Chopin News, Reviews, and Previews

Must male pianists be pin-ups? – UK

Provocative column from Guardian blogger about “making glamourpusses out of pianists…” The readers think it’s more of a generation gap…

In the crisis-laden economy of classical music concerts, pianists today are often marketed as “hunka hunka burnin’ loves,” however inappropriately. A few years ago, I interviewed the talented, poetic young Chinese pianist Yundi Li in his New York manager’s office. Then in his early 20s, gawky and skinny, with tousled hair under a baseball cap, Yundi looked like the provincial Chinese youth he was. I was amazed to see how his recording company packaged his remarkable CDs of Chopin and Liszt, adding heavy makeup and swooning poses for an androgynous look. Yundi Li’s artistry was the same, but he became a different artist to look at…..

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Piano Lessons
Voice of San Diego – San Diego,CA,USA

Review of the San Diego premiere of “Beethoven As I Knew Him,” the latest installment in Hershey Felder‘s trilogy of composer portraits….

First, Hershey Felder presented his fantastic one-man show, “George Gershwin Alone,” and urged theater-goers to join in on a sing-along of Gershwin hits. It was like drawing flies to honey; the enthusiastic Felder inspired gleeful audience members young and old to sing their hearts out. It was a sight (and sound) to behold.

Then came Felder’s portrayal of the emotionally intense Fredéric Chopin which gave audiences a peek into the cultural sophistication of the 19th century Parisian salon.

Now, the Old Globe presents the final installation (and world premiere) of Hershey Felder’s “Composer Sonata” trilogy of one-man performances based on famous composers’ lives with “Beethoven, As I Knew Him.” […]

A natural and engrossing storyteller, Felder was at his best during “Beethoven” at the piano bench. Using discourse and music, Felder took the audience through pieces like Beethoven’s Fifth symphony, expounding on the famous fate-at-the-door theme. The “Moonlight” sonata rendering was exquisite. Throughout the night, Felder used anecdotes and visuals (conducting to the night sky of stars!) to enhance the overall musical performance.

Though starker and narrated at a more measured pace than both “Gershwin” and “Chopin,” “Beethoven, As I Knew Him” offers a poignant introspection into the austere composer’s beloved music….

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Prometheus celebrates a distinctive vision
Boston Globe – United States

20th-anniversary production by the Promotheus Dance Company of Boston gets high marks for everything but a Chopin-based performance…

The world premiere on the program, “Lignage,” seems disappointingly tame in comparison. A work for eight women set to a series of Chopin preludes, it contrasts slow floor work with flurries of sweeping movement – swirling turns with arms outstretched, legs carving great arcs. The women roll, cradle one another, then rise in rushes about the stage. There are a lot of stops and starts, and it has the crowded, slightly aimless feel of a work created to showcase young dancers.

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