Steinway Announces New Art Case Grand Piano


Steinway Announces New Art Case Grand PianoSteinway & Sons yesterday unveiled one of the most ambitious and finely crafted art case grand pianos ever created: the stunning “Pictures at an Exhibition” Model D concert grand by Steinway Artist Paul Wyse. Through sound and pictures, Wyse took visitors to the unveiling on a multi-dimensional journey into Modest Mussorgsky’s intricate piano suite “Pictures at an Exhibition.” A concert pianist who has performed all over the world, Wyse is the first master artist in history to design, paint, and play a Steinway art case piano. This one-of-a-kind piano is available for $2.5 million.

More than four years in the making, “Pictures at an Exhibition” is the first Steinway & Sons piano inspired by a musical composition. The painted case and lid feature immortal images and personalities from Russian musical history and folklore, culminating in grand manner oil paintings adorning both sides of the massive lid. The unique and imaginative piano legs are finely crafted in the form of Baba Yaga’s hut and balance on richly cast bronze hen’s legs. Twenty-four-carat gold leaf highlights are expertly worked into the intricately detailed paintings, and the gold-plated music desk and pedals frame original rose wood keys. All this remarkable visual artwork unfolds on a majestic nine-foot Steinway Model D grand piano-itself built to exacting musical specifications and to the time-honored standards for which Steinway & Sons has been known since 1853.

“The piano has a life of its own,” said Wyse. “I wanted to use the Steinway piano to tell a story, not just of Mussorgsky’s piano suite, but of everything surrounding it…. For me it’s about capturing the mystery of the Russian soul, and all its facets; fairy tale, legend, history, and fascinating politics all come together in a dramatic and surprising way.”

“Watching the development of this piano as it has come to completion has been nothing short of extraordinary,” said Ron Losby, CEO of Steinway Musical Instruments. “It is difficult to express the experience of not just seeing the visual art on the piano, but of hearing the unmistakable sound of a Steinway Model D emanate from it. When I see the result of Paul’s work combined with the impeccable work of our Steinway craftspeople…I’m very proud of what they have created.”

Paul Wyse is a globally-renowned artist and pianist. With major portraits in the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute, the Steinway Hall historic portrait collection, and the House of Commons of Canada, he is one of North America’s finest portrait painters. He holds degrees in Piano Performance from The Peabody Institute and the New England Conservatory, and has performed with leading artists around the globe. Learn more at

For more information on the “Pictures at an Exhibition” Steinway & Sons Art Case piano, visit


We just saw this wonderful video on WRTI’s Facebook page. On this day in 1958, the pianist Van Cliburn achieved worldwide fame when he became the first American to win the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow. He was 23. Here he is in 1962..

Thank you WRTI for posting this video for us to find!


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Since 1990, scholarships won through this prestigious competition have benefited over 300 promising young piano students. The Society awards both competitive scholarships and developmental awards. The Competitive Scholarships Award Program is open to Piano students who demonstrate outstanding pianistic talent and progress while pursuing excellence in performance.

The students performed for an esteemed panel of Judges made up of Dr. Crystl Baltazar, Dr. Clipper Erickson, and Dr. Rebecca Pennington, all acclaimed pianists and educators.

A Scholarship Winners Musicale will take place on April 30, 2017, at 3:00 PM at Jacobs Music, 2540 Brunswick Pike, Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

Judges, Dr. Crystl Baltazar, Dr. Clipper Erickson, and Dr. Rebecca Pennington
Judges, Dr. Crystl Baltazar, Dr. Clipper Erickson, and Dr. Rebecca Pennington

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Music and Young Minds


Jacobs Music was pleased to offer two wonderful Master Classes with internationally renowned Steinway Artists last month.

The first class took place at Cairn University with Susan Starr. The second class was taught by Richard Goode with student performers from the Curtis Institute of Music and was presented in partnership with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society at our Jacobs Music Company Philadelphia Steinway Selection Center.

What tremendous talent was displayed! It was also inspiring to observe these master teachers work with the students and hear the impact their wisdom and words had on the young pianists’ musical interpretations.



“Arts education can have a profound effect on the academic careers of our students,” said Philadelphia’s Mayor Jim Kenney, who was on hand to celebrate the opening of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation’s Keys of Inspiration Piano Lab at the Southwark School!

LLIMF opened a second Piano Lab at Philadelphia’s Edward T. Steel School. The foundation expressed “special thanks to Roland for furnishing the labs with their state-of-the-art keyboards, to Steinway & Sons and Jacobs Music Company Philadelphia Steinway Selection Center for arranging the delivery of two beautiful pianos for yesterday’s recitals, and to the School District of Philadelphia for being so supportive!”




