piano

The intrepid pianist Marc-André Hamelin has a reputation for embracing the toughest, strangest music. His new recording of For Bunita Marcus by Morton Feldman is a fine example. For nearly 75 minutes the music never rises above a whisper and the damper pedal is always pressed down, allowing single notes to ring out into vast, silent spaces.

WASO Records

If you want to start a fight at a ragtime concert, start mucking with the tempo of the music. YouTube videos are full of comments about how fast or slow the pianist is playing any particular piece. The King of Ragtime, Scott Joplin, himself wrote “it is never right to play Ragtime fast.” But how fast is fast? There are piano roll recordings of Joplin himself clocking in the “Maple Leaf Rag” at around 100 beats per minute.

Twenty Cliburn quarterfinalists are down to 12 in the 15th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. 

Nathan Cone / TPR

The San Antonio International Piano Competition is more than their every-three-years contest; in between the big event, they hold recitals and sponsor young artists to encourage the appreciation of piano music and repertoire. Younggun Kim, who received special recognition at the 2012 competition, was in San Antonio on February 25, 2017 for a recital on the University of the Incarnate Word campus that dazzled the audience.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.


The great Beethoven specialist András Schiff says, "Whatever we do on the piano is a collection of illusions." If that's true, then Volker Bertelmann, the German pianist who goes by the single name Hauschka, is a master illusionist.

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