Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely?

Posted by: BWV 846

Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/22/13 07:41 PM

In other words, not Sokolov since apparently he doesn't come to the US. I am trying to increase my classical music knowledge, http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showflat/Number/2032307/gonew/1/ and would like to know who I definitely shouldn't miss when he/she comes to Washington, DC or Baltimore.

By "Top 10" I mean the ones that you think are best or would most want to see perform.
Posted by: DanS

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/22/13 07:51 PM

Kissin and Hamelin
Posted by: BDB

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/22/13 08:07 PM

You should not miss anyone. Especially, you should go to as many student recitals as you can. They may be one of the top performers some day, or they may be one that has not been discovered, and they may never be discovered. A local performer could be as great a pianist as a touring professional, but may not want that career. You just never know.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/22/13 09:23 PM

YouTube is the best to listen to an incredible amount of classical piano performances from any and all of the great pianists.
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/22/13 10:14 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
YouTube is the best to listen to an incredible amount of classical piano performances from any and all of the great pianists.

One could spend HOURS exploring all the wealth on YouTube.

And I do...

Yesterday it was Judy Garland. (What charisma the lady had.) But tonight perhaps a search for selections from the Eton Choirbook. All this and pianists too!
Posted by: gooddog

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/22/13 10:47 PM

Don't miss Stephen Hough.
Posted by: BWV 846

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/22/13 10:58 PM

I definitely won't go just to the top 10 or 20. BDB, I regularly go to the Peabody Conservatory free Thursday noon recitals. http://www.peabody.jhu.edu/events/thursdaynoon.html

But it would be nice to know who more experienced people perceive as the top performers, since (as far as I can tell), there really aren't any towering figures like, say, Horowitz.
Posted by: Auntie Lynn

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/22/13 11:08 PM

Yuja Wang
Posted by: AldenH

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/23/13 12:13 AM

I think Europe alone counts as performing widely. Europeans don't get to hear Bronfman or Thibaudet as much as we do.

So, that in mind:

Volodos
Sokolov
Pollini
Perahia
Bavouzet
Denk
Hamelin
Grosvenor
Volodin
Biss


...among many others.
Posted by: wr

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/23/13 05:59 AM

Lupu
Ohlsson
Uchida
Andsnes
Freire
Thibaudet
Denk
Biss
Queffelec
Osborne
Trpceski
Kocsis
Wang
Tomsic
Nel
Ax

Don't know if Richard Goode is still touring - if so, him.


Posted by: Andromaque

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/23/13 07:22 AM

Goode is touring with a late Beethoven sonatas program this year.
It was also nice to see that Pollini is scheduled to perform in Europe and the US this year after a 2 year absence. He is planning an All Beethoven concert in May and Chopin+Debussy's Preludes I in April.


Don't forget chamber music. Isserlis and Kirill Gerstein are touring the US with a marvelous program of Brahms sonatas for cello+piano and Ades' Lieux retrouves in several venues this year. The music making is superb and very moving.


Did anyone mention Lugansky?
Posted by: Gerard12

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/23/13 09:26 AM

Originally Posted By: Andromaque
.....Isserlis and Kirill Gerstein are touring the US with a marvelous program of Brahms sonatas for cello+piano and Ades' Lieux retrouves in several venues this year. The music making is superb and very moving......


Wow. I'm not embarrassed to admit that I started to drool when I read this!

(Concerts are a tough deal for me nowadays, because I currently live a 3 hour drive away from a major city.)
Posted by: Pogorelich.

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/23/13 10:10 AM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
YouTube is the best to listen to an incredible amount of classical piano performances from any and all of the great pianists.


Live concert is better.
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/23/13 01:07 PM

Originally Posted By: Gerard12
Originally Posted By: Andromaque
.....Isserlis and Kirill Gerstein are touring the US with a marvelous program of Brahms sonatas for cello+piano and Ades' Lieux retrouves in several venues this year. The music making is superb and very moving......


Wow. I'm not embarrassed to admit that I started to drool when I read this!

(Concerts are a tough deal for me nowadays, because I currently live a 3 hour drive away from a major city.)


That recital was probably one of the most beautiful two hour spans I have spent, in a while. I was moved not just by the beauty of the music, but by the intense musicianship and dedication to the music by two amazing artists. There was such great synergy between them and so little drama and ego display. Breathtaking! Travel the 3 hours if they land anywhere near you! smile
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/23/13 02:38 PM

I guess that there are some great pianists who don't (or won't) play in the USA for whatever reason these days. Among the pianists I never miss are Krystian Zimerman and Mikhail Pletnev (who recently raised hopes he might start playing in public again). Benjamin Grosvenor recently joined that group. And now that I've heard her, Yuja Wang too.

Oh, and Lang Lang, who never fails to lift my spirits, whether or not I agree with what he does wink .
Posted by: BWV 846

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/23/13 03:27 PM

I have seen Lang Lang, Yuja Wang, and Perahia. I have a ticket to see Kissin in April. Pollini is also coming in April and I plan to see him. I had a ticket for Hamelin (Baltimore's Shriver Hall concert series) but unfortunately was not able to make it.
Posted by: Serge Marinkovic

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/23/13 06:13 PM

Sokolov and Pletnev are very distinctive in performance while the rest of the above lists are wonderful but to me not as fulfilling. Its like seeing Gilels at Carnegie Hall when I was in college. Just mind altering playing everyone else is so similar.
Posted by: Bobpickle

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/24/13 03:45 AM

Originally Posted By: bennevis
I guess that there are some great pianists who don't (or won't) play in the USA for whatever reason these days.


I'd give doing so at least a second-thought if my personal Steinway concert D was destroyed by U.S. airport security because it smelled funny.

I do wish I could see - among others - those on your list.
Posted by: Mr. McFugue

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/24/13 07:01 AM

I recommend attending recitals at universities and music schools in your area, especially those given by faculty and visiting artists. I've attended some that were more enjoyable than those given by famous artists, for no charge or a nominal fee.
Posted by: stores

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/24/13 07:07 AM

Go hear everyone that you possibly can. There are a few names I'd leave OFF that list, but I won't bother with that now.

By the way, I assume you enjoyed Angela's recital? I told you she'd love the flowers.
Posted by: kapelli

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/24/13 09:49 AM

Berezowsky, Demidenko
Posted by: BWV 846

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/24/13 10:38 AM

stores, I did enjoy Angela's recital -- I think her playing of the gigue of Bach's Fifth French Suite is one of the best things in the world.

Thanks for your advice, it really helped. She seemed to like the flowers. I'm really glad I did it.

Tonight, I am going to see Simone Dinerstein (Goldberg Variations).
Posted by: im@me

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/24/13 02:47 PM

I recently saw Benjamin Grosvenor, that was amazing, another favourite was Paul Lewis and Steven Osbourne playing Schubert duets
Posted by: BWV 846

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/25/13 07:10 AM

I must say, I was a bit disappointed with Dinnerstein. I love the Goldbergs, but (to me at least) she made them seem bland and boring. But I guess it tend to show that tiny changes in dynamics, phrasing, etc. can mean the difference between an average performance and a great one.

My favorite Goldberg Variations performance is Murray Perahia,but for most Bach keyboard works, Angela Hewitt is my favorite.
Posted by: izaldu

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/25/13 10:50 AM

I ve never seen anything like Sokolov's 2012 program (he s changed it now). Mozart s A minor sonata and Rameau. He 's just on a different level, at elast in that repertoire.
Posted by: landorrano

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/25/13 11:16 AM

Originally Posted By: BWV 846
I must say, I was a bit disappointed with Dinnerstein. I love the Goldbergs, but (to me at least) she made them seem bland and boring. But I guess it tend to show that tiny changes in dynamics, phrasing, etc. can mean the difference between an average performance and a great one.

My favorite Goldberg Variations performance is Murray Perahia,but for most Bach keyboard works, Angela Hewitt is my favorite.


