Classical Music News of the Week: Sept. 18, 2011

Steinway & Sons Debuts Etude 2.0 iPad App for Learning and Playing Piano Interactive Platform for Learning, Reading and Buying Sheet Music from Diverse Catalog

New York, NY. September 15, 2011--Steinway & Sons, a subsidiary of Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc. (NYSE: LVB), debuted Version 2.0 of its breakthrough Etude app for learning, reading, and buying sheet music on the Apple iPad. This latest version of Etude adds a growing commercial sheet music store, new ways to display and read music, and a refined interface.

Etude represents a leap forward in digital sheet music, offering an interactive experience that makes musical notes come alive on screen, helping users learn and play the music they love. The app offers seamless in-app purchasing and downloading of sheet music and affords the user a variety of options to hear how the music should sound and how it is played. All of these features are included in a powerful package that sits elegantly atop the user's piano or keyboard.

"Steinway & Sons enjoys a long history of innovation and dedication to music education," said Dana Messina, CEO of Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc. "With Etude, we continue to set a standard for excellence in discovering, learning and playing music while growing ever closer to our family of teachers, students, musicians and future Steinway & Sons customers."

The latest version of Etude features
Interactive sheet music: Specially engraved for the iPad, with cues for finger placement, multiple view modes, and the ability to hear playback with varying tempos

Piano roll mode: Familiar view for players of music-based video games helps beginners learn to play by rolling color over the appropriate keys during playback

Built-in sheet music store: Download free and premium sheet music from an expanding catalog, spanning classical works to the latest radio hits

Personal library: Access and manage downloaded sheet music from a personal in-app library that displays cover art for all owned works

In 2010, Steinway & Sons acquired Etude from creator Dan Grover, who continued its development as Steinway's Director of Music Technology. "Etude transforms how any level of piano player can use digital sheet music for practice, learning and fun," said Grover.

 Etude is available today for free in the Apple App Store® and is compatible with iPads running iOS® 4.3 or higher. To learn more, visit http://etudeapp.com. Etude users who own an earlier version of the app and have questions about how to upgrade can visit etudeapp.com/faq for more information.

--Amanda Sweet, Bucklesweet Media

"Liszt 200 Chicago" Participants Compete at Nichols Concert Hall, Oct. 20-23
International Duo Piano Competition to Award $16,000 in Prizes.  Additional day of preliminary competition added due to demand.

The Music Institute of Chicago, the oldest community music school in Illinois and one of the three oldest in the nation, and the Chicago Duo Piano Festival, founded by Claire Aebersold and Ralph Neiweem, present the "Liszt 200 Chicago" International Duo Piano Competition, in celebration of Franz Liszt's 200th birthday. This international competition takes place on Liszt's 200th birthday weekend, October 20–23, 2011, at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston.

The approximately 25 competing piano duos range from 20 to 35 years old and come from around the world, including China, Japan, Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan, Russia, Italy, Germany, Canada, and throughout the U.S., from California to New York City. Prizes include the Grand Prize "Liszt 200 Chicago" ($8,000), second prize ($4,000), third prize ($2,000), and the "Norman Pellegrini Schubert Prize" for the best performance of a work by Schubert ($2,000). Each duo will play a work by Mozart and a piano duo by Franz Liszt; more than half the competitors have elected to play a work by Schubert to compete for the Pellegrini Prize.

The judges are Jeffrey Swann (U.S.), jury chair, concert pianist; professor, New York University and Arizona State University; Yong Hi Moon (Korea/U.S.), member of Moon-Lee Piano Duo; professor, The Peabody Institute; Edward and Ann Turgeon (Canada), concert piano duo; professors, Florida State University; and Theodore Edel (U.S.), noted Chicago-based pianist; professor emeritus, University of Illinois at Chicago.

The four days of competition are open to the public: preliminary rounds take place October 20, 21, and 22 at 10 a.m., with the final round and prize presentation Sunday, October 23 at 1 p.m. All three rounds take place at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston. Tickets to the preliminary rounds are free; admission to the final round is $25, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students. More information is available at 847-905-1500 ext. 108 or ChicagoDuoPianoFestival.org.

