As part of its proud commitment to increase classical music awareness, education, and opportunities for students and the general public, The Chopin Project has added the 7th Annual Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival (RPPF), July 18 through August 5, to its list of student and community outreach programs.

The Chopin Project’s partnership with RPPF includes the addition to two student Ambassador Concerts, July 21 and 28 at 4:00 p.m., at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Tampa. All RPPF concerts are free and open to the public. A suggested donation of $10 is appreciated to help offset costs that are underwritten by RPPF.

The 7th Annual Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival hosts 36 collegiate artist pianists, all prominent “rising stars” from 164 leading music programs, colleges and universities worldwide. Students are joined by 20 internationally renowned faculty in a multi-faceted program that includes 16 free concerts presented at 10 Tampa Bay venues, including Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.

Four student performers participate on a rotating basis in the 16 concerts that are part of RPPF. Each performance includes a rich mix of composers, including Chopin. A wide variety of genres from the wealth of solo piano music including single and multi-movement works are featured in the programs.

The Chopin Project is honored to present internationally acclaimed pianist, Matthew Graybil in Good Shepherd Music Series’ inaugural concert on Tuesday, February 19th at 7:00 PM. Mr. Graybil will perform the music of Chopin, Mozart, and Bellini. The performance continues Chopin Project’s commitment to community outreach. Admission is free. All are welcome.

The Chopin Project proudly announces its 2018-19 live concert season. We are thrilled it includes Concert Series Performances in Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Tampa, Florida as well as Student Outreach Events in Bradenton and Hudson, Florida. Watch for program details.

World-renowned pianist, Matthew Graybil will play concerts in new venues when he returns to Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota April 6-10th.

Celebrating the centennial of the death of Claude Debussy, Mr. Graybil’s program titled “Debussy: His Friends and Enemies” is a whimsical celebration of the life, music and sharp-tongued with of Claude Debussy, based on his musical criticism and written correspondence. Musical friend and foe will be pitted against one another in a program highlighting many musical styles and periods, enlivened by Debussy’s cunning, caustic and often amusing commentary on his musical idols, contemporaries, and adversaries.

Tickets for Tampa | Tampa Friends Meeting, Friday, Apr 6 at 7 PM: at the door or call (813) 253-3244

Click for Tickets | St. Petersburg: The Palladium Theatre, Sun, April 8 at 3 PM.

Click for Tickets | Sarasota: Church of the Redeemer, Tue, April 10 at 7 PM.

 

Celebrate Fryderyk Chopin’s 208th Birthday this weekend with three Chopin Project Concerts featuring renowned pianist, Renana Gutman: Friday, March 2 at 7 PM at Tampa Friend’s Meeting, 1502 W. Sligh Avenue, Tampa Florida AND  Saturday, March 3 at 3 PM and Sunday, March 4 at 3 PM at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, 3975 Fruitville Road, Sarasota.

Listen now to Renana perform Chopin’s Etude in D-flat Major, Opus 25 No. 8 (“Sixths”), and in honor of Chopin’s adoration for J.S. Bach, the “Gigue” from French Suite No. 5 in G Major.

 

Save These Two Dates: Saturday, March 3rd, and Sunday, March 4th for two musical programs you must see and hear. Click here for Online Ticket Orders or Call (800) 838-3006 to speak with a live person.

STUDENT TICKETS are being provided as gifts from Chopin Project Patrons and are available through their teachers or organization administrators. Call Frederick Slutsky at (813) 966-1933 for additional information.

Chopin Project is thrilled to offer two exceptional Chopin Project® Concerts at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota. On Saturday, March 3 at 3:00 PM, internationally acclaimed pianist, Renana Gutman will be featured in a solo piano recital in a program of works by Chopin, Mozart, Schubert, and Schumann. On Sunday, March 4, also at 3:00 PM, Ms Gutman will present a completely different program with works by Chopin, Bach, Debussy, and others.