Hi Prélude. I wasn't at the concert, and I don't know Dinnerstein's playing, so I can't defend her playing. But you'll nearly always have a hard time if you are comparing what you hear in a concert to a recording that you've heard ad infinitum.
Posted by: RachelEDNC

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/25/13 12:09 PM

Originally Posted By: Mr. McFugue
I recommend attending recitals at universities and music schools in your area, especially those given by faculty and visiting artists. I've attended some that were more enjoyable than those given by famous artists, for no charge or a nominal fee.


I agree. I have seen many of the big names in piano today. Probably most all of my favorite performances have been given at student or professor recitals.
Example- I have heard Lang Lang and Andre Watts perform the Rachmaninoff 2nd Concerto. I have also heard it performed twice, by two separate students. In order of who I like best:
Student #1, Lang Lang, Student #2, Watts.

Famous pianists have either good publicists/connections/won competitions (or all three). There are many pianists around who do not have those things, yet still have the technique and passion to make for a wonderful performance.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/25/13 02:40 PM

Originally Posted By: RachelEDNC

I agree. I have seen many of the big names in piano today. Probably most all of my favorite performances have been given at student or professor recitals.
Example- I have heard Lang Lang and Andre Watts perform the Rachmaninoff 2nd Concerto. I have also heard it performed twice, by two separate students. In order of who I like best:
Student #1, Lang Lang, Student #2, Watts.

Famous pianists have either good publicists/connections/won competitions (or all three). There are many pianists around who do not have those things, yet still have the technique and passion to make for a wonderful performance.


I have the opposite impression, from decades of attending concerts. For the first ten years (after I started working and could afford it), I'd go to every concert I could attend, regardless of the fame or otherwise of the pianist. Every concert then was a discovery for me, and I enjoyed comparing and contrasting different interpretations of the same works. Some of the pianists whose concerts I went to were unknown names who eventually became celebrated within a few years. I also attended as many free student recitals as I could.

Since then, I've become more picky about going to concerts that aren't free grin, and have come to the realization that celebrated pianists are celebrated for good reasons (I discount people like Richard Clayderman et al.....): they almost invariably have that indefinable 'wow' factor that made me prick up my ears and really, really listen. I still remember attending Mikhail Pletnev's first London concert in a small hall - he was then an unknown name in the West, just one of several Soviet pianists who won the Tchaikovsky Competition and allowed to play in the West for the first time. The almost insolent ease with which he tossed off the most fiendish difficulties (in Rachmaninoff's Etudes-tableaux), the amazing range of colour and articulation no matter how dizzying the tempi, his individual quirks and razor-sharp wit (not something Russian pianists are noted for) all pointed to real star quality. And so it proved over the next few years....

Conversely, most other young pianists I heard were very competent but nothing special. The only free student concert I'd heard that made me sit up and take notice was by someone who, a few years later, won a major competition and went on to big things.
Posted by: izaldu

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/26/13 07:38 AM

Originally Posted By: RachelEDNC


Famous pianists have either good publicists/connections/won competitions (or all three). There are many pianists around who do not have those things, yet still have the technique and passion to make for a wonderful performance.


Agreed. Yuja Wang was here this weekend with a local orchestra. She was on the news on the main channel, with the minidress and the stiletto heels. Sokolov, Kissin, Perahia, come pretty much every year and you struggle to find a review on any newspaper. This is no coincidence and definitely not down to artistry.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/26/13 11:13 AM

Originally Posted By: izaldu
Originally Posted By: RachelEDNC


Famous pianists have either good publicists/connections/won competitions (or all three). There are many pianists around who do not have those things, yet still have the technique and passion to make for a wonderful performance.


Agreed. Yuja Wang was here this weekend with a local orchestra. She was on the news on the main channel, with the minidress and the stiletto heels. Sokolov, Kissin, Perahia, come pretty much every year and you struggle to find a review on any newspaper. This is no coincidence and definitely not down to artistry.


Sokolov, Kissin and Perahia are long-established names with long-established reputations, connections and recording contracts (except Sokolov, through every fault of his own....). Perahia has just been celebrated by Sony with a huge 67 CD + 5 DVD box containing all his CBS/Sony recordings plus Vox and BBC recordings. What any reviewer say about their concerts will have little impact on their marketability.

Yuja Wang on the other hand is still making a name for herself. (Only last year, she made her debut in London's International Piano series, not in the big Royal Festival Hall, but the smaller Queen Elizabeth Hall.) Naturally, her fashion sense will be scrutinized.....

What really would be interesting is if there's an unknown name with fabulous technique and musicianship comparable to Sokolov, Kissin and Perahia - and been around a while - but has still not been picked up by concert managements and the pianistic cognoscenti. I can't think of any.
Posted by: izaldu

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/27/13 03:34 AM

Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: izaldu
Originally Posted By: RachelEDNC


Famous pianists have either good publicists/connections/won competitions (or all three). There are many pianists around who do not have those things, yet still have the technique and passion to make for a wonderful performance.


Agreed. Yuja Wang was here this weekend with a local orchestra. She was on the news on the main channel, with the minidress and the stiletto heels. Sokolov, Kissin, Perahia, come pretty much every year and you struggle to find a review on any newspaper. This is no coincidence and definitely not down to artistry.


Sokolov, Kissin and Perahia are long-established names with long-established reputations, connections and recording contracts (except Sokolov, through every fault of his own....). Perahia has just been celebrated by Sony with a huge 67 CD + 5 DVD box containing all his CBS/Sony recordings plus Vox and BBC recordings. What any reviewer say about their concerts will have little impact on their marketability.

Yuja Wang on the other hand is still making a name for herself. (Only last year, she made her debut in London's International Piano series, not in the big Royal Festival Hall, but the smaller Queen Elizabeth Hall.) Naturally, her fashion sense will be scrutinized.....

What really would be interesting is if there's an unknown name with fabulous technique and musicianship comparable to Sokolov, Kissin and Perahia - and been around a while - but has still not been picked up by concert managements and the pianistic cognoscenti. I can't think of any.


I am sure there are. Maybe just a few but i am sure there are. Every now and then you come across recordings of unknown people that blow you away.
Posted by: wr

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/27/13 04:56 AM

Originally Posted By: bennevis

What really would be interesting is if there's an unknown name with fabulous technique and musicianship comparable to Sokolov, Kissin and Perahia - and been around a while - but has still not been picked up by concert managements and the pianistic cognoscenti. I can't think of any.


It's kind of tautological that you can't think of any, seems to me. How would you know about them if they were unknown?
Posted by: JoelW

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/27/13 05:18 AM

Pogo (even thought it would probably be weird as heck)

Stan Bunin

Ben Grosvenor

Lang Lang

Ingrid Fliter (I never knew how good she is. INSANELY good. How did she lose to Yundi...)
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/27/13 05:50 AM

Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: bennevis

What really would be interesting is if there's an unknown name with fabulous technique and musicianship comparable to Sokolov, Kissin and Perahia - and been around a while - but has still not been picked up by concert managements and the pianistic cognoscenti. I can't think of any.


It's kind of tautological that you can't think of any, seems to me. How would you know about them if they were unknown?



That's because I make a point of going to as many debut (and student) recitals as I can - all those pianists are unknown, mostly (but not always) young; some have taken part in competitions, some not. I've only ever spotted one talent so far, and that person went on to bigger things, as I mentioned earlier.

Of course there may be many very talented, even great pianists out there who decided that a concert career wasn't for them, and switched to teaching (or changed career to something unrelated to music) instead, and don't even bother to perform; or maybe suffer from nerves too much to perform. But if they don't perform, one cannot say that they are concert pianists, known or otherwise.

