Show and Tell

June 18, 2010

The headquarters of a musical-instrument concern around the corner from where I live (rejoicing in the strangely bilingual name of Steinway) currently has, in their front window, an unusually informative display. Instead of the intimidating, ebony bulk of that culturally-loaded product of the descendants of the Steinweg family, we get a genial, succinct lesson in the structure of the resonating parts of the piano and the intricacies of its action. If there’s an award for shop windows, this should win it:

It may also sell some pianos by creating an appreciation for their inner workings.

True Story

October 2, 2009


Cab driver: So, how much did it cost to attend Juilliard?

Friend: Oh, about $27,000 back when I was there.

Cab driver: You paid $27,000 to PLAY PIANO?!?!??!?

As told by Anna Polonsky, based on a friend’s experience


July 17, 2009

spy-vs-spy-without-bombs-775529 Good things can come out of bad. After a stunningly dishonest article in the Wall Street Journal in which a non-pianist who had not even attended the Van Cliburn International Competition (though leading the reader to believe he had) dogmatically and viciously contradicted the eminent judges and slandered the talents of the winners (and a fine orchestra and string quartet into the bargain), the commentary thus provoked has been extremely fruitful. Examples of it, from one highly-qualified and well-situated commentator, are here, here, and here.

Some of my own reaction to one of the Gold Medalists is already registered. While the old established print media continue to complain and hang crepe about their declining status and exchequer, one feels impelled to ask one more time: which of the sources here conduces to accurate musico-journalistic reporting and the flourishing of art, the formerly eminent old establishment newspaper or the frisky online blogger? Which could we better do without if we had to choose?

%d bloggers like this: