Chopin News, Reviews, and Previews:

ISO hands pianist Chen the keys to Chopin piece
Springfield State Journal Register – Springfield,IL,USA

Preview of Illinois Symphony Orchestra performance featuring Chinese pianist (and “Crystal Award” winner (3rd prize) at the 2005 Van Cliburn Competition) Sa Chen:

With the ISO, she will perform Frederic Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor. Chen sees what’s often called a light orchestral accompaniment as a dialogue between soloist and ensemble.

“It’s sentimental, dramatic and operatic, and it’s, in many ways, like a conversation with a lot of musically folksy elements,” Chen says of the Polish composer’s work.

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Warsaw city Chopin piano stunt – Warsaw,Poland

Could this be a late-breaking April 1 story?

The PR department at Warsaw city council is thinking of throwing pianos out of windows as a public relations exercise to publicise the capital.

During the anti-Tsarist Uprising of 1863, Chopin’s piano was thrown out of the window of his sister’s apartment by the soldiers of the Tsar and smashed on the street below.

The PR Department in the Warsaw City council has come up with an idea of drawing on that historical episode in the promotion of Warsaw to tourists.

Vienna has its Mozart, London has its Sherlock Holmes, why not throw replicas of grand pianos out of the window as a promotion gimmick, Warsaw PR people say….

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Celebrated pianist Lifschitz draws inspiration from natural forces
San Jose Mercury News – CA, USA

Preview and profile of pianist Konstantin Lifshitz, as a prelude to his April 10 performances and masterclasses in San Jose…

He’s including the 12 Études of Chopin‘s Opus 25 in preparation for a week of master classes at Aix-en-Provence, and concludes the recital with Brahms’ Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel. In between he’s slipping in Schoenberg’s Three Piano Pieces, Op. 11, the composer’s early, bracing venture into atonality. While he commits most of the music he performs to memory, he’ll have the Schoenberg sheet music on hand. Lifschitz may be a genius, but he’s not foolhardy.

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Pianist prepares for weekend of favorites with PSO
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review – Pittsburgh,PA,USA

Emanuel Ax comes to Steel City to play and share some thoughts about his “musical first love:”

Ax recalls that he began playing Chopin when he was 7 or 8. “I’m Polish by birth. All Polish pianists play Chopin, quite apart from him being a large part of every pianist’s life, really.

“I certainly love Chopin as much as any composer. He was probably my first love in the sense that I also grew up with (Arthur) Rubinstein, who was known to me as ‘the Chopin pianist.’ He played a lot else marvelously, too.”

Ax’s family moved to Canada in 1959 and settled in New York City in 1961. After studying at the Juilliard School of Music and Columbia University, he began winning piano competitions. But his career really took off after winning first prize in the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in 1974.

“After I won, he was very kindly. When he came to New York several times a year, he always found a little time for me. We had a few lessons, among them the Chopin F minor Concerto. He had a lot of stuff to say, unbelievably exact and instructive. I got to have dinner with him a few times, too. I was moving in high circles,” says the modest pianist.

Chopin and Debussy “are the most astonishingly original composers I know, Ax says. “With Beethoven, you see it’s incredible music, but you can trace connections to Mozart and Haydn writing at the time. Chopin comes from Warsaw and explodes on the scene. It’s a pretty revolutionary way of hearing music.”

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‘Forever’ Celebrates Life
OhmyNews International – South Korea

Glowing review of director Heddy Honigmann‘s documentary “Forever

Shot at the world famous Pere-Lachaise cemetery, the largest in Paris, the film explores the thoughts and feelings of those who have come to the gravesites to pay tribute to famous people such as Chopin, Modigliani, Apollonaire, Balzac, Proust and Oscar Wilde as well as ordinary folk who lived and loved and have been remembered. It is a moving experience that engages both the mind and the heart.

The film opens with the story of pianist Yoshino Kimura, a young Asian woman who performs the work of Frederic Chopin as a means of connecting with her deceased father who loved his music. Scenes of Kimura playing the pensive melodies of Chopin’s Nocturnes in concert are shown as the camera offers loving close ups of the pianist, the emotion revealed in her eyes.

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Prestigious Gilmore Music Festival brings pianist to Albion
Battle Creek Enquirer – Battle Creek,MI,USA

Preview of April 26th concert featuring Gilmore Young Artist (and multiple Chopin award-winner) Naomi Kudo:

Although she’s only 20 years old, the Asian-American Kudo is a veteran of numerous international competitions. During the past three years alone, Kudo is the 2007 winner of the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, too second prize at the 2005 U.S. National Chopin and was the only American finalist at the 2005 Chopin Piano Competition in Poland. She has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic, the Fukui Symphony Orchestra and numerous other U.S. ensembles.

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Chopin in the Blogosphere:

SPOTLIGHT: Marjorie Vincent, “Fantasie-Impromptu” by Frédéric

By Ike(Ike)

From the “Fly Funky Diva” blog, memories of a Miss America with some major Chopin mojo….

Marjorie’s piano rendition of this Chopin masterpiece went down as one of the most brilliant talent performances in Miss America history. She also looked incredible! Marjorie Vincent was crowned Miss America this year making her the fourth african-american woman to hold the title.

Fly Funky Diva –