One highly talented pianist I know of who switched career (to become a doctor) while still at the beginning of a promising concert career is Naida Cole, whose CD of French piano music (including Chabrier and Gaspard de la nuit) is still one of the best I've ever heard.
Posted by: wr

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/27/13 07:32 AM

Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: bennevis

What really would be interesting is if there's an unknown name with fabulous technique and musicianship comparable to Sokolov, Kissin and Perahia - and been around a while - but has still not been picked up by concert managements and the pianistic cognoscenti. I can't think of any.


It's kind of tautological that you can't think of any, seems to me. How would you know about them if they were unknown?



That's because I make a point of going to as many debut (and student) recitals as I can - all those pianists are unknown, mostly (but not always) young; some have taken part in competitions, some not.


But part of your criteria was "and been around for a while".
Posted by: Derulux

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/27/13 07:53 AM

Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: bennevis

What really would be interesting is if there's an unknown name with fabulous technique and musicianship comparable to Sokolov, Kissin and Perahia - and been around a while - but has still not been picked up by concert managements and the pianistic cognoscenti. I can't think of any.


It's kind of tautological that you can't think of any, seems to me. How would you know about them if they were unknown?

I agree with this. I'll pick a different 'art' to explain my thoughts, since piano obviously is too close to most people's hearts in this forum.

Bruce Lee is still the greatest name in martial arts history. There are martial artists out there who say he was the best, people who will swear by it, despite never meeting the man or being able to test his abilities. "But we have his movies!" some will complain. Yes, we do. But that works more to his detriment than his benefit.

Today, there are dozens of people in nearly every MMA gym across the globe who would run circles around Bruce Lee. Nobody knows their names. But each one of them would drop Lee to the mat in the first round.

There are true masters of different arts in their native lands. Escrima, for example. There is a man in the Philippines whose name was Angel Cabales. In a stick-fight, the man was undefeated. In fact, only one person in the world lasted longer than 3-5 seconds, and that man only survived for 11 seconds. Cabales would not only beat Bruce Lee, he would kill Lee in seconds. Yet nobody outside of escrima knows who he was.


The same goes for any art. There will always be those who rise to fame, and those whom no one has ever heard of who are just as good, if not better, than the famous names.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/27/13 09:13 AM

Originally Posted By: wr


But part of your criteria was "and been around for a while".


Yes, I did mention that some of the pianists I heard in their 'debuts' aren't young (maybe late 20s to 30s), but still trying to make it as concert pianists. Whether those concerts were self-funded, I don't know, but their CVs usually attest to some previous concerts in minor venues (which only get small reviews - if any - in local papers) and maybe college prizes as students. So, in my book, they are 'unknown', except maybe to people in their home towns.

But I've never heard such pianists play to the standard of those who get engagements in the big international concert halls.
Posted by: izaldu

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/27/13 09:46 AM

Not long ago, after a lesson, my teacher proposed to go to a friend's place. She (her friend) was practicing for a recital, it had been a while since she d last played in front of an audience, and she could do with playing the whole program in front of a few friends. So we go to her place, to a soundproofed flat that had two Steinway D face to face. We had a glass of wine and a brief talk and then she started playing.

4 mazurkas, Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante, 4 scherzos and the Fantasy. She was absolutely amazing. Of course after each piece she said "that wasn´t great" or "that sucked" and that kind of stuff, but that 's her. I ve heard few interpretations at taht level, and definitely heard many inferior ones from well known pianists.

Sure, she is a pro, studied in Madrid, Warsaw (3 years) and Paris (3 years). She does have the instruction, the hopursd of practice, dedication and talent of a pro. But has never pursued a frantic concert career. She teaches. None of you know of her and i am sure you would agree with me if you ever listemed to her playing.

I think that s what bennevis meant. There are people that are pros ( i just can't see a self taught musician achieving mastery of the classical repertoire) but didn t want to/couldn t have a successful concert career. I've come across a few lesser known musicians who in my opinion are better than some of the so called stars. The comparison in classical music is immediate as they all have common repertoire.
Posted by: wr

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/27/13 11:02 PM

Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: wr


But part of your criteria was "and been around for a while".


Yes, I did mention that some of the pianists I heard in their 'debuts' aren't young (maybe late 20s to 30s), but still trying to make it as concert pianists. Whether those concerts were self-funded, I don't know, but their CVs usually attest to some previous concerts in minor venues (which only get small reviews - if any - in local papers) and maybe college prizes as students. So, in my book, they are 'unknown', except maybe to people in their home towns.

But I've never heard such pianists play to the standard of those who get engagements in the big international concert halls.


oic - you're talking about the unknowns you do know of, not about the ones you don't.
Posted by: wr

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/28/13 03:17 AM

Originally Posted By: izaldu

I think that s what bennevis meant. There are people that are pros ( i just can't see a self taught musician achieving mastery of the classical repertoire) but didn t want to/couldn t have a successful concert career. I've come across a few lesser known musicians who in my opinion are better than some of the so called stars. The comparison in classical music is immediate as they all have common repertoire.


Yes, I finally figured out that bennevis meant something other by "unknown" than what I thought he meant.

Yes, I agree, there are some amazing "unknown" pianists out there. A few years ago, a local radio station was doing a tribute to a local teacher who had recently passed away, someone who I'd never heard of. They played a recording of the Copland Variations from a recital of hers that I thought was as good or better than many things I have heard from some of the big names. It was, technically excellent, and, IMO, musically it was definitely better and more insightful than a performance I heard Stephen Hough give of the same piece, around the same time.
Posted by: Lemon Pledge

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/28/13 05:54 AM

Originally Posted By: bennevis


But I've never heard such pianists play to the standard of those who get engagements in the big international concert halls.


Interesting. That has not been my experience at all. When I think of the best piano performances I've heard live, the most memorable, inspired, powerful, etc, only a minority of these were provided by internationally famous pianists playing in big concert halls. Less than 25%. Non-famous pianists play better than famous ones very frequently.

Then there is the problem of the halls. The biggest names tend to play in the biggest spaces, which are disadvantageous to a large portion of the piano repertoire. Also, it often happens that the qualities that make a particular artist sound special on recordings are simply not audible in Stern-sized caverns. In general I've had better luck with small halls, churches, classrooms, living rooms, etc.

Of course, when I buy an expensive ticket to see an internationally famous pianist in a giant hall, I am priming myself to have a big experience. Expectations are high, and I listen differently, I'm sure. Generally, this probably enhances my enjoyment, but it also makes it harder to be caught off-guard, to be surprised or stunned.
Posted by: wr

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/28/13 06:40 AM

Originally Posted By: Lemon Pledge

Then there is the problem of the halls. The biggest names tend to play in the biggest spaces, which are disadvantageous to a large portion of the piano repertoire.



That's a very good point, I think.

Another element is the incessant travel that the touring artists are doing, compared to hearing someone on their home turf. I think there's a kind of dislocation and lack of centeredness in some touring professionals because of it, and it can show up in their playing. And being in a more or less constant state of jet lag can mess with circadian rhythms, too, which I also think can have a negative effect on playing. There's just this underlying sense of the artist being slightly out of kilter (or worse, quite definitely out of kilter), even if they are generally very good.
Posted by: fnork

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/28/13 07:47 AM

Originally Posted By: JoelW
Ingrid Fliter (I never knew how good she is. INSANELY good. How did she lose to Yundi...)

The Beethoven/Chopin recital I heard her do last summer in California was one of the biggest sleeping pills of the year. I don't know if she just had a bad day or not, but I was completely shocked to see that she had gotten THAT far in a competition of that magnitude when offering entirely passionless readings of the F minor ballade, op 27 nr 2, appassionata etc, not to mention she was having memory issues and played "safe" the entire evening.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/28/13 09:23 AM

Originally Posted By: Lemon Pledge
Non-famous pianists play better than famous ones very frequently.

Then there is the problem of the halls. The biggest names tend to play in the biggest spaces, which are disadvantageous to a large portion of the piano repertoire. Also, it often happens that the qualities that make a particular artist sound special on recordings are simply not audible in Stern-sized caverns. In general I've had better luck with small halls, churches, classrooms, living rooms, etc.

