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#468118 - 06/28/08 11:40 PM The Fine Art of Page Turning
Ann Marie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 98
Loc: Maryland
[The following program notes are from an unidentified piano recital]

Tonight's page turner, Ruth Spelke, studied under Ivan Schmertnick at the Boris Nitsky School of Page Turning in Philadelphia. She has been turning pages here and abroad for many years for some of the world's leading pianists.

In 1988, Ms. Spelke won the Wilson Page Turning Scholarship, which sent her to Israel to study page turning from left to right. She is winner of the 1984 Rimsky Korsakov Flight of the Bumblebee Prestissimo Medal, having turned 47 pages in an unprecedented 32 seconds. She was also a 1983 silver medalist at the Klutz Musical Page Pickup Competition where contestants retrieve and reorder a musical score dropped from a Steinway Model M. Ms. Spelke excelled in "grace, swiftness, and poise" according to Van Cliburn, one of the judges at the event.

For techniques, Ms. Spelke performs both the finger-licking and the bent-page corner methods. She works from a standard left bench position, and is the originator of the dipped-elbow page snatch, a style used to avoid obscuring the pianist's view of the music. She is page turner-in-residence in Fairfield, Iowa, where she occupies the prestigious Alfred Hitchcock Chair at the Fairfield Page Turning Institute.

Ms. Spelke is married, and has a nice house on the lake.

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#468119 - 06/29/08 12:00 AM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
agent3x Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/24/08
Posts: 147
Loc: United States
Is this a joke? If not, it's still pretty funny. Imagine that... Techniques for page turning!

Now, if it were for turning while playing, that's understandable; it's pretty hard to turn your own pages and not drop notes or lose the rhythm.

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#468120 - 06/29/08 12:11 AM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
SillySushiBear Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/05
Posts: 29
Haha, freshman horror story: the accompanist and I were in a disagreement on how to turn pages best. The book fell down.

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#468121 - 06/29/08 12:14 AM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by agent3x:
Is this a joke? If not, it's still pretty funny.[/b]
No joke -- Ruth is my page turning professor at music school. Believe it or not, the 2-credit course is required for all music majors.
_________________________
Sam

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#468122 - 06/29/08 12:29 AM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
Tenuto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 550
Loc: U.S.A.
That's amazing, pianojerome - I took the same course with Ruth Spelke. One day Ruth Spelke didn't like one of her students. She told him to use the dipped elbow technique but he kept on covering up half the music with his hand.

Finally Professor Spelke told him, "Either you dip or the poor pianist is gonna take a nip right off your freakin' fingers!" It was pretty funny.

best wishes,
Valerie

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#468123 - 06/29/08 01:12 AM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
Marty in Minnesota Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 1178
Loc: Minnesota
It is indeed fun.

BUT

When I was in college studying both flute and piano, I was asked to be the page turner for a recital by Jean-Pierre Rampal and Robert Veyron-Lacroix. Since they had been on tour, there was no rehearsal.

I was the guy walking in 'cold.'

At first Mssr. Veyron-Lacroix would nod his head for a page turn. I quickly learned that he wanted the page turned 6-8 measures prior to what he was playing. So, when that was known, it was easy page flipping and just holding my suite coat and tie away from the keyboard. I flipped left handed so I wouldn't knock him in the head with my right elbow.

What I didn't expect, after the opening Bach Sonata, was that I would be gestured to for a bow. I stood and managed an embarrassed nod.

Offstage Mssr. Veyron-Lecroix said that I need not worry about turning well in advance. Back we went for the Poulenc Sonata.

The final work was the Franck Sonata. I'm turning pages furiously. But, I think I could have taken the score, ripped the pages out, and made paper airplanes with it. I don't think it would have mattered. These two incredible musicians were so totally absorbed in great music that they wouldn't have noticed if the ceiling caved in.

Yes, I was given a gesture for a bow and I did my polite nod. Mssrs. Rampal and Veyron-Lacroix nodded back, bowed to me, and then gestured me for a full bow to the audience. OH MY GAWD! I was so glad that I went to the restroom at intermission.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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#468124 - 06/29/08 11:46 AM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
baaaad_kitty Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/13/05
Posts: 42
Loc: Philippines
wow i never imagined there were some who have page-turning as a profession!

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#468125 - 06/29/08 01:08 PM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
Copake Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 255
Loc: Columbia/Westchester Counties ...
I did it once and it was a nerve-wracking experience.

My son's violin teacher had organized a concert and since I play the piano she asked if I would mind being the pianist's page turner. I agreed.

I was so nervous about the prospective event that I went out and bought the scores that I didn't already own so that I could become familiar with the music.

Fortunately the pianist had prepared her scores by photocopying at reduced scale the first two measures after the page turn and taping them to the bottom of the preceding page. That helped put me at ease somewhat.

One of the works on the program was Mendelssohn's D minor piano trio which has lots of rapid passagework. I was so relieved when it was over. I'm pleased to report that there were no serious mishaps.

