Thursday, September 30, 2010

Red Schimmel Pegasus

Pegasus Grand CC 208 P
Another Schimmel Pegasus spotted in the wild, this time in red. Also take a look at the Schimmel Pegasus' resemblance to a Cylon Raider.

(Via mwitheat on Flickr)

The Piano in the Window

Astonishingly, this Jerry Ipsen picture features no custom piano lid sail mods, but is merely the reflection of the blinds behind the piano. Photo aficionados might be interested to know that it was taken as a black and white photo with orange filter on a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi.

Erik Satie's Vexations at Scotiabank Nuit Blanche October 2/3 in Toronto

This weekend at Toronto's Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, all-night arts-goers will have an opportunity to hear a rare performance of one of the longest works ever written - Eric Satie's Vexations.

The Vexations performance at Brookfield Place in downtown Toronto will be curated by Martin Arnold and Micah Lexier. About Vexations and how it will unfold over the night:
Written in 1893, Erik Satie’s Vexations was never published nor publicly heard during his lifetime. He left 39 beats of hand scrawled, insidiously vexing music—hard to read and hard to remember—and the following cryptic instruction: “to repeat 840 times this motif, it is advisable to prepare oneself in the most absolute silence, by some serious immobilities.” A number of performers (most notably John Cage) have ventured to take him at his word and successively play the piece 840 times, taking between 15 and 27 hours to do so. We only have 12 hours so we’re dividing it: two pianos playing simultaneously, 420 passes per piano. Our Vexations is staged in the majestic arched expanse of a cathedral of commerce, perhaps therefore taking part in a highly irregular sort of exchange. We’ll be counting; tonight, by playing 840 scores—each a vexation—once. After each score is played it is transformed into a folded paper sculpture—840 scores creating 840 objects—giving shape to the sound and echoing the team of pianists weaving the composition's unmonumental but resolutely vexing notes. Satie said: “Before I compose a piece, I walk around it several times, accompanied by myself.” We invite you to walk around Vexations, hopefully several times as it accumulates through the night.
Among the large number of pianists performing throughout the evening will be Eve Egoyan and Attila Fias. If you're looking for a Vexations score to ponder, you can find one at IMSLP.

For those unfamiliar with the Nuit Blanche concept, it's an all-night free arts festival that features a massive number of venues spread throughout an entire urban area.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Fall Collaborative Arts Reading List

Piano KeysI can't tell you how important it is for the collaborative piano field to have a healthy and productive blogosphere that expands the range and scope of information available not only to pianists but to the entire classical music and music teaching communities. I hope that the links below will put you in touch with some very important, worthwhile, and entertaining personalities from the top blogs in the profession formerly known as piano accompanying.

Billie Whittaker's Good Company is always an informative read, with essential information about the nature of freelance work in the field (as well as job listings from time to time). If you're looking to get a head start on next summer, check out What are you doing next summer? for useful summer festival contact info. One of my personal favorite posts is Billie's Many Roles of Collaborative Pianists infographic.

Kennith Freeman continues to write eloquently about his experiences and views in the profession in Collaborations. A good place to start is his series Music and Worship parts one, two, and three. He also frequently writes about teaching: take a look at When a student hits a proverbial wall, Keeping students motivated, and My continued adventures in teaching note reading.

I also recently discovered Geraldine Boyer-Cussac's Geraldine in a Bottle. How to get paid covers the basics of the invoicing process, and Should you ever play for free? looks at some realistic questions to consider when we're asked to donate our time. If you aspire to be a musical director, take a look at these two articles: What it takes to be a music director and 3 ways a music director matters. Geraldine also talks about the scope of what a performing pianist can accomplish with 19 jobs for pianists.

Gretchen Saathoff's Gretchen's Pianos is another essential site to bookmark. Two recent articles on collaboration include What rehearsal playing is NOT and The "sensitive" accompanist. Gretchen also published an ebook this summer, which I'll be writing about in greater detail in a few days...