On Saturday, March 18th, Jacobs Music of Ephrata was pleased to host a WORSHIP MUSICIANS WORKSHOP: BRINGING HYMNS TO LIFE WITH CONTEMPORARY STYLE.

Clinician, MATT HYZER, explored how hymns and worship songs can be greatly enhanced through improvisation, modulation, chord substitutions, introductions, and endings. Other topics included creative solo arrangements, hymn accompanying, and playing from lead sheets to make worship songs come to life.

As a freelance writer/arranger, Mr. Hyzer has contributed to the catalogs of Alfred Publishing, The Lorenz Company, Mercer University Press, Shawnee Press, and Word Music, where three of his arrangements were included in the collection Piano Praise & Worship.

We are pleased to share this article from the Morning Call

 Steve SiegelSpecial to The Morning Call 

Classical: Pianist Robert Taub in Bethlehem: Expressionism in art, music

In the arts, whether music, painting or literature, sometimes there is an inevitable turning point from which return is impossible. Such was the case with painting in the early 1900s, when a shift from strict representation to abstract forms set the art world on its ear.

Abstract art was born, soon to be followed by Expressionism, with such early movers as Kandinsky, Mondrian and Schiele. The same is true in music. There’s a strong link between Expressionism in painting and in music, and that’s the theme behind two programs featuring renowned pianist Robert Taub on Thursday. They will be in Peter Hall at Bethlehem’s Moravian College.

At 11:45 a.m., Taub will present a free lecture and slide presentation, and discuss the works of Expressionist composers and visual artists.

In the evening program, “Raising the Bar,” Taub will perform masterpieces by Beethoven, Brahms, Scriabin, Schoenberg and Babbitt. The concert is part of the Betty Aierstock Moore Memorial Concert series, which pays tribute to the late Moravian alumna whose gift helped make Moravian an All-Steinway school.

Taub, a Steinway Artist and Princeton pianist, specializes in the music of Beethoven and 20th century composers. He’s performed as guest soloist with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors, and presented solo concerts in the Great Performers Series at New York’s Lincoln Center, and many other major series and festivals.

Taub’s recordings of the complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas have been praised for their insight, freshness and emotional involvement. Taub also is a champion of new music. He premiered piano concertos by Milton Babbitt and Mel Powell, and made the first recordings of the Persichetti Piano Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

“What unites the afternoon lecture and the evening concert is the idea of pushing the boundaries,” says Larry Lipkis, professor of music and composer-in-residence at Moravian. “The pieces Taub will perform are works where composers have gone farther than they ever had before, and could never go back to where they had been.”

Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 53,”Waldheim,” is a perfect example. The piece, which musicologists often label as the beginning of Beethoven’s “heroic” period, has “expressive qualities that push to new heights the limits of what could be demanded from the piano. It was with this piece that Beethoven entered into heretofore uncharted compositional musical territory,” Taub says in his program notes.

Scriabin’s break from tonality, though a gradual one, was a turning point for the composer. The transition to his novel harmonic language was a gradual one, and led to the use of his “mystic chord” for the first time in his C Major Sonata, Op. 53. Also called the “Prometheus chord,” it is a complex, six-note collection made up of the notes C, F-sharp, B-flat, E, A and D.

Of course, Beethoven and Brahms no longer shock modern audiences, as they did in their own time. But Schoenberg and Babbitt are still as challenging for many as Kandinsky’s paintings.

Of Babbitt’s piano works, Taub writes, “It is dazzling, highly imaginative pianism — enormous registral leaps, juxtaposition of dynamic extremes, highly complicated rhythms and innovative pedal techniques.” Taub will perform Babbitt’s “Reflections for Piano and Synthesized Tape” of 1974.

Schoenberg was a composer and a painter, whose early works in each medium revel in Classical and Expressionist styles. “He forged his own, unprecedented musical path when he merged melody and harmony in an effort to clarify ambiguous harmonic contexts of late Romanticism,” Taub writes. The Klavierstuck, Op. 33, composed in 1929, is an example of Schoenberg’s monumental technique in employing musical motives without references to tonal keys and their assumed hierarchy.

