World of Piano Competitions: Working with a millipede

Back in 1970 you could easily distinguish between pianists and which country they came from based on playing styles and typical musical and technical manners. Now it’s virtually impossible.

If today there are hundreds of piano competitions worldwide, the number was far more limited in 1970, and the very important ones could be counted on the fingers of one hand. Today’s internationalisation, the increasing number of competitors and the big competitions’ tremendous outreach out has completely changed the cultural scene. “Back in 1970 you could easily distinguish between…

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Chopin Recital in Houston

Ohlsson spun out the main tune in clear, serene phrases, then made the sprawling middle section into eloquent play of shifting colors and ardent snippets of melody. The finale was a headlong burst of virtuosity.

“The concert’s sole sonata—the Sonata in B minor—gained a near-symphonic scale. The first movement embraced turbulence and punch as well as Ohlsson’s richest, silkiest lyrical playing of the night. Other hands have given the dashing scherzo more quicksilver precision, but Ohlsson made it red-blooded and exuberant. In the Largo, Ohlsson spun out the main tune in clear, serene…

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Cleveland Orchestra’s ‘family’ bond illumines all-Beethoven concert at Blossom

Ohlsson is justly acclaimed as a titanic force at the keyboard.

“Ohlsson is justly acclaimed as a titanic force at the keyboard. At moments over the years, listeners have practically needed seatbelts. On this occasion, however, he was a subtle presence, a weaver of gossamer musical fabrics and a wellspring of humble and seemingly effortless virtuosity. He approached the concerto not as a solo showpiece but rather as an outsized work of chamber music. At…

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Ravinia reviews

One can think of few A-list virtuosos better equipped to vanquish not only the sometimes awkward technical difficulties of this music but also to lay bare its communicative possibilities.

“He understands that merely delivering a clean, efficient exposition of the notes Brahms put on the page is only half the battle, that the interpreter must search out the expressive meaning in and between the notes if this sometimes elusive music is to reveal its full essence. Above all, he never made piano writing that feels ungainly to the fingers sound ungainly to the ear.” Chicago…

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After a Covid hiatus, the Ravinia Festival will return in July

In the third major reopening announcement in as many days, the Ravinia Festival released details of its 2021 season Thursday.

Chicago Classical Review Last year the entire Ravinia summer festival was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Like the Grant Park Music Festival, announced Wednesday, the Highland Park concert series is planning a cautious return to live-music-making. “More than ever before, we look forward to welcoming audiences back to Ravinia to be re-inspired by live music together,” said Jeffrey P.…

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