(Image via JoshSemans on Flickr)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pianos 'Round Town: Wild Pianos Roam the Streets of Ypsilanti Until October 11

View Pianos 'Round Town locations in a larger map

If you live anywhere near the Ann Arbor-Detroit corridor in eastern Michigan, you'll want to check out Pianos 'Round Town in downtown Ypsilanti. Based on the Play Me I'm Yours concept, this is an opportunity for anyone to just sit down at one of these urban pianos and start playing. I particularly like the way that the Pianos 'Round Town project is bringing the arts, academia, and community businesses together. From Jenn McKee's article:
Steinway Gallery offered the use of recent trade-in practice pianos from Western Michigan University for the event, and the Depot Town Association got involved as a sponsor. Participating local businesses — which will wheel out a piano each morning during the event and wheel it back indoors at night — are motorcycle shop Café Racer; Nelson Amos Studio, where there will be one piano indoors and one outdoors; Clover Computers; Ypsi Food Co-op; The Mix; LezleyAnne/David Austin Studio; and the Ypsi Convention Business Bureau.

But in addition to playing these outdoor pianos, passersby will also be invited to decorate the piano stationed outside the Nelson Amos Studio, at 23 E. Cross St. Paint and brushes will be provided, and a sign will invite you to “Paint Me, Play Me.” (The piano will be coated in Kilz, a white primer; and because Hancherlian-Amos’ husband is an artist, she suspects that he will be among the first to participate.)

“This is about getting people together,” said Hancherlian-Amos. “Getting people to get off their couches and come out, with the whole family or on your own, and play. … And it’s not just a soloist thing. If you play the saxophone, get a pianist to come out with you. … I just want the streets filled with music.”
You can see some of these pianos in action over the next few weeks on the Pianos 'Round Town YouTube channel.

(Thanks, @anne_228!)

Win 2 Free Tickets to Saturday's Performance of Opera Briefs 10 in Toronto

One of the most artistically satisfying things I do every year is play for the annual Composer-Librettist at Tapestry New Opera, where 4 composers and 4 librettists collaborate with each other and create 16 opera scenes over the course of 10 days.

This weekend is your chance to see 10 of those scenes in Opera Briefs 10 at the Distillery District's Ernest Balmer Studio in Toronto. James Bourne and I are co-music directors and will be at the piano for 5 scenes each. Friday and Saturday's shows begin at 8pm.

On Friday evening I will also be moderating a round table discussion with some of the creators. Join us at 6:45pm as we talk about the issues that go into creating an opera in 2010.

The two remaining shows will almost certainly sell out. When I left the studio last night, I overheard that there are only a handful of seats left for the two remaining shows. However, I have 2 tickets for the Saturday night Opera Briefs performance for 2 lucky Collaborative Piano Blog readers.

Here's how you can win them:

Send an email to collaborative piano [at] gmail dot com with Opera Briefs 10 in the title. The first person to email me gets the tickets for the performance of September 25.

Update: Congratulations go to Amie for winning the pair of tickets. Look for more ticket promotions in the coming weeks and months...

Good luck and I look forward to seeing you at Opera Briefs 10!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Bösendorfer Artisan Model 180

Bosendorfer Artisan model 180The Artisan Model is one of Bösendorfer's custom pianos from their special model line. About the Artisan Model's discreet floral ornamentation:

As long ago as the second millennium BC, inlaid work featuring geometric and figurative designs was produced in the Orient as facing for very special objects. The design hallmark of the Artisan is its discreet floral ornamentation worked – by hand, of course – with a variety of excellent woods such as walnut, maple, pear-wood, cherry-wood, mahogany, aruba and burr amboyna.

For as long as anyone can remember, creative minds in all walks of life have grappled with art’s great mystery and the question of what makes art art?

The Bösendorfer Artisan model could – by its very name – symbolise the quest for the great mystery of art.

