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June 10, 2013 | By Mike Boehm
Southern California-raised Sean Chen, at 24 the first American to make the finals of the quadrennial Van Cliburn International Piano Competition since 1997, won the third place "crystal award" Sunday. As the 17-day competition ended at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, Texas, the six finalists played concertos accompanied by the Fort Worth Symphony led by Leonard Slatkin. Vadym Kholodenko, 26, of the Ukraine won the gold medal -- worth $50,000. Chen and the silver medalist, Beatrice Rana of Italy, each will get a $20,000 prize.
May 13, 2013 | By David Ng
How do you punish Springfield's ultimate grade-school delinquent? A 10-year-old troublemaker who has been disciplined hundreds of times over the last 24 years? In Sunday's episode of "The Simpsons" on Fox, Bart is sentenced to the harshest form of pre-pubescent spirit crushing: classical-music lessons. The severity cannot be underestimated. After rejecting sliding-whistle lessons from Sideshow Mel, sitar instruction from Comicbook Guy and a theremin odyssey courtesy of Prof. Frink, Bart agrees to piano lessons after he espies the attractive Russian teacher Zhenya (the voice of Jane Krakowski)
May 12, 2013 | By Gayle Greene
It came with us always. First the old upright, then the Baldwin, then the Steinway grand, no matter how often we moved, or how far - she'd no more have left it behind than she'd have left me. There was, in those days, much shouting and storming about, the screeching of tires as my father sped off in the night. When I was 10, they split up for good, and we landed near Palo Alto, where my mother was left, a single mother in the suburbs, in her 40s, in the 1950s, a decade that did not take kindly to divorcees.
May 3, 2013 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
The famous first bars of Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto summon four fortissimo horns to urgently blare a four-note descending figure and then leap. The full Los Angeles Philharmonic punctuated that leap Thursday night about as adamantly as I can recall having ever heard it. An industrial strength timpani thump added emphasis. Like a musical high five, the concerto's opening proclaimed Gustavo Dudamel's return to Walt Disney Concert Hall for a month, his first time back since his proud European and New York tour with the orchestra in March.
May 2, 2013
For fans of the piano trio, this bill could be considered something of a meeting of two heavyweights. An ambitious, expressive artist, Brad Mehldau's threesome was in typically remarkable form on two 2012 albums, and the Bad Plus has been pushing boundaries for years with an irreverent mix of head-turning covers and originals. A wild card will most likely be introduced in saxophonist Joshua Redman, who has collaborated with both ensembles in the past. Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, Royce Hall, 340 Royce Drive, Los Angeles.
May 2, 2013 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
When pianist, pedagogue and Arnold Schoenberg's former secretary Leonard Stein formed Piano Spheres in Los Angeles in 1994, he was providing exposure to four of the best and most imaginative students he had mentored. Gloria Cheng, Vicki Ray, Mark Robson and Susan Svrcek are now among theĀ  best, busiest and least dispensable pianists in Los Angeles, to say nothing of the most dedicated. Nine years after Stein's death, Piano Spheres still thrives and on Saturday celebrates the series' upcoming 20th anniversary by providing a rare opportunity to hear all four pianists on the same stage.
April 28, 2013 | By Marcia Adair
BERLIN - In a hotel in the embassy-heavy streets in the city's center, Lang Lang sits on a bright red couch, a modestly daring complement to the room's elaborate Bauhaus paneling. He has just come from a conference in Cannes where he gave a speech to the who's who of the music biz about classical music, social media and building music schools in China. The window is open and outside, a woman shouts enthusiastically into a megaphone. Her acolytes answer her calls with equal vim. Inside the normally happy-go-lucky, 30-year-old pianist is doing some protesting of his own. When he plays with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Hall in May, it will be Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, a piece second perhaps only to Grieg in the most-played concerto table.
April 12, 2013 | By Christopher Hawthorne, Architecture Critic
Will the Academy's big bubble pop before it has a chance to be built? Italian architect Renzo Piano, Los Angeles architect Zoltan Pali and officials from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveiled preliminary designs Thursday for a $300-million film museum at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue. The architectural centerpiece of the 290,000-square-foot complex, just west of the campus of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, would be a giant glass-enclosed dome, which Piano refers to as the "sphere" and the "soap bubble.
February 13, 2013 | By Maria L. La Ganga, Los Angeles Times
HALF MOON BAY, Calif. - The piano was delivered to its bluff-top perch under cover of fog nearly two weeks ago. It is scheduled to leave this coastal enclave in a burst of flames on Sunday. In between the fog and the fire, musician and sculptor Mauro Ffortissimo has been treating his neighbors to an illicit outdoor concert series grandly dubbed Sunset Piano. Chopin, Debussy, a tango or two. The performances are timed to end the moment the sun sinks below the horizon. He plays to cyclists and dog walkers, babies in strollers, his landlady in a folding chair, the charmed, the perplexed.
January 26, 2013 | By David Mermelstein
Few musicians have forged a closer professional and personal collaboration than that of conductor-composer Esa-Pekka Salonen and pianist Yefim Bronfman. Their regular appearances together performing concertos from the standard repertory have captivated audiences for some 20 years, first during Salonen's 17-season tenure as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and more recently while he's been principal conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. But that relationship broadened six years ago, when Bronfman gave the premiere of Salonen's Piano Concerto, written for the soloist and commissioned by the New York Philharmonic.
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