unexpected Act _ The New Yorker

Wow. Just wow.

This is *not* about playing the piano.  But it is about creating music, and artistic dedication to a beautiful idea. The Wintergatan Marble Machine.

Classical music video subscription site

Sort of a “Netflix for classical music” (but a lot more expensive:  Subscriptions from $120 – $190 / year (as of today).  They claim to offer over 100 live events per year, and the catalogue of viewable videos is currently over 1600.

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The oldest living Holocaust survivor, and oldest pianist?

Alice Herz-Sommer is the oldest known living Holocaust survivor.  She was a concert pianist before being sent to Theresienstadt concentration camp, where she played over 100 concerts including Chopin’s complete etudes (from memory).  She was married to Leopold Sommer (who died at Dachau) and her son (who was interned with her) Raphael was a distinguished […]

Preparing for performance (anxiety)

Some tips from a fabulous teacher and experienced performer – Polly van der Linde — on how to prepare for performance.  Polly runs a piano camp that has been in her family for over 40 years: summer camp for kids, and 4 and 10 day sessions for adults year round.

Denk: a musician with a brain

A few years ago my friend Marnie introduced me to Jeremy Denk’s piano performances, and his writings.  I’ve fallen in love with both.  But especially the two together: there are other great performers to listen to, and other great writers on music and life to read: there are few who are both. Another friend sent […]

Acquired musical savant syndrome

There’s a story on “Snap Judgment” on NPR about Derek Amato, who on his 40th birthday dove into shallow end of a pool, hit his head, had a concussion. Afterwards, he could suddenly play the piano, at a very high level, after never playing before. Amato was diagnosed with “acquired musical savant syndrome”, and with […]

Inspiration from one-handed pianist

A bit of inspiration for all of us sitting long hours at the keyboard, struggling to make progress: Nicholas McCarthy, born with only a left hand, just graduated from London’s Royal College of Music (piano performance).

Denk on Ives by Denk

Jeremy Denk is a terrific writer, the best I’ve read among contemporary serious pianists. His blog, Think Denk, is erudite and funny, passionate and inspired. He recently published an article in The New Yorker. In it he recounts his experience making a professional recording of Charles Ives’s Concord sonata, with reflections on the frustrations, opportunities […]

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Some days playing the piano feels like this…