 

 

Save These Dates: Saturday, October 21st, and Sunday, October 22nd for two musical experiences you must see and hear. Click here for Online Ticket Orders or Call (800) 838-3006 to speak with a live person. STUDENT TICKETS are being provided as gifts from Chopin Project Patrons and are available through their teachers or organization administrators. Call Frederick Slutsky at (813) 966-1933 for additional information.

Chopin Project is thrilled to offer two exceptional Chopin Project® Concerts at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota. On Saturday, October 21st, at 7 PM, world renowned pianist, Matthew Graybil will be featured in a solo piano recital in a program of  Chopin, Beethoven, Brahms, Liszt, Wagner, and Stravinsky. On Sunday, October 22nd at 3 PM, internationally acclaimed violinist, Rhiannon Banerdt, will be joined by Mr. Graybil for a piano and violin duo performance in a program featuring works by Debussy, Prokofiev, Chopin, Brahms, Wagner, and Liszt.

 

 

Three enthusiastic receptions! Thanks to all who attended Matt Graybil’s Thursday performance at the Dali Museum, our Saturday performance at the Tampa Quaker Meeting — and especially our outreach performance at the Artz 4 Life Academy in Clearwater, Florida.

Chopin Project Outreach Performance by Matthew Graybil at Artz 4 Life Academy, Clearwater, Florida, Friday, May 19, 2017

On Saturday, May 20th at 7:00 PM, Matthew Graybil will reprise his May 18th Dali Museum performance, playing two Scarlatti Sonatas in B Minor, Beethoven’s (Appassionata) Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, Chopin’s Sonata No. 2 in B-flat Minor, and Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz No. 1, all in aid of raising funds for Tampa’s Society of Friends. Dedicating their newly completed meeting space, located at 1502 West Sligh Avenue, Tampa, Graybil’s concert will be the first in what is expected to be a series of classical performances hosted by the venue. Everybody is welcome and tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance by phone (813-253-3244) and cost $10 and $20.

Matthew Graybil will reprise his Dali Museum performance at the Tampa Quaker Meeting at 7 PM, Saturday, May 20th at 1502 West Sligh Avenue, Tampa, Florida.

Save This Date: Thursday, May 18th

Pushing the Boundaries of Musical Form: A program inspired by Salvador Dali, his world and his works, in the intimate setting of the Dali Museum Theater. One Dali Boulevard, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701. We suggest very early reservations. 

Click here for Online Tickets: $25 — Use Discount Code at Checkout: CHOPIN

 

We’re excited once again to offer two exceptional Chopin Project® Concerts at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota. On Saturday, March 4, at 7PM Leventritt prize winner Tong-Il Han will be featured in a solo piano recital in an all Chopin program; and on Sunday, March 5 at 3PM, Ms Helen Lee will join Mr. Han for a piano duo performance in an all Schubert program. These will be musical experiences you’ll not want to miss! Watch this space for more information. We hope to see you!

Click here for Online Ticket Orders or Call (800) 838-3006 to speak with a real, live person.

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Ary Schefer MuseumSuggestion: Click the red “Listen Now” button (on the right) before you start to read.

The Chopin Project® aims to connect a global community focused on the work of Fryderyk Chopin and began and continues as the evolving blueprint of its founder, Frederick Slutsky, who is determined to make Chopin’s music more accessible to listeners and music students worldwide, through a variety of web, social media and live outreach events, digital and printed resources.

Chopin Project® is a unique component of the continuing worldwide celebration of Fryderyk Chopin’s life and legacy. It has grown to become several robust, interactive online destinations and a live concert series on Florida’s west coast, dedicated to promoting the discovery, research, inspiration and pure enjoyment of Chopin’s complete works, those of his contemporaries, those who influenced his work, and those he influenced.