Of course, when I buy an expensive ticket to see an internationally famous pianist in a giant hall, I am priming myself to have a big experience. Expectations are high, and I listen differently, I'm sure. Generally, this probably enhances my enjoyment, but it also makes it harder to be caught off-guard, to be surprised or stunned.



I agree that if you sit in the back of huge halls, you're not likely to get a very satisfying sound experience in solo piano recitals. I'm fortunate in that even in the biggest hall I go to in London, I get to sit quite close to the piano, in a cheap seat (usually <$12). In some smaller halls, I have to sit much further away, and pay more for the privilege....

But over the years, I've pruned down the number of recitals by well-known names that I go to, because some of them are somewhat predictable and play the same repertoire again and again with no change in interpretation. I'll only go if their program contains something I really want to hear, preferably something I've not heard them play before.

I'm more likely to go to one by someone I've never heard live before - frequently a recent competition winner, or someone who's just come to the fore recently because they've just signed a big recording contract (apparently there are still recording companies prepared to gamble on doing that), or promoted by someone famous like Argerich. In such instances, it's the pianist rather than the program that's the attraction. These pianists can sometimes be more interesting than most of the star names, but I often wish they'd be more adventurous in their choice of repertoire. But it's still the case that IMO, the majority of these (usually young) pianists sound much like anyone else, with little individuality or magic that makes them stand out from the crowd. Some sound like they've played the same pieces once too often.

Which is why, when someone like Benjamin Grosvenor comes along (who not just plays with a personal stamp, but also programs adventurous repertoire), it's like a breath of fresh air. But he certainly isn't an unknown, not by a long stretch. I'm still looking forward to the day when I go to a concert by someone not so young with no big reputation, and wonder why he/she still hasn't been taken up by a big agent, been given a recording contract etc, etc.

Until then, I've just have to believe that cream really will always rise to the top, one way or another, and that there is no hitherto undiscovered beverage where the cream has been languishing for some time, still waiting for the opportunity to rise......
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 02/28/13 11:20 AM

Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Lemon Pledge

Then there is the problem of the halls. The biggest names tend to play in the biggest spaces, which are disadvantageous to a large portion of the piano repertoire.
That's a very good point, I think.
I've heard numerous recitals form the upper balcony of Carnegie Hall and never felt there was a problem in terms of the sound.
Posted by: Lemon Pledge

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 03/01/13 06:18 AM

Originally Posted By: wr
Another element is the incessant travel that the touring artists are doing, compared to hearing someone on their home turf. I think there's a kind of dislocation and lack of centeredness in some touring professionals because of it, and it can show up in their playing. And being in a more or less constant state of jet lag can mess with circadian rhythms, too, which I also think can have a negative effect on playing. There's just this underlying sense of the artist being slightly out of kilter (or worse, quite definitely out of kilter), even if they are generally very good.


I've noticed this also, and "out of kilter" is a good way to describe it. A sense that the famous pianist is somehow disoriented. Heavy touring -- flying to a new city every few days, for months -- must be brutal, particularly for the no-longer-young.
Posted by: Lemon Pledge

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 03/01/13 06:53 AM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I've heard numerous recitals form the upper balcony of Carnegie Hall and never felt there was a problem in terms of the sound.


What I described above isn't really a matter of having a problem with the sound. The acoustics in Carnegie Hall are very nice, famously so, even in the balconies and at the back, maybe even especially at the back. But it's still a huge hall. Certain repertoire (much of it originally played in parlors or salons) is less effective there, unless presented in an exaggerated, big-hall way. Certain styles of playing don't project well in enormous spaces, and have to be adapted. Certain subtleties are not audible.

And for the listener, it's just a different experience, acoustically and psychologically. Wouldn't you rather hear one of your Great Pianists in Weill, or in Le Poisson Rouge, or in someone's living room?
Posted by: wr

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 03/01/13 08:51 AM

Originally Posted By: Lemon Pledge
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I've heard numerous recitals form the upper balcony of Carnegie Hall and never felt there was a problem in terms of the sound.


