Sunday, April 22, 2018

The sad news of Livia Rev’s passing at 101

If there ever was a pianist who embraced a style of playing that was in the service of sculpted phrases, regardless of wrist-breaking rules, it was Livia Rev. Her playing had choreographic freedom as she responded to the here and now of music-making, crafting phrases with a thoughtful relationship to what unfolded, in the before and after time cosmos. This dual reflective dimension of her artistry synthesized with an understanding of physical flexibility and the singing tone, endowed her performances with a rich emotional and structural dimension.

I had discovered the Hungarian pianist’s artistry on You Tube where one particular video in her native tongue made an indelible impression. While the footage has since been removed from the pianist’s playlist, it memorialized Rev in her home, teaching a young adult student–gently pressing her right wrist atop the piano, plying it like a sponge.

With a lilting Hungarian voice of reassurance, Maestra Lev redirects the student to the keyboard, prompting her to create wave-like effusions with occasional deep dips of her wrist. It works beautifully, producing a musical landscape that’s flat-line-free.

A subsequent, well-preserved closeup video of Livia’s teaching is thankfully available for mentors and students to study. It fleshes out the pianist’s signature supple wrist/core-centered approach. (Rev’s physical prompts serve musical expression, and are NOT allied to a rigid didactic.)

Playing CZERNY:

Livia Rev’s performance of Czerny studies at age 93, (“Pris sur le vif, chez elle, en février 2010 première partie des cahiers de Czerny”) is emblematic of her undulating wrist motions-when-needed approach. They thread through interludes no. 2 and 3. (and well beyond)

If there’s a Eurythmics, music-is-motion revelation, it’s clearly suggested in the rendering of these tableaux. (Note that Rev, though born in Hungary, and having regaled a correspondence with Bela Bartok, relocated to France where she taught at the Université Musicale Internationale.)


Here’s Livia Rev’s artistry wrapped in the time-honored European tradition of soulful pianistic expression.

These Chopin performances date to 1957.


Liva Rev: A brief bio:(WIKI)

“Born in Budapest, Lívia Rév began her studies with Margit Varró and Klára Máthé. Aged nine, she won the Grand Prix des Enfants Prodiges. Aged twelve she performed with an orchestra. She studied with Leó Weiner and Arnold Székely at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, with Professor Robert Teichmüller at the Leipzig Conservatory, and with Paul Weingarten at the Vienna Conservatory, having left Hungary in 1946.

“Among Rév’s earliest recordings made around 1947 were a series of sixteen-inch radio transcription discs for the Standard Program Library. These included a virtuosic performance of Francis Poulenc’s Toccata. She performed across Europe, in Asia, Africa, and in the United States. She was a soloist with such conductors as Sir Adrian Boult, André Cluytens, Jascha Horenstein, Eugen Jochum, Josef Krips, Rafael Kubelík, Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt, Constantin Silvestri and Walter Susskind.

“Her first United States appearance was in 1963 at the invitation of the Rockefeller Institute. Her recordings vary from complete Debussy Préludes, Chopin Nocturnes and Mendelssohn Songs without Words.

Personal life

“Rév lived in Paris, with her husband Pierre Aubé, until her death on 28 March 2018, at age 101.

“She was awarded the Ferenc Liszt International Record Grand Prix.”

R.I.P. Livia Rev

from Arioso7's Blog (Shirley Kirsten)

Helen Hou in New York Magazine

Many of you know Helen Hou, a graduate of the Piano Accompanying and Chamber Music program at the Eastman School of Music a few years back. I still remember when Helen put her hand up in a workshop that I gave at Eastman and asked if I would be open to a redesign of the blog. The design on the blog that you're looking at today is Helen's work and I hope you agree that it has stood the test of time.

Helen's passion for web design has blossomed into a major career, and she is now the lead developer for Word Press and director of open source initiatives at 10up. Helen was also recently featured on New Yorker Magazine's The Strategist, where she talked about her favorite gadgets.

Ditto on the FitBit - I'm on my third. Not sure if I'm interested in the Nest Learning Thermostat, but I drooled at the thought of that 27-inch Acer display on an Ergotron desk converter.

from The Collaborative Piano Blog

Introducing the Collaborative Piano Blog Newsletter

Photo by Chuck Speed
One of the strengths of the Collaborative Piano Blog is that it has been able to reach people all over the world via not only the website but with RSS, Twitter, Facebook, and mail subscriptions. 

