Els Biesemans was born in Antwerp and is at home on a number of different keyboard instruments, performing concerts on the clavichord, fortepiano, modern concert grand piano, harpsichord, and organ in most European countries, Japan, Canada and the US.
She received a Master’s degree in music performance majoring in piano, organ and chamber music at the Lemmens Institute in Leuven, Belgium. She subsequently completed advanced studies in fortepiano (Jesper Christensen) and organ (Andrea Marcon, Wolfgang Zerer) at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland.
She has won prizes at well-known international competitions in Vilnius, Tokyo, Prague, Paris, and Montreal. In August 2012 she took First Prize in the international Arp-Schnitger Competition.
One month later her first cd on fortepiano, the very first recording on a historical instrument of the cycle 'The Year' and other works by Fanny Hensel, appeared on the GENUIN label
Her discography includes symphonic organ repertoire by Belgian and French composers as well as the complete works for organ by Maurice Duruflé on the Animato and Et‘cetera labels. She also has completed various recordings for Belgian and Swiss radio broadcasters...
Bartolomeo Cristofori di Francesco (4 May 1655 – 27 January 1731) was an Italian maker of musical instruments, generally regarded as the inventor of the piano.
The available source materials on Cristofori's life include his birth and death records, two wills, the bills he submitted to his employers, and a single interview carried out by Scipione Maffei. From the latter, both Maffei's notes and the published journal article are preserved.
Cristofori was born in Padua in the Republic of Venice. Nothing is known of his early life. A tale is told that he served as an apprentice to the great violin maker Nicolò Amati, based on the appearance in a 1680 census record of a "Christofaro Bartolomei" living in Amati's house in Cremona. However, as Stewart Pollens points out, this person cannot be Bartolomeo Cristofori, since the census records an age of 13, whereas Cristofori according to his baptismal record would have been 25 at the time. Pollens also gives strong reasons to doubt the authenticity of the cello and double bass instruments sometimes attributed to Cristofori.
Probably the most important event in Cristofori's life is the first one of which we have any record: in 1688, at age 33, he was recruited to work for Prince Ferdinando de Medici. Ferdinando, a lover and patron of music, was the son and heir of Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany. Tuscany was at a time still a small independent state.
It is not known what led Ferdinando to recruit Cristofori. The Prince traveled to Venice in 1688 to attend the Carnival, so he may have met Cristofori passing through Padua on his way home. Ferdinando was looking for a new technician to take care of his many musical instruments, the previous incumbent having just died. However, it seems possible that the Prince wanted to hire Cristofori not just as his technician, but specifically as an innovator in musical instruments. It would be surprising if Cristofori at age 33 had not already shown the inventiveness for which he later became famous.
The evidence—all circumstantial—that Cristofori may have been hired as an inventor is as follows. According to Stewart Pollens, there were already a number of qualified individuals in Florence who could have filled the position; however, the Prince passed them over, and paid Cristofori a higher salary than his predecessor. Moreover, Pollens notes, "curiously, [among the many bills Cristofori submitted to his employer] there are no records of bills submitted for Cristofori's pianofortes ... This could mean that Cristofori was expected to turn over the fruits of his experimentation to the court." Lastly, the Prince was evidently fascinated with machines (he collected over forty clocks, in addition to a great variety of elaborate musical instruments), and would thus be naturally interested in the elaborate mechanical action that was at the core of Cristofori's work on the piano...
Joseph-Maurice Ravel (7 March 1875 – 28 December 1937) was a French composer known especially for his melodies, masterful orchestration, richly evocative harmonies and inventive instrumental textures and effects. Along with Claude Debussy, he was one of the most prominent figures associated with Impressionist music. Much of his piano music, chamber music, vocal music and orchestral music is part of the standard concert repertoire.
Ravel's piano compositions, such as Jeux d'eau, Miroirs, Le tombeau de Couperin and Gaspard de la nuit, demand considerable virtuosity from the performer, and his mastery of orchestration is particularly evident in such works as Rapsodie espagnole, Daphnis et Chloé and his arrangement of Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. Ravel is best known for his orchestral work Boléro (1928), which he once described as "a piece for orchestra without music".
According to SACEM, as recently as 2009 Ravel has been on the list of the top 20 artists whose works have generated the most royalties abroad...
Claudia Klinkenberg, born in 1964 in Bonn, is a collector of keyboard instruments, pianist and harpsichordist based in South-west Germany.
As a musician, she confidently moves between many different styles; her musical and emotional range is far-reaching.
In her programs, she combines ancient music, classical, world music, jazz and pop.
She has performed in Bonn, Stuttgart (Mercedes-Benz-Museum), Karlsruhe (ZKM, Tollhaus, multiple times on the European Cultural Days festival), Münster (Westphalian State Museum), in the city of Bach Köthen (the famous Spiegelsaal, or Hall of Mirrors), Munich (BMW World), Milan, Paris (Festival of St. Cloud), Vienna (Bösendorfer Hall), Los Angeles, in a number of cities in India and in many other cities in Germany and around the world...
For more info and complete Article see Full Story.
Chopin`s Pianinos and the Discovery of Their Secrets
On May 3, 2014, after the end of the Szymanowska Conference in Paris, I took a trip outside of Paris to the workshop of harpsichord maker and collector of Pleyel pianos, Oliver Fadini. I went with the renowned Chopin specialist, Prof. Halina Goldberg of Indiana University. Our tour was arranged by Fadini's friend, music journalist at Radio France, Gilles Bencimon, a fervent lover of Chopin's music and the sound of historical pianos and pianinos...
For more info and complete Article see Full Story.