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The Piano, Glasgow offers an annual feast of the world’s finest pianists

The Piano offers an annual feast of the world’s finest pianists, stars of the future, masterworks, masterclasses, talks, improvisation and some iconic works from the repertoire. Focused over two weekends in November, this year’s festival includes Romantic, Classical, Contemporary and Jazz: the piano in many moods and guises.

In addition to a lecture by master piano tuner Ulrich Gerhartz, Director of Concert and Artists’ Services at Steinway and Sons key highlights include:

  • Alfred Brendel gives a personal and quirky insight into music, musicians and the life of a pianist
  • Prize-winner at the Scottish International Piano Competition, Katya Apekisheva performs poise of Scarlatti with Janácek’s passionate miniatures and Schumann’s Viennese Carnival scenes
  • One of the world’s greatest pianists, Elisabeth Leonskaja, teams up with one of the greatest quartets, the Emerson String Quartet, for an unmissable pairing of Shostakovich and Beethoven
  • Wonderful young Scottish pianist Alasdair Beatson joins Hebrides Ensemble to perform Judith Weir, Ades and Schubert
  • Denis Kozhukhin debut recital of Classical and Romantic favourites from Haydn, Schubert and Mussorgsky
  • Pianist Euan Stevenson (Scottish Jazz Awards Emerging Artist 2013) plays Bartok
  • Nicolas Hodges plays two of Stockhausen’s epic cycle of 19 Klavierstücke in an intense and vivid concert

www.glasgowconcerthalls.com for tickets and full programme

Tomasz Lis debut album Impromptus Chopin – Schubert – Faure

photoImpromptus Chopin – Schubert – Fauré, released on 3 November, is the debut album by Tomasz Lis, a pupil of the prolific Graham Johnson and one of the most outstanding young pianists of his generation, who has developed a great artistry for playing piano.

Franz Schubert, Frédéric Chopin and Gabriel Fauré are three names that emblematically represent virtuoso piano music and London-based, Polish pianist Tomasz Lis presents the most picturesque examples of the genre.

Recorded in the decrepit buildings of the former East Berlin radio station on a Yamaha Grand Piano loaned from the Berlin Philharmonie, Tomasz Lis’ passion for the repertoire and technical prowess has resulted in a debut album that combines romance, elegance and an intoxicating kaleidoscope of feelings and emotions.

www.tomasz-lis.com

Astar is Born

60,000 babies across Scotland take their first step on a life-long musical journey.

From October 2012 every single child born in Scotland will begin a lifelong musical journey when they receive a specially-commissioned CD of Scottish songs, nursery rhymes and children’s favourite classical pieces. 

Thanks to a groundbreaking initiative between the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO), Creative Scotland, National Records of Scotland and Association of Registrars of Scotland, every baby born between 15 October 2012 and 14 October 2013 will receive a copy of Astar when their parents register the birth and receive their birth certificate.  

Astar (Gaelic for journey) was recorded by the RSNO, RSNO Chorus and new Music Director Peter Oundjian to introduce music into the lives of 60,000 Scottish families and to help parents learn, play and rest with their new arrivals. 

Former STV golden girl, and mum of two, Sarah Heaney joined a group of toddlers from Suffolk House Nursery, Edinburgh to help launch the CD: “I think this is a wonderful project to be involved in and for our family music has always played an enormous part. My kids, from day one, have been surrounded by music of some kind or other, from starting off banging pots and pans to taking part in musical groups. 

“Music is a universal language and has help my kids develop a real confidence, getting involved with other kids and is a fantastic way of expressing and exploring their creativity. And for parents there are benefits too. If you are lucky enough to go to a toddlers music group it’s a fabulous way of meeting other parents and the beauty of music is that it stays with you your whole life, it’s in everything and its everywhere.”

Listening to beautiful music has a direct impact on how much your baby’s brain grows. It can put them in a great mood, help with communicating, coordination and bonding, and supports their first steps towards a life-long love of music. 

Astar contains a variety of music cleverly organised into three sections: Wake, Play and Nap. The sleeve notes contain top tips for enjoying music with newborns, fun games connected to each track, and the lyrics to some of Scotland’s best loved nursery rhymes: Ally Bally Bee, The Little Horses and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. 

Performed by the RSNO and RSNO Junior Chorus, with Music Director Peter Oundjian, the repertoire reflects the wonderful power and sound of a symphony orchestra – a completely new experience for many families. Scottish classics such as The Skye Boat Song, Eightsome Reels and Three Craws Sat Upon a Wa’ snuggle alongside timeless masterpieces by Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Debussy. 

RSNO Music Director Peter Oundjian: “When I was an infant my godfather gave me a tiny record player. I would place it under the family piano and put on my prized recording of Peter and the Wolf. It became my sanctuary, a place where I knew I could find joy. I have found that the power and beauty of music can truly transform lives and I seriously hope that the recipients of Astar enjoy many hours of shared pleasure to this wonderful music.”

Music is the most universal of all art forms and the RSNO plans to support parents and carers in building music and creativity into their everyday lives, and to nurture a life-long love of music for themselves, their baby and the rest of their family. Opportunities for babies and their parents to participate in follow-on workshops are being planned across the country from 2013 and all will be invited to sign up to the Orchestra’s Under 5s initiative.