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Happy Birthday, Mozart!

Sunday, January 27, 2019 by Mary O'Connor | composers

mozart-birthday

 

 
Wolfgang Amadeus MozartWolfgang Amadeus Theophilus Mozart lived between 1756 and 1791. He is considered to be a classical composer. Mozart, born in Salzburg, Austria, began composing before most children go to kindergarten. By the time he was six he had played the piano and violin in public.

A Wunderkind, a prodigy of the first rank before the age of five, Mozart astounded the musical world with compositions of unsurpassed brilliance. His father Leopold had recognized his talent at the age of three and immediately set out to teach him to play the harpsichord, violin, and organ. Mozart and his sister made their debut in Munich when he was just six and traveled about Europe together, performing at courts and before royalty, always with success. While still a little child Mozart was inventing symphonies, sonatas, and his first opera. Legends abound about how Mozart could hear an entire work in his head and write everything down without making even one change.

As a child performer he was often treated as a freak. People would cover his hands as he played the piano, make him compose tunes on the spot and perform all sorts of other musical tricks.

In 1787 Mozart became court composer to Joseph II. He played for royalty, received commissions from aristocrats and in his short lifetime composed nearly a thousand masterpieces, including symphonies, operas, serenades, sonatas, concertos, masses, vocal works, and church works.

Mozart was a prolific composer writing masterpieces using every form of music, including his operas "The Marriage of Figaro" (based on a play by Pierre Beaumarchais), "Don Giovanni", "Cosi fan tutte " and "The Magic Flute". His mastery of instrumental and vocal forms, from symphony to concerto and opera, was unrivaled in his own time and perhaps in any other.

Composing the Requiem Mass commissioned for Count Walsegg, he felt he was writing his own requiem and he died before it was finished.



Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composer, died in Vienna Austria at the age of 35, penniless, on December 5th, 1791, of malignant typhus. Mozart, the precocious child prodigy, composed several pieces that are deemed central to the classical era. Though he ranked as one of the greatest musical genii, he did not live a life of affluence.  None of his compositions earned him a decent commission but the world is forever enriched by such works as Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, the Symphonies No. 38 through 41 and the Coronation Mass.

In the year 2000, there have were some new discoveries about Mozart's death

     Mozart's birthday

     Mozart's son, Wolfgang Amadeus Franz Xavier Mozart

     Listen to Mozart's music.

You might be surprised to hear what "Ah Vous Dirais-je Maman" is!


     Read quotes by and about Mozart

     In Praise of Pianos and the Artists Who Play Them

     Guess what my li'l Chopin played today

     History of the Piano

     Mozart's first public concert with his sister

     Books and CD's by Mozart

         Mozart for Children

     Read Amazon.com's Get Started in Classical feature

University offers opera instead of traditional discipline

 

 

My Piano Teacher, Howard Lebow

Saturday, January 26, 2019 by Mary O'Connor | pianists

 

Time Magazine Milestones: Jan. 26, 1968

Died. Howard Lebow, 32, U.S. concert pianist; of injuries suffered in an automobile accident; in Amherst, Mass. One of the youngest and most promising of U.S. pianists, Lebow toured 15 countries after his 1963 Manhattan solo debut, played the works of such modern composers as Edward Levy and Erich Kahn with an adventurousness that sometimes startled the critics but more often won their applause .


Howard Lebow The University of Massachusetts Department of Music has established a trust fund for scholarships to assist both graduate and undergraduate music students in memory of the late Howard M. Lebow, professor of piano and concert artist whose untimely death in an automobile accident in January cut short a brilliant musical career. The scholarships will be awarded to students, selected by a special music committee, who demonstrate musical potential according to the ideals and standards of excellence that Lebow set for himself and for his students.

Lebow was graduated from the Juilliard School of Music in 1957, received his master's degree in 1959, and was the winner of the school ' s highest pianistic honor, the Morris Loeb Memorial Prize. He studied at the State Academy of Music in Hamburg, Germany; the International Institute for New Music in Darmstadt, Germany; and the Mozarteum Summer Academy in Salzburg, Austria.

