February 7, 2015 |
Most siblings look back on a childhood of pick-up football games and getting into scrapes together. Ashley, Daniel, and Andrew Hsu, on the other hand, may remember the time they played Beethoven's last three piano sonatas on a single program while still students at the Curtis Institute of Music. That time was Wednesday night in Field Concert Hall. They could have chosen a strand of Beethoven bagatelles, or taken turns with the Goldberg Variations, if the only point had been to play up the familial connection.
February 1, 2015 |
On the off chance that you missed the point during the Schumann and Schubert, pianist Kuok-Wai Lio slipped in an encore Thursday night at his Philadelphia Chamber Music Society debut, declaring the school of pianism from which he springs. It doesn't get much more ostentatious than Rachmaninoff's take-off on the "Liebesleid" by Fritz Kreisler. But how, you might wonder, did old-world keyboard giants such as Rachmaninoff, Josef Hofmann, and Jorge Bolet come to inhabit the soul of a 26-year-old Macau-born prodigy?
May 9, 2014 |
CENTER CITY Samuel Barber and Leonard Bernstein came and went, but she never left. Rudolf Serkin, Rose Bampton, and Fritz Reiner - they were just passing through. In fact, at the Curtis Institute of Music, everyone else ranks as a mere carpetbagger next to Eleanor Sokoloff. The school's prima donna piano professor, given to sharp outfits and sharper opinions, came to the school as a student in 1931, started teaching in 1936, and never left. There she was, still, at Curtis' traditional Wednesday tea - but this one poured in her honor from the school's lustrous samovar.
October 7, 2013 |
Though Leon Fleisher - The Complete Album Collection (Sony 88725459972) contains 23 CDs, it is far from comprehensive. But those who care about the truncated career of this great pianist are likely to find recordings they have long sought or never knew existed - and for only about $60. Though his Brahms and Beethoven concertos never went out of print, the Columbia vaults left important items unissued for years, perhaps because they were in...
October 7, 2013 |
When Gary Graffman was director of the Curtis Institute of Music, he used to tell students that the recorded legacy was a distortion. The act of saving some recordings and discarding others - the natural selection of that business - means that all available evidence is not necessarily an accurate portrait of the artist. That might not apply in Graffman's own case. On his 85th birthday, he is getting a gift from Sony Classical: a 24-CD boxed set of recordings from the 1950s on. I can't say for sure, not having been alive during the late-mid-century shank of Graffman's career, but based on his performances during the last 25 years, it seems the pianist you hear in these testaments - Rachmaninoff from 1964, Schubert from 1956 - is unshakably true to form.
October 11, 2011 |
Classical musicians have no standard retirement age, partly because artistry isn't an occupation but a way of life, and ways of expressing it are constantly modified according to the physical changes of maturity. In theory. The collective age of the six musicians onstage at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society's season-opening concert Sunday inched toward half a millennium. Often you heard it; often you didn't. Always, the long-cultivated goodwill inspired by these performers overrode the former and certainly celebrated the latter.
November 2, 2010 |
Jonathan Biss, the young concert pianist with a substantial international career, is taking his first faculty position: at the Curtis Institute of Music, his alma mater. Biss, 30, based in New York, will join the Curtis roster next fall. "I'm starting right at the top," Biss said Monday from his Georgia stop on a U.S. tour with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. "For the last five or six years I've been coming to Curtis about once a year to do master classes, but I've not had a student in my charge - so that's going to be a new experience.
June 15, 2010 |
Most 19-year-olds with a full scholarship at a prestigious institution of higher learning are implored to stay there no matter what. But nobody as young as Haochen Zhang ever won the career-making Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Given a choice between grabbing the brass ring and writing term papers for a Curtis Institute bachelor's degree, Zhang's answer was both. "Concerts are important and that's what I've dreamed about since I was young. But my age is still the age of learning," he said recently at Curtis.
May 15, 2010 |
On paper it was yet another student recital at the Curtis Institute of Music, the 99th of the season. But this program of Schubert and Schumann played by Kuok-Wai Lio doubled as something rarer - the quiet launching pad for a career. In Thursday night's audience at Curtis' Field Concert Hall were not only Gary Graffman, with whom the Macau-born pianist has studied for four years, but also Earl Blackburn, the savvy artists' agent who has handled Lang Lang and Yuja Wang (also Graffman students)
November 15, 2009 |
Perched on the edge of a rocking chair with a score opened before her, Eleanor Sokoloff looks up into the air and shakes her head in time to the music. "That's a girl," she says, her forceful alto overpowering the Beethoven. "I could use a little more top. Ah. That makes all the difference in a phrase. " The French cuffs of Sokoloff's 15-year-old student glide over the B?sendorfer keyboard. And then Sokoloff stops her. "Well . . . ," she says with distaste and suspicion in her voice.