If you were put one of these in your living room, you would definitely need to make some wise decisions regarding the rest of the room's decor. Another view:

Bosendorfer Artisan model 180

(Via high end piano guy on Flickr)

On Wenlock Edge, Recorded in 1917

This is a fascinating recording that I discovered this evening via Michael Monroe on Twitter:

On Wenlock Edge #1-3 (On Wedlock Edge, From Far, From Eve and Morning, and Is My Team Plowing?)
Gervase Elwes, tenor
The London String Quartet
Frederick B. Kiddle, piano

Recorded in 1917 by the Columbia Gramophone Company

From the Wikipedia entry on the accompanying career of Frederick Kiddle:
As the permanent accompanist for the Queen's Hall proms, naturally Kiddle accompanied almost everybody, but his great work in this role (demanding the highest standards of musicianship) is particularly remembered through his permanent connection with the tenor Gervase Elwes. In the early 1900s, when he was also organist of the parish church of St Marylebone in London, he was invited by Elwes (then just beginning his professional career) to act as his accompanist. Elwes regarded him as a most conscientious musician, and the two worked together throughout Elwes's career, until his death in 1921, often working several hours a day. Elwes instructed Kiddle in the meaning of the words of songs in French and German, so that there should be a unity of purpose in their performance, and he invariably brought Kiddle forward to share the applause at his concerts.
Kiddle's association with Elwes naturally brought him closely into the world of Roger Quilter's music, which he played with great verve and rhythmical insight. Quilter dedicated one of his Nora Hopper songs, 'Blossom-time', to Kiddle in 1914. Kiddle's playing as accompanist is heard on most of the recordings of Gervase Elwes, including the 1917 Vaughan Williams On Wenlock Edge set with the London String Quartet. He can also be heard in recordings with Lionel Tertis, Albert Sammons or the tenor Hubert Eisdell.
Alas, Gervase Elwes met an untimely end in Boston in 1921. He was struck by a train while attempting to pick up a fallen overcoat from the platform.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Quote of the Day

My new accompanist tagline: "Won't eff up your JRB tunes."
--@sometimeskelly on Twitter

Desert Piano

Desert Piano

From Jane Linders, an HDR view of a piano moved to the desert for Burning Man 2010. I wonder if it will suffer the same fate as this piano?

Yom Kippur 5771

Yesterday was one of the most exhausting but satisfying days of the year. For the 8th time, I played Yom Kippur services at Toronto's Temple Sinai in the second sanctuary with Cantor Katie Oringel (and joined by violinist Joseph Peleg playing Kol Nidrei on Friday evening). The services require a lot of playing from score, playing from chord symbols, as well as transposing, and I've become quite adept at the difficult task of following the flow of the service, music, cue sheets, and Machzor simultaneously.

Some of the most moving moments of the entire Yom Kippur cycle are in the Yizkor service, which happens in the afternoon before the concluding Ne'ilah. One of the settings that I find particularly memorable is the Gerald Cohen's Psalm 23, performed in the video below by Rowna Sutin at Pittsburgh's Rodef Shalom Congregation in 2008:

Tomorrow it's back to rehearsals at Tapestry for Opera Briefs 10, which opens this Thursday. Stay tuned...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Nico Muhly Plays Skip Town

From London's Union Chapel in February 2009, Nico Muhly plays his Skip Town with Valgeir Sigurdsson on electronics:

If you like Nico's eclectic approach to minimalism, you might want to take a look at his choral music album A Good Understanding, to be released next week on Decca.

(Via Sound Mind)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fight Cancer Through Song: A Benefit Concert for Kristin Pankonin at the SF Conservatory on September 24

Over the years, I've met many singers, composers, and instrumentalists who have passed through San Francisco over the course of their studies and careers. What nearly all of them have in common is that at some time they had worked with Kristin Pankonin, one of San Francisco's top pianists and coaches, and talked about the incredible impact she had on them. I had the pleasure of working alongside her in the summer of 1989, when we were students at the Academy of the West.