Since its genesis in 2007, where it began as an ambitious live concert and symposium series, The Chopin Project® (https://www.chopinproject.com/) has become a comprehensive interactive user-focused enterprise. It fulfilled a unique role in the worldwide Chopin bicentennial celebration in 2010. The Chopin Project® Facebook community (https://www.facebook.com/chopinproject) is open to all.  Those preferring twitter can follow @chopinproject.

Chopin Project 2 in the App store is an extension of the Project’s effort to make his music accessible and affordable to most anyone, almost everywhere on the planet. The user’s ability to Search, Sort, Create and Listen to individual playlists – from classic favorites to underperformed rarities and “lost editions” – will gain for the listener a continuing or renewed (perhaps even a first) appreciation of his magical music. Four Volumes of music in either mp3 or CD format, published between 2009 and 2016, are available on the Chopin Project label: Rarities & Favorites, Volumes 1-4 via iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Google Play and many other platforms. Eight more volumes are planned.

Also on Amazon and Sheet Music Plus is something unique: I Can Play Chopin, ten new arrangements of Chopin’s music for late beginner to late intermediate piano students, offering very early accessibility to music Chopin never intended for players of modest ability.

Chopin Project Founder and Producer, Frederick Slutsky, shares Sarasota Herald Tribune correspondent Richard Storm’s review of two Chopin Project Concerts held Saturday and Sunday, September 24 and 25.

 

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By Richard Storm / Correspondent
There was an explosion of talent and skill at the Chopin Project concert Saturday afternoon, when the young and impressive pianist, Matthew Graybil gave a recital of music by Fryderyk Chopin and his contemporaries in the resonant acoustics and superb architecture of the Unitarian Universalist Church.

Graybil’s formidable technical prowess may not be unique in these days of flashy pianism, but the maturity of his interpretations and the eloquence of his presentation was exceptionally gripping and illuminating. Beginning with a familiar work by Johann Sebastian Bach, the Sarabande from his third French Suite, Graybil immediately established his credentials with a thoughtful and supple performance, beautifully shaped and entirely at the service of the music. Mozart’s Rondo in A Minor, an unusual use of the minor key for this composer, extended the scope of influences on Chopin by his predecessors. Chopin’s own Scherzo in B-flat Minor is an homage to his colleagues in the Paris music scene, shamelessly employing his technical skills and demanding the same from the performer, something achieved perfectly in this stunning rendition.

An unusual and seldom-heard transcription for piano of Bellini’s beloved aria, “Casta Diva” from his monumental opera, “Norma,” closed the first part of the program in a torrent of chromatic writing delivered effortlessly by Graybil.

One of the goals of the Chopin Project, founded at the University of Michigan in 2007, has been to make the composer’s music more accessible to young performers by publishing somewhat easier arrangements of familiar compositions. In this program, student Nicole Pekarek joined Graybil in a charming version of a favorite recital piece, the third etude in Chopin’s Opus 10 repertoire. Two of the beloved Nocturnes followed in performances which emphasized the both adventurous chromaticism and dreamy textures, effortlessly presented by Graybil with subdued elegance.

‘Chopin and His World’
Reviewed Sept. 24 and 25 at Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarsaota. Presented by Chopin Project. chopinproject.com

Two works by Chopin’s friends, Robert Schumann and Franz Liszt: Schumann’s “Widmung” and Liszt’s massive “Vallee d’Obermann,” closed the program with both impressive technique and quiet elegance.

This young man has a great career ahead of him.

Difficult as it may seem, the second part of the Chopin Project, heard Sunday afternoon, was even more impressive than the first. Graybil performed a program that featured more Chopin, including some rarely heard and incredibly difficult items.

For another appreciative audience, which included several students, he played a fine collection of etudes, the Mazurka in E Minor and three seldom-heard etudes, as well as the second piano sonata, in B-flat Minor, a piece seemingly outside the scope of human pianistic skill and which includes the familiar Funeral March.

The program concluded with an astonishing piano version of the “Danse Infernale” from Stravinsky’s “The Firebird” ballet.

Once again – WOW!