Many of you are taking some time off from social media at the same time that traditional blogging is starting to take off again. As I get back into a more intense blogging schedule over the next few months, you might not see every single article on the Facebook page - especially with short-form link posts that aren't necessarily Facebook-friendly. For those of you who are interested in keeping up with the Collaborative Piano Blog without the need to visit the site all the time, I wanted to have another option. 

Therefore, I am thrilled to announce the new Collaborative Piano Blog newsletter! You'll see the most recent articles, as well as some further context, backstory, and relevant past articles. I'll probably be publishing the newsletter on Sundays for most weeks.  Then again, there will be weeks where I'm completely swamped, so there will be no newsletters on those days. 

For those of you who like the original news feed delivered via Feedburner, you're still subscribed to it (even though Google is no longer actively developing this service). I'll soon be taking down the old subscription link, and at some future time I'll be transferring over the confirmed subscribers from the old mail feed. 

from The Collaborative Piano Blog

Saturday, April 21, 2018

April 30 Workshop: The Art of "Re-Arranging" Popular Music with Christine Tithecott

As my Presidential duties with Hamilton-Halton ORMTA draw to a close this spring, I'm glad to announce our final workshop of the year: Christine Tithecott will be doing a three-hour interactive workshop on arranging pop music for your students, starting at 9:30am this Monday, April 30 at St. Matthew on-the-Plains Anglican Church in Burlington. About the workshop:
Do you have students learning poorly arranged sheet music downloaded online? Are you frustrated with finding only difficult arrangements of the newest popular songs? Is the idea of dabbling into popular music daunting? This highly interactive workshop will approach difficulties encountered in teaching and learning popular music and show how to tailor arrangements to suit the needs of any student.
Here's some info about Christine Tithecott, a teacher and clinician that you'll be hearing a lot from in the coming years:
Christine Tithecott holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Iowa, as well as a MMus in Performance and a BMus (Honours) in Music Education from the University of Western Ontario. She has worked previously at Iowa State University in Ames, IA.

In high demand as a clinician and adjudicator, Dr. Tithecott presents master classes for young pianists and workshops on pedagogical topics for piano teachers throughout North America. She has presented lectures at national conferences for the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) and the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Associations (CFMTA). Christine is a member of the Canadian Music Festival Adjudicators Association (CMFAA), and a clinician for the Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association (ORMTA). Additionally, Dr. Tithecott has served as en editor for Conservatory Canada’s New Millennium Series. 
An avid performer, Dr. Tithecott has had the opportunity to perform as a solo and collaborative artist throughout Canada, USA, and Europe. Christine has a strong passion for performing and promoting contemporary repertoire, and has performed with numerous new music ensembles including Ensemble 319, and The CNM Ensemble (Iowa City, IA).

Christine currently resides in London, where she is on faculty at Western University’s Don Wright Faculty of Music. She also works as a collaborative artist, and maintains a full studio of private piano students.
Admission is free for ORMTA Hamilton-Halton members, $5 for students, and $15 for non-members.

from The Collaborative Piano Blog

Thursday, April 19, 2018

On the Road in April

I've been out of town a lot this month, with two routes last week for The Royal Conservatory's Certificate Program in Halifax and Regina. The view in the picture above is from one of the rooms at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts in Halifax, where I arrived just as the week's storms started to hit the Atlantic coast and just as my flu from the previous week was starting to abate. By the time of the first day of exams however, the sun was out and the weather was cold but bright. 

After Halifax, I had a day in Toronto followed by another short route in Regina. Going to Regina late last week meant that I dodged the ice storm that plagued so much of the region around Toronto, but the temperature was well below freezing for much of the short trip. 

Arriving in Langley, BC last Sunday, the sudden change in weather was a pleasant shock. The cheery blossoms are near the end of their blooming cycle in the Fraser Valley, so I was lucky to be able to catch a few pictures. 

This week I'm adjudicating for the Kiwanis Fraser Valley International Music Festival at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Langley. The standard here is very high, and I'm continually impressed by the sophistication of repertoire choices from the young performers. The pianos in the picture above are a Fazioli on the outside and a Bechstein to its left. Fountain pens pictured above are a Waterman Expert Series I from the early 90's and a John Phelan custom cigar pen (yes, I collect fountain pens!). Next week I'm back to Toronto where I'll launch myself into one of the busiest times of the year.