Kristin has cancer. She also needs your help to help raise money for treatment.

On Friday, September 24 at 8pm in the concert hall of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (50 Oak Street), friends of Kristin will be putting on Fight Cancer Through Song: A Benefit Conccert for Kristin Pankonin to raise money to defray the cost of Kristin's cancer treatment. Among the singers appearing will be Zheng Cao (who has also battled cancer), Catherine Cook, Nicole Foland, and Frederica von Stade (!!).

This is a golden opportunity to help one of SF's most pre-eminent musicians in return for the work she has done in developing so many musicians over the years.

Facebook Event Listing

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Yesterday's Epic Conversation on Twitter

This is what Twitter is all about: yesterday evening @timtfj, @ericasipes, and I (@chrisfoley) had a lengthy conversation about orchestras, cultural elitism, government cultural support, and arts voting. We were typing away so furiously that we only realized later that we forgot to hashtag the conversation for easier retrieval. When I checked Twitter again this morning, I had discovered that several people were interested in reading the conversation in its entirety, and thanks to an eloquent search by @Eridanus, I was able to retrieve the conversation, highlights of which are below.

ericasipes: @timtfj Just heard opera American opera singer who has worked in Germany for 20 years talk about benefits of being musician there...

ericasipes: @timtfj ...quite phenomenal, really. I couldn't really even comprehend or believe it. But perhaps I shouldn't be jealous...

ericasipes: @timtfj ...I imagine there r some disadvantages 2 living in a society that supports musicians/arts, right? ;-)

timtfj: @ericasipes I do know from professional players that orchestras in Germany get far more rehearsal time than the British ones do bc of it...

timtfj: @ericasipes ... but Britain seems to be famous for good sightreading, since there's so little rehearsal time. I know I was surprised once

ericasipes: @timtfj One thing that amazed me was that each regional area has their own opera house/company. And within each house, they sometimes...

ericasipes: @timtfj several productions a week, many of them premieres. Now I have 2 admit that I wouldn't necessarily b comfortable with a lot...

timtfj: @ericasipes to discover that amateur chamber musicians here seemed to have a higher standard of sightreading than someone who'd been

ericasipes: @timtfj of the far-out interpretations they do there...some of the things this singer has had 2 do is pretty unbelievable!

timtfj: @ericasipes to music coll in Germany. So the disadvantage is that they don't do as much sightreading, I think. ;-)

timtfj: @ericasipes It's interesting though. And people in those countries tend to be more clued-up in general about music.

ericasipes: @timtfj That's a really interesting observation/connection. Makes sense.

chrisfoley: @ericasipes @timtfj Following your conversation with interest.

timtfj: @ericasipes I was startled---if we play chamber mmusic it's taken for granted that everyone can sightread a Haydn quartet, say

timtfj: @ericasipes ... I can't remember what the music was, but this lady was having a lot of trouble sightreading it and we were the amateurs!

timtfj: @chrisfoley @ericasipes What's the situation in Canada? (In terms of public support etc.)

ericasipes: @timtfj So with these Proms that are just is that all supported? I'm assuming there must b quite a bit of government support.

ericasipes: @timtfj I was floored by the low cost of tickets, the frequency of concerts, the high caliber artists, all that. I truly find it shocking.

ericasipes: @timtfj I could be missing something, but I don't think we have anything in the US that compares. It also seems 2 me that there is a lot...

timtfj: @ericasipes I'm not sure, to be honest. I assume a lot is from the BBC licence fee, but I think there are corporate sponosrs too...

ericasipes: @timtfj of pride behind the Proms. I can't imagine that happening here, either. Sigh.

timtfj: @ericasipes ... I think @rolytaylor might know, if he's still tweeting.

ericasipes: @timtfj I don't think we could get enough corporate sponsors here to make it happen. Do British corporations sponsor sports the way...

ericasipes: @timtfj they do here?