Tickets at the door $25 Adults; No charge for Students

Ticket Reservations Call (813) 966-1933

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Happy Birthday “Frycek.” Enjoy this beautiful and moving video that brings to life Chopin’s early years in 19th century Warsaw. You see where the young “Frycek” lived and hear details of his family, friends, personality and musical progress. Produced by the City of Warsaw, the video interweaves scenes from past and present, the effect showing you how Chopin’s story and city, like his music, live on today.

Tap on the video image to view it in YouTube. When you watch it full screen, you’ll be able to engage the Closed Captioned subtitles and read translations in English and many other languages.

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Photo collage by gracious permission from Hanna Komarnicki (“Chopin’s Europe”)

MINI BIO PART 3: Interlude: Bohemia & Saxony

Buoyant with hope and aspiration, Chopin, with his three traveling companions, returned home after his first visit to Vienna by way of Prague. For Chopin, in addition to visiting Bohemia’s beautiful captial city as a tourist, it continued his Mozart Odyssey that took him just weeks before to Vienna to promote his newly published Op. 2, Variations on La ci darem la mano. Chopin also visited St. Vitus Cathedral, the venue of Rosetti’s Requiem on the death of Mozart. The young visitors also met Vaclav Hanka, the curator of the National Museum, where one of the group, Ignacy Maciejowski, inscribed two stanzas in his Visitor’s Book, to which Chopin added a Mazurka.

The group continued to Teplice, where there was yet another Mozart connection which Chopin visited: Wallenstein’s Castle in nearby Duchcov, where Casanova, who had advised Mozart on matters of love during the writing of Don Giovanni, worked as librarian to Count Waldstein.

Dresden, the next stop, was the capital of Saxony, which had a strong Polish connection: the last Kings of Poland were Saxons. Thus, the magnificent city had a sizable Polish community, to Chopin’s delight.

Fast forward six years. Bohemia was the setting, in 1835, of Chopin’s aborted love affair with Maria Wodzinska. Chopin was invited (by chance) to Karlove Vary by the Wodzinski family where he was reacquainted with Maria, whom he taught when she was nine years old (7 years earlier). He was smitten at the sight of the beautiful young woman she had become, fell in love, and copied his Waltz in A-flat, Op. 69 No. 1 into her music album. Maria’s mother initially approved of their subsequent engagement, but her father had strong reservations because of Chopin’s ill health (and  what else, social status), and the engagement was called off. It took Chopin a long time to get over the end of the affair.

Have a listen to “Pierscien” (The Ring), a Chopin song written for Maria in Marienbad. The poem was written by Stefan Witwicki.

New Chopin Project iPhone App

The media is talking once again about Chopin Project . . .

(Newswire.net — February 27, 2014) Lutz, Florida — If you’re one of the millions of fans of 19th century Polish-French pianist and composer, Fryderyk Chopin, his March 1 birthday could be just the excuse you need to treat yourself to a very special present. Read the full release here.

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Collage of images from “Chopin’s Europe” Photos courtesy Hanna Komarnicki

MINI BIO PART 2: First Trip to Vienna 

Chopin visited Vienna twice. To all musicians, both aspiring and established, the capital city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was the ultimate Mecca, the city of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert. Chopin felt its pull. However, Beethoven and Schubert had died, a year apart, not three years before Chopin’s visit, and already the cultural decline of the world’s music capital was under way. Paris was now becoming the New Vienna, the city in which it was de rigueur to be seen and, above all, heard.

For Chopin, his first visit to Vienna at the end of July, 1829, was a tentative step away from an increasingly provincial Warsaw, into the wider European scene. His passport, appropriately, was his Variations on La ci darem la mano, from Mozart’s Don Giovanni. He had previously sent the manuscript to Vienna’s leading publisher, an approving Tobias Haslinger. To complement its publication that very month, Chopin performed this work twice before ecstatic audiences.

