Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Call for Pianists: Tapestry Opera's New Opera 101 and Songbook VIII in May

Tapestry Opera's artistic director Michael Mori informs me that there are still several spots left for pianists interested in participating in next month's New Opera 101 and Songbook VIII program in Toronto. Participants can receive a full scholarship for the program and will have the opportunity to work with both Michael Mori and Topher Mokrzewski in rehearsals, master classes, and performances of arias and scenes in Tapestry's repertory.

Here is the full schedule:
Workshop hours
Tuesday May 8, 9:30am-5pm masterclass
Wednesday May 9, 9-1pm Piano focused session
Wednesday May 9, 1pm-9pm masterclass
Thursday May 10, 3-5:30 Dress Rehearsal
Thursday May 10, 8-10 Concert #1
Friday May 11, 8-10 Concert #2
Saturday May 12, 4-5:30 Concert #3
Saturday May 12, 8-10 Concert #4 + Party with DJ 
Space and piano available for rehearsals
Monday April 30th 9am-6pm
Monday May 7th 9am -10pm
Wednesday May 9th 9am-1pm
Wednesday May 10th 9am-1pm
Friday May 12 1pm-5pm
If you're interested, please contact Tapestry immediately so that you can get set up with the workshop.

Tapestry is coming off a massive high with the premiere of The Overcoat (its co-pro with Vancouver Opera) which just premiered in Toronto to rave reviews, so you can count on fairly hefty interest and attendance at the Songbook VIII performances. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Industrial Revolution and the Symphony

Tyler Cowan writes in Marginal Revolution how the symphony orchestra is as much a technological achievement as a cultural one, and its development happened in tandem with that of the Industrial Revolution:
I heard Mozart’s 39th symphony in concert last night, and it occurred to me (once again) that I also was witnessing one of mankind’s greatest technological achievements. Think about what went into the activity: each instrument, developed eventually to perfection and coordinated with the other instruments. The system of tuning and the underlying principles of the music. The acoustics of the music hall. The sheet music on paper and the musical notation. All of those features extremely well coordinated with the kind of compositional talent being produced in Central and Western Europe from say 1710 to 1920. And by the mid-18th century most of the key features of this system were in place and by the early 19th century they were more or less perfected. 
Sometimes I think of the Industrial Revolution as fundamentally a Cultural Revolution. The first instantiation of this Cultural Revolution maybe was the rise of early Renaissance Art in Italy and in the Low Countries. That too was based on a series of technological developments, including improved quality tempera paint, the development of oil painting, the resumption of bronze and marble techniques for sculpture, and the reintroduction of paper into Europe, which enabled artists’ sketches and drawings.
But the Industrial Revolution is over, and as we move to a more multicultural service and technology-oriented society, our cultural achievements change as well. How will orchestras and opera companies fit into this new paradigm?

Monday, April 23, 2018

Giving a Piano New Life

My wife Wendy Hatala Foley paints and she does it incredibly well. Over the last few months she has taken on several projects to paint old instruments which are no longer in any condition to be played, including several violins and cellos (stick around for a future post).

Several weeks back, the mother of several students that I teach asked Wendy if she might be interested in painting their old piano. All three of her kids had learned on this instrument, and although it had served them well for many years, was no longer in prime condition. Based on Wendy's experience with painting violins and cellos, she was commissioned to paint something on their piano so that it could still remain meaningful to them, although in an entirely new way.

After approximately 20 coats of acrylic, what she came up with was something genuinely unique, and will give the instrument new life for years to come.

The Mayron Cole Piano Method is Now Available as Free Downloads

Respected piano pedagogue Mayron Cole upon her retirement has changed the name of her piano method to and is offering it for free on her website. The downloads for each level need to be accessed separately, but there are loads of supplemental materials that you could use in a variety of lesson situations.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Helen Hou-Sandì in New York Magazine

Many of you know Helen Hou-Sandì, 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.

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. 

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.