chrisfoley: @timtfj @ericasipes The Ontario provincial gov't supports the arts quite substantially, with an emphasis on infrastructure funding.

chrisfoley: @timtfj @ericasipes Sadly, the BC gov't has recently gutted most of its arts funding.

timtfj: @ericasipes Yes, I think there is a lot of pride in them---they seem to be pretty well unique worldwide, which also makes them something

timtfj: @ericasipes which it's considered an honour to play in.

chrisfoley: @timtfj @ericasipes Many arts org's in Canada rely on 3 levels of gov't funding: federal, provincial and municipal + private donations.

timtfj: @ericasipes Not an area I know a lot about, not being a follower of sports, but there seems to be a lot of that sort of sponsorship.

chrisfoley: @timtfj @ericasipes Juggling finances based on multiple sources of private and public revenue is the name of the game for arts org's.

ericasipes: @chrisfoley @timtfj So I'm guessing that arts organizations are doing a bit of rethinking on how 2 support themselves, like we are here?

timtfj: @chrisfoley @ericasipes Everyone's cutting everything ATM. I think the arts are MORE important when unemployment's going up...

chrisfoley: @ericasipes @timtfj Yes, but you have to realize that for the most part CDN arts org's haven't nearly been hit as hard as those in the US.

timtfj: @chrisfoley @ericasipes ... Standard of living isn't as important as quality of life, and the arts contribute to the latter.

chrisfoley: @timtfj @ericasipes Fortunately, that fact is understood by the Ontario government, I think.

timtfj: @chrisfoley @ericasipes That's the same here. Get whatever support they can from wherever they can. (Amateur orch's are the ones I know abt)

chrisfoley: @timtfj @ericasipes In TO, the arts vote is sizeable (esp. in the center + E of the city), so politicians cut programs at their own risk.

ericasipes: @chrisfoley @timtfj This is all so good 2 hear & try 2 understand. So it sounds like the Canadian government sees value in arts in general.

timtfj: @ericasipes @chrisfoley Doing that while watching the gov. plans with dread, I think.

chrisfoley: @ericasipes @timtfj Not necessarily. The federal gov't is conservative, and often gives for political reasons.

chrisfoley: @timtfj @ericasipes For example, the Conservatives often give generously to TO arts org's because they want the votes.

ericasipes: @chrisfoley @timtfj That is just such a foreign a concept 2 me, 2 think of politicians thinking twice about cutting arts programs.

chrisfoley: @timtfj @ericasipes The Quebec +Ontario gov't's are extremely supportive of the arts, BC much less.

timtfj: @chrisfoley @ericasipes The new gov's attitude seems to be "if people want it they'll pay for it, so it's OK not to support it" :-(

ericasipes: @chrisfoley @timtjf ...I don't think that would happen here. The arts barely even show up on a politician's radar.

timtfj: @chrisfoley @ericasipes Now that's interesting. Here businesses will do it as good publicity, but not politicians for votes.

timtfj: @chrisfoley @ericasipes "Arts vote" isn't a phrase I've ever heard in this country!

chrisfoley: @ericasipes @timtfj The arts economy is as big as $25B per year in Canada, and probably 5-10x bigger than that in the US.

chrisfoley: @timtfj @ericasipes That economic clout just needs to translate into voting clout if it's identified and organized properly.

timtfj: @frindley @ericasipes I think less rehearsal time => more exposure to new pieces, i.e. There's as much playing, but more of it is concerts.

chrisfoley: @timtfj @ericasipes It's about time that "Arts Vote" entered the vocabulary in the US.

ericasipes: @frindley @timtfj @chrisfoley I'll have 2 add that study 2 my list of sight-reading research topics. ;-)

timtfj: @frindley @ericasipes I can believe that. I think one or two rehearsals is more typical.

chrisfoley: @ericasipes @timtfj Think of it this way: where else would you see funding spent so efficiently compared to big

timtfj: @frindley @ericasipes Probably any correlation actually comes from the different teaching emphases in music colleges.