Called a "duo piano mecca" by Pioneer Press, the Chicago Duo Piano Festival was founded in 1988 by Music Institute of Chicago faculty members Claire Aebersold and Ralph Neiweem. Its mission is to foster a deeper interest in the repertoire, performance, and teaching of music for piano, four hands and two pianos, in a fun and supportive atmosphere.

"Spanish Flair" Opens Orion Ensemble's 2011-12 Season
Chicago--The Orion Ensemble, Chicago's nationally recognized and critically acclaimed chamber music ensemble, opens its 19th season of concerts, Chamber Treasures Meet Chicago Jazz, with a program entitled "Spanish Flair," featuring works by Cassadó, Granados, Khachaturian and Stravinsky. Performances take place September 25 at Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston, October 5 at Roosevelt University's Ganz Memorial Hall in Chicago, and October 9 at Fox Valley Presbyterian Church in Geneva.

"Spanish Flair" features piano trios by two Catalan composers--Trio in C Major for Violin, Cello and Piano (1926) by Gaspar Cassadó and Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano, Op. 50 (1910) by Enrique Granados--and two additional early 20th century works: Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano (1932) by Aram Khachaturian and Three Pieces for Clarinet Solo (1920) by Igor Stravinsky.

Orion's 2011-12 season continues in November with "Classical Romance," including works by Beethoven and Schubert; in March, "Celebrating Women Composers," with works by Stacy Garrop, Louise Farrenc, Phyllis Tate and Fanny Mendelsshon; and, in May, with "All That Jazz!" featuring special guest pianist Miguel de la Cerna, who contributes a work commissioned for Orion on a program that also includes a Fauré quartet and Dokshitser's arrangement of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue for clarinet and piano.

In addition to its annual four-concert series in three areas, the Orion Ensemble will appear on the broadcast series "Live from WFMT" December 5, 2011 and March 12, 2012 and in the Chicago Cultural Center's Lunchbreak Series "Classical Mondays" October 31 and November 21, 2011. Orion also tours, performing in chamber music series across the country. Their most recent CD is Twilight of the Romantics.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

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John J. Puccio

John J. Puccio

About the Author

Understand, I'm just an everyday guy reacting to something I love. And I've been doing it for a very long time, my appreciation for classical music starting with the musical excerpts on The Big John and Sparkie radio show in the early Fifties and the purchase of my first recording, The 101 Strings Play the Classics, around 1956. In the late Sixties I began teaching high school English and Film Studies as well as becoming interested in hi-fi, my audio ambitions graduating me from a pair of AR-3 speakers to the Fulton J's recommended by The Stereophile's J. Gordon Holt. In the early Seventies, I began writing for a number of audio magazines, including Audio Excellence, Audio Forum, The Boston Audio Society Speaker, The American Record Guide, and from 1976 until 2008, The $ensible Sound, for which I served as Classical Music Editor.

Today, I'm retired from teaching and use a pair of bi-amped VMPS RM40s loudspeakers for my listening. In addition to writing the Classical Candor blog, I served as the Movie Review Editor for the Web site Movie Metropolis (formerly DVDTown) from 1997-2013. Music and movies. Life couldn't be better.

Mission Statement

It is the goal of Classical Candor to promote the enjoyment of classical music. Other forms of music come and go--minuets, waltzes, ragtime, blues, jazz, bebop, country-western, rock-'n'-roll, heavy metal, rap, and the rest--but classical music has been around for hundreds of years and will continue to be around for hundreds more. It's no accident that every major city in the world has one or more symphony orchestras.

When I was young, I heard it said that only intellectuals could appreciate classical music, that it required dedicated concentration to appreciate. Nonsense. I'm no intellectual, and I've always loved classical music. Anyone who's ever seen and enjoyed Disney's Fantasia or a Looney Tunes cartoon playing Rossini's William Tell Overture or Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 can attest to the power and joy of classical music, and that's just about everybody.

So, if Classical Candor can expand one's awareness of classical music and bring more joy to one's life, more power to it. It's done its job.

Contact Information

Readers with polite, courteous, helpful letters may send them to pucciojj@gmail.com.

Readers with impolite, discourteous, bitchy, whining, complaining, nasty, mean-spirited, unhelpful letters may send them to pucciojj@recycle.bin.

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa