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Piano Stories (Page Three)

She'll play the "#&%$" out of it!
Stacy Rowles once wrote a note to her father, pianist and composer Jimmy Rowles, stating: "Dear Dad, if you buy me a flugelhorn, I'll play the [expletive] out of it." Indeed she did, and she picked up singing, as well. A longtime mainstay on the Los Angeles jazz scene, she worked with the all-female quintet the Jazzbirds, led by the late multi-instrumentalist Betty O'Hara, as well as the Jazz Tap Ensemble and the DIVA Big Band.

Pictures describe AC Piano Table best
The pictures will probably do a better job of describing the beauty of this piano table than I can, so I’ll let them do the talking. Word has it that this Piano Table will cost $6,000.

$216,000 for piano lessons?
After teaching piano lessons in her home for more than 25 years, Pam Tallman decided it was time to expand.   Despite the recession and the prevailing perception that new business loans are nearly impossible to land, Tallman was determined to find funding to create the Modesto Academy of Music & Design.   She did just that with one $216,000 loan from the Small Business Administration and another equally large loan from Tri Counties Bank.

Nobody wants a Steinway Boston Grand?
The centerpiece of the studio, a Steinway Boston Grand Piano, a stellar instrument purchased at Steinway hall on 57th Street in New York City, and used on the label's many bestseller recordings, remains unsold.   Is this a sign of merely economic issues where people are turning to cheaper material, from iPods to Home Theaters, or is this also a shift in attitude where a majority does not value acoustic, handcrafted instruments?

Corporate landlord buys pianos for tenants
Joshua Eisenberg, 35, general counsel for Urban American Management and a member of the family that owns the River Crossing complex said free lessons are well worth the investment - Urban American provided six electronic pianos for the classes.   "My father (Philip) always said that if you invest in tenants they will meet you half way," Eisenberg said.   "There is a strong neighborhood association here, and when they came to us with this idea, we were all for it."

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Elton John & Lady Gaga - at the double-sided "R" with a midi-trigger
But what about that spectacular instrument at which the duo sat?   It turns out the double-sided piano was manufactured from a full Baldwin “R” acoustic piano, fitted with a midi-trigger interfaced with Sir Elton’s personal sonic choices, and attached to various pieces of a Baldwin “R” shell which was previously used in the 1972 film, The Poseidon Adventure.

101 hours and no improv
Swollen fingers, exhaustion and pressure to perform to a public audience stand between Polish pianist Romuald Koperski and the Guinness World Record for “longest piano concert”.   To get the record Mr Koperski has to continuously perform generally well known compositions, from classical pieces to jazz numbers and soundtracks from movies and musicals.   Improvisation is not allowed.

5,000 parts of a battered diamond to be replaced
"I lifted the lid and saw the name Mason & Hamlin," Wood recalled.   "I was excited," realizing that he had discovered "a battered diamond."   The Mason & Hamlin Model A Grand is considered to be the world's best grand piano under six feet.   "It's a really great American piano on a par with a Steinway," Wood said.   The timing of Wood's' discovery was fortuitous as the church has been raising money to purchase a new piano.   But once the veil of obscurity had been lifted, efforts have been redirected to instead restore the vintage Mason & Hamlin.

Not your typical pianist
"My mom wanted me to play the piano, but I liked it," said Hendra, who has a younger brother and sister.   "I've always really loved music.   I'm not one of those people that listens to one type of music.   If you check my iPod, there's probably everything from Chopin on there to Jay-Z to Rascal Flatts to Miley Cyrus.   I have everything on there."

Can music help to restore memory?
A fashion student at Community College of Philadelphia, Gardot's life changed when she was involved in a serious accident in Philadelphia when she was 19 years old.   She was riding a bicycle when she was hit by a car.   As a result, she suffered severe neural, spinal and pelvic injuries that kept her in the hospital for a year.   One of the effects of her injuries is hypersensitivity to both light and sound, requiring her to wear dark sunglasses all the time.   During her treatment, a doctor suggested music therapy to help with her memory loss. Gardot started to learn how to sing, play the guitar and write songs.   The experience has prompted Gardot to become an advocate of music therapy, having visited hospitals and universities to talk about how music can reconnect neural pathways in the brain, improve speech and boost one's spirits.   After recovering from the accident, Gardot started playing at various venues in Philadelphia.   She soon recorded a demo, which attracted the attention of major record label Universal Music.   Her debut album ``Worrisome Heart'' was released in 2006.

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Former concert pianist uses bionic fingers
One of those fitted with ProDigits is former concert pianist, Maria Antonia Iglesias, from Catalonia, who underwent amputation of all extremities following pneumococcal septic shock of unknown origin in July 2003.

$99 pianos with a one-year warranty
Keys 4/4 Kids is tucked away in a former upholstery warehouse near the corner of Grand and Hamline avenues in St. Paul.   It's a place where pianos come, not to die, but to be reborn.

Nobody knows who replaced the Bechstein with the Yamaha
The gift arrived fresh from the workshop in timely fashion a few days before Christmas, and the instrument - a Yamaha piano whose retail cost reaches well into five figures - has already taken up its prime position on the main hall's stage.

Flamenco jazz on piano
"Jazz improvises within a musical form," said Mr. DomĖnguez.   "In flamenco, you improvise the musical form.   Typically, the guitar player is waiting for the singer: When the singer starts to sing, he knows what happens—but that is changing every day.   It depends on how the singer feels—or, in my case, how the pianist feels."

Practice the piano on YouTube
Thanks to some skillful timed bookmarking, you can actually play the notes in this video like you would if the piano was sitting right in front of you.

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Got a few hours?   Want to learn to play piano?
This is a beginning course in chord piano that also works for those who play traditional piano.   Topics will include how chords work in music, musician shortcuts, how to speed read sheet music, simple techniques of counting and more.   Participants will be playing their favorite songs after this one session.

Still swinging at 91, Marian McPartland is now a member of the "Order of the British Empire."
Arts figures also appear among those receiving the distinction of membership in the Order of the British Empire, the next level down from a knighthood.   The jazz pianist Marian McPartland, longtime host of National Public Radio’s “Piano Jazz” program, received the honor...
More information about Marian McPartland can be found on Wikipedia.

Piano sat in the parlor in the same corner for 85 years
“After the water had subsided and we returned for the clean-up, four strong men came to upright the piano and return it to its corner.   Just moments after the piano was lifted the desk collapsed.   It lay in pieces on the floor after doing its job of saving the piano.”

Former council member would have to scrub the paint out of the pores
The 700-800 pound machine had apparently enjoyed an interesting history and there was perhaps more than one attempt to spruce it up.   The original medium-dark finish had become even closer to black.   There were portions that looked a bit "scabby," and Trieglaff noted it probably had been subjected to adverse sunlight over the decades.

Pianist for Jimmy Dorsey & Les Brown still swings at 90
"I liked playing those gigs," he said.   "You could interact with your audience more personally and I liked that.   I could fiddle around on the piano and chat with people at the same time.   It was great fun."   Though age and a few health problems have slowed this musician down a touch, he hasn't lost his love for music.   He can still remember how to play many of the songs he's played during the past 70 years.

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Having the piano would add $7,500 to revenue
The Friends of the Burnsville Performing Arts Center, a nonprofit dedicated to raising money for the center, negotiated a deal for the instrument and agreed to pay half of the $53,035 cost of the piano, leased over five years.   The city would own the piano when the lease ends.

UF now an "all-Steinway school"
By becoming an “All-Steinway School,” UF will be one of only three schools in Florida that have obtained this designation and will join the ranks of esteemed music programs around the country such as The Juilliard School, Yale University School of Music and Oberlin College Conservatory.   The University of Central Florida and University of West Florida also hold this designation.

Talented tailback also a pretty fair keyboardist
Grimes plays the piano for a gospel choir and appears at campus gigs as part of a popular group of football players dubbed "The Guys," which plays jazz and rhythm and blues.

Free piano lessons for kids
Students receive a total music experience in a classroom equipped with an electronic keyboard for each child.   Students learn keyboard skills, how to read notes, rhythm, ear training solfeggio singing, chord harmonization, composition, music reading and improvisation.

Play Me - I'm Yours - a provocation
Street pianos are appearing in cities across the world.   Located in skate parks, industrial estates, laundrettes, precincts, bus shelters and train stations, outside pubs and football grounds, the pianos are for any member of the public to enjoy and claim ownership of.   Who plays them and how long they remain is up to each community.   The pianos act as sculptural, musical, blank canvas's that become a reflection of the communities they are embedded into.   Many pianos are personalised and decorated.

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You can even hear pedal noise and dampers being lifted
The Nord Piano is a dedicated stage piano with 88 keys and a weighted hammer action.   It is designed with the performing musician in mind and extremely lightweight at 13.5kg (29.7lb.), without compromising build quality, sound quality or means of expression.   As all the other Nord units, it is designed with a firm focus on extremely fast response and accessibility of every important function from the panel.

Sure, a Steinway Model D has a great sound - but for $267,400?
The Steinway Lyngdorf Model D Music System takes approximately eight weeks to assemble by hand.   The system includes two tower speakers, a 1,600 watt digital amplifier, and a CD player/head unit.   Fully customized finishes are available on request, but the standard black lacquer paint job ain't too shabby.   What's the price?   $188,000 for the standard Model D system.   An in-wall or on-wall speaker system, the Model M goes for a mere $64,500.   Home theater Model D systems start at a hefty $267,400.

Jazz lessons from Juilliard prof "became all the rage"
Overton was a tall, Midwestern, chain-smoking college professor of classical music by day.   By night, he was living, teaching music and playing jazz piano at the Jazz Loft.   He rented the back portion of the third floor, right next-door to photographer Eugene Smith.

Dave Brubeck, 89, honored at Kennedy Center
The man has been performing and composing, improvising freely across genres for some 70 years, mixing jazz with sacred and classical forms, recording hundreds of times, with his original quartet, whose 1959 "Take Five" improbably became the first million-selling jazz single of all time; with his own sons; as a soloist and with chorales and full orchestra.

