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Performers: June 2008 Archives

Leonard Pennario, Classical Pianist

Primrose, Heifetz, Pennario, and Piatigorsky

Leonard Pennario, 83, Classical Pianist, Dies

By James Barron
New York Times

Leonard Pennario, a popular classical pianist known for his enthusiastic public performances and recordings of the more melodic modern composers, died on Friday in La Jolla, Calif. He was 83.

The cause was complications of Parkinson's disease, said Mary Kunz Goldman, who is writing his biography.

Mr. Pennario, who also became a life master in tournament bridge, was listed in both the New Grove's Dictionary of Music and The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge. As a pianist, he made many recordings in the days of long-playing records, notably of works by Gershwin and Rachmaninoff, and appeared with well-known orchestras and conductors. Beginning in the 1960s, he also played in trios with the violinist Jascha Heifetz and the cellist Gregor Piatigorsky.

Mr. Pennario made more than 60 recordings in all, of music by composers as diverse as Bela Bartok and Louis Moreau Gottschalk. Ms. Goldman said he was the first pianist after Rachmaninoff himself to record all four Rachmaninoff concertos and the "Variations on a Theme of Paganini."

Read more about this at the New York Times website:

A Romance on Three Legs

Glenn Gould at the piano

The hunt for the perfect instrument

[Glenn Gould adored his Steinway concert grand No. 318 – then the movers smashed it…]

By John Terauds
Toronto Star

Katie Hafner's suggestively titled book – A Romance on Three Legs: Glenn Gould's Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Piano – is like an executive summary for which someone has condensed all the need-to-know information into a tidy package. In this case, the perplexing eccentricities of Glenn Gould, both man and artist, are wrapped around one of his chief obsessions: finding the right piano.

To get into the spirit, try to imagine how a favourite paintbrush or garden spade feels in your hand. Or consider how your bicycle or car responds to your body's inputs.

Tactile memory is our window on the intimate sensual relationship that a musician has with his or her instrument. Because they're made from wood and other climate-sensitive materials, most instruments end up with a unique touch, sound and personality.

Read more about this at the Toronto Star website:

Classical Club Scene

Gabriel Prokofiev

Gabriel Prokofiev's Nonclassical club night breaks with tradition

Club nights are taking the starch out of live classical music

By Femke Colborne
Times Online

The girl taking tickets on the door is wearing odd stockings. It's the middle of June, but one of the bar staff is sporting a woolly hat, complete with a strategically draped bobble. It's 9.30pm on a Wednesday night at the Macbeth on Hoxton Street, and this is exactly the kind of crowd you'd expect to find in this terrifyingly trendy corner of East London. It's not what you'd expect at a classical music concert, though.

But this is no ordinary classical music concert. Nonclassical, run by Gabriel Prokofiev, DJ, producer, composer and grandson of the great Sergei, is a monthly classical club night that mixes live performances from instrumentalists and singers with sets from electronica DJs. Talking during the performances is not frowned upon – in fact, it's positively encouraged – and drinks are served at the bar throughout the night.

The event is just one of a host of classical club nights springing up in cities across the country, aimed at younger punters who are open to classical music but deterred by the formality of the traditional concert hall. According to Prokofiev, young people are put off going to formal concerts because they don't know what to wear or when to clap, and hate being forced to sit in silence throughout a performance.

Read more about this at the Times Online website: