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Owners’ Magazine

Issue Two 2010


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Owners’ Magazine Published by Faircount Media Group European Headquarters 5 Ella Mews, Hampstead, London NW3 2NH, UK tel: +44 (0)20 7428 7000 fax: +44 (0)20 7117 3338 email: publisher@faircount.co.uk North American Headquarters 701 North West Shore Blvd, Tampa, Florida 33609, USA tel: +1 (813) 639 1900 fax: +1 (813) 639 4344 email: publisher@faircount.com Asia-Pacific Headquarters Level 15, Tower 2, 101 Grafton Street, Sydney, NSW 2022, Australia tel: +61 (0)2 8063 4800 fax: +61 (0)2 8580 5047 email: publisher@faircount.com.au

Publishers Peter M Antell, Ross W Jobson

Associate Publisher David Woods

Consultant Editors Anthony Gilroy Sabine Höpermann

Design & Production Controller Sandip Patel

Editor Tim Glynne-Jones Chief Writer Inge Kjemtrup Subeditor Francesca Twinn Contributors Nik Berg, Maria Doulton, Mike Kiely, Chris Maillard, Peter McCombie, Linda Parker, Simon Rogerson, Linda Smalley, Caroline Stoessinger, Terry Wilson

Art Director Jim Lockwood Picture Editor Emma Smales Production Coordinator Colin Davidson Production Administrator Margaret Dube Photography As credited

General Manager Lawrence Rosenberg Commercial Director Richard Baker Marketing Manager Bejul Shah Marketing Executives Dara Clancy Robert Parker Nicholas Reid Office Manager Priscilla Johns Printed in the USA

Unless otherwise credited, photography provided courtesy of Steinway & Sons archive. ©Copyright 2010 Faircount Media Group. All rights reserved. Reproduction of editorial content in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Faircount Media Group does not assume responsibility for the advertisements, nor any representation made therein, nor the quality or deliverability of the products themselves. Reproduction of articles and photographs, in whole or in part, contained herein is prohibited without express written consent of the publisher, with the exception of reprinting for news media use.

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Contents 7 Publisher’s foreword The Music 10 Steinway news New launches include an exciting partnership with BMW and Steinway’s own record label

16 Music saved my life The extraordinary story of pianist Alice Herz-Sommer, still going strong at the age of 107

22 Helping tomorrow’s stars today The new Steinway programme that gives young pianists a helping hand before they make it big

30 Chopin springs a surprise Intriguing results from the Chopin and Gina Bachauer international competitions, plus a report from the International Steinway Festival in Hamburg

34 Steinway’s model of co-operation How the Steinway Prizewinners Concerts Network is bringing competitions, pianists and concert halls together for mutual benefit and ‘invisible values’

36 Pictures at an exhibition A guided tour of the new Musical Instrument Museum in Arizona, which features exhibits from every country on earth

42 All-Steinway Schools A first sight of some of the exciting new buildings that have been recently opened, or are due to open shortly, at major music schools around the United States

48 Not the only one… But one of the few – introducing the new Imagine Series Limited Edition, created as a tribute to John Lennon

50 The Spirit of the age Steinway’s new Art Deco piano cuts a dash in the night clubs and jazz joints, twenties style

52 Steinway personalities Nicolas Hodges Evgeni Koroliov Barry Douglas Leslie Howard Alicia de Larrocha

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The Good Life 62 Calm sea A guide to three of the world’s best diving destinations

70 The state of the art Always looking to push the boundaries, the engineers and artisans of high end hi-fi home in on audio perfection

78 How does it feel? Does a dress coated in diamonds diminish the couturier’s art? We study the secret to feeling a million dollars

84 You wear it well To go with the million dollar dress, we pick out the jewellery and accessories to match

88 What a year! Everyone’s talking about 2009 Bordeaux, but how did the harvest shape up in the world’s other top wine regions?

92 Going loco A train journey taking in Vienna, Belgrade and Istanbul is a fine way to get close to the excellence and eccentricities that make Europe such a potent cultural melting pot

100 Creativity begins at home Add a touch of individuality to your chic interior design scheme with one of the latest examples of funky furniture

106 Gifts of distinction Desirable objects for someone you love… or just for you


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Owners’ Magazine

Publisher’s foreword There has been a buzz of excitement at Steinway & Sons lately, not least in Hamburg, where a new partnership with motor manufacturing giant BMW was announced on 11th November. This collaboration between two such renowned brands promises to offer tremendous opportunities for young pianists around the world, something Steinway & Sons has made a priority for the last seventy-five years. In this edition, you can read about two new initiatives aimed at encouraging young talent, the Young Steinway Artists programme and the Steinway Prizewinners Concerts Network. The launch of the BMW partnership, which you can read about in News, included a tour of the Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg’s old dockland area, which is shaping up to be one of the world’s most impressive music venues. Similarly impressive are the new music buildings that have opened, or are soon to open, at a number of All-Steinway Schools in America, including the Juilliard School in New York, which is looking resplendent as part of the redeveloped Lincoln Center. You can see and read about these exciting new architectural achievements, again with their focus on developing young talent. If any of the students who benefit from these facilities lives to emulate Alice Herz-Sommer, they will have done very well indeed. Recently having turned 107, Herz-Sommer talks to Steinway & Sons Owners Magazine about her extraordinary life and the secret of her longevity. Other significant anniversaries this year have included Chopin’s bicentenary and what would have been the 70th birthday of John Lennon. The former is commemorated in the International Frydryk Chopin Piano Competition, from which we report on page 30, while Steinway has paid tribute to the latter with a limited edition piano, featured on page 48. Great musicians and great lives are the essence of this magazine, and we have the usual profiles of five Steinway Artists, as well as a range of features to enhance your lifestyle at home and on your travels. We hope you enjoy this edition of Steinway & Sons Owners’ Magazine.

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NEWS

Steinway joins forces with car giant BMW German motoring brand to support Steinway’s ongoing drive to discover and nurture young pianists around the world On 11th November, Steinway & Sons announced an exciting new partnership with one of the world’s most iconic brands, BMW. Starting in 2011, the Munich based company will support Steinway’s international talent programme, with the aim of helping to expand it into Japan and South-East Asia. Speaking at the launch at Steinway’s Hamburg factory, director of sales and marketing Werner Husmann said, “Our competitions give young talents their first chance not only to compete with one another, but also to play in front of a large audience. We very much appreciate BMW’s help in supporting these talents.” Seventy-five years ago Steinway held its first piano competition, and over the years since then

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Above: Werner Husmann, Steinway Hamburg’s director of sales and marketing (left) and BMW chief designer Adrian van Hooydonk with the new car Below: Russia’s Anna Vinnitskaya performing at the launch event

Steinway dealers have organised competitions in various countries around the world for pianists up to the age of 16. Every two years the winners come to Hamburg to perform at the International Steinway Festival (see page 33). This isn’t the first time Steinway has teamed up with BMW in the name of culture. “Twentyfive years ago we had a co-operation with BMW in Tokyo, setting up concerts in Japan,” said Husmann. “And later we did a similar thing in Hamburg. It was always very successful, so when BMW asked us this time, of course we said yes.” BMW’s commitment to culture goes back four decades and focuses on three areas: architecture and design, classical music and jazz, and contemporary and modern art. It was the first main sponsor for the spectacular Elbphilharmonie concert hall, in Hamburg’s old harbour, and will continue to support creative projects when the hall opens, some time in the next two years. “Our golden rule is: never meddle with the content,” said Thomas Girst, head of cultural communications for BMW Group. And Dr Uwe Ellinghaus, director BMW brand steering and BMW brand management, added, “We very much look forward to our partnership with Steinway & Sons; like BMW, a premium brand with the highest quality standards and a passion for detail. “The BMW Group considers that promoting young talent in this way is a perfect adjunct to its commitment to culture.”


NEWS

BMW unveils limited edition inspired by Steinway To mark the launch of this prestigious new partnership, BMW has produced a special limited edition of its ActiveHybrid 7 Series car, the BMW Individual 7 Series Composition. This luxurious motor car was designed by BMW’s Individual department, the special team responsible for creating bespoke cars for individual customers, headed by Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice president BMW Group design. The emphasis is on craftsmanship and attention to detail, a theme inspired by a tour of the Steinway piano factory in Hamburg. Van Hooydonk described it as “the shiniest car we’ve ever produced”, a feat achieved by following the Steinway method of applying several layers of lacquer and smoothing each layer by hand. Another interesting detail is the piano string inlaid in the wood of the dashboard. The Steinway lyre motif appears on the doorsills, dashboard and rear sun screen, as well

Top: the BMW Individual 7 Series Composition, which was inspired by a tour of the Steinway factory in Hamburg Above: the car reflected in the deep shine of a Steinway piano

as on the headrests and cushions, which create a level of comfort second to none. “This is a car that we expect people to spend some time in,” said van Hooydonk, drawing attention to the sumptuous lambswool carpets. “There’s nothing like it in the car industry,” he said. The car was unveiled at the partnership launch event at Steinway & Sons’ Hamburg factory, where guests were treated to recitals from Anna Vinnitskaya, Antong Zou and Sebastian Knauer. Two versions, one black with white upholstery, the other white with black upholstery, rolled in amid smoke and lights and the fanfare from Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss. Van Hooydonk summed up the occasion, saying, “I’m extremely happy and proud to be here in Hamburg, in these halls where Steinway does its magic. It’s a tall order to match that, but we’ve done our best and it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with the people at Steinway.”

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NEWS

Steinway & Sons launches own label

The Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing celebrated its partnership with Steinway & Sons in June when this beautiful garden was dedicated in honour of the conservatory’s 70th anniversary. The European style garden honours the study of music and takes the shape of a treble clef. It features a sculpture made from the cast iron plate of a Steinway Model D concert grand piano

October saw the launch of the new Steinway & Sons record label, with its first release, Bach On A Steinway, featuring virtuoso pianist Jeffrey Biegel, debuting at No.3 on the Billboard Traditional Classical Album Chart. “This auspicious and superbly engineered debut bodes well for the success of this new label,” Jed Distler of ClassicsToday.com wrote of the album, produced by fifteen time Grammy® winner Steven Epstein. The label will be used to showcase stars from Steinway’s Concert & Artist programme performing on exceptional Steinway grand pianos. The plan is for

four releases per year, each of which will feature a repertoire with broad appeal. “The opportunity to bring the talents of Steinway Artists to the public through new recordings, impeccably produced and engineered, has always been an exciting concept for us,” said Ron Losby, president, Steinway & Sons – Americas. “We are thrilled with the early success of this new venture.” Recordings on the label are produced by ArkivMusic LLC, a subsidiary of Steinway Musical Instruments Inc. Wholesale distribution will be handled by Naxos, the leading independent distributor of classical music in the USA.

Let the Lisztomania commence The pianist-composer Franz Liszt set the musical world on fire, and in 2011, the 200th anniversary of his birth, he will doubtless inspire more pyrotechnics. Liszt wrote some one thousand works for piano, voice, orchestra and chamber ensemble, and his two always popular piano concertos will get several outings next year. In London, the First is played on the Southbank by Stephen Hough (16 Jan) and Daniel Barenboim (13 Jun, who also plays the Second); the Second by Alexander Markovich (26 Jan), Marc-André Hamelin (10 Mar) and Barry Douglas (6 Jan, at the Barbican). Notable Southbank recitals come from Nikolai Lugansky (11 Jan, selections from Années de Pèlerinage), Sergio Tiempo (15 Mar) and Maurizio Pollini (25 May). Evgeny Kissin also focuses on Liszt in his recitals this season (Barbican, 13 Feb; Carnegie Hall, 9 Mar). The bicentenary sees several all Liszt festivals and events, such as Austria’s year long Liszt Festival Raiding, set in his birthplace, with stars such as Elisabeth Leonskaja (28 Jan), Ivo Pogorelich (17 Mar) and Leslie Howard (18 Jun). Other celebrations include Bayreuth (various dates), Thuringia (18 Jun-9 Jul) and the Bicentennial Festival presented by the American Liszt Society at the University of Georgia (17-19 Feb).

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Above: renowned Georgian pianist and teacher Elisabeth Leonskaja is among the stars featuring at the biggest Liszt event of the first part of the bicentenary year, held at Austria’s Liszt Festival Raiding


NEWS

Obituary: Yvonne Loriod

Above: French pianist Yvonne Loriod, wife of composer Olivier Messiaen and one of his leading interpreters

The French pianist and Steinway Artist Yvonne Loriod died on 17th May 2010 at Saint-Denis, near Paris, at the age of 86. Loriod was best known as the leading interpreter of the music of her husband Olivier Messiaen, but other composers, such as Pierre Boulez, also called upon her formidable pianistic skills. Loriod was six years old when she began piano lessons with her godmother, Madame Eminger-Sivade, evidently a superb teacher, as by the age of 14 her brilliant pupil had mastered the Mozart concertos, the Beethoven sonatas and Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, among other works. At the Paris Conservatoire, where she won several prizes, her teachers included Lazare Lévy, Marcel Ciampi, Darius Milhaud and a harmony teacher named Olivier Messiaen, who had recently been released from a prisoner of war camp in Silesia. Loriod later recalled the impression Messaien had made on her in 1941. “At the first class the pupils were absolutely astonished, because here was a man who was quite young and whose fingers were

swollen on account of the privations which he had suffered during his time in captivity… and there he was, playing the piano with such beautiful sound in spite of the deformity of his hands.” Messiaen soon recognised the musical gifts of the 17-year-old Loriod and wrote several works for her, among them the two-piano Visions de l’Amen (1943), Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus (1944) and Trois Petites Liturgies de la Présence Divine (1944). Admiration developed into love, but the devoutly Catholic couple did not marry until the death of Messiaen’s first wife in 1961. Loriod became Messiaen’s editor and collaborator, even mastering the ondes Martenot, a strange early electronic keyboard instrument that plays such an evocative role in Messiaen’s ornithological musical universe. Messiaen once said of Yvonne Loriod that she was “unique, sublime and a brilliant pianist, whose existence transformed not only the composer’s way of writing for the piano, but his style, vision of the world and modes of thought.”

Photography: Corbis; BBC / Huw John

Pianist wins BBC competition Sixteen-year-old Lara Melda (née Ömeroğlu) triumphed at this year’s BBC Young Musician of the Year, becoming the first pianist since Freddy Kempf in 1992 to win the multi-instrumental competition for British musicians under the age of 18. She received a £2,000 cash prize. Born in London, Melda, who studies with Emily Jeffrey at the prestigious Purcell School on a full scholarship, is also a violist and a competitive swimmer. She played the Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No.2 in the biennial competition’s final, held at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, on 16th May 2010. Melda’s recital programme included Beethoven’s Sonata Op.22, a Chopin étude and Ginastera’s Suite de Danzas Criollas. “She seems to have every quality one hopes for in a young performer, or indeed, in a performer of any age: intellectual strength, insight, stamina, naturalness, grace and humour,” blogged concert

Below: Lara Melda becomes the first pianist since 1992 to win the BBC Young Musician of the Year

pianist Susan Tomes about the prizewinner. The Walter Todds Bursary, given to a competitor who did not reach the finals but showed great promise, was awarded to another pianist, 13-year-old Yuanfan Yang, whose programme included Schumann’s Abegg Variations and his own arrangement of Scarborough Fair.

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NEWS

Steinway film wins prestigious award Pianomania, the documentary film about a Steinway & Sons piano technician and his concert pianist clients, won a Golden Gate Award at this year’s San Francisco International Film Festival. The award, for best Documentary Feature, was presented at a ceremony on 5th May 2010. Pianomania follows Stefan Knüpfer, Steinway’s master tuner in Vienna, as he prepares pianos for such stars as Alfred Brendel and Lang Lang. However, behind Knüpfer’s easygoing and humorous personality lies a perfectionist. His obsessive tendencies are tested as he tries to satisfy the equally driven Pierre-Laurent Aimard, who is preparing to record Bach’s The Art of Fugue and wants his Steinway to take on the colours of a clavichord, a harpsichord and an organ. The intensity of the working relationship between Knüpfer and Aimard is at the heart of this remarkable film. The film’s co-director Lilian Franck revealed that it took ten years to muster the support to get the film produced. “Commissioning editors kept saying, ‘You want to shoot ninety minutes of piano tuning? How boring!’” The festival jury disagreed. “On the surface Pianomania might appear to be about a very

Steinway master tuner Stefan Knüpfer gets to grips with the workings of one of his charges in the award winning Pianomania

specific and perhaps arcane subject: piano tuning. But because of its craft and character development it emerges as a film with a transcendent theme: the pursuit of excellence. The delightful subject of the film, Stefan Knüpfer, may be a piano tuner, but he is also a portal into the knotty human desire to untangle the ineffable.”

Steinway Artist Leon Fleisher (left) has brought out a personal account of his remarkable career, entitled My Nine Lives – A Memoir of Many Careers in Music. The title refers to Fleisher’s battle with focal dystonia, the neurological condition which threatened to end his career at the age of 36. Co-written with celebrated music critic Anne Midgette, My Nine Lives is published by Doubleday.

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Photography: Joanne Savio

Fleisher publishes life story


ImagIne A JOHN LENNON LIMITED EDITION PIANO FROM STEINWAY & SONS

On October 9, 2010, we commemorated the 70th birthday of a true creative genius—legendary musician and songwriter John Lennon. In honor of this anniversary, Steinway & Sons is proud to introduce the “Imagine” Series Limited Edition piano. Modeled after the white Steinway that John presented to Yoko Ono on her birthday in 1971, this piano incorporates John’s drawings, signature, music and lyrics. Each piano bears a medallion indicating its uniqueness. “Imagine” was composed on a Steinway piano, and today the connection lives on through a piano that is a tribute to the man, the music and the message. To find out more, visit www.steinway.com/imagine or call 1-800-STEINWAY (Americas), +49 (40) 85 39 10 (Worldwide).

S t E I n w a Y & S O n S • O n E S t E I n w a Y P L a c E • L O n g I S L a n d c I t Y, nY 1 1 1 0 5 a portion of the proceeds from every “Imagine” piano sold by Steinway & Sons will be donated to the John Lennon Educational tour Bus (www.lennonbus.org). © 2010 Steinway & Sons. Steinway and the Lyre are registered trademarks.


Profile

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Profile

Music saved my life When Alice Herz-Sommer says she owes her life to music, it is no idle clichĂŠ. Caroline Stoessinger tells the story of a pianist whose talent and devotion enabled her to survive the worst that humanity could throw at her

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Profile

Alice Herz-Sommer, who turned 107 on 26th November, is the world’s oldest professional pianist. She is also the world’s oldest Holocaust survivor. She lives alone in a tiny apartment in London, where her Steinway is the centrepiece of the home and her only valuable possession. She still practises Bach and Beethoven for more than two hours every day and frequently plays chamber music in the evenings with professionals. Although German was her first language, Alice is articulate in English, Czech, French and Hebrew. She laughs easily and becomes flirtatious around young men. She possesses a remarkable memory and is able to keep her schedule in her mind without a paper diary or the assistance of a secretary. She exercises every day by taking long walks and uses neither a walker nor a hearing aid. She studies history and philosophy at the University of the Third Age and talks with journalists, students, musicians and anyone who understands and loves music. Alice is an inspiring presence, her longevity and stamina made all the more remarkable when set against the context of a life in which she has been tested to the extreme. Reflecting on it all, she admits that it “seems like a miracle”. Alice Herz-Sommer was born in Czechoslovakia in 1903, the same year as George Orwell, Bruno Bettelheim, Benjamin Spock, Joseph Fassbender, Claudio Arrau and Aram Khachaturian. Both of her parents were highly educated and enlightened and could call well known artists and writers their friends: Kafka, Rilke, Mann and Zweig. Alice knew Franz Kafka well as he was a frequent guest at their table, and she attended his funeral with her family when she was 21. Her mother was a childhood friend of Gustav Mahler and had a profound love and deep knowledge of music. Alice was well on her way to a distinguished career as a concert pianist by the time World War II broke out. She had made numerous appearances as the featured piano soloist with the Czech Philharmonic and had completed a number of commercial recordings. The Nazi scourge would wrench her out of her happy, secure lifestyle but the foundations of courage, optimism and inner strength had already been laid. She had married Leopold Sommer, a violinist, in 1931 and the couple had a son, Rafael, aged two when war broke out across Europe. As Prague fell to the Nazis, Alice’s mother was one of the first to be deported to Terezin – renamed in German ‘Theresienstadt’ – where she was killed in 1942. Instinctively Alice understood that she would never again see her mother as she watched her trudge with her heavy rucksack towards the train.

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Top: a bill for one of Alice’s concerts, showing her maiden name in Czech Above: dedication and a love of music inherited from her mother took Alice to prominence as a concert pianist before the war

“Never,” Alice says, “will I ever forget that sight of my 70-year-old mother’s back with her head bent in despair. Once she stopped, this woman who never hurt anyone, looked back and smiled as best she could.” Alice, Leopold and Rafael (Raffi) would soon follow. Alice had opened the envelope: “You are summoned to report for transport to Theresienstadt.” How would she tell her fiveyear-old son, Raffi? Where would she practise? Defiantly that day Alice played as if she were preparing for Carnegie Hall. Without stopping to eat, she worked on Chopin Etudes for hours and hours until, exhausted, she lay on the sofa to plan her trip to the unknown. That evening, after Raffi was asleep, the Nazi family that lived in the apartment above knocked on her door. “We brought a cake for your journey.” Alice invited them in. “Would you please play something of Beethoven or Chopin for us?” Alice complied with a Chopin Nocturne. “Thank you, Mrs Sommer. We will miss your music. We have loved hearing you practise. You made life easier for us during these hard times. Please take care and come back safely.” The next morning Alice Herz-Sommer, a German speaking Czech Jew, and her family were forced into a train bound for Theresienstadt. The family unit was torn apart for good when Leopold was selected for transport to Auschwitz. Though he would survive Auschwitz, he would die in Dachau in 1944, before they could be reunited. With his parting words to Alice he probably saved her life. “Promise me,” he said, “that when


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Profile

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Top: happy times at the piano before the Nazi occupation Below: Alice with the writer Caroline Stoessinger and fellow Czech Terezin survivor, actress and author Zdenka Fantlová Below right: Alice at her Steinway piano with Caroline Stoessinger

A documentary about Alice Herz-Sommer’s life is in the making and scheduled for release some time in 2011.

Photographs: Polly Hancock

the Nazi guards offer, you will never volunteer for anything.” “Yes,” Alice whispered, “I promise.” After one last, powerful hug, she had to restrain Raffi as he tried to run after his father. The women who did volunteer to follow their husbands that day were never heard from again. “Evil has been around since prehistoric times. It exists everywhere in every human being. It is how you deal with it that matters,” says Alice, reflecting on the cruelty that was inflicted on her and her people. Of 156,000 Jews imprisoned in Terezin, only 17,500 would survive. Between 1942 and 1945 more than 15,000 Jewish children were rounded up and shipped to the camp. Only 93 lived until liberation by the Soviet Army on 8th May, 1945. Alice’s son Raffi was one of those children who survived, thanks to the resolute determination, optimism and resourcefulness of his mother. Alice played more than a hundred concerts for her fellow inmates in Terezin. Secretly she even managed to give piano lessons to her little boy and several other children. She devoted herself to the physical and emotional protection of her son. As an adult Raffi had few memories of Theresienstadt and said that his mother managed to protect him from the horrors through her lively imagination. He once wrote that his mother managed to create “a Garden of Eden for him in the midst of hell”. After liberation, Alice and Raffi returned to Prague. Finding strangers living in her apartment and no remnant of her past in the city, she made the decision to emigrate to Israel. There she built a new life and supported herself and her son by teaching piano at the Conservatory of the Jerusalem Academy of Music (later renamed the Rubin Academy). She found other Czech immigrants – friends and relatives – including Max Brod, who had been Kafka’s friend and biographer. The greats of Israel, Ben Gurion, Abba Eban and Teddy Kollek, visited Alice to hear her play.

Now 45 years old, Alice learned Hebrew. To protect her child, she never talked about her experiences in the camp. Although she continued to perform in Israel and later occasionally in Europe, Alice never revived her international career. The lost years in the concentration camp, combined with her need to earn money and to care for her son, consumed her time and energy. Raffi flourished and showed serious promise as a cellist. He won a scholarship to the Paris Conservatory and went on to become a successful cellist, settling in England, where he married and had two sons. Shortly before her 90th birthday, Alice decided to retire from teaching and to emigrate once more, this time to England to be near her only child. Shortly after she moved to London, Raffi died suddenly in Israel while he was on a concert tour with the Solomon Trio. Alice later said that the only time her son gave her pain was when he died. After Raffi’s death she began to study philosophy. Her indestructible spirit, curiosity and music keep Alice gloriously alive. “People who have music in their lives are the wealthiest on earth,” she says. “I am alone, but not lonely. Music fills my mind and my life. Music saved my life and music saves my life.”


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Young Steinway Artists

Helping tomorrow’s stars today Up and coming young pianists can now become part of the Steinway & Sons family, thanks to an encouraging new programme. Inge Kjemtrup explains how it works

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Photography: Sylvie-Ann Pare

Young Steinway Artists

From Martha Argerich to Krystian Zimerman, from Diana Krall to Billy Joel, the pianists on the Steinway Artists roster are at the top of the profession. Though wide ranging in their musical interests and specialities, as the artist profiles in this magazine demonstrate, they are united in their passion for the Steinway & Sons piano they perform on in venues all over the world. At home or in the studio, the instrument they play on is also a Steinway. For younger concert pianists, those who are just finishing their musical studies, entering competitions or making the first steps into a performing career, buying their own Steinway is a very big step. As much as they may dream of owning such an instrument, affording one may be beyond their means. And, unfortunately, if they don’t personally own a Steinway, no matter how brilliant their playing, how sensitive their interpretation or how many glittering prizes they’ve collected, they cannot be a Steinway Artist. “Young pianists would ask me at festivals, ‘Could I become a Steinway Artist?’ and then I’d tell them that one of the essentials is to own a Steinway,” recalls Gerrit Glaner, head of the Concerts and Artists Department at Steinway & Sons Hamburg. “A Steinway is expensive and not everyone is blessed with wealthy parents or inherited instruments. So the whole story was at an

Opposite: Young Steinway Artist Abigail Sin, who currently studies at London’s Guildhall School Above: 19-year-old Alvin Zhu is also feeling the benefit of his membership of the YSA

end before it even started.” Nurturing promising young talent has a long tradition at Steinway, so this state of affairs was far from ideal. Four years ago, however, Glaner began to consider a way to involve young pianists, some of whom may turn out to be tomorrow’s stars. “I started to think: we have a whole family of Steinway designed pianos, with brands such as Essex and Boston. Could a young pianist qualify by owning one of these?” Glaner discussed this possibility with colleagues in Hamburg and then around the world. “Colleagues at Steinway found the idea appealing: it makes it easier to approach young people. And as a Young Steinway Artist, you belong to the Steinway world, you’re part of the world of Rubinstein, Pollini, Argerich and Lang Lang.” In February 2009, the Young Steinway Artists (YSA) programme was launched. So far, some twenty-two pianists, all under the age of 35, have joined the YSA roster. I asked the young American pianist Alvin Zhu, who studies at the Juilliard School with Dr Yoheved Kaplinsky, what brought him to the YSA programme. “I decided to join because my favourite pianists – Horowitz, Askenazy, Arrau, Lang Lang, to name a few – were actually on the Steinway roster, so I thought, wouldn’t it be amazing if I could be where legends were?” Though he’s only 19, Zhu

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Young Steinway Artists

already has a string of competition prizes to his name, including first prize at the Aikens-Cadman Competition in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He attended the famous Aspen Music Festival in 2008 and has already acquired substantial performing experience with orchestras, including the McGill Symphony Orchestra in Montreal, with whom he played the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1. Besides the piano, which he began studying with his mother when he was four, Zhu also plays violin, viola, drums and guitar – and he sings, composes and conducts as well. His varied musical portfolio is not exactly surprising, given that he comes from an extraordinary musical family: both of his parents are professional musicians; his grandfather, Gongyi Zhu, was a famous pianist in China, the head of the piano department at the Beijing Conservatory of Music and a member of several competition juries, including the Van Cliburn and the Queen Elisabeth competitions. As Zhu told National Public Radio in the US, “Due to

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Below: Alvin Zhu makes the most of his YSA membership, with top class pianos always available

the Cultural Revolution, he was forced to lock up the piano and none of his four children could play the piano. When my parents came to America, they wanted to continue the legacy of my grandfather and what he had established in China.” A few years ago, Zhu went backstage at a concert in Pittsburgh to meet one of his idols, Lang Lang. Fittingly, says Zhu, “We became acquainted through my grandfather’s name.” Did his idol have any advice? “I’m supposed to show the audience that I enjoy the music, and I do, and show that I’m not just up here because I have to be.” (That last remark earned Zhu appreciative laughter and applause from the studio audience.) If rubbing shoulders with the likes of Lang Lang holds a special attraction for young pianists like Zhu, for others it is the instrument itself that holds the greatest appeal. Singapore born prodigy Abigail Sin is one of the lucky ones who does own a Steinway. She says, “I suppose I’ve wanted to be a Steinway Artist ever since I went to Hamburg to select my own piano when I was


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Young Steinway Artists

11 years old. Since then, I have enjoyed close relationships with both the local Steinway dealer in Singapore as well as the staff in Hamburg.” Sin recently graduated with first class honours from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore, and this autumn she began her studies at London’s Guildhall School with Joan Havill, whose students include Paul Lewis. In 2003 she was declared by Time magazine to be “Singapore’s most celebrated young pianist... a bona fide prodigy”. High praise indeed, but certainly not without merit. Like Zhu, the 18-year-old has a considerable amount of experience under her belt, having won prizes at competitions such as Viardo (USA), Krainev (Ukraine), Schimmel (USA) and Virginia Waring (USA). She’s also played with several orchestras and in recital, including a performance before Queen Elizabeth II in 2006, and she has participated in the esteemed Verbier Festival Academy in Switzerland. Glaner met Sin about eight years ago when she visited Steinway Hamburg. He discovered she had

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Above and below: Having graduated with first class honours from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, Abigail Sin has emerged as Singapore’s most celebrated young pianist

a special request during his visit. “Since Bach is her favourite composer, she asked us if she could take lessons with a Bach expert,” says Glaner. The obvious nearby expert was Evgeni Koroliov (see this issue’s profiles), who was delighted to oblige, but there was a problem. “He spoke Russian and German; she spoke English,” remembers Glaner. “I had to translate, but eventually I could just lean back and not translate anymore, because they found a common language – music.” Sin first heard about the YSA programme from James Ledgerwood of Steinway Hamburg, on one of his visits to Singapore in November 2009. “He nominated me for it. Naturally I was thrilled to become a Young Steinway Artist,” she says. At 22, Joseph Moog is the oldest of the three Young Steinway Artists I spoke with, and he is well on his way to a top flight career, having already recorded three CDs. His second CD for the Claves label, Metamorphose(n), was singled out as Pianist magazine’s choice recording for the August-September 2009 issue, with reviewer Marius Dawn describing Moog as “a frighteningly


Young Steinway Artists

intelligent and powerful master of the instrument”. Gramophone magazine, reviewing Moog’s most recent disc, Divergences, which features the music of Jongen, Reger and Scriabin, declared, “Few other young pianists would risk such a programme but Joseph Moog, still 21, is bristling with talent and assurance.” The confident and mature young pianist has been the recipient of many awards in his native Germany, such as the Rhineland Palatinate Award for Young Artists (2009) and Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival Prize (2006). Moog has performed around the world, with highlights that include playing Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2 in Beijing in 2008 in a programme recorded for China’s national television, and a tour of Germany in 2009 with the Hungarian Symphony. He is also a composer, and includes some of his own compositions on his recital programmes, harking back to the era of Busoni and Liszt, when the pianist-composer was the norm rather than a novelty. Moog has had a strong connection with the music of Liszt, whose 200th anniversary is marked next year. The all-Liszt programme of Moog’s first

Above: rising German star Joseph Moog, 22, has already impressed audiences around the world with his confident recitals of some ambitious programmes

CD (2007) comprised the two piano concertos and the relentlessly driving Totentanz. When Moog makes his US debut this coming March, he will be playing Liszt’s First Piano Concerto with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gilbert Varga. “Since I love Steinway instruments and consider them to offer the highest possible standard for pianos, it was a pleasure to become a YSA,” Moog says. Glaner has followed his career for several years, and met him about four years ago. “Today he’s a young man, who is a deep musician,” he says. “It is great to see how kids become grown-ups and how they develop.” Indeed, Glaner has followed the careers of many young artists, and in designing the YSA programme, was acutely aware of another common dilemma for talented young pianists who would like to be Steinway Artists: they can sometimes be offered performing opportunities that are connected to another piano manufacturer. “An essential part of being a Steinway Artist is to play exclusively Steinway whenever possible, and not to get involved in marketing activities of other makers,” explains Glaner. “So if you’re a

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Young Steinway Artists

Sin all point up this aspect of their YSA status as a major benefit. “No other instrumentalists who tour extensively depend more on the instruments than pianists,” comments Moog. “The support of Steinway within the YSA programme helps very much.” “My local Steinway dealer in Singapore has always been very generous in providing me with a good piano for my performances,” says Sin. “I have also come to know the people here at Steinway Hall in London and they have been incredibly warm and helpful. I have also received lots of support from Steinway dealerships when I needed to practise while travelling.” Zhu says, “As a member of the YSA programme, I have been given chances to perform both in Pittsburgh and New York. Also, because of the contract, I have been able to play on very good pianos during the concerts that I am invited to.” Glaner is clearly pleased with the progress of the Young Steinway Artists programme so far. Interest has been steady since it was announced just under two years ago. “As with the main Steinway Artists programme, pianists come to Steinway rather than the other way around,” says Glaner. “The interest is there – we don’t push, we pull!”

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Above: Moog appreciates the technical support he gets on the road as a member of the YSA Below: young pianists who join the YSA with a Boston or Essex piano are offered excellent terms when they come to upgrade

Photography: Jo van den Berg

Steinway Artist and another maker says, why not come and play on our piano in a big venue, you would have to turn it down.” The likes of Pollini or Kissin can easily turn down such an offer but, as Glaner says, “If you’re a 21-year-old pianist, you have to do it, just to be exposed and prove that you’re a good artist.” The Young Steinway Artists are given more latitude to accept this kind of engagement. While many of the musicians on the YSA roster own Boston or Essex models, by chance the three I spoke with own Steinways. Zhu owns a Steinway Model L, while Moog owns a Model B, as does Sin, who purchased the instrument with funds from the HSBC Youth Excellence Initiative, which she was awarded in 2003. Those YSAs who own Bostons, of course, may be persuaded to upgrade sooner rather than later by the fact that if they decide to buy a full Steinway model within ten years of buying their Boston, they can get full trade-in value for their Boston – a remarkable incentive. Another key aspect of the YSA programme is that its members become part of the Steinway network, which can be a godsend for concert pianists on the road, who are always in search of practice facilities, a reliable performing instrument and an expert tuner/technician. Moog, Zhu and


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Competitions

Chopin springs a surprise

One 19-year-old nearly scooped first prize in two of the year’s big international competitions. Inge Kjemtrup reports on the Chopin and the Bachauer, and the names to watch out for 30

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Photography: Reuters / Kacper Pempel

Competitions

There were surprises aplenty at two of the most important piano competitions that took place this year – starting with the prestigious International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, where Russian pianist Yulianna Avdeeva took first prize, the first woman to win in forty-five years. Meanwhile, Russian/Lithuanian Lukas Geniušas almost achieved the pianistic equivalent of the tennis world’s Grand Slam when he became, in a single year, the gold medal winner of the 15th Gina Bachauer International Artists Competition and the second prizewinner (silver medal) at the same Chopin Competition won by Avdeeva. Gerrit Glaner, head of the Concerts and Artists department at Steinway Hamburg, was at the competition in Warsaw. “The level of playing was very high and several performers stood out, in a good way,” he says. The jury was of a very high calibre this year. Chaired by Andrzej Jasinski, the jury members were Piotr Paleczny, Martha Argerich, Bella Davidovich, Philippe Entremont, Nelson Freire, Adam Harasiewicz, Kevin Kenner, Michie Koyama, Katarzyna Popowa-Zydron, Dang Thai Son and Fou Ts’ong. Famed musicologist Jan Ekier, 97, was honourable chair but did not sit on the panel. It’s fair to say that this band of judges was more intimately familiar with the competition than a typical jury – almost all of them are past Chopin prizewinners and they know what it takes to

Opposite: Lukas Geniusas at the Chopin Competition in Warsaw Above: Ingolf Wunder takes a bow after the performance that earned him joint second place Below: Russian Yulianna Avdeeva on her way to becoming the first female winner for 45 years

master the works of the great Polish composer for the competition. Founded in 1927, the International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition has, since 1955, been held every five years. It is followed avidly by pianophiles everywhere, even more so this year, being the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth. Much of the three week competition, held from 2nd to 23rd October, was viewable on the Internet, which increased the audience and made the final decision in favour of Avdeeva all the more

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Left: Wunder looks content as he leaves the stage in Warsaw Below: Geniusas and Wunder congratulate each other after sharing second place Bottom: Geniusas hits winning form with Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto at the Bachauer Competition in Salt Lake City

exciting. Many onlookers had predicted success for Ingolf Wunder, a 25-year-old Austrian, who in the end shared second prize with Geniušas. Glaner says of Wunder, “He had the knowledgeable audience behind him, and he played three very good rounds and the best concerto.” But it was Yulianna Avdeeva who took the prize, a cheque for 30,000 euros and the Krystian Zimerman prize for sonata interpretation. “Chopin’s music is so very special, I was enjoying every performance because I was not thinking about the competition, but was thinking about the music only,” she said after her triumph. Hailing Avdeeva as a “harmonious artist”, jury member Martha Argerich – who famously left the 1980 competition jury when Ivo Pogorelich was not moved through to the finals – told the BBC News, “I am extremely happy about Yulianna, and particularly because she is the first woman after forty-five years. After me there was no lady, so I am very happy.” Born in Moscow in 1985, Avdeeva is a product of the famous Gnessin Academy of Music in

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Moscow, and also has studied at the Zurich Hochschule and the International Piano Academy Lake Como. She won second prize at the 2006 Geneva International Music Competition, among an impressive array of other accolades. Listening to the recital that Avdeeva played in London some two weeks after her Chopin victory, the reviewer for The Daily Telegraph was impressed by her playing, but commented, “She clearly has the talent and stamina and intelligence to be really something, if she can only dare to leaven that iron control with a little spontaneity.” Steinway plays a prominent role in the Chopin competition, providing and preparing instruments. The young competitors are allowed to choose the make of piano they want to play and, as Glaner was delighted to note, out of the seventy-eight initial competitors, some 70 per cent chose Steinway as their instrument of choice. The Chopin competition took place almost three months after the equally important Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition, held in Salt Lake City, Utah, for pianists aged 19-32. Over two nights, 30th June and 1st July, six finalists, whittled down from an initial group of thirty-seven competitors from seventeen countries, performed a concerto of their choice with the Utah Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Lawrence Leighton Smith. 2010 may be the Chopin year, but you wouldn’t know it by the concerto choices from the finalists: only one, Yunjie Chen (China), chose to play a Chopin concerto, the First. Second placed Serhiy Salov (Ukraine) played Brahms’ Second Concerto and Kotaro Fukuma (Japan) Schumann’s, but

Photography: Reuters / Peter Andrews; Reuters / Kacper Pempel; Courtesy of the Gina Bachauer International Piano Foundation

Competitions


Competitions

Rachmaninov was the popular choice, with both Zhang Zuo (China) and third prize winner Dmitri Levkovich (Ukraine) playing the Second, and first prizewinner Geniušas playing the massive Third. At 19, Geniušas was the youngest finalist at the Bachauer and among the youngest at the Chopin. He’s almost piano royalty, as his grandmother, Vera Gornostaeva, is a famous professor at the Moscow Conservatory (she taught him as well). Robert Coleman of The Salt Lake Tribune was effusive about Geniušas’ concerto performance. “Geniušas took command of his performance from the start with interpretative authority, explosive technique and insurmountable confidence. With maturity beyond his years, he played the work’s second movement with brooding Russian spirit… The concerto’s finale was galloping and bold, showing centred concentration and flair.” Geniušas received $30,000, a commemorative gold medal, concert engagements to perform with the Utah Symphony and an opportunity to record a solo CD. Many people know that the Gina Bachauer International Artists Competition is presented every four years, but what they may not realise is that the Bachauer Foundation has many other activities that help promote and shape piano playing, not only in the United States but around the world. The four year cycle also includes the International Piano Festival (every two years, the next being in 2011), with the Young Artists and

Above: the late Gina Bachauer, who died in 1976, and in whose honour the International Artists Competition is held in Salt Lake City every four years

Junior Competitions, for pianists aged 14-18 and 11-13 respectively, falling in between. All these events take place in the month of June. The foundation and its competitions are named after the famous Greek born pianist Gina Bachauer (1913-1976), who was much loved by Utah audiences. They heard her perform many times with Maurice Abravanel and the Utah Symphony. Bachauer was a student of Rachmaninov and Cortot, and was praised by famed critic Harold Schonberg as one of today’s pianistic originals. Founded by Paul Pollei, the International Artists Competition began its life as the Brigham Young University Summer Piano Festival and International Competition in 1976. In 1980 the renamed event set up shop permanently in Salt Lake City, cementing its relationship with the Utah Symphony. Gradually the Bachauer Foundation broadened its remit, joining the World Federation of International Music Competitions in 1983 and launching worldwide auditions in 1987. The Bachauer was the first competition to allow all competitors to perform in two separate rounds, rather than eliminating them through each round. Only six participants make it through to the final; however, the others have a chance to play two solo recitals, of 35 and 50 minutes each. Highlights of the 2010 recitals included Geniušas playing six of Chopin’s Études Op. 10 and Serhiy Salov performing his own transcription of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.

Winners let their hair down at the International Steinway Festival Given how often talented young pianists find themselves in the pressure cooker world of competitions, it’s nice to experience an event where competition winners can come and perform in a more relaxed setting. Every two years, gifted young pianists come to Hamburg to play in front of big audiences at the International Steinway Festival, which has as its motto ‘Young Talents in Concert’. It’s a musical get-together like no other. The 14th event, last September, saw eight young pianists – one each from Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, China, Denmark and Belgium, and two from Germany – gathered in Hamburg. “They are the best of the best, as they are all first prize winners of competitions in their home countries, organised by local Steinway dealers,” said Sabine Höpermann,

manager of Communications for Steinway & Sons Hamburg and the driving force behind the festival. The Sunday morning concert, at the Laeiszhalle, attracted some 1,600 people. “The performance was of the highest quality – as always!” said Höpermann. But just as important was the way the pianists relaxed together. “In a busy weekend, there are many activities for the young artists. We went to the zoo, we had a fun harbour trip and an exclusive dinner at the Steinway factory on Sunday evening.” The event concluded with a tour of the Steinway Hamburg factory. “We had an extremely good atmosphere among the participants,” said Höpermann. “They left as friends, and this is exactly our goal.” Right: the eight young competiton winners who played at the 2010 International Steinway Festival

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Competitions

Steinway’s model of cooperation Winning an international competition is a thrilling experience for an upcoming pianist: a moment of recognition, an endorsement of all you’ve worked for. But it is not an open door to fame and fortune. The concert series that you dream of remains no more than a dream unless you can make that leap from prizewinner to prize performer. And it is a giant leap. Two problems stand in your way: convincing audiences to spend money on a pianist they have never heard of; and convincing venues to risk putting on a relative unknown. It’s a Catch-22 situation: you can’t get the gigs without a name, and you can’t get a name without the gigs. This was a situation that concerned Gerrit Glaner, head of the Concerts and Artists department at Steinway Hamburg. “People only go to concerts, only spend money on people they know. This is a real problem for many places.” So he came up with a solution: create a network of concert venues and prizewinners from Steinway exclusive competitions that could help each other to meet the cost of staging their own concerts, and give them the backing of the Steinway brand. Then communicate to audiences that these upcoming artists are the stars of tomorrow – a proclamation given credibility by the Steinway name – and see what happens. Glaner presented his idea to various concert halls. The first to bite was the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, whose director, Andreas Schulz, was quick to spot the marketing potential. He realised that he could piggyback Steinway prizewinners’

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Above: the Gewandhaus inside and out, where the idea of the Steinway Prizewinners Concerts Network was first given the chance to take the stage

concerts onto concert series by established artists and use them to add value for his subscribers. Buy a ticket for two ‘name’ artists and get a free ticket to a prizewinner’s concert. He began in the 2007-08 season, taking winners from the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, Beethoven Competition in Bonn and Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv. It was a relatively low risk gamble. Schulz needed to sell 200 tickets to break even; in most cases he sold between 300 and 400. “The ticket sales for every concert except one exceeded expectations,” says Glaner, who had created what he calls a “win-win-win” situation for the pianists, the concert halls and the competitions. For the pianists, it was precious

Photography: Courtesy of the Gewandhaus; Gert Mothes

How do you turn a winning performance into an equally winning career as a pianist? The answer could lie in the Steinway Prizewinners Concert Network. Tim Glynne-Jones spoke to its originator about how it works


Photography: Marco Borggreve; Courtesy of Louisiana Museum of Modern Art; Courtesy of Hapag-Lloyd

Competitions

exposure. For the Gewandhaus, it was turnover plus an added incentive for subscribers. And for the competitions, it was a valuable boost to their international prestige. A fourth winner was the audience, who got to see true talent for a very reasonable price. Everybody was benefiting without great cost. As Glaner puts it, it was about “invisible values”. The competitions would mention the Gewandhaus concerts in their promotional material; the Gewandhaus would mention the competitions in theirs. This involved no added expense, but resulted in valuable publicity for both parties. At the same time, the artists would play for a moderate fee – the opportunity to perform at a major venue being far more important than the money – which meant the Gewandhaus could afford to take the risk and give them the stage. Having got off to such an auspicious start, the Steinway Prizewinners Concert Network could only get stronger. “Andreas Schulz had the guts to take the risk and he won,” says Glaner. “Once he’d proved it works, others got on board.” The forward thinking Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, near Copenhagen, joined the Network. Head of music Lars Fenger took winners from the Busoni Competition and the Queen Elisabeth. The latter, Russian Denis Kozhukhin, gave such a fine performance that Fenger invited him back to play in the masters season itself. This was exactly the outcome Glaner had hoped for. Smaller venues also joined the Network. “The more big knots and little knots in a network, the stronger it is,” says Glaner. One ‘little knot’ was the Belvedere in Weimar, a school for highly gifted musicians, which asked Glaner if it was possible to get one of the prizewinners to come and play and talk to the students. Glaner arranged it so the artist

Above: Russian Denis Kozhukhin, whose performance at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art earned him an invitation to return for the masters series Below: the concert hall at the Louisiana Museum Bottom: now the Network has spread to cruise ships, like the MS Bremen pictured here

could visit around the time of their Gewandhaus performance, the bigger venue agreeing to pick up the bulk of the cost so that the Belvedere School got its visit without having to break the bank. For the artists, it proved a welcome opportunity to give back the sort of experience that they had enjoyed as students. The Network is spreading into other media. In its second season at the Gewandhaus, local Leipzig radio station MDR asked if it could broadcast the prizewinners’ concerts. Via the EBU, these later went out across Europe. It meant even greater exposure for all parties, plus a bit more money for the performer. MDR was welcomed on board. The latest development is the involvement of shipping company Hapag-Lloyd and the Bremen Piano Competition. It is not one of the world’s best known competitions, but it produces very good winners, who often go on to succeed in the big competitions – a good indicator of future stars. Bremen based Hapag-Lloyd sponsors the competition. It also runs cruise ships all over Europe and this year one of its ships, the five-star MS Bremen, cruised around Spain and Portugal with Bremen Piano Competition winners on board to perform a series of recitals for the passengers at various stops along the way. It was another example of how the Network can develop, taking in any sort of venue where a concert can take place and where there’s a willing audience. One wealthy passenger even offered to buy a piano for one of the artists. For Glaner, the success of the Steinway Prizewinners Concert Network is that it’s not about money. “It’s a human network,” he explains, “a contact network.” In the long run it makes economic sense for everyone concerned, but it all begins with those “invisible values”.

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Musical Instrument Museum

Pictures at an exhibition

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Musical Instrument Museum

A new museum in Arizona, supported by Steinway & Sons, offers a unique and interactive experience that highlights the way music links all the cultures of the world. Linda Smalley went to see and hear for herself

Photography:

On the northern fringes of Phoenix, Arizona, stands the newly inaugurated Musical Instrument Museum, already known by its acronym MIM. Focusing on the bond between music and culture, it showcases a collection of more than 10,000 musical instruments gleaned from every country around the globe. At the entrance to the museum, visitors are issued with state of the art, sensor controlled wireless headsets, which are programmed to automatically tune in to the sounds associated with each display as you move around the exhibits. These prove essential to the interactive museum experience, breathing life into the instruments. The brainchild of retired Target Corporation CEO Bob Ulrich, the 190,000sq.ft, two storey Indian sandstone clad building opened its doors in April 2010. It was designed by architect Richard Varda and cost $250million to build, on 20 acres of desert land. Steinway & Sons is one of the museum’s major corporate sponsors from the music world, who also include Sony, Fender Musical Instruments and CF Martin & Co. Bill DeWalt, an anthropologist and former director of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, serves as the MIM president and director. When asked what differentiates this museum from others of its kind, media relations manager Alan di Perna explains, “MIM provides equal representation of musical instruments and musical traditions from every single country. It celebrates the notion that all cultures share a link through music. Most musical instrument museums take a more chronological approach. Here geography is really the key organising principle.” A world class musical instrument museum calls for a cutting edge performance venue, and this is Left: MIM, built on 20 acres of Arizona desert and opened in 2010, was designed by architect Richard Varda and cost $250million to build Above: the lobby welcomes visitors to an exciting musical experience

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to be found in the intimate 300 seat Music Theater, which covers both levels of the museum. The venue hosts a full schedule of concerts, as well as films and various other programmes. Gifted from Steinway & Sons, a gleaming black Steinway Model D concert grand takes centre stage. Inside, on the piano’s plate, Steinway Artist Lang Lang has penned his autograph. Some artists, however, travel with their own instruments. Seated at his custom gold Steinway grand, with lyrics to his iconic tune Autumn Leaves embossed on its rim, Steinway Artist Roger Williams appeared in his annual 12 hour marathon performance last October, marking his 86th birthday. Other Steinway Artists performing in Music Theater concerts in MIM’s inaugural year include Adam Gyorgy and Walter Cosand. A diverse mix of international artists of every genre rounds out the concert series. Down the hall, a cacophony of musical sounds drifts from the Experience Gallery, called the “hands-on room” by museum staff. Here guests are encouraged to test their skills playing a variety of instruments that they can see, but not touch, elsewhere in the museum: drums, guitars, thumb pianos and a colossal gong for starters. For a hands free, hands on experience, there’s the theremin, an electronic instrument played by waving one’s hand above it. It emits an eerie, siren like sound, reminiscent of background music in a horror film. Situated nearby, the Mechanical Music Gallery accommodates a collection of instruments dating from the 19th and 20th Centuries, which are designed to operate on their own. Player pianos share their space with a ninety-two key Decap mechanical dance organ, which is integrated with drums, accordions, saxophones and a xylophone.

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Above: a Steinway Model D concert grand takes centre stage at the MIM Music Theater Below left: a Korean pyeonjong, with its rows of bronze bells Below right: a cow horn trumpet, as played by the Quechua people of Peru during cattle branding

It fills an entire wall. And there’s also a jewel like Ukrainian barrel organ that features intricate, hand painted detailing. Fans of music icons like John Lennon, Paul Simon, Eric Clapton and world music star King Sunny Adé can connect with their favourite performers in the Artist Gallery, adjoining the Mechanical Music Gallery. Displays include costumes, musical instruments, concert video footage and photos. Steinway & Sons plays a considerable role in this space. Centred just inside the gallery’s entrance sits John Lennon’s Steinway Model Z upright, on which he composed Imagine. It is here on a two year loan from singer George Michael and his partner Kenny Goss. Lennon purchased the piano in 1970, when he struck out on his own following the breakup of The Beatles. One of the museum’s top attractions, this instrument, encased in plexiglass, has travelled on an international tour for peace since 2006. Museum guests often sing along with the video showing Lennon performing Imagine on this piano. On permanent loan from the Steinway & Sons collection is the company’s oldest known piano, the circa 1836 ‘kitchen piano’. Master cabinetmaker Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg – later Henry E Steinway – crafted it by hand in his kitchen/workshop in Seesen, Germany, before he emigrated to America. As visitors inspect the exhibit, an interview with the late Henry Z Steinway plays overhead.

Photography: Linda Smalley; Courtesy of MIM

Musical Instrument Museum


Musical Instrument Museum

Another Steinway notable is the gilt trimmed Peace Piano. One of the first instruments produced for the Steinway & Sons Legendary Collection in 2001, it’s a recreation of the Art Deco style concert grand conceived by industrial designer Walter Dorwin Teague for the US Government pavilion at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. For its rebirth, some details of this historic Art Case piano were modified. A band of 195 national flag appliqués now encircles it above a row of sparkling gold stars. In place of an eagle, a hand carved dove clutching an olive branch, symbolising peace, adorns the instrument above each leg. Rather like the Lennon piano, it initially toured the world in a fundraising effort for UNICEF. Uniformed soldiers shown in a reproduction of a vintage photo gather around a GI Piano, now on display at MIM. During World War II the US Government enlisted Steinway to build aircraft parts, as well as more than 2,500 of this specially designed upright, painted in olive drab. Rugged and portable, it appeared on Navy ships and was parachuted into war zones for the entertainment of the troops. A sweeping circular staircase leads to MIM’s upper level, housing the Geographic Galleries. Tall, narrow recessed lighting climbs the curving wall, referencing the keys on a piano. Visitors discover a colourful mosaic world map crafted from inlaid stone centred in the floor below. The Geographic Galleries divide exhibits into five zones: Asia and Oceania; Europe; Africa and

Above: electronic music exhibits Below: a display of Steinway pianos in various stages of the manufacturing process

the Middle East; the United States and Canada; and Latin America and the Caribbean. Selected regions, notably the United States and Canada, and Europe, split their countries into musical types rather than geography. Within the US gallery, a handful of special Corporate Partner exhibits pay tribute to the contributions of notable American manufacturers Steinway & Sons, Fender Musical Instruments and CF Martin & Co. The Steinway exhibit presents a history of the company’s production process, as a

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Musical Instrument Museum

documentary of employees at work in the Astoria, New York factory plays in the background. Highlighted are five major Steinway patents. Intricately crafted piano components dangle from the ceiling, juxtaposed with a well worn workbench topped with piano making tools. To the right sits a completed Model M grand. In the Geographic Galleries, exhibits boasting upwards of 3,000 musical instruments feature high resolution, flat screen video of instrument making and musical performances in their native surroundings. Many include maps, costumes and cultural and historical details about the instruments and their uses. Alan di Perna notes, “Over 200 countries [all the nations on earth] are represented. We represent not only classical or fine art traditions, but also folk and popular music traditions. Ultimately, what we’re doing is attempting to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of musical traditions from around the world.” A stroll through the Geographic Galleries reveals not only the beauty and uniqueness of instruments from different cultures around the globe, but sometimes a commonality as well. One learns that bagpipes, for example, are found in several parts of the globe. One of the most unusual, a zaqq, was crafted in Malta from the pelt of an entire calf. A horn attached to its end can be removed for use as a weapon. Then there’s the painted Iranian bagpipe, the ney-anban, which is played for dancers in the Persian Gulf region, and looks like a work of abstract art. A variety of instruments honour ritual and ceremony. In the South Korean exhibition, there’s a 9ft bronze and painted wood pyeonjong, which figures in both modern orchestras and ancient observances traced to Confucian China. The Quechua people of the Central Peruvian Highlands, meanwhile, blow on a pair of coiled

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Above: a pair of Tibetan horns Below: the John Lennon exhibit features the Steinway & Sons Model Z upright on which he composed Imagine, and a video of him singing the song

cow horn trumpets during cattle marking rites. And in Haitian Voodoo ceremonies, the manman serves as the master drum. Although the instruments can be viewed as art pieces, says April Solomon, exhibit manager, MIM is “really about bringing them to life, so that people can hear how they sound. We also have the Music Theater, where people can experience world instruments in performances. We have the hands-on gallery, where people can get involved in a tactile way. We see all of these different components of the museum fitting together to create a whole experience of world music.” In the entrance to the museum a photograph collage reads, “Music is the language of the soul.” Music is so primordial that anthropologists debate whether it predates language as a means of communication. One thing is certain, says Alan di Perna, “We all share this strange behaviour where we open our mouths and make tonal sounds and beat on objects.” MIM hopes visitors will leave with a greater appreciation of music and its instruments, and how they link humanity through time and place. Read about the new John Lennon commemorative piano from Steinway & Sons on page 48


The Absolute Sound of a STEINWAY Access to music has never been greater than it is today. We can listen to almost any artist or composer with our computer or cell phone in moments. That is a great leap from the situation a mere 100 years ago when for almost everyone the only access to music was via live (acoustic) events. The advantage of listening to music in a purely acoustic environment is that we hear the instruments or voices directly, without any electronic processing involved. The sound is real. It is pure. It is an absolute. It is a reference. In contrast, a recorded event, as played back through an audio system, is a “moving target.” Even when the recording itself is true to the source, the playback changes in different systems.

That is the issue that Harry Pearson, founder of The Absolute Sound magazine, began to address in the 70s when he challenged the “if it measures the same it sounds the same” mentality of the day. As owners and users of one of the paragons of music - a Steinway Piano - I am sure you can understand this issue. No matter what an oscilloscope might say, we know we can tell the difference between a song played on a Steinway and another piano. So in terms of creating an absolute reference for an audio system, we can use the Steinway piano as an example. If we were to record your Steinway in your house/facility, and then were to play it back on a system in the same room, would we not expect the sound to be similar?

It can be. It usually is not. Too often we lose the timbre, or the weight of the registers below middle c, or the wonderful harmonics as we play it back. Too often, it just is not our Steinway! This concept of the absolute sound is what has driven Kubala-Sosna. Our reference sound is what we hear at a live jazz concert, or in Carnegie Hall, Chicago Orchestra Hall, Musikverein (Vienna) etc. So in the design process, we carry that reference sound to our products, trying to achieve the absolute sound as we hear it. Our goal is to create products that help an audio system at any price point produce sound that would be recognized as being true to the source. Kubala-Sosna helps audio systems make sure that a Steinway sounds like a Steinway! Connect to the Performance!!

Kubala-Sosna recording the Binghamton NY Community Orchestra & Madrigal Choir

Post Office Box 505 Cedar Knolls, NJ 07927

(973) 993-1952 (V) (973) 538-5615 (F)

info@kubala-sosna.com www.kscables.com


All-Steinway Schools

A place to play

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A tour around America’s AllSteinway Schools reveals some spectacular new buildings and restorations designed to inspire students to even greater heights. Tim Glynne-Jones runs the rule over six of the best


All-Steinway Schools

Photography: Michael DiDonna; Kevin Reeves; Peter Schaaf

Juilliard School The renowned Juilliard School in New York needs no introduction, its pedigree in all the performing arts being renowned throughout the world. But, like all the music schools featured here, it is not resting on the laurels of a distinguished history, in this case dating back to 1905, but looking to the future and constantly seeking to raise the standard of the education it offers its talented students. In 2009 it completed a three year expansion and renovation programme as part of the Lincoln Center’s 65th Street Redevelopment Project. This gave Juilliard an additional 39,000sq.ft, into which it was able to install new and renovated teaching studios, classrooms, practice rooms, a new recording studio, offices, a multi-use 2,000sq.ft performance space for opera, dance and drama, a Music Technology Center and a Writing and Communication Center, classroom and large tutoring and study area. In addition, two open-air courtyards on the top floor of the existing building were enclosed and reclaimed for teaching studios and an acoustically calibrated orchestra rehearsal studio. Other interior spaces were reconfigured to house a reading room, a new faculty lounge and a secure, climate-controlled storage room for the Juilliard Manuscript Collection. The most striking part of the development was the new Irene Diamond Building, a four storey wing, designed by Diller, Scofidio and Renfro – a firm renowned for its highly conceptual creations – in collaboration with FX Fowle. Particularly eye-catching is the dance studio, with a floor to ceiling glass frontage, which projects forward onto Broadway from the Juilliard building, making dance activity visible to all.

Above: an architect’s rendering of the Bertram and Judith Kohl Building at Oberlin College and Conservatory, Ohio

Opposite: the imposing Juilliard School Irene Diamond Building, with its glass fronted dance studio projecting onto Broadway Below: Alfred Brendel gives a master class at Juilliard’s new Judith Harris and Tony Woolfson Orchestra Studio

“We were trying to strike a balance between the monumental and the dematerialized,” said architect Elizabeth Diller, adding, “At Lincoln Center, small gestures don’t work.” The development also included the purchase of twelve new Steinway grands, bringing the total number of Steinways at the Juilliard School to 259, more than any other institution in the world. Oberlin College and Conservatory Bill Cosby and Stevie Wonder were amongst the guests at the official opening on 1st May of the Bertram and Judith Kohl Building at Oberlin College and Conservatory, Oberlin, Ohio. This historic college, founded in 1833, is the oldest All-Steinway School and Steinway’s oldest continuous customer. It has made a major contribution to America’s jazz heritage and now this stunning new facility will serve as the home for its renowned Jazz Studies Programme, along with Music History and Music Theory. The three story building was designed by Westlake, Reed, Leskosky architects, whose goal was to house and facilitate innovation by creating spaces for “intellectual loitering” and the “assembly of creative ideas”. It consists of flexible rehearsal and performance spaces, teaching studios, practice rooms, a music archive and exhibits, instrument storage, a lobby and a first class recording studio. It also houses three important collections: the James and Susan Neumann Jazz Collection, comprising more than 10,000 recordings, as well as posters, ephemera and iconography; the Selch Collection of American Music History, with nearly 700 instruments and 9,000 rare books and artwork; and the Frank Kuchirchuk Collection of Jazz Photography, which features jazz greats in 1952 and 1953. Dean of the Conservatory David Stull said, “The Bertram and Judith Kohl Building is brilliantly conceived to emulate who we are and what we

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All-Steinway Schools

Curtis Institute of Music In April 2009 the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia announced the commencement of works on a new building project, its first in more than two decades. This legendary music school, which has produced such notable pianists as Leonard Bernstein and Lang Lang, was in need of more space and had raised $65million dollars to fund a new building. Named Lenfest Hall in honour of Curtis Board chairman HF ‘Gerry’ Lenfest and his wife Marguerite, it would be a nine storey development, situated one block from the existing facilities in Locust Street. Designed by Philadelphia architects Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, the new construction will address Curtis’ growing need for additional space, in particular the requirement for an appropriate orchestra rehearsal room and many more teaching and practice facilities. It will also allow the Institute to provide, for the first time,

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Above: the Bertram and Judith Kohl Building at Oberlin is up for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold rating Below: an artist’s impression of Lenfest Hall, the new music building at Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia

Artwork: Kevin Reeves; Curtis Institute of Music

stand for. It is about bringing us together, pursuing great art, fostering harmony within our community and reminding all of us of the imperative need to steward our environment. It will constantly inspire us in our mission to seek perfection while achieving excellence. “It is highly innovative in both form and function, which is emblematic of the conservatory’s approach to all its endeavours,” he added, alluding to the fact that the building was also designed to meet the highest environmental standards. It is aiming to receive a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold rating, the first ever awarded to a facility dedicated to music. Oberlin’s long-standing relationship with Steinway & Sons was strengthened further with the purchase of thirty new pianos for the Bertram and Judith Kohl Building, bringing the Conservatory’s total Steinway inventory to 229.'

student residences and dining facilities for the entire Curtis community. “The design of Lenfest Hall pays tribute to the historic block of 1600 Locust Street, while providing a state of the art educational setting for the talented young musicians that come to Curtis,” said Daniel McCoubrey, principal architect for Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates. “We have preserved the façades of two 19th century townhouses and at the same time created inviting community spaces, ample teaching and practice rooms, and student housing within the new building.” Curtis President Roberto Díaz described the new development as “a significant milestone in Curtis’ history”. He added, “We’ve long needed added space for rehearsal and learning, and Lenfest Hall is tailored to the requirements of our extraordinary students and faculty. The new facility will be a stunning addition to the campus that allows us to maintain our priceless musical traditions while positioning us for the future.” Curtis has been an All-Steinway School since it was founded in 1924, when it initiated the Curtis Promise: that being that the school will always provide a Steinway piano to each student and faculty that works and studies there. In September this year, members of the piano faculty visited the Steinway factory in New York to select twenty-two new pianos for Lenfest Hall, to bring the total to 102. They chose one Model D Concert Grand, three Model Bs, a Model A, seven Model Os, two Model Ms and eight upright Model Ks. The Lenfest Hall development is on schedule to open in August 2011.


All-Steinway Schools

Photography: Nathan Cutietta; James Madison University

USC Thornton School of Music The renowned Thornton School of Music at University of Southern California, Los Angeles, is now something of a mini campus within a campus, thanks to the opening in November of new facilities that expand its physical size by 40 per cent. Comprising three fully renovated buildings and one new build, the additional buildings join three existing facilities, all landscaped around the beautiful Flora Thornton Courtyard. For Dean Dr Robert Cutietta and the one thousand plus students at a school that last year celebrated its 125th year, these are exciting times indeed. The three renovated buildings previously belonged to the USC School of Cinematic Arts but now provide the latest facilities for Thornton’s Jazz, Popular Music, Music Industry, Scoring for Motion Pictures, Studio Jazz Guitar and Classical Guitar programmes. There is also a new rehearsal room for the Thornton Symphony Orchestra and for classical percussion, on top of eleven recording studios, twenty-five rehearsal and teaching studios, a piano Lab, drum lab, technology lab, three large ensemble rehearsal rooms (Symphonic, Jazz, and Popular Music), percussion rehearsal room, three large classrooms and administrative offices. The brand new building is a dedicated practice facility, providing significantly more (and larger) practice rooms than before, equipped with the latest digital technology for recording and acoustic alteration. There is also a student lounge for music students only and a large piano maintenance facility. Thornton School is in the

Top: students playing on two Boston pianos in one of the new practice rooms at USC Thornton School of Music Above: the new Forbes Center for the Performing Arts at JMU Below: students working with digital recording tools at USC

process of becoming an All-Steinway School and forty new Steinways were purchased as part of the expansion project, bringing the school’s total piano inventory to 160. “We are collectively thrilled with the new Piano Shop and adjacent administrative office,” says Senior Piano Technician Mark Britt. “The practice facilities are equally high quality – the 9ft ceilings even make similar square footage feel larger, and the Wenger units that have live record, playback and download capabilities are already proving their limitless benefits. It is a bright new era in the Thornton School of Music. “Students have said to me and my colleagues, ‘One thing about having such a nice, modern facility is that it really encourages us to spend all day there practicing. It is inviting.’” James Madison University James Madison University, in the picturesque Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, was founded in 1908. Today, the School of Music is regarded as the best in the state, a status that will surely be enhanced by the opening last June of the new Forbes Center for the Performing Arts. The Forbes Center combines two major facilities: the Shirley Hanson Roberts Center for Music Performance and the Dorothy Thomasson Estes Center for Theatre and Dance. It stands on the west side of the quadrangle that has always been the heart of the university and is listed as a national treasure by the National Register. As such, it needed to complement the bluestone buildings that surround the quadrangle, not least the music building, which opened in 1989 and provides a first class facility for learning, rehearsal and recording. The 175,000sq.ft construction took twentyseven months to complete and cost $95m. The music facilities include a 200 seat recital hall, a 600

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seat concert hall and a 450 seat theatre with a large orchestra pit, ideal for opera. In addition there are thirty-three practice rooms, five offices, one classroom, extensive storage space for music and, significantly for a facility that has an obligation to serve the wider community, adjacent parking for 784 cars. The inventory of Steinway pianos bought in for the new facility is equally impressive: four Model Ds, sixteen Bs, two smaller grands and twenty-five uprights, bringing the total number of Steinway and Boston pianos at JMU to 116. “This is the capstone to the development of the school, the last piece necessary to being regarded as a major school of music,” says School of Music director Jeffrey Showell, DMA. “It reflects President Rose’s vision that a top flight university is not complete without a strong commitment to the arts.” Showell describes the students and teachers as being “thrilled” with the new building. “The quality of the acoustics and the visual beauty of the concert recital halls and the main stage theatre were beyond even our most optimistic projections. And coupled with the new adjacent parking garage, our concerts will finally be easily accessible to the community.” University of South Florida A remarkable building project has taken place at University of South Florida, Tampa, where a brand new $55m music building is due to open in April 2011. It will provide its students and teachers with nearly a hundred Steinway pianos, all personally selected from the factory. For the past fifty years, the USF School of Music has occupied converted classroom spaces

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Above: a Steinway Model D holds centre stage in the 600 seat concert hall at JMU’s new Forbes Center for the Performing Arts Below: the music development at USC, built in the shape of a piano

that were built for class lectures, not classical performances. But when Ron Jones became the new Dean of the College of The Arts, he set in motion an audacious vision, strongly supported by USF President Judy Genshaft, that would turn the school into a world class music facility. “It is the environment an entire College hoped for, and dreamed for, and planned for, and desperately needed,” said Dean Jones. The development, in the shape of a piano, is centred on a 485 seat performance hall, which is equipped with a moveable acoustic cloud, created by Charles Bonner of BAi, one of America’s foremost acousticians. Every part of the new building has been designed by architects Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas & Company for optimum sound quality. Each room ‘floats’ as a separate entity, with air space between walls and floors. There will be thirty-two teaching/performance studios complete with Steinway pianos, four dual grand piano teaching/practice rooms large enough to include small audiences, a Percussion Suite, Marching Band rooms, dedicated rehearsal halls for choral, instrumental and jazz studies, specialised classrooms for teaching history and theory, two libraries, a computer/electronic keyboard composition lab, student lounges/study areas and dozens of faculty offices. In addition to the main concert hall, there will be a 116 seat student recital hall. Both are equipped to offer professional level video and audio recording capabilities, and there are two green rooms, each with its own Steinway grand piano. “Our new Music Building and Steinway initiative will be phenomenal gifts for any student of music at the University of South Florida,” said President Genshaft. “Becoming an All-Steinway School is a testament not just to the purchase of fine musical instruments, but a commitment to passion and a commitment to excellence in every aspect of the student experience.”

Photography: Mike Miriello / James Madison University; University of South Florida

All-Steinway Schools


pianos

Not the only one On 9th October 1940, Alfred and Julia Lennon of Liverpool, England, gave birth to a son, John Winston. He would become one of the most outstanding musicians of the 20th Century. October 2010 would have seen John Lennon celebrate his 70th birthday, and to mark the occasion, Steinway & Sons unveiled the John Lennon Imagine Limited Edition Piano. The Imagine piano is a fitting tribute to a creative genius who had a close connection with Steinway & Sons. Imagine, recorded in 1971, is regarded as Lennon’s most famous solo song and was written on a Steinway upright, built at the Hamburg factory in 1970 and purchased by Lennon for $1,500, following the break-up of The Beatles. It was later bought at auction in 2000, twenty years after Lennon’s death, by British pop singer George Michael for £1.67million, making it the most expensive Steinway upright ever to be sold at auction. This year, another Steinway belonging to Lennon became the subject of controversy when a picture of the white grand piano being played by American pop singer Lady Gaga was posted on the Twitter site of Lennon’s son Sean. The piano had been a birthday gift from Lennon to his wife

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Musical tribute to a dreamer: John Lennon’s Steinway Model Z upright (top); Lennon and wife Yoko Ono (above); Imagine lyrics in the rim of a limited edition Imagine Steinway, plus Lennon’s signature, music desk original artwork and soundboard logo (below, left to right)

Introducing the new Imagine Series Limited Edition pianos, created by Steinway & Sons as a tribute to one of the world’s most iconic musicians Yoko Ono in 1971, and it still stands proudly in her New York apartment. It was this piano on which the Imagine Series Limited Edition was modelled. The new series features many creative flourishes that reflect the career and personality of John Lennon, including his signature and music. The music desk of each piano incorporates one of four different John Lennon original drawings: ‘Come Together’ reflects Lennon’s desire to bring people together; ‘Grand Piano’ captures the songwriting process as musician and piano become one; ‘Freda People’ exemplifies his passion for using music for the benefit of mankind; and ‘Self Portrait’, perhaps Lennon’s most famous drawing, comprises just a few marks on the page but is unmistakably John. Twenty-five of each will be made, for a total edition of 100. Some of the lyrics to Imagine grace the bass side of the inner rim and the song’s opening bars adorn the cast iron plate in the belly of the piano. Each Imagine Series piano is marked as a unique work of art by a medallion that includes Lennon’s Japanese signature, as well as the series name and number. And on the treble end of the fallboard is John Lennon’s signature.


pianos

The Imagine Series Limited Edition is available in the following sizes: Model M: 5’7” (170 cm) Model O: 5’103/4” (180 cm) Model A: 6’2” (188 cm) Model B: 6’101/2” (211 cm) Model D: 8’113/4” (274 cm)

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pianos

The spirit of the age

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pianos

A new design from Steinway & Sons captures the essence of the years between the wars and brings its vibrancy and glamour back to life and bring that touch of charisma to jazz clubs and nightclubs, as well as to provide the final flourish to homes decorated in the Art Deco style. Striking metallic detailing includes the stepped motif on the legs, which is painted with reflective chrome, and the use of nickel for the piano’s hardware. Nickel is a metal that has become very popular in interior design, in fixtures and fittings, as well as furnishings and ornaments. The Art Deco piano responds to this design movement, but in addition to that Steinway has introduced a Nickel Hardware specification that enables owners to match any Steinway piano with the nickel details of their interior design. All the metal parts of your piano can be specified in nickel, including the pedals and hinges, and even the Steinway & Sons logo is nickel coloured.

In the 1920s, as the world emerged from the darkness of World War I, a style of design developed that would filter through from the art world into fashion, interior design, architecture and manufacturing. The style became known as Art Deco, short for Arts DĂŠcoratifs, and it remained in vogue for the best part of two decades. An exuberant, chic, modern style, Art Deco blossomed as a reaction to the austerity of the war years, an expression of the world moving into the modern age: glamorous, confident, practical. It appeared in everything from furniture and cars to ships and skyscrapers, and today it is redolent of those interwar years, of jazz, dances, the roaring twenties and the last vestiges of colonialism. Now Steinway & Sons has created the Art Deco piano, designed to recapture the spirit of that age All that jazz: new Steinway Art Deco piano (main and right); Nickel Hardware specification includes all metal parts, including pedals (above) and hinges

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Steinway personalities

‘I always knew I wanted a C. I loved it; the balance between bass and treble can be magical’

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Steinway personalities

Nicolas

Photography: Marco Borggreve; ArenaPAL Picture Library

Hodges Many of the world’s greats find their place after taking a well trodden path: piano lessons almost before they can walk, concert debut before the age of 10, music school, conservatory, competition victories, recordings and a jam-packed schedule. British pianist Nicolas Hodges took a less typical path to his successful career: private lessons, Cambridge, public appearances, a sabbatical to study with a serious teacher, a competition victory, and performing the music of a single composer – Elliott Carter – to cement his reputation. “I am, in a way, a very late starter in things,” he says, over the phone from a hotel in Boston, where he has played the Prokofiev Concerto No.2 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Born in London in 1970 into a musical family (his mother is a professional singer), Hodges began piano lessons at the age of five. “I had a feeling from the age of 11 or 12 that I would be a professional musician.” Whether that career was to be as a composer or a pianist was less clear. “I was composing a lot. I wrote an opera in F sharp minor, a strange key, when I was 12. I continued composing until I was in my twenties. There was always a battle between piano and composing.” After secondary school, he went to Cambridge, all the while studying the piano privately with Robert Bottone and Susan Bradshaw, and composition with Michael Finnissy and Robin Holloway. He was at Cambridge when he began playing in orchestras and recitals for the BBC. In his early twenties Hodges put a stop to performing in public for several years to study intensively with Lithuanian pianist (and founder of the London International Piano Competition) Sulamita Aronovsky. “I went back to the standard repertoire and worked through areas of it with her,” he explains. “The experience of working through that repertoire – especially Beethoven and Liszt – was hugely important for me as a musician, and for how I played then and how I play now. In a way it’s all about the breadth of reference: the more different points of reference, the richer the music becomes.” In 1996, he was a prizewinner in the Senigallia Competition in Italy, one of the few he entered.

Nicolas Hodges describes himself as a very late starter, in a way Below: working with composer Thomas Adès on a new piece at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall

“Because I had studied outside music college, this competition was confirmation I was on the right track. It was really an important milestone.” An invitation from the BBC to play the 50th birthday concert of Michael Finnissy brought him back to the stage. However, it was his meeting in 2000 with American composer Elliott Carter (who turned 102 on 11th December) that brought an even wider public. Hodges’ work with Carter on his piano concerto led to a BBC commission of a new work, Dialogues, which became something of a calling card for him since its first performance in 2004, and put him into fruitful contact with leading musicians such as Oliver Knussen, James Levine and Daniel Barenboim. Though he plays a more ‘standard’ repertoire – such as the Debussy studies and Beethoven’s Hammerklavier sonata next year – contemporary music still is vital to Hodges. He has recorded Carter’s Dialogues (Bridge Records) and performs and records music by Finnissy, John Adams, Salvatore Sciarrino and James Clarke, among others. “I’m lucky enough to work with wonderful composers who are great musicians,” he says. Hodges is something of an original himself, as his unconventional purchase, four years ago, of the Steinway Model C, now made only at the Hamburg factory, demonstrates. “I always knew I wanted a C. I played a C when I was a child in early public performances and I loved it; the balance between bass and treble can be magical.” As for pianos in concert halls, he says, “I have strong opinions in terms of response of instrument and I enjoy working with great technicians. I’ve had wonderful experiences playing pianos prepared by Michel Brandjes [who is also admired by Alfred Brendel] and Georges Ammann, the chief technician in Hamburg.” Today Nicolas Hodges lives with his American wife (a singer) and their two children in Stuttgart, where he is professor of piano at the Musikhochschule. Did he always know he would end up in Germany? Perhaps. “At 13, I demanded German lessons, the language of great music, so that I would be able to speak it!” Inge Kjemtrup

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Steinway personalities

‘The modern piano is very suitable, because it’s possible to create multiple layers of sound’

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Steinway personalities

Evgeni

Photography: Stephen Wallocha; Gela Megrelidze; Gert Mothes

Koroliov The recordings of Bach’s music made by the late Canadian pianist Glenn Gould are towering landmarks, so when a contemporary pianist is favourably compared to him by a Canadian critic, you take notice. “His performance goes well beyond anything Gould ever managed. It’s hard to imagine a more satisfying set of Goldbergs than this extraordinary live performance.” That’s John Terauds in The Toronto Star, reviewing Evgeni Koroliov’s DVD, Bach: Goldberg Variations. Another critic comparing the Russian born pianist with past greats, David Hurwitz of Classics Today, says of Koroliov’s CD The Well-Tempered Clavier Book I, “His is a performance worthy to stand beside Gould, Tureck, Schiff, Fischer, or any other competing version that you can name.” Who is this pianist who inspires such critical rhapsodies? And why is he so little known in the Anglo-American classical world? The first question is easy to answer. Evgeni Koroliov was born in Moscow in 1949. He began piano lessons at the age of seven and attended the Moscow Central Music School and Tchaikovsky Conservatory – the list of his teachers includes some of the most respected of the Soviet era: Neuhaus, Yudina, Oborin and Naumov. He won prizes at international level, such as the Leipzig Bach Competition (1968), Van Cliburn (1973) and Clara Haskil (1977). In 1976, with his wife, the pianist Ljupka Hadzigeorgieva, he left the USSR permanently, moving first to Yugoslavia and then to Germany, where he was appointed professor at the Hamburg conservatory, a job that has been a central activity in Koroliov’s life. He says simply, “I enjoy working with such talented young people.” Whether due to teaching demands, modesty or a lack of connections, Koroliov did not release his first CD until 1990. Significantly, the first was Bach: The Art of Fugue for the Tacet label. Twenty years on, his expanded Bach discography includes Clavier-Übung Parts II and III, Inventions & Sinfonias, both books of The Well-Tempered Clavier and the Goldberg Variations, which he played on 12th December 2010, in a rare solo performance at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. His feeling for Bach began when he was a

The Russian born Evgeni Koroliov is something of a hidden gem, a master of Bach, who is still being discovered across the Atlantic Above: Koriolov performing at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig

child. “One of the first pieces that I learned was the ‘Little’ Præludium in C Minor,” he recalls. “With that piece my love of Bach’s music began; a love that has lasted my entire life.” This passion was demonstrated at 17, when he gave a recital in Moscow of the entire Well-Tempered Clavier. What does he think are the important things to consider when playing Bach on a modern piano, which is, after all, not an instrument Bach knew? “With contrapuntally advanced pieces, such as the fugues, the modern piano is a very suitable instrument, because it’s possible to create multiple layers of sound. With other pieces one must be careful that one doesn’t fall too far away from the stylistic and tonal framework of the harpsichord.” Koroliov’s own piano is a “beautiful” Hamburg Steinway Model B, which he has had for eleven years. When it comes to the condition of a piano in the concert hall, he says he is “demanding but not fanatic”. Crucial is that it is lively, that “it sings and has colour”. Rather bravely, for someone so associated with Bach, Koriolov’s first Chopin album, released in 2009 on Tacet, was an all-mazurka programme. “The mazurkas are for me the most intimate and original of Chopin’s musical output, and have absorbed me the most. But I am interested in performing more of the other well known Chopin works.” He has also released a second volume of Haydn sonatas for Profil, and records (and performs) duo repertoire with his wife. In 2011, they will tour together with Helmut Rilling and his Stuttgart Bach-Collegium, to play Bach concerti for one, two, three and four pianos. And recordings? Koroliov is elusive. “It could be Beethoven’s late sonatas or perhaps the Bach partitas. I tend to decide spontaneously and at short notice.” So, with a devoted following for his concerts, a studio full of students and positive reviews for his recordings, the answer to the second question may be that Koroliov has no need for global fame. It’s the job of a serious listener to seek out his recordings to understand why critics say he is “such an interesting pianist that everything he records is usually worth hearing”. Inge Kjemtrup

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Steinway personalities

‘Each Steinway has its own character, and we as pianists should work with it as it is’

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Barry

Photography: Mark Harrison; T Martino/Lebrecht Music & Art

Douglas Steinway artist Barry Douglas’ life story has all the elements of a dramatic film. Start the camera rolling with a music mad Douglas growing up in Belfast in the 1960s and 70s, at the height of Northern Ireland’s ‘Troubles’. Follow with a series of vignettes to show his eager exploration of several instruments (cello, clarinet, organ, timpani, piano). Dwell at length on lessons at the age of 16 with legendary teacher Felicitas LeWinter that made him choose the piano. Finally, pan across a Moscow audience clapping wildly – he has won the International Tchaikovsky Competition for piano in 1986 (at 26 he was the first non-Russian to come first outright since Van Cliburn in 1958). Thrilling stuff but, as is often the case with filmic formulations, crucial scenes that shaped the mature artist will be left on the cutting room floor: among them his studies at the Royal College of Music in London with John Barstow and Schnabel pupil Maria Curcio, and in Paris with Russian pianist Yevgeny Malinin, the teacher he cites as the source of his “Russian sound” that may have swayed that Moscow jury, as he essayed the first Tchaikovsky and Brahms concertos. The story doesn’t end there, for what Douglas did next is of equal interest. He played with the world’s great orchestras, in the grand halls, building a reputation as a master of the Romantic repertoire. (Wrote International Record Review of his Rachmaninov Concertos 1 and 3 disc, “Douglas is one of those pianists with a true Rachmaninov ‘sound’: he draws out all the resonance and richness of the composer’s piano writing, with impeccably balanced chording and a superb sense of musical line…”) As Douglas played concerts across the globe, he became increasingly aware of the diaspora of Irish born classical musicians unable to make a decent living in their homeland. In 1999, he founded the Camerata Ireland, an orchestra made up of players from the country. “Ireland has produced wonderful soloists, but is not well known for orchestras,” he told Pianist magazine. “This is a way of celebrating the wealth of Irish talent.” Douglas is the Camerata’s principal conductor, directing the orchestra in concert series in Dublin,

Above: Barry Douglas at the piano – he owns two Model Bs Below: directing the Camerata Ireland orchestra, which he formed to celebrate the world class talent of his homeland

London, Paris and Madrid, and at two festivals in Castletown, County Kildare, and Clandeboye, County Down. Conducting, including stints with other orchestras, takes up half his time, though he often plays and conducts a piano concerto on TV (recently Brahms’ First with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra). “Conducting is like playing the piano – it is just another kind of instrument,” he says. “I have to know the score perfectly, just as if I’m playing the piano. I always conduct from memory so I can keep in close contact with the players and be more spontaneous.” Being spontaneous with a poorly prepared piano is another matter. Douglas, who favours a “slightly firmer action”, gets frustrated with a piano that “is uneven in tone, as this stops me from really having the freedom to express the music”. He also gets exasperated when he finds the pianist before him has tried to change the character of the instrument. “Each piano, each Steinway, has its own character, and we as pianists should work with it as is,” he remarks. His own two Steinways, Model Bs dating from the late 80s, reside in his homes in Ireland and Paris, where he lives with his wife and three children. 2011 is a busy time for Douglas, with the debut of a concerto written for him by prominent South African composer Kevin Volans; a Brahms and Schubert recording project for Chandos; and Liszt anniversary concerts, including the Liszt Second Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra on 7th January 2011 and the Clandeboye Festival (29th August-3rd September 2011), this year dedicated to “Liszt and his contemporaries”. Despite a full diary, he expects belt tightening in the arts world in the wake of the financial crisis. “I know the most important things are health, food and shelter, but the arts has a very strong role to play in a society’s wellbeing also,” he argues. Maybe time for that Hollywood biopic yet... Though he’s already appeared on the big screen, as a concert pianist in the Shirley MacLaine film Madame Sousatzka. “It took two days’ filming to make five minutes of film!” he marvels. Inge Kjemtrup

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Steinway personalities

‘Liszt cannot be faulted on his sincerity and desire to be a better man and musician’

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Steinway personalities

Leslie

Photography: Matthew Gough; BARDA Clive / ArenaPAL

Howard Ninety-nine: that’s exactly how many CDs of Franz Liszt’s piano music Dr Leslie Howard has recorded for Hyperion Records. It’s an impressive number and a testimony to Liszt’s vast output, but also to Dr Howard’s scholarly determination in finding and recording it all (you’ll find him in the Guinness World Records book under ‘largest recording project’). While most of the recordings were completed in 1999, it will only be in January 2011 that Dr Howard will release a final two-volume disc. Then in February, Hyperion will release an enormous box set of all ninety-nine CDs, marking the conclusion of what Fanfare described as “the most adventurous, most consistently realised and grandest project in recording history”. “Liszt didn’t go in for burning or throwing things away, and he sat at his desk for six hours a day, so there are sketches all around,” Dr Howard told Pianist magazine in 2008. Since 1999, he has been involved in creating a more accurate catalogue of the composer’s works (all 3,000 or so, and it’s more than just piano music). He has also edited many volumes of Liszt’s music for Editions Peters and Liszt Society Publications through the Hardie Press. During his research he became a musical detective, unearthing (sometimes piecing together) hidden treasures at the Liszt collection in Weimar, the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and the British Library; but he’s also seen Liszt manuscripts emerge briefly in auction houses, only to disappear into private collections. How did this mild mannered, Australian born pianist and musicologist find himself so immersed in Liszt? Howard gives credit (or blame) to the late founder of Hyperion Records, Ted Perry. Perry heard him play Liszt waltzes in concert, which led to a Hyperion recording of the waltzes in 1985, which in turn led to two more CDs in the 1986 centenary of Liszt’s death… “Then we were away,” says Howard. Leslie Howard was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1948 and began piano lessons as a toddler, subsequently studying with Donald Britton, June McLean and Michael Brimer and making his professional debut with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 1967. He undertook

Opposite: Guinness world record breaker Dr Leslie Howard Above: in London’s Walthamstow Town Hall in 1980 Below: Howard’s 1993 recording Liszt Transcriptions: Berlioz, Chopin, Saint-Saëns

advanced piano studies in Italy with Guido Agosti and in England with Noretta Conci, also studying composition with Franco Donatoni. Howard has made London his home since 1972, when he bought his first Steinway piano, and is a professor at the Guildhall School of Music. “I have owned a 1966 Model B since 1972 and a 1985 Model D since 1990. I made several of my Hyperion recordings on the Model D while it was still in the Steinway concert stock.” His vast recording catalogue comprises much more than Liszt. He has recorded music by Bach, Franck, Grainger, Grieg, Granados, Rachmaninov, Rubinstein, Sibelius, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, Vaughan Williams… well, you get the idea. In 2008, Howard celebrated his 60th birthday with a concert at London’s Wigmore Hall, which naturally featured Liszt – the 12 Transcendental Etudes – together with Beethoven’s Variations Op.34, which has a musical link to Liszt, and Beethoven’s six charming minuets. “I’m often asked to do all Liszt programmes and I don’t like to do that, I don’t want people to think I do only that,” he explains. Nonetheless, the awards for his Liszt advocacy kept coming: the President of Hungary presented him with the Medal of St Stephen in 2004, he received the Pro Cultura Hungarica award in 2000 and he was made a Member of the Order of Australia at the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 1999. He’ll also play lots of Liszt in the 2011 bicentenary – London concertgoers won’t want to miss his 14th January recital at Wigmore Hall, which will give a mere sampling of Liszt’s music as seen by Dr Howard. He hopes the bicentenary will encourage a more positive attitude towards the composer. “If pianists would play Liszt’s musical texts with the same respect that they show those of Beethoven, then his standing can only increase. If conductors who conduct all the people who learned from Liszt about the symphonic poem would care to perform his marvellous 13 Pieces (and his symphonies, oratorios, masses, psalms and everything else), it would be perfect.” Inge Kjemtrup

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Steinway personalities

‘Everything depends on my mood – sometimes very dark, sometimes very bright’

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Steinway personalities

Alicia

Photography: T Martinot / Lebrecht Music & Arts; Decca / Lebrecht Music & Arts; Mike Evans / Lebrecht Music & Arts

de Larrocha If the one thing everyone knows about Sergei Rachmaninov is that he had big hands, the fact Spanish pianist Alicia de Larrocha (who died in September 2009, aged 86) had small hands is almost as well known. Her petite hands (which could span a tenth due to unusually long thumbs) were not that surprising when you consider she stood less than 5ft tall; what is surprising is that she could get them around Beethoven, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, even Rachmaninov, whose First and Third Concertos she recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra and André Previn for Decca. But it was the repertoire of her homeland that gave Larrocha lasting fame. Over a long career, she championed Spanish composers such as Albéniz, Granados, Falla and Mompou. It’s arguable that without her advocacy, works like Granados’ Goyescas and Albéniz’s Iberia would not be the concert hall staples they are today. Alicia de Larrocha y de la Calle was born on 23rd May 1923 in Barcelona. Family legend has it that the two-year-old Alicia demanded piano lessons, banging her head on the floor until it bled to get her parents to yield. She took her first lessons from an aunt who had studied with Granados (her mother had also been a Granados student), and at three she began studies with another Granados pupil, the Catalan of English descent Frank Marshall. Despite this lineage, she did not explore Spanish music until she was 15; some accounts claim Marshall wanted her to focus on ‘standard’ repertoire first. Larrocha first performed in public aged five at the International Exposition in Barcelona, where she met the great Polish pianist Arthur Rubinstein, who became her idol. Extraordinarily, there is a studio recording she made at the age of nine of two Chopin pieces. Family friend Gregor Benko told the New York Times, “It is uncanny to note that this nine-year-old demonstrates all the elements of Chopin’s style – tone, colour, legato phrasing and singing line – by means of finger technique alone, since we know Alicia’s legs were barely long enough to reach the pedals.” She made her formal concert debut in Madrid at 11, playing Mozart’s Concerto No.26, ‘Coronation’.

Opposite: Alicia de Larrocha performing in 1991, aged 68 Above: de Larrocha in her youth Below: playing a Steinway at the BBC Proms in 1972

Mozart was to feature prominently in Larrocha’s repertoire throughout her life. Her playing began at a prodigious age, but she was not, in the usual sense, a prodigy, thanks to parents who didn’t push her. Also, Spain’s semiisolation during the civil war and its aftermath meant it would have been nearly impossible to launch an international career. By the time she gained serious recognition outside Spain, she was already in her thirties, but she was soon a regular in concert halls around the world, including London’s Wigmore Hall, where she first played in 1963. Her performance of Mozart’s Concerto No.23 and Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1955 and a recital that same year at New York’s Town Hall established her popularity as a soloist in the USA. As popular were collaborations with legendary Spanish sopranos Victoria de los Angeles and Montserrat Caballé. De Larrocha was no stranger to chamber music either, performing with cellist Gaspar Cassadó and with the Emerson, Guarneri and Tokyo quartets. Her final Carnegie Hall appearance in 2002 was with the Tokyo Quartet, playing Mozart’s Concerto No.12 in A major K.414. There were six curtain calls, but Larrocha gave no encores. She won four Grammys (two for different versions of Iberia) and recorded late into her career – in 1986, the Beethoven concertos with Riccardo Chailly and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. On retiring from performance in 2003, Decca released a seven disc retrospective, The Art of Alicia de Larrocha. “Everything in my personality depends on my mood – sometimes very dark, sometimes very bright and optimistic. I am a very variable person,” she told a New York Times reporter at her New York apartment in 1995. The same reporter was bemused to learn Larrocha had put several thick carpet rolls under the soundboard of her Steinway. “I do not want to disturb the neighbours,” she explained simply. Her American publicist Herbert Breslin told the Daily Telegraph, “She was not particularly glamorous, and she was rather shy. But by God she could play the piano.” Inge Kjemtrup

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travel

Calm sea As the world becomes more and more crowded and frenetic, we are increasingly looking beneath the waves for some sanctuary. A visit to one of the world’s best dive locations, such the Philippines, Seychelles or Maldives, can restore your love of life, as Simon Rogerson testifies

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travel

In many ways Maldives is the quintessential scuba diving destination. The combination of white sand islands, turquoise waters and billowing schools of tropical fish are irresistible to divers in search of the archetypal paradise scenario. It all starts with the energy of the Indian Ocean, whose currents move in and out of the atolls, the vast rings of coral islets and reefs that make up the singular topography of the Maldives archipelago. Those currents bring nutrients to stimulate the food chain. The best place to see the action is in the gaps (passes) between the atolls or the coral pinnacles that rise into the moving water, known locally as thillas. Timing is crucial – when the current is running, Maldives’ famous soft corals engorge and feed on water-borne microscopic titbits. Small fish, such as fairy basslets, venture out from their shelter in the hard coral to feed on the same plankton, while larger fish like sweetlips or the mesmeric schools of blue-lined snapper form great schools in the moving water. It’s a carnival of colour and movement, a fish spotter’s dream. There are certain marine creatures that a diver simply has to see during their stay here, and the star of the show is unquestionably the manta ray. The largest of the ray family, the manta is seldom encountered in most dive locations, but thanks to those oceanic currents, its appearance at certain reefs throughout Maldives is relatively easy to predict. To swim with a graceful animal with a wingspan of three to four metres is an awe inspiring experience, and one that typifies Maldives diving. Maldives is generally seen by divers as an ‘affordable luxury’ destination, a step on from grass roots scuba destinations, such as the Red Sea or Malta. Part of the pleasure is the feeling of remoteness, of there being nothing but you, the sand and the vastness of the ocean. Recent Left: the atolls of Maldives are teeming with marine life; Below: manta rays are the stars of the show and any opportunity to dive with them should be grasped with both hands – it is an awe inspiring experience

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TRAVEL

Romance and adventure The Seychelles has a definite air of exclusivity. The way the silken sands give way to artfully arranged blocks of granite, the ensemble topped with palm trees and lush vegetation… it’s nature’s way of saying you are somewhere special.

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Top: a school of blue-lined snapper parts around a diver Above: bigeye soldierfish shelter under a branching coral Below: longfin batfish grouping in a current off the Seychelles

The Seychelles is a realm of isolated islands, where high romance and submarine exploration go hand in hand. The general rule for divers is to get away from the main island of Mahe and find yourself a bolthole out in the blue where you can explore the reefs in between being pampered at a five-star retreat. Underwater, the scenery is often dominated by more granite blocks, which take on a life of their own, covered in encrusting corals and sponges. Between the boulders you are likely to see spiny lobsters, clams and the menacing, poisonous scorpionfish, a master of camouflage that mimics the colours of the reefs in order to ambush smaller

Photography: Simon Rogerson

years have seen the development of resorts in the lesser explored southern atolls, where tourism has started to make inroads. So what can divers expect in these new areas? Early indications suggest a profusion of fish, from the aforementioned snapper to the sleek, silver predators, such as dogtooth tuna and the thumping, thuggish giant trevally, a game fish big enough to intimidate the smaller reef sharks. The reefs themselves are a mosaic of coral and anemones, host and home to the beautiful skunk anemonefish, which lives in symbiosis with the anemone, protecting it from other fish while sheltering in the invertebrate’s stinging tentacles, to which the anemonefish is immune. While it helps to be accustomed to diving in currents, Maldives is a suitable destination for novice divers, who can hone their skills on coral pinnacles and outcrops within the protection of the atolls. Ultimately, it’s the place to go if you want to lose yourself on a coral island, surrounded by wonderful fish. There is a smattering of shipwrecks and a few sharks, but the main attraction is the pulsing life of the reefs, and the angelic rays that sweep in from the blue.


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TRAVEL

A whale shark sighting can come without warning, so keep your fins, mask and snorkel ready for that once in a lifetime swim

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TRAVEL

Photography: Simon Rogerson; 4 Corners Images

a depth of 30m, and the structure has proven a magnet for marine life. Eagle rays and grey reef sharks are often seen here, and the structure itself is home to moray eels and a shoal of snapper. For adventurers, the far off islands and reefs of the Seychelles offer encounters with sharks and immense schools of barracuda and jackfish. The atoll of Aldabra is the largest in the Indian Ocean, but its isolation is such that it is only visited by boat based expeditions. Recently, the threat of piracy has added a further deterrent to exploration in this area, so the glories of Aldabra’s pristine reefs will remain off limits to all but the most intrepid expedition divers for the foreseeable future. fry. These fish are never hostile to divers, but accidents can happen, so it’s best to use your diving skills to prevent any unwitting contact with the reef. The most famous underwater encounter in the Seychelles has to be a swim with a whale shark, the biggest fish in the sea. Despite its size (it can grow to 12m, the size of a London bus), the whale shark feeds only on the smallest creatures, using its great mouth to filter zooplankton from the water in the same manner as the baleen whale. The shark is naturally cautious, but its behaviour is characterised by occasional curiosity, and it has been known to swim peacefully around tourists. A whale shark sighting can come at any time without warning, so keep your fins, mask and snorkel ready for that once in a lifetime swim. No one really plans to use scuba gear to swim with the sharks as it is too cumbersome and impractical. That said, many Seychelles divers have been delighted when one of these gentle giants has happened to sweep past a reef, stealing attention away from even the prettiest fish. The attraction of the Seychelles’ marine scene lies in its variety. Every reef seems to have its own speciality, whether it is the sinuous, sinister leopard moray eels, the lurking lionfish or the ever popular Napoleon wrasse, a huge fish noted for its friendly nature. Beyond the reefs, the Seychelles has a number of fascinating shipwrecks, including one widely held to be a world class dive, the Ennerdale. Situated north-east of the main island of Mahe on the way to Praslin, the wreck lies in an exposed spot and is subject to some fierce currents, making it an option for experienced divers only. The ship was an auxiliary tanker of the British fleet that sank after striking an uncharted shallow reef (now listed as Ennerdale Rocks). The wreck was dispersed to prevent it becoming a hazard to shipping, but the stern section is still intact at

Opposite: luxury destination Praslin Island in the Seychelles Top left: a blackfoot anemonefish swims unharmed by the stinging tentacles of a beautiful anemone Top right: a giant frogfish Below: skittish little pixie hawkfish

Marine safari A tropical archipelago comprising more than 7,000 islands and reefs, the Philippines has a huge amount to offer divers. It lies in what marine biologists call the Golden Triangle, an area of sea

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TRAVEL

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Above: a diver swims above a ‘tree’ of soft coral in the waters of the Philippines Below: a tiny porcelain crab living in symbiosis with an anemone

Photography: Simon Rogerson

between Borneo and New Guinea, which has been proven to contain the highest diversity of marine species in the world. For divers, this means that every moment spent underwater is likely to reveal another freakish fish, another weird crab or colourful nudibranch (sea slugs with ultra-gaudy colourful patterns). Small wonder that dive centres in the Philippines tend to have a library of fish ID books to help their guests get to grips with the sheer complexity of South-East Asia’s jungle reefs. There are several established scuba destinations in the Philippines. Within easy reach of the capital of Manila is the area known as Puerto Galera, noted for its array of unusual bottom dwelling fish. Recent years have seen a fad for photographing small, unfamiliar fish that live both on reefs and in areas of sand or seagrass. At Puerto Galera you can marvel at the utterly bizarre frogfish as it sits motionless on a reef trying to look like a sponge; or you can try to find elusive little critters like the pygmy seahorse (not much bigger than a grain of rice) or the ornate ghost pipefish. It’s a journey into an alien world, a safari in miniature. Further south, the offshore reefs of Tubbataha and Apo are held up as prime examples of coral development at its most impressive. They stand in contrast to many inshore reefs, which have been destroyed by the unsustainable practice of dynamite fishing, in which coral outcrops are destroyed in order to catch only a small number

of fish. That said, there are still beautiful reefs to be found around the Visayan islands of Cebu and Bohol, though they tend to be big on coral and a little lacking in fish life. My favourite dive in this area is Cabilao Island, an achingly beautiful coral islet off Bohol, where steep walls are festooned with gorgonian fan corals. Diving along these walls is like flying along some precipitous mountain slope, and the drama is heightened by the presence of hammerhead sharks in the waters below. The Philippines also has a wealth of exciting shipwrecks. In the north there is Subic Bay, whose murky waters contain relics from the US Navy’s presence in the past. More impressive are the Japanese wrecks at Coron Bay in the south of the archipelago, scene of an aerial bombardment during the Second World War, as the Americans sought to cripple the Japanese naval machine in the wake of Pearl Harbour. These are big wrecks, but local guides have mapped them comprehensively and offer tours that take into account each diver’s skill level and include the most important features, such as weaponry and key command points. One of the most talked about aspects of Philippine diving is the discovery of a reef where deep water thresher sharks go to have the parasites pecked from their bodies by cleaner fish. The Monad Shoal near Malapascua Island has now emerged as the best place in the world to see the evasive threshers. It’s just another facet of the underwater variety that makes the Philippines a world class scuba diving destination, not to mention one of the world’s most competitively priced dive spots.


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Hi-fi

The state

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Hi-fi

of the art

High end hi-fi is in a constant state of flux, as manufacturers work obsessively to refine what is already near perfection. Terry Wilson appraises the latest products currently playing their part in providing a flawless bridge between sound source and eardrum Steinway & Sons | ISSUE two 2010

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Hi-fi

When it comes to recorded music, the biggest challenge for hi-fi manufacturers surrounds capturing the sonics of a performance fully and faithfully. For a number of reasons, the issue is most pertinent when it comes to classical music, the experience of which is diminished if not heard properly. To compound matters, it is the concert arena where the complexity of sound is often at a peak, with several instruments broadcasting on a wide variety of wavelengths, which overlap and inter-react. For top hi-fi manufacturers, however, it’s not a problem; it’s a challenge, and one they enjoy rising to. To recreate the sound stage of a recorded performance, minute signals need to be amplified, sent through processors and cables, and forwarded to speaker units. There are numerous steps in the process, each of which is as critical as the next. Since stereo became a fixture of the standard home as recently as the 1970s, an extraordinary degree of technical refinement has taken place, although the term ‘refinement’ scarcely does justice to the ingenuity displayed by the more adventurous manufacturers. In fact, the sector is characterised by a high degree of specialisation, whereby designers focus ever more intently on particular elements of the process, giving rise to extraordinary inventions that range from wall-mounted audio diffusers – abstract looking sculptures that modify sound waves – to speaker units fabricated entirely of glass. What is the driving force behind this? Commerce, undoubtedly; hi-fi manufacturers are businesses after all. But speak to those engaged in the art, those designing the stuff, and

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Opening page: Greensound Technology glass speakers add more than a touch of style to the modern living environment Above: CTH-8550 integrated amplifier from the mutiple award winning DarTZeel Below: Spemot Soulution 740 CD player, winner of the prestigious Red Dot design award

something else reveals itself. There is, among the industry’s highest achievers, a genuine striving for perfection which invariably transcends the bottom dollar. “Our passion drove us to spend sixteen years researching and developing every possible aspect of a new audio circuit, embodied in a new amplification approach... sixteen years on one design.” These are the words of Swiss manufacturer DarTZeel Audio, creator and engineer of top end amplifiers for the domestic market. Such devotion to the cause might seem obsessive to the outsider, but DarTZeel is illustrative of the dedication found across the sector, and has long been recognised as exceptional, with a string of industry awards behind it. Like its peers, DarTZeel doesn’t merely ‘do hi-fi’; it devotes its whole effort to the perfection of particular units within the broader hi-fi network. It is curious to find such a degree of specialism within a technological field that is so dependent on symbiosis: an amplifier, no matter how exceptional, cannot deliver the goods in isolation. It needs an input source, and CD is the predominant medium on which classical music is now marketed, with digitised signals polished and clean, free from superfluous noise and virtually immune to deterioration through age. The demands of classical music, even more so than in popular recordings, have lent themselves to the format in the past two decades. If one is to truly experience the slow, sombre piano strikes of a Beethoven coda or the orchestral thrills of a Holst, then clarity and precision are essential and manufacturer of top end CD players, Spemot AG, has met the brief. “The ideal CD player reproduces all music data available on a CD correctly – bit for bit. It may not lose any data nor alter them in any way. This is only possible with a state of the art CD drive, as well as with top notch digital circuitry and DA-Converters, a fast and powerful output stage.” Spemot’s creations include the beautifully crafted Soulution 740, which has won many accolades, including the prestigious Red Dot design award to honour outstanding quality and innovation. For some, CD, and digital reproduction more generally, have provided the benchmark for sound recordings, a state of the art for the modern consumer. But this should be balanced by the ongoing interest in analogue, which, despite the march of digital, refuses to be superseded. The fact is, some listeners make choices according to subjective criteria, preferring the warm clarity of analogue signals, which is to say, vinyl records. There are vinyl connoisseurs who insist that a


