Pianist-Born with One-Hand Wows Audiences, Silences Critics

Pianist Nicholas McCarthy has released his own album, plays flawless Liszt, and is about to embark on an international career.

Not bad for a pianist who was initially refused admission to music school because he was born without a right hand.

McCarthy is a member of paraorchestra, Britain’s first orchestra made up of disabled musicians.  As you can imagine, he is hoping for a record deal, wants to play a Carnegie Hall recital,  and hopes others will be inspired by his story.

Read One-Handed Pianist Overcomes Critics, Plays on International Stage (NY Times)

Pianists Make Big Splashes with Bold Approaches

Generally speaking, musicians of past generations would spend much of their career digging into the repertoire before approaching something as monumental as, say, recording the 32 Beethoven Piano Sonatas.  Rudolf Serkin was 67 years of age before he attempted a performance of all 32 over  the course of eight recitals.

Needless to say, today’s crop of pianists are not inclined to wait as long as their mentors to attempt grandiose musical undertakings.

What Serkin did at 67, Korean pianist H J Lim did in 2010 at the ripe old age of 25, then released the sonatas as her recording debut.

In a recent New York Times interview, Ms. Lim said, “As far as I know, no composer wrote on their score, ‘Forbidden to those under age 18.’ ”

Read Making Bold First Impressions at the Piano (NY Times)

Watch H J Lim play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata

America’s Only Full-Time Chamber Orchestra Asks Musicians for Huge Pay Cuts

The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra travels the world, playing to packed houses and universal acclaim.  Now the SPCO management and board are asking musicians to take a pay cut of 57-67% and suggesting a drastic reduction in the number of performances featuring the full ensemble.

Read Fearing for ‘Our Orchestra’ as We Know It( TwinCities.com)

Watch Backstage with the SPCO