On a plaza outside a hotel in Culver City, Calif., four people are stalking each other with PlayStation Move controllers. The devices look a bit like microphones, with glowing orbs on top lit up in pink, yellow and blue.
Video game designer Douglas Wilson is holding a portable speaker, blasting Johann Sebastian Bach's Brandenburg Concertos.
From afar, this looks like some sort of public performance art. But it is actually a high-tech combination of tag and musical chairs, called Johann Sebastian Joust.
Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 8:51 pm
Johann Sebastian Bach has been a central figure in the life of British conductor John Eliot Gardiner since he was a youngster. On his way to bed, he couldn't help glancing up at the famous 18th-century portrait of Bach that hung in the first floor landing of the old mill house in Dorset, England where Gardiner was born.
Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 8:37 am
[Every year, the MacArthur Foundation gives out 24 "Genius Grants" — generous cash prizes for brilliant creators in any number of fields. On Wednesday, less than a week before the release of his new album, Jeremy Denk joined their ranks.]
Pianist David Korevaar balances an active performance career as a soloist and chamber musician with teaching at the University of Colorado-Boulder. His latest release includes the Six Partitas for Keyboard by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Listen to David talk about how he chose these works and the difficulty of making beautiful music from a composer’s "little black dots."
I've seen contestants in piano competitions play some large and impressive works when trying to stand out from their other competitors. Big and difficult works like Liszt's "b minor sonata" or Ravel's "Gaspard de la Nuit" are sure to get the judges attention, but there is also the fear of losing the audience.
It is not easy programming your first set at a competition. This week on The Piano, we visit more recordings from last October's San Antonio International Piano Competition.There are only two big and challenging works on the program.
A wave of great young pianists crashes into the Alamo City every three years to compete in the San Antonio International Piano Competition. Last October 11, aspiring artists arrived and prepared themselves to impress the judges at the usual venue - the Ruth Taylor recital hall. Luckily for all of us it was all recorded by John Coker.
Last week, we played Wagner's Parsifal, which is often referred to as an Opera-Oratorio. This week, for the beginning of the holiday season, it's Johann Sebastian Bach's St. Matthew Passion; in its turn, the work is often called a Concertante Opera. If ever there was an oratorio that called out to be dramatized, the St. Matthew Passion is it. While living in New York, I met many scenographers who dreamed of the day they'd have a shot at the cosmic drama. Also termed, "The most monumental musical drama before the Ring," Bach's passion has it all.
Johann Sebastian Bach's music is known for its symmetrical structure and mathematical patterns. But pianist Simone Dinnerstein thinks Bach's deviations from those patterns are what make the music so compelling.