Hi-fi

well recorded and well pressed LP is still capable of trumping a CD, and although the great bulk of new classical recordings are rendered in the digital format from source, many of the classics are still being reissued as records. Of course, there is a hi-fi sector to support this preference. DaVinci Audio Labs of Bern, Switzerland, produces some of the most audibly and visually pleasing record decks ever made, its In Unison Mk 2 perfectly crafted in every detail, from magnetic bearings to specially designed adjustable feet. The company’s ethos – “The sound reproduction quality is more than a kind of art: it shows the inner beauty of music and delivers the feeling of a life concert” – is something of which one can’t help thinking Leonardo himself would have approved. Analogue systems work on different technical principles to digital, and the two spheres each have their particular specialities. Hi-fi systems demand close attention to compatibility between components, which transcends mere functionality. Connecting the parts correctly is key, and while

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Above and inset: the beautifully crafted In Unison Mk 2 turntable from DaVinci Audio Labs Below: Emotion XLR cables from Kubala-Sosna, designed to pass nearly perfect square waves

a signal can travel down almost any piece of wire to some extent, the quest for pure fidelity has seen the hi-fi cable rigorously developed to meet the requirements of both digital and analogue signals. In nearly all its ranges, leading cable manufacturer Kubala-Sosna has crafted highly technical digital and analogue variants, incorporating its patent OptimiZ architecture. For digital signals, it claims true superiority over other cables. “The real difference is our ability to pass nearly perfect square waves in spite of load changes at either or both ends of the cable. No other cable we tested did that.” The hi-fi cable, low-profile but vital, is the final path a recording takes before it is regenerated into sound waves – the process’s grand finale. Having expended so much ingenuity on getting the signal through untarnished, a speaker needs to be capable of simulating everything from the rich timbres of a double bass to the gossamer tinkling of bells, in itself no mean feat. When the speaker comes into play, we encounter that area of hi-fi that is the most diverse and has given rise to the


Hi-fi

most striking innovations, few of which generate as many astonished looks as the transparent structures of Greensound Technology. In a radical departure from the usual approach, Greensound has created unique hi-fi speakers that are engineered almost completely from glass, and which it boasts “provide an unmatched harmony of consistent high quality tone, everlasting performance, and elegant design”. The units are further enhanced by the inclusion of internal lights, so that the speakers glow in a variety of colours, but Greensound’s speakers, close to modern art sculpture, would be far less viable were they not also capable of performing to an exceptional audio standard. Speakers, due to their prominent role, have to look the part, and the fine art angle on design and concept is widely pursued. If the name Dali reminds us of one of Spain’s most iconic painters, it is also the moniker of one of Denmark’s most prestigious speaker manufacturers, which focuses extensively on the pure theory of what a speaker should do. Dali’s design precepts are based on the perfection of the audio experience. In its own words, “Any distortion or coloration of the original signal by drivers or enclosures is by definition degradation of the sound. Dali loudspeakers are designed in accordance with our fundamental acoustic and electro-acoustic principles, which together bring you even closer to the full impact of a live music experience” –‘live’ in this sense

Above: Dali Fazon Sat speakers blend in to the white interior, but more important is their unblemished sound reproduction Below: illuminated glass speakers from Greensound Technology take the art into a new realm

not necessarily meaning the concert hall so much as ‘in the flesh’. Working along similar lines is German company Isophon, creator of a range of refined, minimalist speakers for both hi-fi and home cinema. One of its specialities is the award winning Arabba loudspeaker, which incorporates “a sophisticated room equalization system” via an electronic circuit. The point is to shape the outgoing sound waves to compensate for the acoustic characteristics of the listening space, frequently smaller and more spatially cluttered than the recording studio or concert arena where they were first captured. As one would expect, the craftsmanship is exceptional, with the highest quality electronic components in play. “Silver/ oil filled foil capacitors, foil inductors, air core inductors for lowest distortion, transformer like inductors, WBT terminal connectors… You see that the Arabba is in all details one of the most sophisticated speakers in the world.” Isophon may claim to have completed the circle, its technology ensuring that the sound is delivered to the ear as authentically as possible, but where the issue at stake is flawlessness, there can never be a resting point. Engineers continue to grapple with acoustics from a variety of theoretical positions, in an attempt to resolve the effects of sound waves bouncing and reflecting off walls and ceilings. A radical alternative is to modify the characteristics of the space itself, and while the majority would stop short of knocking down walls and rebuilding their living rooms – as a few diehards have done – there is scope for manipulating the way in which the sound behaves. One of the most successful, not to mention

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Hi-fi

stylish efforts in this respect is the Sonic Diffuser, brainchild of Thomas Labusga. Operating out of Marburg in Germany, Thomas Labusga has come up with stunning acoustic sculptures consisting of huge, hand crafted, wall mounted forms whose natural curves are intricately shaped to reflect sound waves uniformly. It sounds intriguing, but what does this mean in practice? Thomas Labusga describes the invention as “the key element for creating perfect room acoustics… appearing as a sculpture in modern art, it is possible for the first time to integrate the world’s finest acoustic device in all kinds of luxurious environments.” Labusga’s ingenious creation commands attention, being as effective visually as it is in performance. However, there are less esoteric ways of addressing the sound wave issue, one of which is to circumvent it by placing speaker directly against ear, which is to say, by using headphones. Modern headphone units are capable of exceptional performance, with no risk of external architecture affecting their sound, while the development of wireless technology has provided for phones without connecting cables. Harman International Industries’ range of high class headphones under the AKG brand are among the world’s best, and include wireless models with advanced Kleer wireless technology to stream lossless, CD quality audio, which it

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Above: Thomas Labusga’s Sonic Diffuser lends style to the art of acoustics in any environment Below: Quincy Jones Signature headphones (green) and wireless phones from AKG

says “delivers pure, uncompressed 16-bit stereo audio” via a radio link. These are among several models from AKG, which also include the company’s Quincy Jones Signature headphones, endorsed by and named after the producer of the world’s biggest selling recorded album, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, who says of them, “The best quality sound I’ve heard in headphones, ever,” a glowing endorsement of just how impressive these units are. The unceasing quest for perfection has given rise to an array of technically advanced products bridging the gap from kettle drum to eardrum, and these, when performing in unison, can, like the concert orchestra itself, truly dazzle the human senses.


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Fashion

How does it feel? There’s nothing quite like wearing a one-off high fashion outfit to make a girl feel like a million dollars, especially when the dress is worth that much in gold. Francesca Twinn looks on bedazzled at the recent examples of fashion fit for a princess

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Fashion

Photography: Courtesy of Danasha Luxury; Stephen Wong; Corbis

Over the past decade the world of high fashion has literally flashed before our eyes. A dazzling procession of intricately detailed and jewel adorned dresses, tagged with equally jaw-dropping prices, has swept across the fashion pages, then just as quickly swept away to be guarded under lock and key. What are these dresses? And what value do they bring to the fashion world? Making its fabulously unashamed debut in 2009, seemingly oblivious to any possible economic troubles, came ‘the world’s most expensive dress’. The ‘Nightingale of Kuala Lumpur’ silk gown by Malaysian designer Faisol Abdullah was priced at $30million, a tag justified as “value for money”, in the words of Abdullah, by the 751 diamonds with which the dress is decorated. “Stocks drop, gold is even falling but a diamond is forever,” the designer told Reuters. “This is a dress with diamonds. Why go backwards? Why can’t we go forwards?” Abdullah is not alone with his faith in diamonds. In spring 2010, another dress dripping in glamour, glitter and gold made its debut at the Miami International Fashion Week. Priced at $1.5m, the Danasha Luxury Gown is trimmed with more than 1,500 Belgian diamonds, handset in some 500g of 18ct gold. It was created for the Danasha jewellery brand by fast rising Lebanese designer Jad Ghandour and earned him the Excellence in Eveningwear Award at Miami. Back in 2006, American jewellery designer Martin Katz and designer Renée Strauss created their own $12m wedding gown. Here came the bride all dressed in 150ct of white diamonds. The following year Japanese designer Yumi Katsura, renowned for her wedding gowns, unveiled an $8.5m creation glittering

Opposite: Danasha luxury gown, trimmed with Belgian diamonds Right: Faisol Abdullah’s diamond bespeckled silk gown, Nightingale of Kuala Lumpur Bottom: a $1.2million dress and two jackets decorated with Austrian gold coins are modelled at Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo

with 1,000 pearls and a rare diamond – one of only two of its kind in the world. But maybe diamonds aren’t your thing? In Japan in 2007, 1,500 Austrian gold coins gleamed from a $1.2m dress and two jackets on the runway of Tokyo’s Bunka Fashion College. And in 2009, eight Chinese factory workers in Nanjing spent forty days sewing 2,009 peacock feathers to make a $1.5m wedding dress for one blushing bride. If fashion is a statement, what are these dresses trying to say? “Money is no object”? Or perhaps, “Money is the sole object.” In 2010, British fashion student Hannah Cooper took the concept to its blatant conclusion, unveiling a dress resplendent with £1m in £20 notes printed on pieces of silver

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Photography: Courtesy of StĂŠphane Rolland Haute Couture

Haute couture dresses are unique and exclusive, often the expression of the real exceptional Parisian savoir faire

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Photography: Corbis

Fashion

silk. The idea came to her after her parents won £2.5m on the UK national lottery and suddenly people seemed to talk about nothing else. Is the fashion for these ultra-extravagant gowns about feeling a million dollars or is it about getting noticed? Or do the two go hand in hand? When talking about high value dresses, Marc Feldman, President of the World Fashion Council, dismisses the gem encrusted gowns and the lavish bridalwear. “The first are merely expensive jewellery display cases and the second the entry point for a diamond studded future.” True value, he asserts, is created in the design houses of Chanel, Gaultier and Dior, where it’s not only the materials and detail but the priceless skills and experience of the couturiers that give a dress its worth. It’s from these Haute Couture houses of Paris, and from Milan, he says, that the most ‘valuable’ dresses are born. Stéphane Rolland, one of the few official members of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, agrees. “Haute Couture dresses are unique and exclusive pieces, often the expression of the real exceptional Parisian savoir faire. Haute Couture is the diamond on the crown. “I don’t want to disappoint the readers, but I’ve never done a $1m Haute Couture dress. I’ve done many $400,000 exceptional ones, and not for promotional or charity events. But the price doesn’t always justify the creativity. The most spectacular are wedding dresses or special orders for Henna ceremonies in the Middle East. One of the most recent was a real piece of art, embroidered with 25,000 pieces of Plexiglas, inspired by the work of the new trendy architect Daniel Widrig. “My creations are mostly inspired by Modern Art, and Zaha Hadid and Anish Kapoor are two of my mentors. You can feel it in the way I drape my dresses in gazar, my favourite material.” Feldman takes up the theme. “Each dress shown by a couture house in the Paris Couture Fashion Week is a one-of-a-kind, handmade dress. Each requires hundreds of hours of hand labour – and not just any hand labour, but the hand labour of a very, very small, exclusive group of highly skilled masters, who have learned and practised their craft over a lifetime. Their knowledge can be thought of as representing accumulated knowledge over generation upon generation of masters, who have personally selected who to pass on their knowledge and artistry to; everything from the smallest stitch to the thread used to make that stitch. The fabrics also come from an equally distinguished and rarefied origin. The fabrics are perfect in every way, from weave to sheen, weight to feel, flow

Opposite: a Stéphane Rolland creation from his spring-summer 2010 collection Above: bejewelled splendour from Dior, autumn-winter 1997 Below: understated glitz from Basil Soda, spring-summer 2010

and movement.” So it’s the making of the dress itself, rather than any ostentatious adornments, that gives it its unique, priceless appeal. “It is not untypical to see the addition of exotic materials, from rare feathers to rare stones,” says Feldman, “but importantly, rare stones are not added to impress, they are essential to the entire design aesthetic. “These are not merely dresses, they are the height of culture, events in themselves. If not worn to the most important backroom, front-row, luxury box or onstage events, these dresses would be receiving the highest quality curatorial care the world’s best museums could offer.” Just how does one get to wear one of these masterpieces? Well, that’s all part of the appeal. The thrill of wearing a one-off dress goes hand in hand with the ego boosting realisation that you are one of the privileged few: a top model,

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Above and below: modern luxury from Elie Saab and Franck Sorbier fall-winter 2010-11 Below right: Marilyn Monroe sings ‘Happy Birthday Mr President’ in that dress at Madison Square Garden, New York, 1962

Photography: Corbis

a star actress, a VIP client of one of the ateliers. Model Lauren Budd, who recently became the face of Lavazza, knows the feeling. “For the 2009 Elle Style Awards, [British designer] Giles Deacon made me a gorgeous silver and baby pink corset dress. Wearing a one-of-a-kind dress made me feel glamorous and unique.” What we’re talking about here is nothing short of a work of art. Imagine being given a Michelangelo to hang on your wall for a day. Celebrity make-up and hair artist Michael Ashton has seen many of these rare treasures set free for the camera. “Working with celebrities, we are often shooting couture gowns pulled from designer archives, which never went onto the shop floor but have been stored for reference or red carpet occasions. These are actually priceless, as they would never be available to purchase. That is what makes them even more exquisite and desirable.” Occasionally these masterpieces appear at auction, and then their value can be quantified. Pat Frost, director and specialist head of textiles and costumes at Christie’s, says, “The perfect item for auction, in terms of price, would be a one-off gown made by a highly regarded designer at the peak of their career, or perhaps when they were an unknown, worn and owned by a top celebrity, with photographic evidence of the event. Big names and provenance are key, with pictures of a starlet wearing the item assisting in bringing the piece to life in the eyes of the bidders.”

A classic example is the dress Marilyn Monroe wore to sing Happy Birthday to President Kennedy. “The dress is so iconic, as is Monroe,” says Frost, “and the occasion is so well known and well documented around the world.” No surprise then that it became the most expensive dress ever sold at Christie’s when it fetched $1,267,500 at the New York auction house in 1999. A cynic might question the values of a fashion industry that creates masterpieces to be seen once, like mayflies, then locked away behind closed doors. But Marc Feldman argues that the value of these dresses goes way beyond their price. “Not only is each of these couture dresses a bargain at a million dollars, since they are, in fact, priceless and non-repeatable, but it is these one-ofa-kind designs that drive the entire global fashion and clothing economy with every item, even the most expensive. Each of these dresses provides its fashion DNA to the entire global fashion economy and can be seen on the streets from Tokyo to New York, and on the silver screen from Hollywood to Bollywood.” Ashton adds, “The million dollar look has to be pulled together with elegant styling and natural poise.” We can rest assured, therefore, that in order to feel a million dollars you don’t have to literally wear it. The true value of a dress is not determined by its price. According to Stéphane Rolland, only one thing decides what makes a true million dollar look: “The husband!”


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Jewellery

You wear it well “Oh no! I spent so much time putting on my jewellery that I forgot my underwear,” said a New York accent from behind the bathroom door in a château just outside Paris, where a glamorous soirée was in full swing. A few minutes later she emerged to reveal the full glory of her stunning, ankle length, ivory couture sheath dress and a mesmerising shimmering of diamonds. One look at her brilliant ensemble and you could easily understand why other details may have slipped her mind. Vintage diamond bracelets twinkled from wrist to elbow. A fabulous ‘zipper necklace’ with diamond teeth sparkled around her neck. At the end of the necklace, diamond briolettes in a tassle the size of grandpa’s shaving brush dangled jauntily. I mention this anecdote about our New York friend as it shows that having a magnificent dress is just not enough, and the business of choosing the right jewellery is not to be taken lightly. Just as there is haute couture, there is also haute joaillerie. Like their clothing equivalent, these creations are the pinnacle of their craft and available but to the very few. “You have to be wearing serious one-off high jewellery with a unique one-off dress,” advises

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Above: actress Evan Rachel Wood feeling a million dollars at the 2009 Academy Awards Below: a flamboyant jewel encrusted ring from Chopard

London jewellery PR Joan Rolls, who has dressed many a star in fabulous jewellery. But there are rules, or at least guidelines, about how to team up that million dollar dress with jewels, watches and, of course, a clutch. “You have got to be so careful,” says Rolls. “Always err on the side of elegance rather than being like a Christmas tree. Sometimes just an armful of diamond bracelets can be very chic.” Divas take note: if a dress is covered in sequins you should avoid large quantities of diamonds; high necklines favour fabulous earrings, while a low neckline is ideal for a necklace and bracelet – but don’t wear it all at once. “It is just scary to see someone wearing earrings, a necklace and a bracelet,” says Rolls. Likewise Jessica Walsh, fashion, jewellery and watch editor at Tatler magazine, remarks, “It is about balance. The couture clothing and jewellery should not fight against each other, but enhance and complement one another.” So how do you go about finding that perfect necklace for that perfect dress? Haute joaillerie has a gravitas beyond the shifting sands of fashion but it is still subject to trends. Increasingly evident is that comfort and wearability are becoming crucial.

