Archive for the 'News' Category

Find out about the minor modifications to aural tests that are coming into effect from January 2011.

Why are aural skills important?
Developing students’ listening skills through aural training is an essential part of a music teacher’s role. This is because musical, intelligent and informed listening lies at the heart of all good music making, whether it is listening to yourself playing or listening to the music making of others.

Click here for more informations

Are you based in Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan or Thailand? This year’s PDP seminar for teachers offers an in-depth introduction to the new 2011 & 2012 Piano syllabus and an insight into the minor changes to the aural tests that will come into effect for all exams from January 2011.

Using practical demon…strations from Grades 1–8, our ABRSM presenters will guide you through the new repertoire, helping you select pieces that best suit your pupils’ strengths and musical tastes and providing innovative teaching and exam preparation tips.

PDP 2010: your guide to the new 2011 & 2012 Piano syllabus
This years’ PDP seminar for teachers offers an in-depth introduction to the new ABRSM Piano syllabus and an insight into the minor changes to the aural tests that will come in to effect for all exams from January 2011. click here for more details

Luigi Borgato, born in 1963, designs and builds concert-grand pianos together with his wife Paola Bianchi, which are of innovative conception and highly regarded by well-known international pianists.

Each BORGATO piano is built completely by hand, unique reality of true handicraft creations in its field. BORGATO’s first grand piano, model BORGATO L 282, was presented in Pesaro in April 1991 for the European Congress “Europiano” for piano makers, technicians and tuners. Inspired by an idea of Beethoven*, Borgato builds his concert-grand pianos BORGATO L 282 with four strings struck per note in the 44 keys of the upper register of the keyboard (design patent BORGATO).

Inspired instead by compositions written for piano with pedalboard **, BORGATO designed, patented and built a new instrument, the “DOPPIO BORGATO”, the first double concert-grand piano with pedalboard. This instrument was presented in Perugia in September 2000 at the “Meeting of the Piano – 300 years since conception”, thus opening a new page to the musical world, this latest creation offering new possibilities to composers and performers.

The “DOPPIO BORGATO” L 282 – P 402 is made up of two superimposed concert-grand pianos, the upper instrument being the concert-grand BORGATO model L 282. The lower instrument is a grand piano BORGATO model P 402, operated by a pedalboard of 37 notes with an extension of 3 octaves (A 27,5 Hz – A 220 Hz), similar to those of the pedals of an organ. A “resonance” pedal is applied to the lower piano which activates the damper mechanism simultaneously on both instruments.

* Ludwig van Beethoven commissioned master craftsman Conrad Graf to make a fortepiano with four strings struck per note. It is possible to view this instrument in his home in his native city Bonn.
** In 1785 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart owned a fortepiano with an independent pedalboard, built expressly for him by Anton Walter. In the autographed manuscript of the Concerto in D minor K466, composed the same year, it is possible to note the extended bass range due to the use of this instrument. Mozart’s father makes mention in some letters of Wolfgang’s use of this piano with pedalboard in public.

In the 19th and 20th centuries other composers also wrote for the piano with pedalboard, among these: 
Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, Charles Valentin Alkan, Camille Saint-Saëns, Charles Gounod.

Silvio Celeghin plays Schumann opus 58 no. 3 on a Doppio Borgato:

Pianist Ingolf Wunder performs Chopin’s Scherzo no. 1 on a Borgato L 282:

More information on the Borgato please visit the site here

Mark Brown talks to Geoff Smith, whose reinvention of the piano allows players to alter the tuning of notes either before or during a performance

If you’re a guitarist, changing the tuning of your instrument is as easy as twisting the machine heads at the end, but pianists are restricted to the static 88 notes that they’re given. Or rather they have been, for things have now changed thanks to the invention of the Fluid Piano.

The brainchild of British composer and performer Geoff Smith, the Fluid Piano has microtonal tuning on every note. This means that it’s possible to alter pitches at will, giving acoustic pianists access for the first time to non-Western scales.

Revealing his invention to The Guardian, Smith said: “The fluid piano is a western piano as we know it, similar to an early fortepiano, but because of the tuning mechanisms, suddenly, musicians can explore scales from the Middle East, from Iran.”

The Fluid Piano will get its official unveiling at the University of Surrey this Saturday. The event will feature performances of the first ever compositions for the instrument – these will come from Matthew Bourne, Nikki Yeoh, Pam Chowman and Smith himself.

Commenting on her first encounter with the piano, Chowman told The Guardian: “It was really scary, it is even now. I’m mainly a classical pianist and you kind of know what you’re doing, you know how the piano is going to respond and you spend ages and ages on tone control and knowing how it is going to sound.

“Suddenly I’ve got a piano which sounds like nothing I’ve heard before. It opens up so many choices that you become almost paralysed.”

Smith says that his ultimate aim is to get the Fluid Piano into production. If it happens, it could be the catalyst for composers to start writing a genuinely new type of music.


TOKYO, Aug 12 — A 77-year-old piano that survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and has become a symbol for peace is heading to New York next year as the city marks the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

When the United States dropped the bomb on the Japanese city on August 6, 1945, the Yamaha upright piano was in the blast radius. It still retains very low levels of radiation and shards of glass are forever embedded in the black lacquer. “During the bombing of Hiroshima, everything within two kilometers from ground zero was burned and destroyed. This piano was within that boundary and miraculously survived,” said Mitsunori Yagawa, who restored the instrument and tours across Japan, playing it at peace concerts.

A view of Hiroshima after the atomic bombing on August 6, 1945. A piano which survived the devastation continues to provide music of ‘peace’ 64 years later. – Reuters file photo

“I’m planning to bring this piano that was exposed to radiation to New York in the coming year, just in time for 9/11 in hopes to spread awareness about the atomic bomb and the preciousness of peace to the world,” Yagawa told Reuters.

Yagawa’s father was exposed to radiation during the bombing, inspiring him to hold these concerts which he hopes will drill home the value of peace to the younger generations.

He held his first concert on the piano, one of five to survive the blast, in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park in 2005.

Last Sunday, the 64th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, which came a few days after Hiroshima, acclaimed composer and pianist Kansaku Tanikawa took to the piano’s tarnished, ivory keys for a moving performance at a memorial event in Tokyo.

He also marveled at the quality of the piano’s sound. “The piano sounds so good that it is hard to imagine that it was damaged by an atomic bomb,” Tanikawa said.
– Reuters

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