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#468126 - 06/29/08 01:23 PM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21259
Loc: Oakland
A year or so ago I tuned for a piano and violin concert. They were playing a new piece that requires the sostenuto pedal. The piano does not have one. They had the page turner hold the notes that the pedal would have held. That was above and beyond the call of duty!
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#468127 - 06/29/08 03:00 PM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
Cheeto717 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 696
Loc: Pennsylvania
i have had page turners flip the entire sheet music off the piano. maybe they should have taken that class.
_________________________
Working On:
Bach: Partita No. 6
Beethoven: Op. 26
Brahms: Op. 120
Chopin: Op. 10

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#468128 - 06/29/08 03:15 PM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17829
Loc: Victoria, BC
I have seen a page turner, sitting on the pianist's left, and too lazy to stand, reach across with his right hand, elbow in the face of the pianist, arm blocking the view of the music, to turn the right-hand page from the bottom. What an idiot!

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#468129 - 06/29/08 03:28 PM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
L'echange Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/10/05
Posts: 634
Loc: Romney WV
Okay,

I really don't want to sound nasty, but page turning scholarships? page turning competitions? page turning professors?

My best wishes to Ms. Spelke, but COME ON! That is just plain out SILLY! haha, it sounds like a flying circus joke!

Did she also catch a gig in the ministry of silly walks?

haha, sorry to be so rude but that is hilarious!
_________________________
"Beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time."

-Albert Camus,

Jim

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#468130 - 06/29/08 04:17 PM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21259
Loc: Oakland
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#468131 - 06/29/08 04:24 PM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19225
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:
 Quote:
Originally posted by agent3x:
Is this a joke? If not, it's still pretty funny.[/b]
No joke -- Ruth is my page turning professor at music school. Believe it or not, the 2-credit course is required for all music majors. [/b]
What kind of homework do they give you? Do they consider a person's height or arm length when giving out final grades?

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#468132 - 06/29/08 04:28 PM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19225
Loc: New York City
The first time I heard the Brahms F minor Quintet I was turning pages for the pianist. Too bad I had to be so distracted during the first listening to such a great work.

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#468133 - 06/29/08 04:39 PM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19225
Loc: New York City
Ivan is really Borge's son.

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#468134 - 06/29/08 06:40 PM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
Ann Marie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 98
Loc: Maryland
When I took the page turning course, it was 4 credits plus lab plus a 3 week field camp at a rundown saloon in New Mexico. I am surprised I lived to tell the tale.

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#468135 - 06/29/08 06:42 PM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by Ann Marie:
When I took the page turning course, it was 4 credits plus lab plus a 3 week field camp at a rundown saloon in New Mexico. I am surprised I lived to tell the tale. [/b]
Yeah, but it was so worth it -- it was like turning a page in the score of my life, as I'm sure it was for you.
_________________________
Sam

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#468136 - 06/29/08 07:17 PM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
DameMyra Online   happy
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/21/04
Posts: 1940
Loc: South Jersey
Alas, this poor fellow failed to pass his final exam turning pages for a chamber recital at the Boris Nitsky School. I believe he is currently employed as a washroom attendant in a small hotel in Tashkent.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZG931XPV5VU
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher
MTNA/NJMTA/SJMTA

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#468137 - 06/29/08 09:32 PM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
Schubertian Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 937
Loc: Dallas, TX, US
Although I am not in the same league as the esteemed Madame Spelke, I had a horrible page turning experience myself. I was working in the Cystic Fibrosis Lab at CHildren's Hospital. There were a lot of physicians finishing their residency there. Perhaps you can imagine the egos which accompany physicians who are accepted to Harvard Medical School.

Anyway - they had a resident Talent night - and if anyone on this board is familiar with the opulence of Harvard's 'dorms' you will not be surprised to learn that there was an auditorium with a stage and a concert grand Steinway - right there in the student housing. A woman I worked with knew I played piano and she asked if I would turn pages for her. Piece of cake right? We even had a practice session just to be sure.

On the big night she was all gowned up for her peers - she was playing CHopin's fantasie Improptu - pretty well as a matter of fact - perhaps it was the excellence of her playing that sent my mind into another dimension for a brief spell - but just long enough to miss the page turn - she sat there frozen with rage while I turned the page - cursing me under her breath -

She never spoke to me again.

Recently I told this to my teacher who had the perfect response - "If she was so great she would have memorized it"

Yeah!
_________________________
'Always remember: the higher we fly the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly.""
- Nietzsche

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#468138 - 06/30/08 12:00 AM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
Tenuto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 550
Loc: U.S.A.
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Ann Marie:
When I took the page turning course, it was 4 credits plus lab plus a 3 week field camp at a rundown saloon in New Mexico. I am surprised I lived to tell the tale. [/b]
Yeah, but it was so worth it -- it was like turning a page in the score of my life, as I'm sure it was for you. [/b]
Page turning courses are brutal, sometimes. It's all part of the profession. The "Page Turner's Society Against Memorization" just started their first chapter in New Mexico.