The ultimate gift
One way to help Joan live longer is a kidney transplant.   She's come close to finding a donor five times before.   For a variety of reasons, none of the kidneys made it to her, but it looks like one will now.   Natasha Nashadka has been taking piano lessons from Joan for four years.   Now she's going to give back to Joan something much more valuable.   She's going to give her kidney.

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Bringing nickelodeons back to life
He gestured to a nickelodeon in his workshop that he's restoring for a friend.   It survived a house fire and a burning rebar falling against the back.   He's refinished the cabinet that houses the tambourine, triangle and xylophone, but he left a charred mark on the back for character.

Private bidder forks over 22 million yuan for Olympic Piano
The "Crystal Piano" used for the Beijing Olympic Games has been auctioned and bought by a private bidder at 22 million yuan (US$3.22 million) in Beijing, reports.

Teenager practiced from 4 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. every day
Trudy's methodology for working with students who experience physical challenges is being recognized by the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy near Traverse City in the northwest part of Michigan's lower peninsula.   She has been asked to develop and teach the academy's first-ever Violin and Piano Institute for the Visually Impaired next June.

Acrosonic found in woods now in museum
First, the honey-colored piano was abandoned in the woods, at the edge of the Bell’s Neck Conservation Area, and discovered by a hiker Nov. 22, 2008.   Whoever left it there also left its bench – an indication perhaps that they hoped it would find a new home.

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A piano with sliders is nothing to be afraid of
Geoff Smith believes he has come up with the first multicultural acoustic piano – what he has trademarked as a fluid piano – which allows players to alter the tuning of notes either before or during a performance.   Instead of a pianist having a fixed sound, 88 notes from 88 keys, Smith's piano has sliders allowing them access to the different scales that you get in, for example, Indian and Iranian music.   For good measure, Smith has included a horizontal harp.

Can you fit it into ten notes?
"You don't have to be Beethoven, but you need to know how to play the piano and know your way around notes because one thing, you have to provide your own music.   There's 10 notes, so you need to condense holiday music into 10 notes," said Eric Brown, Denver City spokesman.

Wynton Marsalis performs with fourteen-year-old Alma Macbride at Lincoln Center.
A day before the performance, Macbride rehearsed with Marsalis and the orchestra.   Before that, she prepared a lot at home, using her metronome and sometimes playing with the recording. Still, she was a little nervous about playing with Marsalis.   “He’s very good,” said Macbride about a week before the performance. “It’s a little nerve-wracking.”

Please play me before the auction
Frank Baxter, 57, pounded out a medley of blues, jazz and rock 'n' roll on the piano in front of La France in Ybor City.   He drove from his Largo home just to visit the 10 pianos that were rolled out Saturday for passers-by to play.   The pianos, each with an inviting "please play me" sign, will be on display in Ybor City for anyone to play 24/7 until Jan. 10, when they'll be auctioned off.

Leon Fleisher helps to bring awareness of dystonia
Fleisher found that rolfing sessions (soft tissue manipulation) combined with Botox injections once every four months help tame the dystonia, although he makes it clear he is not cured.   "Once a dystonic, always a dystonic," he said.   He made his two-hand comeback in 2004 with a Carnegie Hall recital and a recording titled "Two Hands." Fleisher's story was told in an Oscar Award-nominated documentary by the same name.   In addition to performing, Fleisher appears at medical conventions and teaches his students about taking care of their hands, which means no more than four or five hours at the piano a day.

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Midtown pianos going away
The business goes back farther than its tenure in Omaha. Renier’s great-grandmother started the business in Dubuque, Iowa.   “She got pianos off the Mississippi River and took them to her house by horse and carriage and sold pianos back then,” he said.

Put it close to the kitchen!
"It gives me a good deal of satisfaction to be able to bring something back like this that most people would probably consider scrap, you know there's just nothing more that you can do with it.   But it's a very old piece, it's a beautiful piece and the reward is in bringing it back," said Ames.

How often do you adjust your hammer hardness, string length, and soundboard impedance?
Pianoteq Pro offers note per note adjustment for no less than 22 physical parameters, such as tuning, unison width, hammer hardness, strike point, string length, spectrum profile, soundboard impedance, damper position…   In fact there are thousands since each overtone of each note can be controlled separately with the spectrum profile parameter!

How do you "lose" a grand?
City Controller Alan Butkovitz says University City High School is missing 47 instruments worth about $47,000.   Most notable among them are a grand piano and a baby grand piano.   Butkovitz says the school can't tell the city where to find either instrument but "it's hard for a grand piano to walk away."

Signed, historic upright rolls into New Orleans
Of special interest is the signature of country music legend Roy Acuff.   The signature has been authenticated by the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, Tenn.   Acuff was frequently enlisted to entertain troops during World War II both at home and abroad, and was voted the most popular singer in a poll of G.I.’s stations in Europe (even beating out Frank Sinatra).

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