interview

Minnesota Public Radio: Pianist Haochen Zhang offers a fresh take on Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev

Minnesota Public Radio: Pianist Haochen Zhang offers a fresh take on Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev

Chinese American pianist Haochen Zhang became a gold medalist and a first prize winner of the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. At age 19, he was one of the youngest winners in the competition. Ten years later, Haochen has just released his second recording. It features Tchaikovsky's powerful Piano Concerto No. 1 and the work he performed in the final round of the Cliburn Competition: Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 2.

Chicago Tribune: Shanghai Symphony Brings 140-Year Tradition to America

Chicago Tribune: Shanghai Symphony Brings 140-Year Tradition to America

When the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra makes its Chicago-area debut Aug. 16 at the Ravinia Festival, no one will be prouder of the occasion than its music director, Long Yu.

Clef Notes: Q&A with Celebrated Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers

Clef Notes: Q&A with Celebrated Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers

One of the most gifted violinists of her generation, Anne Akiko Meyers embodies what a virtuoso violinist should be as a powerful interpreter of beloved repertoire that spans centuries and yet poised to open that same repertoire to new music, serving as a vanguard in what has traditionally been a guarded space.

National Review: A Maestro-Ambassador, Gerard Schwarz

National Review: A Maestro-Ambassador, Gerard Schwarz

Gerard Schwarz is an exemplary musician. He was a hotshot trumpeter — one of the best in the world. Then he became a leading conductor. For many years, he led the Seattle Symphony, and also the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York. He has led other institutions too. Now he is going to the Palm Beach Symphony. I joke that this is a “hardship post.”

The Guardian: Mahan Esfahani – ‘The harpsichord is like the posh, pretty boy in prison’

The Guardian: Mahan Esfahani – ‘The harpsichord is like the posh, pretty boy in prison’

Mahan Esfahani was nine when he first heard a harpsichord. He and his parents were visiting Iran, the country where he was born, and which his family had left for the US five years before. “An uncle gave me a bunch of cassettes,” he says. “One was of Karl Richter [the German conductor and harpsichordist] playing Bach. Well, I listened to it, and I thought: ‘This is what I’ve got to do.’ I don’t mean in terms of a career. I just thought my life would be well spent in the company of this instrument. I thought I would get a profession, which is what every Iranian parent wants for their child, and that – once I was a doctor or lawyer – I’d be able to buy a harpsichord, and play at home.”

National Review: The Harpsichordist, An Instrument of Their Own

National Review: The Harpsichordist, An Instrument of Their Own

Mahan Esfahani is a musician, and an unusual one. He’s not a pianist, violinist, cellist, or even a tuba player: He is a harpsichordist. Jay talks with him about his life and his instrument. William F. Buckley Jr., a devotee of the harpsichord his entire life, would have loved this.

Violinist: Interview with Anne Akiko Meyers and Adam Schoenberg

Violinist: Interview with Anne Akiko Meyers and Adam Schoenberg

When violinist Anne Akiko Meyers started getting the music for a new violin concerto that she had commissioned from composer Adam Schoenberg, she was in for a rather major surprise.

"The first movement was all done in scordatura, which was a first for me," said Meyers. In other words, Schoenberg's music required that she tune one of the strings of her famous 1741 "Vieuxtemps” Guarneri del Gesù down an entire step. Specifically, the G string would be tuned down to an F. "I thought, what am I supposed to do with this? What happens? Do you read the music the same way? Or do I need a crash course on how to play the violin in the key of F, with an F string?"

Chilled: Chillin' With Piano Duo Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe

Chilled: Chillin' With Piano Duo Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe

The power of duos permeates the performances and creative processes of Anderson & Roe. They’ve even thought to couple cocktails with concertos. What began as a blog feature called “Musical Mixology,” which according to Anderson, sprung from the premise that “the effective pairing of music and cocktails can enhance the potency of both” has developed into a live concert model. In the same manner that those with synesthesia perceive color while listening to music, Anderson & Roe may be aiming for their wrapped audiences to taste sound and hear taste. Chilled sat down to chat with the duo.