In short, Chopin’s first visit to Vienna at age 19 was a short, deliberate and intense enterprise lasting 18 days (if we don’t count the days of arrival and departure). In that brief period, he met Vienna’s musical illuminati, finalized the publication of his Op. 2, and gave two major concerts in the course of one week. He felt energized with hopes of further fame and fortune as he left Vienna with his four friends, bound for home and hearth via Prague and Dresden.

As we celebrate the approach of  Chopin’s 204th birthday, we offer his Opus 2 in two iterations, first as written with orchestra, and then, as a reduction for solo piano.

Happy Birthday, Fryderyk Chopin! 

With the anniversary of Chopin’s birth approaching, people are talking once more about the mystery of his two birthdays. Chopin Project has been quoted in a news release which has been circulated to the world’s media where we’ve given our definitive view. Read the whole story here.

 

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Chopin’s Birthplace, Photo Courtesy Hannah Komarnicki

 

 

Images from “Chopin’s Europe” courtesy Hanna Komarnicki

Fryderyk Chopin composed his Mazurka in A Minor Opus 7 No. 2 in Poland though it was published later, in France. We know this because an early version of it was discovered in the album of his second teacher’s daughter, Emilia Elsner. Listen and watch as Arthur Greene performs it at a Live Chopin Project Outreach Program in Sarasota, Florida. Then learn more about Chopin’s life through a series of short chapters of his annotated mini biography.

MINI BIO PART 1: Half a Life in Poland

Chopin’s life, as his music, is full of ambiguity and unanswerable questions. What a complicated world he was born into! The great Polish Empire had just been cut into pieces and divided among three countries: Russia, Austria, and Prussia. Chopin was from the Russian part. Chopin’s mother Justyna was born into a noble family, but one so poor that she ended up as a housekeeper working for the Skarbek’s, a distantly-related noble family, though in decline. Continue Reading »

March 1, 2012. Happy Birthday Fryderyk Chopin!

Millions around the world will celebrate the life of Fryderyk Chopin today by listening to his music. We’d like to contribute to the celebration by presenting three pieces. The first is unusual though arguably Chopin’s most beloved Nocturne, the second piece is almost unknown and hardly ever performed, and the third is an all time favorite.

So what makes this first piece so unusual? We’ve recorded a rare edition of the Nocturne in E-flat Major, Opus 9, No. 2. Chopin himself penciled in extra notes to challenge some of his students. Listen carefully and if you know the piece (as you probably will), you’ll hear some things you haven’t heard before — a terrific Chopin Birthday treat.

The second piece, “Der Schweizerbub,” composed when Chopin was in his teens, is hardly ever performed. More of this story in a later post . . . but for now at Birthday 202, enjoy the work of a younger “Frycek” Chopin, age 14.

The third piece, Chopin’s (“Raindrop) Prelude in D-flat Major, Op. 28 No. 15, rounds out our Chopin Birthday mini concert. Let’s join the Chopin lovers of the world by enjoying the soul-resonating magic of Fryderyk Chopin’s musical expression, touching the heart of our real being.

Ancient trees at Nohant Manor from "Chopin's Europe" courtesy Hanna Komarnicki

The first of this group of three mazurkas, in the key of  B Major, was conceived in Nohant in 1846, and begins with a defiant theme, a real mold of Mazur as played by country musicians in some village tavern. The character changes with the second theme and from then on the mazurka oscillates between these two contrasting moods. Those moods could also be regarded as musical illustrations of two contrasting characters: it seems to me very often that in his mazurkas, more than anywhere else, Chopin portrays the male and female character either in conversation or on a dance floor of a tavern. Here the second theme is a vivid description of a dancer’s stomping feet, with a characteristic accent on the last beat.