What I described above isn't really a matter of having a problem with the sound. The acoustics in Carnegie Hall are very nice, famously so, even in the balconies and at the back, maybe even especially at the back. But it's still a huge hall. Certain repertoire (much of it originally played in parlors or salons) is less effective there, unless presented in an exaggerated, big-hall way. Certain styles of playing don't project well in enormous spaces, and have to be adapted. Certain subtleties are not audible.

And for the listener, it's just a different experience, acoustically and psychologically. Wouldn't you rather hear one of your Great Pianists in Weill, or in Le Poisson Rouge, or in someone's living room?


I've often thought, when reading through it, that a major reason Medtner's music isn't better known is because it isn't designed for large halls and big audiences.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 03/01/13 09:05 AM

Originally Posted By: wr

I've often thought, when reading through it, that a major reason Medtner's music isn't better known is because it isn't designed for large halls and big audiences.



I'd have thought that Chopin fitted that description rather better - he always thought of his music as 'salon' music and that's where he preferred to play it. Even his piano concertos, which was often performed in salons as chamber music (string quartet or quintet with piano).

In contrast, Medtner's concertos are large-scale. As large as his pal's Rachmaninoff's in fact. His solo piano music may not have the bombast of Rach's, but it still sounds 'bigger' than most of Chopin's.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 03/01/13 11:32 AM

Originally Posted By: Lemon Pledge
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I've heard numerous recitals form the upper balcony of Carnegie Hall and never felt there was a problem in terms of the sound.


What I described above isn't really a matter of having a problem with the sound. The acoustics in Carnegie Hall are very nice, famously so, even in the balconies and at the back, maybe even especially at the back. But it's still a huge hall. Certain repertoire (much of it originally played in parlors or salons) is less effective there, unless presented in an exaggerated, big-hall way. Certain styles of playing don't project well in enormous spaces, and have to be adapted. Certain subtleties are not audible.

And for the listener, it's just a different experience, acoustically and psychologically. Wouldn't you rather hear one of your Great Pianists in Weill, or in Le Poisson Rouge, or in someone's living room?
I have heard every kind of repertoire played at Carnegie Hall(including the most intiimate pieces and pieces from every compositional era) and think they all work quite well there.

I'd say that a hall that big is not ideal for any repertoire from both a viewing and listening perspective. I rarely go to CH these days but spend most of my time at the Mannes concert hall which holds around 300 and, for me, is an ideal size. Not to mention the best seats at Mannes, when there is any cost at all, are 1/5 or less the price of the orchestra seats at CH.
Posted by: wr

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 03/01/13 08:30 PM

Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: wr

I've often thought, when reading through it, that a major reason Medtner's music isn't better known is because it isn't designed for large halls and big audiences.



I'd have thought that Chopin fitted that description rather better - he always thought of his music as 'salon' music and that's where he preferred to play it. Even his piano concertos, which was often performed in salons as chamber music (string quartet or quintet with piano).

In contrast, Medtner's concertos are large-scale. As large as his pal's Rachmaninoff's in fact. His solo piano music may not have the bombast of Rach's, but it still sounds 'bigger' than most of Chopin's.


What I meant about Medtner wasn't about overall scale, but something more difficult to describe. It is something about the density of the texture, the amount of fine detail. Also, I wasn't really thinking about the concertos, since I've not played through them, but the solo works.
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: Top 10/Top 20 Pianists Currently Performing/Touring Widely? - 03/02/13 12:02 AM

Originally Posted By: bennevis

In contrast, Medtner's concertos are large-scale. As large as his pal's Rachmaninoff's in fact.

No disagreement there, but listening to and checking the scores of all three Medtner concertos, what a lot of empty note spinning, difficulties for their own sake. Utterly flaccid music, no wonder they are never programed.
Quote:
His solo piano music may not have the bombast of Rach's, but it still sounds 'bigger' than most of Chopin's.

I never thought Medtner 'bigger' than Chopin, just more self-indulgent.