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#468139 - 06/30/08 12:05 AM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
L'echange Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/10/05
Posts: 634
Loc: Romney WV
"Page Turner's Society Againsty Memorization"? Man... I really feel like I'm in the twilight zone!
_________________________
"Beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time."

-Albert Camus,

Jim

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#468140 - 06/30/08 12:11 AM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1710
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
 Quote:
Originally posted by L'echange:
"Page Turner's Society Againsty Memorization"? Man... I really feel like I'm in the twilight zone! [/b]
E F E C# -- repeat ad infinitum...
_________________________
Die Krebs gehn zurücke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.

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#468141 - 06/30/08 10:11 AM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
L'echange Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/10/05
Posts: 634
Loc: Romney WV
ad infinitum? who will turn my pages if I can't memorize this theme!!!

I bet that guy who got stuck playing pool for eternity wouldn't mind \:\) . I heard he is a master of the 'dipped elbow' technique.
_________________________
"Beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time."

-Albert Camus,

Jim

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#468142 - 06/30/08 11:55 PM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
bkkmd Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/06
Posts: 304
Loc: Bangkok, Thailand
Well, there are plenty of threads about pianist and piano related movies. How about one about page turner? One that come to mind of course has to be what else but "The Page Turner"? Anyone else saw this movie? My friend said that only the French could have come up with something like this! \:\)

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#468143 - 07/01/08 01:43 AM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
Tenuto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 550
Loc: U.S.A.
Is that the movie that stared Ivan Schmertnick? In the movie didn't he get fired for turning the page before the pianist played the first note?

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#468144 - 07/01/08 01:55 AM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
bkkmd Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/06
Posts: 304
Loc: Bangkok, Thailand
 Quote:
Originally posted by Tenuto:
Is that the movie that stared Ivan Schmertnick? In the movie didn't he get fired for turning the page before the pianist played the first note? [/b]
Nope! Must have been another page turner movie \:\)
This one is about a young girl who was slighted by a famous pianist judge during a competition so she gave up piano and when grew up, schemed to become a page turner for this famous pianist to exact her revenge. I kid you not !
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0487503/

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#468145 - 07/01/08 08:30 AM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
John Pels Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/07
Posts: 1258
Loc: Tomball, Texas
And then there was the time that my wife and I were giving a recital in Dallas. My darling daughter was the designated page turner. After turning a page of Strauss' Standchen, she was in the process of returning to her folding chair adjacent to the piano and caught her arm on the fallboard, slamming it onto my fingers. She was mortified. I flipped it up and kept on playing. You can forgive these things when your child is 7 years old. Plus it makes for one of those "great" family stories.

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#468146 - 07/01/08 09:06 AM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
Auntie Lynn Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 1105
Loc: San Francisco, CA
The original post, hilarious, was hanging on somebody's locker at school. I was always tempted to swipe it, copy it and return it, of course, but never got around to it...

In SF, we have an arch lady with gunmetal hair and standard black uniform who turns for most of the Visiting Artists...

She does a pretty good job. You just gotta pay attention and keep your boobs out of the way...

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#468147 - 12/04/08 02:59 PM Re: The Fine Art of Page Turning
Hugh Sung Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/16/06
Posts: 376
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
I hope you don't mind me double posting here, as i originally wrote this accidentally in the wrong section of the forum! :p (Administrator, please feel free to delete the other copy of this from the 'Adult Beginner' section if necessary!)

i'd like to share the news about the launch of my new company, AirTurn, Inc. ! As some of you may know, I've been performing as a paperless pianist for about 6 years now, having my entire library in digital PDF's on my Tablet PC's. During that time, one main shortcoming of this approach has been finding an adequate page turning solution. I've been using a number of programmable foot pedals and switches, but they all make audible clicks (not good for CD recording sessions!) and they all have had long, awkward USB cables to connect to the Tablet PC - not the most elegant way to walk out on stage, unfurling my page turning pedal cables! They've also been tricky to program, and can actually cause the computer to hang if the cable is removed before the pedal driver has been properly shut down.

My new company, AirTurn, Inc., , makes a wireless page turning transmitter , which addresses all the above issues - no cables to connect to the computer, flexible design to work with a variety of pedals (including certain piano-style keyboard/synthesizer damper pedals!), and no software to install with its plug-and-play operation and Windows/Mac compatibility right out of the box! Click on the picture to jump to a short video clip demonstrating the AirTurn.



Sorry for sounding like an infommercial, but as a pianist struggling with page turns all my life, it's so exciting to be able to finally offer a great solution to an age-old problem!

With that in mind, i'd like to invite you to visit our website at www.AirTurn.com - we have lots of videos showing everything from how to get set up with computers as digital music readers and how to digitize paper music, to finding Tablet PC and online sheet music vendors (many of them thanks to the folks who post here in PianoWorld! You guys are absolutely amazing!!)

Just for fun, i've illustrated a few of my own paper pet peeves in this fun video clip here:

The Perils of Paper!
_________________________
Hugh Sung
Co-Founder, AirTurn Inc.

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