Chopin's initials embellish the gate at The Hermitage -- formerly the Museum of the Chopin Festival -- where, in the summer of 1826, the Chopin family came to the spa at Duszniki "to take the waters." Photo courtesy Hanna Komarnicki

This Polonaise comes from the pen of already “mature” Chopin, almost 18 years old. The musical material here bears some similarity to the themes of his Concerti. This work is less showy and less virtuosic than the Op. 71. No. 2, composed around the same time. The manner of its opening is meditative, its melodies not dancelike, and its mood dignified. The characteristic rhythm of the polonaise doesn’t appear until later in the work, and then almost without a melody, as if to emphasize the solemnity and weight of the Polonaise as a dance step.

But wait — in the middle section we hear melodies that are both ardent and lyrical, and the element of a dance is relegated to the background. In this very section there also appear glimpses of virtuosity in a form of brilliant figurations, as if Chopin didn’t want us to forget his true prankish nature.

Nohant Manor -- Garden Entry from "Chopin's Europe" courtesy MUZA SA, Image copyright 2010 Hanna and Juliusz Komarnicki

As we know, Chopin, like Mozart and Beethoven before him, and Liszt among his contemporaries, was one of the greatest improvisers before the public. How his improvisations sounded, either public or private, in the darkness of his music salon, we will never know. It always seems to me that the closest we will ever come to hearing his musings at the piano is this single five minute Prelude, composed in 1841 in Nohant, and assigned the separate opus number 45. Sending his copyist, Julian Fontana, his manuscript (neither the autograph nor Fontana’s copy are extant), Chopin attached a note that this time (unlike in the case of the Tarantella, Op. 43) expressed a rarely shown satisfaction: “it is well modulated, isn’t it?” In this constant stream of modulations, with no specific form, the main theme and the accompaniment are intertwined. Toward the end comes a cadenza, with double notes in both hands, that a lead to an ecstatic culmination. The opening theme then reappears, and the piece dies away. Its character could be mistaken for that of a nocturne. The work was dedicated to one of Chopin’s female students, Countess Elizabeth Czernyszew. It is puzzling that this marvelous work is performed relatively rarely, although it almost invariably appears in complete recordings of the preludes. It might be worth noting that this work was a obligatory composition during the Fifth International Chopin Competition in Warsaw in 1955.

Chopin Project Via The Educational Channel

The premiere of The Chopin Project on The Education Channel will be cablecast tonight, March 7th at 5PM Eastern Time (22:00 GMT).  Month-long live streaming is available for convenient access anywhere via this SCHEDULE.

The Chopin Project Special, produced by the Education Channel through the stewardship of the Sarasota County School Board, is original programming highlighting The Chopin Project® — as it celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Fryderyk Chopin. The one hour documentary highlights the educational outreach component of Chopin Project’s mission to carry the music of the Polish master to young people everywhere. The program was designed as an integral part of the multi-concert Sarasota Chopin Festival presented last November by The Artist Series of Sarasota and The Chopin Project.

The Chopin Project Special showcases Chopin’s music presented to Booker Middle and Booker VPA High School students in Sarasota through live performances, a young people’s lecture and imagery from Chopin’s Europe.

Watch the Video Here

Daniel Rodriguez was a photojournalist for the Colombian daily newspaper El Espectador from 1936-66. His work, nearly all in black and white, is known for its beauty and simplicity. It shows a face of Colombian culture transporting the viewer on a nostalgic journey full of contrasts. Chopin’s Mazurka in F Minor, Op. 63 No. 2 performed by Polina Khatsko establishes the tone for our introduction to the photographic works of this Colombian master.

Continue Reading »

Watch the Recital Video Here

Enjoy this very rare kinescope of a recital by William Kapell; and especially the second piece, Chopin’s Nocturne in E-flat Major, Op. 55 No. 2 (1835) appearing from 3′ 28″ to 8′ 14.” This extraordinary rendering from Alistair Cooke’s “Omnibus” series (CBS-TV) was recorded live March 15, 1953 at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is the only known video of any performance by Kapell who died tragically seven months later, and was mourned by the musical illuminati of the time. We also suggest a wonderful three part tribute to Kapell here:  Part 1; Part 2; and Part 3.

Continue Reading »

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