He studied under Edward Steuermann, a pupil of composer Ferruccio Busoni, and became well-known for his performances of Busoni ' s works. Lebow came to the University of Massachusetts in 1965 to assume his position as Assistant Professor of Piano. Internationally acclaimed as a remarkable pianist by music critics, Lebow was widely recognized as having a faultless technique, a richly varied touch, and a distinctive feeling for style. " It is only Lebow, " said the Darmstaedter Echo, " who puts every fiber of his body and soul into the keys and truly performs with the utmost clarity, transparentness and plasticity. " Dr. Philip Bezanson, head of the department said, " The music department feels this memorial fund is a most fitting way to perpetuate the memory of Howard Lebow. He was actively interested in trying to develop scholarships for the music department. Because of his genuine interest in talented students it is most fitting that talented students should continue to receive help in his name. "

~~~~~~~~

Howard Miles Lebow was an accomplished concert pianist and composer who was first celebrated during his tenure as a student at Julliard School of Music where he earned both his BA and MFA. While at Julliard, Lebow studied under Edward Steuermann, a pupil of composer Ferruccio Busoni, and was acclaimed for his performances of Busoni’s works. Lebow exceled as a pianist, performing in fifteen countries across Europe and the Americas. Appointed to the post of Assistant Professor of Piano at the University of Massachusetts in September 1965, Lebow lectured and performed until his untimely death in 1968 at age 32. Although known for his interpretations of contemporary music, Lebow was equally at home in the entire piano literature; one of his last and most memorable recitals was devoted to the music of Franz Liszt, another artist whom he had studied and whom he greatly admired. After his death, the Howard M. Lebow Scholarship Fund was established (1968).

http://www.nyyouthsymphony.org/concerts/1964-1965/orchestra/spring-concert


Howard Lebow

The University of Massachusetts Department of
Music has established a trust fund for
scholarships to assist both graduate and
undergraduate music students in memory of
the late Howard M. Lebow, professor of piano
and concert artist whose untimely death in an
automobile accident in January cut short a
brilliant musical career. The scholarships
will be awarded to students, selected by a
special music committee, who demonstrate
musical potential according to the ideals
and standards of excellence that Lebow set
for himself and for his students.

Lebow was graduated from the Juilliard School
of Music in 1957, received his master's
degree in 1959, and was the winner of the
school's highest pianistic honor, the
Morris Loeb Memorial Prize. He studied at
the State Academy of Music in Hamburg,
Germany; the International Institute for New
Music in Darmstadt, Germany; and the
Mozarteum Summer Academy in Salzburg, Austria.
He studied under Edward Steuermann, a pupil
of composer Ferruccio Busoni, and became
well-known for his performances of Busoni's
works.

Lebow came to the University of Massachusetts
in 1965 to assume his position as Assistant
Professor of Piano.

Internationally acclaimed as a remarkable
pianist by music critics, Lebow was widely
recognized as having a faultless technique,
a richly varied touch, and a distinctive
feeling for style. "It is only Lebow," said
the Darmstaedter Echo, "who puts every fiber
of his body and soul into the keys and truly
performs with the utmost clarity,
transparentness and plasticity."

Dr. Philip Bezanson, head of the department said, "The music department feels this memorial fund is a most fitting way to perpetuate the memory of Howard Lebow. He was actively interested in trying to develop scholarships for the music department. Because of his genuine interest in talented students it is most fitting that talented students should continue to receive help in his name."

https://archive.org/stream/index1968univ/index1968univ_djvu.txt

 

http://scua.library.umass.edu/umarmot/lebow-howard/

 

 

Howard Lebow was my piano teacher my freshman year at UMass.  I was devastated over Christmas break to learn that he had died in a car crash.  He had been walking on campus and was hit by a driver. :(

Hanon Piano Exercises

Sunday, January 20, 2019 by Mary O'Connor | technique,

  hanon 


Since the first release of this classic Schirmer edition over 100 years ago, almost anyone who has taken piano lessons for more than two years has played from The Virtuoso Pianist.


Most anyone who has ever played piano has a love-hate relationship with the "Hanon".

The Virtuoso Pianist (Le Pianiste virtuose ) by Charles-Louis Hanon, is a compilation of sixty exercises meant to train the pianist in speed, precision, agility, and strength of all of the fingers and flexibility in the wrists.

First published in Boulogne, in 1873, The Virtuoso Pianist is Hanon's most well-known work, and is still widely used by piano instructors and pupils although some teachers are getting away from the mechanical playing these can produce.

Personally, I've sometimes played these on "auto-pilot" since all one really needs is to get the first pattern going, then move up a step, up a step...

hanon1



Notes by C. L. Hanon: Preparatory exercises for the Acquirement of Agility, Independence, Strength and Perfect Evenness in the Fingers. For studying the 20 exercises, begin with the metronome set at 60, gradually increasing the speed up to 108.

From Wikipedia:

The exercises are intended to address common problems which could hamper the performance abilities of a student. These include "crossing of the thumb", strengthening of the fourth and fifth fingers, and quadruple- and triple-trills.

The exercises are meant to be individually mastered and then played consecutively in the sections they are placed in.

Apart from increasing technical abilities of the student, when played in groups at higher speeds, the exercises will also help to increase endurance. The exercises are divided in three parts:

  1. Exercises 1 - 20: Labeled "preparatory exercises", these are also the most famous exercises, and are used to develop finger strength and independence. Each exercise contains a sequence of 8 semiquavers, beginning on C, which is then repeated starting on D, and so on across two octaves. The exercise is then repeated in reverse down two octaves to the starting C. The exercises are intended to be practiced in groups of three, except for the first two which are practiced together.
  2. Exercises 21 - 43: Labeled "further exercises for the development of a virtuoso technique." This more difficult section is meant to be played after the pianist has fully mastered Part 1. Part 2 includes scales and arpeggios.
  3. Exercises 44 - 60: Labeled "virtuoso exercises for mastering the greatest technical difficulties." Since this section is considerably more difficult, Hanon recommends the mastery of both previous parts before proceeding to this one. This part includes repeated notes,, and more.

After all three parts are mastered, Hanon recommends all exercises be played through daily to retain technique.

The O'Connor Music Studio has several editions of this work.