Pianist Robert Taub, 11:45 a.m. lecture, 7:30 p.m. concert Thursday, Peter Hall, Moravian College, Main and Church streets, Bethlehem. Admission: $15, general admission; $10, seniors and students. 610-861-1650,

Satori trios program

Although there are four musicians involved and four works on the program that the chamber ensemble Satori will present on Saturday, three is the magic number of the evening. That’s because the pieces to be performed — by Haydn, Ibert, Von Weber and Shostakovich — are all trios.

The concert is at Hope United Church of Christ in Salisbury Township.

The program features Haydn’s Divertissement No. 6, Op. 100 for flute, violin and cello; Carl Maria von Weber’s Trio in G Minor, Op. 63, for piano, flute and cello; Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 67, and Jacques Ibert’s “Aria” for flute, violin and piano.

A trio version of Ibert’s “Aria” might be the rare bird on the program. Written in 1930 as a vocalise (song without words) for voice and piano, the vocal version is seldom heard in concert. Yet its vocal range and style lends itself well to instruments, and several arrangements and transcriptions were produced by the composer and many others. Of these, the most popular remain the arrangements for flute and piano, and for alto saxophone and piano.

The other three works were scored as trios from their inception. Von Weber’s trio shows off the mellow tones of the clarinet in his elegant, cultivated writing. Haydn’s Divertissement is an enjoyable example of the everyday sort of chamber music he produced in such profusion. Shostakovich’s Piano Trio, written in 1944, is a lamentation for both the composer’s close friend, musicologist Ivan Sollertinsky and the victims of the Holocaust. It is his first work to employ a “Jewish theme” — a musical tribute that uses the scales and rhythms of Jewish folk music as Shostakovich knew it.

Performing are Nora Suggs, flute; Rebecca Brown, violin; David Moulton, cello; and Martha Schrempel, piano.

Satori, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Hope UCC, 1031 Flexer Ave., Salisbury Township. Tickets: $15; $5 under 12. 610-435-6036,

Eugene Albulescu piano recital

On Sunday, the L’Archet Concert Group, headquartered at East Stroudsburg University, will feature the second in a series of three piano recitals by Eugene Albulescu, Lehigh University professor of music and director of the Lehigh University Philharmonic.

Entitled “The Romantic Piano,” the series featuring some of the Romantic era’s greatest masterpieces will be performed by a pianist celebrated for his power, intelligence and blazing virtuosity. The program features “Four Pieces for Piano” (“Klavierstucke”), Op. 119 by Brahms, the F Major Piano Sonata by Sibelius, and works by Franck and Scriabin.

Albulescu is a Steinway Artist, a distinction that brings with it a number of perks. Most exciting for audiences is the fact that Jacobs Music will bring a Steinway 9-foot concert grand to each of the performances.

The series concludes May 14, with Schumann’s “Carnaval” and Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.”

Eugene Albulescu Piano Recital, 2 p.m. Sunday, Cohen Hall, East Stroudsburg University, 200 Prospect St. Tickets: $25; $20, seniors; $15, students. 917-716-9245,

Allentown Band

The Allentown Band strikes up its season Sunday at Christ Church United Church of Christ in Bethlehem. The program, part of the church’s concert series, features soloists Gregory Seifert, trumpet, and Chet Brown, vocals.

Seifert will solo in an arrangement of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Music of the Night” from “Phantom of the Opera.” Brown, a faculty member of Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts and a frequent soloist in area ensembles, will sing the Cole Porter favorite “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and Lee Greenwood’s patriotic “God Bless the USA.”

Also on the program are popular pieces by Rossini, Wagner, Ponchielli and Brahms, including the latter’s Hungarian Dances Nos. 5, 6 and 17.

Allentown Band, 3 p.m. Sunday, Christ Church UCC, 75 E. Market St., Bethlehem. Free. 610-865-6565,

Steve Siegel is a freelance writer.


Copyright © 2017, The Morning Call

3 Reasons Why Brain Research Should Guide Arts Scheduling in Schools

MARCH IS MUSIC IN OUR SCHOOLS MONTH!Music In our Schools Month® (MIOSM®) was designed to raise awareness of the importance of music education for all children, and to remind citizens that school is where all children should have access to music. During MIOSM, music educators and students throughout the United States and overseas are demonstrating the powerful role a quality music program plays in the lives of young people.We are pleased to share this article by National Association for Music Education member, Tony Mazzocchi.

3 Reasons Why Brain Research Should Guide Arts Scheduling in Schools

By NAfME member Tony Mazzocchi

Article originally posted on The Music Parents’ Guide


There have been more studies of the brain completed in the past twenty years than perhaps the past 200 years combined.  We all have more access to knowledge about how humans learn that we have ever had before.  These brain studies have shown us many things, including how children learn in different ways, how learning changes physical brain structure, and that “talent” as we know it is generally learned and developed — not inborn and inherent.

