Although there had been numerous keyboard instruments earlier, the Italians in the mid 18th century invented a new type that could, for the first time, get louder and softer by changing the pressure on the keys. They called it the loud-soft keyboard, or the fortepiano. From humble beginnings as a small, inexpensive house instrument it changed and grew into the most important household instrument—really the home entertainment center of the 19th and early 20th century—as well as a concert instrument for solo recitals and concertos.
This class will trace its history from its invention to today through the music of its greatest innovators. We will learn a bit about the technological changes inside the instrument that made it the one great instrument of the industrial revolution. We will also learn something of the pianistic skills of the greatest pianists from 19th-century legends like Franz Liszt and Frédéric Chopin to 20th-century giants who have left us examples of their performances, like Sergei Rachmaninoff, Vladimir Horowitz and Art Tatum. From Europe, we have the music of Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Debussy and Albeniz; from America, the music of Joplin, Gershwin, Waller, Tatum and Monk. No previous experience with the instrument is required although those who took even a year or so of lessons will particularly enjoy revisiting the pleasures and pains of the art of the piano.
DR. ORIN GROSSMAN has been delighting audiences with his unique approach to performing and explaining American and European music. As a performer, he is an in-demand interpreter of the music of George Gershwin, playing his songs and classical compositions around the world. He performed Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and gave the Russian premiere of Gershwin’s Second Rhapsody with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic to a standing ovation. As a star professor for ‘One Day University’ he has a unique talent for educating and entertaining with a disarming wit and easily comprehended intelligence.