A quick note to my students: I hope that you're reading this and I hope that you're practicing diligently. After hearing such excellent playing for the last two weeks, you can count on me being highly inspired. 

from The Collaborative Piano Blog

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Piano teachers, students, and reluctant farewells

Looking back at my archive of blogs, I decided to snatch this favorite that has a link to another, “A Piano Teacher’s Worst Nightmare!” Both reflective pieces may resonate with both mentors and pupils.

Arioso7's Blog (Shirley Kirsten)

  Lillian Freundlich


For many piano teachers who’ve nursed along students from Primer toddlerhood to an Intermediate level confidence-climbing phase, through to the Advanced, smooth riding finish with flashy fingers, the pupil’s farewell is an emotional event.

Of course, it depends on the circumstances of the departure and who is saying goodbye to whom.

I remember my heart-wrenching farewells to two private music teachers going back a few decades. My mother as proxy delivered the news first to my violin teacher who taught me with great passion but missed too many lessons to make music study meaningful. Frustrated by her absences, starts and stops, the only way I dealt with my anger, was to channel my sturm and drang (storm and stress) into the piano. But at this very time, my piano teacher who had been referred by the violin instructor, was giving me pieces so way over my…

View original post 931 more words

from Arioso7's Blog (Shirley Kirsten)

Friday, April 6, 2018

The Royal Conservatory’s 2018 Annual High School Vocal Performance Intensive

I’m thrilled to announce that this July I’ll be a vocal coach for The Royal Conservatory’s Summer Vocal Intensive programs from July 9-14 and 16-29 in Toronto. If you’re a singer 14-18 years old and are interested in experiencing the kind of integrated program that is usually reserved for more advanced performers, you should definitely take a look at The Royal Conservatory’s two summer intensives. Take a look at the full faculty list for the program:
Here’s a quick rundown of the program from the RCM’s Dr. Robert Loewen:
For a number of years I have felt there was a genuine need for a High School Voice Performance Intensive in Canada. I am well aware of a number of very fine High School programs in the United States, some of which have been extant for many years now. A number of High School programs exist that seem to have a focus on the High School singer as a young opera singer. While I am sure the intentions are very good, it has always been my opinion that High School singers would benefit from the intensive environment, focusing on exposure to, and acquisition of, important musicianship and performance skills.
The inspiration for content came from hearing of the experiences students of mine had had in various programs around North America. Some of these programs were focused on high school, some for university-level singers.
Based on those experiences, and my own pedagogical perspectives, the important elements I saw as need in a program were:
  • Voice lessons
  • Coachings
  • Movement
  • Musicianship
  • Acting
  • Diction
  • Masterclasses
  • Performances
While serving as a mentor examiner in the spring of 2015, I found a very willing, and highly capable colleague interested in precisely this type of program. In the Spring of 2015, Dr Victoria Holland (Chicago) and I began to plan; our visionary quickly turned to the concrete planning needed to kick off this great idea.
July 2016 marked our first year of the Royal Conservatory High School Voice Performance Intensive. While talking to teachers and singers across the country, we both felt nervous about whether the vision and singer numbers would actually come together to give us year one. Our required numbers were modest, and we remained optimistic. As an unofficial deadline loomed we actually had 12 registrants, one from Chicago, and the rest from within Ontario.
Victoria and I felt so inspired by the success of year one; we immediately began planning, of course bigger, for Year Two. We mapped out two sessions: a one-week program, and a two-week program. Both programs were full, with singers from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Newfoundland.
As in 2017, the 2018 Royal Conservatory Voice Performance Intensive will run as two programs, including movement classes, musicianship classes, daily lessons, daily coachings, acting/performance classes, and masterclasses. As well, participants will attend master classes in the Art of Song portion of the Toronto Summer Music Festival.
  • Movement
  • Musicianship
  • Lessons
  • Coachings
  • Acting
  • Masterclasses
  • Performances
  • Movement
  • Musicianship
  • Lessons
  • Coachings
  • Acting
  • Masterclasses
  • Performances
  • Scenes

from The Collaborative Piano Blog