Yet our public school schedules and offerings have remain unchanged, for the most part, for decades.

As far as school subject offerings are concerned, an abundance of research continues to show that arts education has a profound effect on a child’s life, both within and beyond school walls.  But here is the rub: Some of the most crucial life skills that studying music imparts on a child is not quantified and reflected on the current iteration of local and state report cards — therefore, science has been all but ignored by legislators and administrators.

Regardless of the many reasons to study art for arts’ sake, brain research (and the subsequent data from it) should be more than enough to ensure that the arts are not only offered in their unfettered forms, but are infused into every nook and cranny of school curricula.

Here are three vital human characteristics that research of the brain has shown music provides all students in their school day:

A strong sense of empathy.  A quick glance at the news will show you all the reasons why it’s imperative our children develop their capacity for empathy; they must develop empathy if they are to thrive in family life, at school, and later, in the workforce.  We know now that great leaders have a high level of emotional intelligence, which is built upon a strong sense of empathy.  Attaching emotion to words and music and picking up nuances of speech and sound is a key element of empathy and emotional intelligence. Students in a musical ensemble collaborate in unique and profound ways, and connect with each other on an emotional level. Where else does a child have a chance to develop this sense in school?

Health, discipline, and grit.  Besides attaining proficiency in reading, writing, and math, education systems should exist to develop far more than that in our children, yet we have dropped our compass during our current obsession with accountability only through metrics (grades).  The more our Boards of Education and administrators lose their way in this regard, the more our communities must remind the system of what is truly important for human development. Research is proving  that studying music brings children life-long health benefits, specifically in regards to cognitive function.  Even though I believe we are stunting our children’s growth by insisting they sit and “pay attention” for longer periods of time than is healthy, we know that children learn to sustain their attention for longer periods through music study.

In our instant-gratification world, developing discipline and patience is more important than ever before.  Developing discipline through arts engagement is more fun and rewarding over time than other academic endeavors.  Although all subjects are important, the idea of “cross-training” the brain to develop various habits of mind should be a crucial charge of public education, in my opinion.  Scientific study is supporting what music educators have known all along:  learning a discipline and developing skills over time enhances children’s brains.


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We need to teach our children that working harder and smarter is something they can control — and music consistently gives them rewarding feedback through sound as to how they are doing.  While education reform will hopefully catch up with the old yet often-neglected idea of cultivating grit, music education has been providing children the opportunity to develop it for ages — and every school in our nation must embrace music education in its curricula for music’s beauty and its benefits in this regard.

Closing the Achievement Gap.  The more neuroscientists continue to conclude that learning music has a unique role in brain development, the more schools must experiment with their schedules at the Pre K-5 level to incorporate it daily — not only once a week.  Instead of mandating two-hour “blocks” of math and English Language Arts for struggling students, schools could utilize daily music instruction to improve cognitive function and track the resulting data over the course of four to five years.  We have tried it the “other” way — when will we choose a different route to brain development that is rich in the arts?

The beauty and power of music instruction for all students at the Pre K-12 level is proving to be more real every day.  This is not made up lip service — it has been, and continues to be, proven by brain research.  Just because administrators and school leaders may not have grown up enjoying all the arts had to offer does not mean it will not deeply benefit our current generation and should therefore be ignored.

It’s time for our schools to embrace neuroscience and music education in order for our children to grow up to become beautiful humans with better functioning brains.


About the author:

Tony Mazzocchi

GRAMMY® nominated music educator, NAfME member Anthony Mazzocchi has performed as a trombonist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New Jersey Symphony, San Diego Symphony, San Diego Opera, Riverside Symphony, Key West Symphony, in various Broadway shows and numerous recordings and movie soundtracks.

Tony has served as faculty or as a frequent guest lecturer at The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, New York University, and Mannes College of Music. He has taught students from K-college, and has served as a district Director of Fine and Performing Arts in the South Orange/Maplewood School District.  Tony has been a consultant for arts organizations throughout the NY/NJ area.

Tony blogs about how to be a successful music parent at The Music Parent’s Guide, and the book by the same name can be bought here. He has written a method book for music teachers called The Band Director’s Method Book Companion.

Tony is currently Associate Director of the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University in New Jersey.  He is also Executive Director of the Kinhaven Summer Music School in Weston, Vermont. Tony is a clinician for Courtois – Paris.