chrisfoley: @timtfj @ericasipes There's almost no fat in an arts org's budget. They need to account for every penny most of the time.

chrisfoley: @timtj @ericasipes What's more, much gov't funding is payable right back to gov't's anyway, through income and sales taxes.

timtfj: @chrisfoley @ericasipes I'd say "and the UK", but there's a sort of anti-culture culture here and many would happily vote against the arts

frindley: @timtfj @ericasipes In Australia the orchestras typically have 5 rehearsal calls per program. And we hold our own in sightreading.

timtfj: @chrisfoley @ericasipes since anything "cultural" is considered elitist and hence a waste of money. This is not good.

chrisfoley: @timtfj @ericasipes Elitist? Wasteful? What about municipal gov't's spending tens of millions of dollars on unprofitable sports teams?

timtfj: @frindley @ericasipes Oh I know---I had an Australian friend who was here on a course for music teachers ...

timtfj: @frindley @ericasipes ... the difference I'm aware of is between Britain and continental Europe, really. (5 rehearsals is amazing though)

ericasipes: @chrisfoley @timtfj Exactly what I was going 2 say! But the problem is, sports is profitable...very profitable.

timtfj: @frindley @ericasipes But... If the rehearsal is the first time anyone sees the music and the concert is that evening... it's sightreading.

timtfj: @frindley @ericasipes That's a typical scenario, and people are expected to be able to play the notes straight away.

ericasipes: @chrisfoley @timtfj Colleges here spend so much time & energy 2 pump up their sports programs simply 2 get alumni 2 donate more money...

ericasipes: @chrisfoley the college, which is then put back into the sports teams. It must be profitable, right?

ericasipes: @timtfj @chrisfoley I find that so frustrating & disheartening. I know there r folks in the classical music world that might be elitist...

chrisfoley: @ericasipes It probably depends on the school. College infrastructure can be enormously expensive, no matter how much revenue is coming in.

ericasipes: @timtfj @chrisfoley ...but there are many of us that aren't. I don't play because I want 2 get rich, I do it because I love music.

chrisfoley: @ericasipes @timtfj Agreed. Going into music is generally a terrible career choice in terms of earning potential.

timtfj: @ericasipes @chrisfoley I don't understand the "it's elitist" attitude at all. I like music because I like it, and that's all there is to it

ericasipes: @chrisfoley I also think that sports, especially in colleges, gets 2 be a bit of an addiction 4 everyone involved. Current stud., alum...

ericasipes: @chrisfoley ...townspeople...our town practically comes 2 a halt on gamedays. Same with my comes 2 a halt then too ;-)

timtfj: @ericasipes @chrisfoley Gov. attitude is basically: only things which make money are worth spending money on. (Hence big science cuts too.)

timtfj: @ericasipes @chrisfoley The idea that some things are of value in themselves doesn't seem to occur to them. Money is the ONLY value.

ericasipes: @timtfj @chrisfoley All right,I think I better sign off since I promised not 2 work tonight ;-) But thank u so much 4 the gr* conversation.

chrisfoley: @timtfj @ericasipes Agreed. And if gov't's would take a look at the facts and realize just how large the arts +culture industry is....

chrisfoley: @timtfj @ericasipes ...and how efficiently their money is spent in arts +culture, they would think twice about cutting programs.

chrisfoley: @ericasipes Likewise - have a great evening.

timtfj: @ericasipes @chrisfoley And I'd better go because of the time! Nice chatting though :-)

chrisfoley: @timtfj Have a great evening!

timtfj: @chrisfoley Thanks! It's currently 3 am in the evening ;-) (All the philosophers went to bed, then all the musicians came online.)

The Grammy Foundation Grant Program is Accepting Applications Until October 1

If you're making a recording in the next while and need a substantial funding source, the Grammy Foundation might be worth looking into. The Grammy Foundation Grant Program is funded by The Recording Academy (host of the annual Grammy Awards) and has been around for 23 years, with the following mandate:
The Grant Program administers grants annually to organizations and individuals to support efforts that advance the archiving and preservation of the music and recorded sound heritage of the Americas for future generations, as well as scientific research projects related to the impact of music on the human condition. Recipients are determined based on criteria such as merit, uniqueness of project and the ability to accomplish intended goals.
The Grant Program offers funding for several different project types:

If you're interested in applying, you'll need to complete and submit an online letter of inquiry form by October 1, 2010 for the current funding cycle. 

(Thanks, Christina!)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Less Than a Week Left for CPB Readers to Get a 15% Discount on Armaid Products

This is just a quick reminder that Armaid is offering CPB readers in the US and Canada a 15% discount off their signature therapy device until September 15.  If you're dealing with muscle issues and need to give this helpful product a try, you have just under a week to call and order yours. In case you have any questions, feel free to call the US customer support line (1-800-488-5505) to get more information.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Get Your Ensemble Fix from Chamber Music Today

If you're interested in keeping up with the latest and best chamber music articles, look no further than Chamber Music Today, a new site from Jerry Bowles of Sequenza 21/ (read more about the announcement here). I'm also glad to announce that the Collaborative Piano Blog will also be syndicated on Chamber Music Today. Just another day in the life of the classical music blogosphere...

Monday, September 06, 2010

Good Study Habits?

Required reading for the first week back at school: Benedict Carey's Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits.

In light of recent learning theory, techniques that work include learning from larger collections of objects, breaking up study sessions into multiple tasks, learning in multiple places, spacing study sessions, and working towards a goal. Techniques that don't appear to work include studying in always the same place, learning modalities, matching teaching and study styles, and seeking out specific teaching styles. My latest article for Music Teacher's Helper looks at how you can put some of these new and not-so-new learning theories to work in the practice room.

Hammered Single Ladies w/ Beyoncé vs. Mark-Anthony Turnage

Party your Labor Day away with James Russet's remix of Beyoncé's Single Ladies and Mark-Anthony Turnage's Hammered Out, possibly the most awesome mashup of superstar pop and stone-faced orchestral geekdom you'll see this summer:

(Via @EighthBlackbird)

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Photo of the Day

Piano Strings

The view inside a Boston grand piano, via thomaslu6.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Wikio's Top 20 Classical Music Blogs for September 2010

Back in the good old days of the classical music blogosphere, many of us engaged in blog ranking projects, most notably those by Classical Convert, Musical Perceptions, and Sounds and Fury (I also created a list of top RSS feeds). The problem with creating these sorts of lists is that 1) the compilation process was extremely labor-intensive and 2) the criteria for ranking blogs is always changing. Fortunately, social media companies such as Wikio and Invesp are more than willing to fill the void with their own blog-ranking algorithms. Earlier this week, I was contacted by Wikio, and without further ado, am pleased to announce their latest rankings of classical music blogs for September 2010:

You can view the full list of classical music blog rankings here, although the updated version won't appear for a few days. Also check out Wikio's FAQs regarding how they rank blogs.

(Thanks, Fabien!)

Friday, September 03, 2010

Toronto Opera Repertoire Seeks Pianist/Coach

Toronto Opera Repertoire is looking for a pianist/coach for the 2010/11 season. From the listing for the position:
Job Description
Pianist/accompanist/coach required for community based opera group in downtown Toronto.

Good sight-reading, experience with opera, and stamina: the successful candidate will be "the orchestra" for 6 performances each of two different operas in February and March, 2011.

Additional Information
During rehearsal period in September, October and November: 9-hour week; evenings only. More hours required during performance period in February and March, 2011. Tasks include coaching singers, accompanying chorus and stage rehearsals, and playing full opera performances. For more information and to book an interview, call 416 878 0573, or e-mail adesantis [at]

(Thanks, Sheila!)