Photography: Reuters; Courtesy of Chopard

If you’re going to spend millions on a dress, you need to make sure that your accessories measure up. Maria Doulton picks out the latest jewellery, watches and handbags for ladies with expensive tastes


Jewellery

Photography: Judith Lieber at Couturelab; Courtesy of Van Cleef & Arpels; Eyevine; Nick Welsh, Cartier Collection

Unlike regalia of yore, today much high jewellery looks like you could slip it on and skip down the Champs-Élysées on a summer’s day. This increased wearability is due to two things: the first is clever and painstaking construction, using techniques that vie with the Eiffel Tower for engineering complexity. Miniature hinges, articulations and hidden supports allow maximum movement and sit lightly on the body. The second is a heightened interest in unusual stones and often in unexpected colours, such as soft grey or powder green sapphires or burnt orange topaz or the vivid tableau of opals. Meanwhile, the penchant for gobstopper-sized solitaire diamonds is on the wane, and more original and thoughtprovoking combinations of stones are in vogue. Think of jewellery like music, the notes are all there but they are singing a different tune. Shaking up the traditional hierarchy of high jewellery, rough chrysoberyl beads, morganites, spinels or the sunset pinky orange padparadscha variety rub shoulders with diamonds, pearls and emeralds. A good example of daring combinations of stones can be seen chez Cartier, where a white opal shot through with a neon burns moodily alongside purple sapphires and a shimmering cascade of diamonds. My favourites are the fruity hues of padparadscha and peach coloured sapphires surrounded by swirls of diamonds, and all held on the neck by a thick rope of dozens of strands of miniature natural pearls the colour of baby’s fingernails. Or take the famous 1948 Maharajah of Patiala’s necklace, Cartier’s largest single commission. Today Cartier has given this famous design a new twist, and though it strings up a hefty 50ct yellow Top: Van Cleef & Arpels earrings Top right: Wild Cat and Zebra clutch bags from Judith Lieber Above: chic feather brooch from the Plumes de Chanel collection Left: the ceremonial necklace of the Maharaja of Patiala, given a new twist by Cartier in 2002

diamond, the necklace has been engineered to leave you feeling at ease and not on parade, as the diamonds are singing a more laid back tune. “The glamour of both haute couture and fine jewellery go hand in hand,” says Chopard co-President, Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele. “Whilst jewels used to be much more traditional and uni-coloured for big events, mainly designed and set with diamonds, more and more colourful precious and semi-precious gemstones have made an appearance in the past few years. “Sometimes mixing and matching can be fun and liven up an outfit, but it needs to be styled carefully. For instance, a beautiful evening gown does not always need a serious dramatic piece of high jewellery. It is important, though, to dress the celebrities in jewels and gowns that suit their style and personality best.” Coco Chanel knew how to mix couture and diamonds, and in 1932 she hosted the opulent Bijoux de Diamants exhibition in Paris. The high value of the pieces raised a few eyebrows in this time of deep financial crisis. Though the jewels were dismantled, what remained was Chanel’s fresh way to sport the aristocracy’s favourite stone. And from the 2010 Plumes de Chanel high jewellery collection, I can think of nothing more chic to wear with that very special dress than the replica of the original 1932 feather brooch. About the size of your hand, the diamond feather is, dare I say, as light as a feather, and is articulated so you can wear it draped over a shoulder, at the hip or even in the hair like a tiara. If it’s va-va-voom you’re after to spice up an outfit, then Victoire de Castellane’s jewellery at Dior is the place to go. From the Coffret de Victoria collection, the outsized ring sets an intriguing scene. Inspired by Bollywood, a bright green enamel and diamond snake slithers over sky blue turquoise stones set off by spangled, glossy red lacquer to reach a bulging pomegranate. If there was one piece I’d take from Harry

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Winston’s new collection it wouldn’t be the 69ct intense yellow diamond ring at over $10million, but the pink sapphire, spinel and diamond earrings – so original they will keep everyone guessing just what those stones are. Van Cleef & Arpels is a must for highly creative high jewellery. The White Nile necklace is the one for me. Sapphires, green tsavorites, spessartites, demantoid garnets, diamonds and emeralds paint a hazy early morning view of the Nile as seen from a balloon. Gübelin of Switzerland is renowned amongst cognoscenti not only for its expertise in gemstones, but also for its exquisitely crafted jewellery and watches. Created in an atelier run by the fifth generation of the founder’s family, the most recent addition to its signature jewellery is in its Madagascar collection. The bracelet, necklace and clip earrings are either made in 18 carat white and yellow gold or set in white gold with fine brilliant-cut diamonds. Madagascar’s sleek oval shape and fresh, light appearance lend it a slinky suppleness that evokes grace and youthfulness.The signature collection is one of several by Gübelin, whose designers and craftsmen create exclusive, sensual and elegant new jewellery on a regular basis. The firm also makes designs to order and specialises in restoring existing pieces to their original splendour. Top-end watch brands offer bejewelled timekeepers fit for top tier evening gowns, the most exciting designs at the big houses with the workshops and the gem setting and horological know-how to push out the boat. Boucheron, Bulgari, Cartier, Chanel, Chopard, De Grisogono, Gübelin, Hermès, Patek Philippe, Piaget and Van Cleef & Arpels, as well as diamond expert Backes & Strauss are some of the names to look at. Though

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Above left: Madagascar bracelet and clip earrings by Gübelin Above right: Chopard watch with elaborate diamond monkey Below: Bea Valdes ‘Zephyr’ necklace with metallic beads Bottom: black and gold evening bag from Lotus Arts de Vivre

it is difficult to fit large stones onto a watch, the quality of the settings and minute attention to detail take horology well into the night. Just one watch will do in the place of a necklace and bracelet, particularly if it is Cartier’s spinel extravaganza. Rows of spinel beads form a thick swag of crimson around the wrist that lead to a carved spinel framed by a ribbon-like flourish of diamonds. Flip up the stone and underneath is a little dial. Finally, what bag to wear with the dress, jewels and watch? Traditionally it would be a minaudière – a small, precious metal, rectangular box lavishly decorated with gems – a style that became fashionable in the 1920s. Often the ornate fastening could be detached to form a brooch or belt buckle. Minaudières are linked to Van Cleef & Arpels because Estelle Arpels, wife of founder Alfred Van Cleef, was known to ‘minauder’ (make coquette faces). Pretty Kiki, as she was known, was the source of the minaudière’s name. The minaudière brand name is still the exclusive property of Van Cleef & Arpels. The original minaudière was a series of concealed miniature compartments that held everything a sophisticated woman would need: make-up, a retractable watch, a tube of lipstick, a cigarette holder, a lorgnette, opera glasses, a tortoiseshell comb, a powder case, a lighter, a pillbox, a box of candies. Van Cleef & Arpels still produces these bijou bejewelled boxes in gold, set with precious stones. Other options would be the Judith Leiber brand, which has a range of sparkling, shaped little clutches. Choose a pink heart to add a touch of romance to your look, or go for an exotic Bea Valdes stone encrusted pouch. Lotus Arts de Vivre is another name for boho chic evening bags, while Swarovski clutches add extra razzle-dazzle to your outfit. So as you prepare for that special night, don’t let one detail slip your mind in order to create the perfect ensemble. www.beavaldes.com www.cartier.com www.chanel.com www.diorjoaillerie.com www.guebelin.ch www.harrywinston.com www.judithleiber.com www.laputri.com www.lotusartsdevivre.com www.swarovski.com www.thejewelleryeditor.com www.vancleef-arpels.com

Photography: Courtesy of Gübelin; Courtesy of Chopard; Bea Valdes for Couturelab; Courtesy of Lotus Arts de Vivre

Jewellery


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W

Wine

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t a

r a e y a Great Bordeaux vintages are becoming ever more frequent, with 2009 hailed as the best ever. So if warmer summers and improved techniques are doing all this for Bordeaux, can we expect similar results from the rest of the world? Peter McCombie MW mulls it over

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Wine

Photography: Cephas; Corbis

Bordeaux vintages have a huge impact on our impression of vintages worldwide. Yet a moment’s reflection will show how ludicrous it is that all of us – even wine professionals – can be swayed by the maelstrom of hype and headlines that surrounds any half decent Bordeaux vintage. Like Bordeaux, many of our most famous wine regions have variable climates, so vintage quality is variable. Unfortunately they are not always variable at the same time in the same way. The notion of what makes a top vintage has, to some extent, changed. We used to talk about ripeness – the best wines come from healthy, ripe grapes. Now that we know that sugar ripeness is not enough, we also look for physiological ripeness. The old clichéd view pictures the winemaker measuring sugar in grape juice using a refractometer. Nowadays a variety of metrics are used, but one key variable is ‘taste’. Today’s best winemakers sample grapes, seeking ripe flavour precursors – in other words, flavours that may not be present in the finished wine, but which, when found, give clues as to what flavours can be expected in the finished wine. To complicate matters further, not everyone agrees on exactly what we are looking for. What might very broadly be called a European palate looks for freshness and elegance, whereas an American palate will stereotypically be in search of power and concentration. In reality it isn’t that clear cut, and critics agree more often than they disagree, but typically Europeans are less keen on, for example, the warmer Californian vintages

Opposite: glasses of Chateau Petit-Village Pomerol 2009 Above: cellared bottles of vintage Bordeaux ageing nicely Below: harvesting Pinot noir for Domaine Comte Senard winery

lauded by American critics, preferring those that are cooler (but not cold). Or consider, by way of another example, the 2003 Bordeaux. America’s most influential critic Robert M Parker Jr is popularly thought to rate the vintage highly, whereas Europeans thought it too hot. But Parker was at pains to point out that, “While there is always a tendency by consumers as well as the wine trade to look at a vintage in black and white terms, 2003 is a year of extraordinary subtleties… there is no one style of 2003 Bordeaux that characterises the vintage.” That is also the downside of relying on a vintage rating for an entire region. Inevitably some producers will always make better wine, but in some vintages some of them perform better or worse than the norm. This may be because of localised weather or sheer hard work, but a relatively poor vintage rating should not override the evidence of our own palate. Often the producer’s name on the label can be a more reliable guide than the vintage alone. Of course, any vintage rating must be related to end use. If we are buying wines for our own drinking pleasure we will regard a vintage rating differently, depending on whether we plan to drink the wine soon or cellar it. Indeed, if investment potential is not an issue, we are free to largely ignore the vintage ratings and trust our own judgment. Nevertheless, outside of Bordeaux, the 2009 vintage did have plenty to offer. France in general saw very good growing conditions, with wine producers all the way from Hugel & Fils in Alsace to Domaine Pichard right down near the Spanish border reporting all the signs of a great year. In many cases the wines are not yet bottled so judgements now remain tentative. Burgundy Leading Burgundian expert Clive Coates MW’s early report on the vintage revealed, “It is already clear that 2009 has followed the general run of ‘9’ vintages and is very good indeed. It is still too early to make definitive assessments, but a simple look at the weather conditions and the state of the fruit as it was being collected moves me to put 2009 up with 2005 and 1999 as the very best of the last twenty-five years. It is also quite plentiful, as was 1999.” Question marks remain, perhaps, about levels of alcohol (high) and acidity (low). It may turn out to be, as Coates suggests, like 1985, when some wines were early maturing and others were long-term keepers. Watch out for these wines early in 2011 when they will start to be released.

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Beaujolais Less glamorous than mainstream Burgundy and, of course, made from Gamay rather than the more aristocratic Pinot Noir, Beaujolais can be appreciated for its sheer drinkability. 2009 was a truly excellent vintage in Beaujolais, so look out for the Cru wines, which sadly don’t say Beaujolais on the label but the name of a village or cru, such as Brouilly or Morgon. Most of the 2009s are absolutely delicious and should be bought now for immediate drinking and short-term cellaring. Here again the producer’s name on the label matters. Top left: harvesting Gamay grapes in Beaujolais Top right; Heitz Wine Cellars vineyard, California, in autumn Above: poppies in the vineyard at Ribera del Duero, Spain Below left: farmhouse and chapel at Trentino Alto Adige, Italy Below right: sparkling wine vats at Ribera del Duero

Spain 2009 looks promising across the board in Spain, with local consejos (regulatory bodies) rating it as “excellent” in Ribera del Duero and “very good” in Rioja for the fourth year in a row. Spain remains a source of reliably big-hearted reds, but increasingly is turning out fresh, delicious whites, the best of which can be age worthy. USA Throughout the California growing regions, winemakers were pleased with 2009. “It was a ‘one in ten year’ kind of harvest,” said Joe Norman, assistant winemaker at the iconic Heitz Wine

Photography: Cephas; Photolibrary; Fernando Fernández / WENAEWE

Italy As elsewhere, it is hard to generalise about a vintage across Italy; a long, narrow country with lots of mountains means varied terroirs and varied wines. Nevertheless, 2009 saw a fairly hot and dry summer – the hottest since 2003 – across the land, so wines can be expected to be full-bodied

and rich. Growers are mostly positive if not wildly enthusiastic. Whites and some reds for current drinking should be worth it. It is mostly too early to make judgements about the heavyweights, although the Brunello Consorzio already rates 2009 as four star (“optimal”).

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Cellars in Napa Valley. “The fruit came in without a rush, ripening slowly and showing good fruit quality. All the sensitive grapes were in before the October rain.” Gary Eberle of Eberle Winery in Paso Robles is also pleased with the 2009 vintage. “We do make reserve wines when we have a special vintage, but we never make a determination for more than a year after harvest,” he said. “This year we are already talking about making a reserve.” In Oregon, growers reported plentiful yields in some areas and the potential for a high quality vintage. A warm and dry harvest period gave way to cooler than expected conditions in late September and early October, but fortunately the majority of the fruit throughout the state was at or near its ripening plateau, according to Dr Greg Jones, a climatologist at Southern Oregon University. A final heat spike at harvest dehydrated many clusters, reducing yields and concentrating flavours. Extended hang time was reported across the state, as growers and winemakers waited for optimal flavour development and ripeness to counter slightly elevated sugar levels. The wines are likely to be forward so will make a great alternative while the red Burgundies mature.

Photography: Dru Reschke, Koonara Wines; Cephas; Kevin Judd

Australia In a country as big as Australia it is difficult to generalise about vintages. South Australia was hot, meaning lower yields and great concentration, but early opinion is mixed on quality, with some growers very enthusiastic. Coonawarra and Clare Valley are looking good. To the east, Victoria suffered with extreme heat and bush fires, so reds in particular are variable, but Margaret River in Western Australia had a cooler vintage with considerable quality potential.

Above: Balnaves of Coonawarra Below: a huaso in a Pinot vineyard in Casablanca, Chile Bottom: Dog Point Vineyard in Marlborough, New Zealand

stronger coastal influence, often white varieties did better. It was a good year for Chardonnay from cooler sites in Casablanca and a particularly good vintage for Pinot Noir and Syrah. The best Sauvignon Blanc wines will come from vineyards where yields were restrained. Where the cooling influence of the Pacific was stronger, notably San Antonio Valley – including Leyda and both Elqui and Limarí Valleys – whites did particularly well. New Zealand New Zealand wine production is dominated by one region, Marlborough, and one grape, Sauvignon Blanc, which set the tone for the whole country. 2009 was a very good vintage for both, but all but the most ambitious will now be sold. Do look out for top bottlings like Dog Point Section 94. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Marlborough and elsewhere will also offer immediate pleasure, although the more complex examples, along with Syrah, will benefit from a few years of cellaring.

Argentina Frost damage reduced overall volumes in 2009 but it was otherwise a near perfect vintage in Argentina, with a long, warm and dry growing season without heat spikes but with good levels of temperature variation. The resulting wines are deeply coloured, elegant yet ripe, enjoying particular freshness due to the higher levels of natural acidity. These well balanced 2009s may well match the outstanding 2006s. The best reds will undoubtedly reward cellaring. Chile With plenty of heat and not much rain it was generally an abundant vintage in Chile. In the warmer Central Valley areas, the warmth suited late ripening reds better, but where there was

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Going loco If you want to see the crazy variety of Europe’s many cultures in stark definition, don’t fly over it, take the train through it. Chris Maillard climbed aboard the fast train in London, and ended up on the slow train to Thessaloniki

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I like trains. Not in a ‘standing on the end of a drizzly platform, writing down numbers’ way, but because they’re a pleasant way to get somewhere. I like trains because often they’re surprisingly quick, door to door. Stations are usually in city centres. And now that air travel has become a tedious security fiddle, trains seem a lot faster. I like trains because it’s pleasant to see the countryside you’re travelling through rather than queue/runway/cloud/runway/queue. And I like trains because you can read or eat or work or gaze out of the window at back gardens and fields and unknown cities, ripe with possibility, parading past like a film strip. Last Christmas my girlfriend presented me with a mysterious envelope. Inside was a map and an itinerary. We were going to Greece – entirely by train. Our first stop would be Vienna, then Belgrade, Istanbul and finally Thessaloniki in tranquil northern Greece. London-Vienna Armed with our tickets, some light luggage and an excellent train traveller’s guidebook called The Man In Seat 61 by Mark Smith, we made our way to St Pancras International station in London for the first leg of our journey. We changed trains in Brussels, boarding the Thalys train to Cologne. The train was sleek, smooth and 186mph fast, with 473 ways to adjust its seats. I only made it to 302 (left knee raised, armrest fully down, tray half extended) by the time we arrived. The iron-arched station in Cologne is next to the grand cathedral, and if you have a few minutes to spare between trains you can climb one of the towers. There are 533 steps and no lift. We didn’t have time. We were due on board for our first overnight journey. The air-conditioned compartment was properly hi-tech, with stainless steel surfaces and an en-suite bathroom with a futuristic semi-circular built-in shower; it was like space travel. And the train was oddly lacking in the cantering rhythm

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that you usually expect. Instead it emitted a muted rushing hum, like a very powerful vacuum cleaner. But it did take us along the banks of the Rhine by moonlight, with its bright lit castles and half-timbered towns. A light breakfast arrived in the morning, and the guard returned the passports that had been taken the night before, so we wouldn’t have to wake up at the border. Pleasant and efficient. We would discover that this is not universal.

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And there’s much more to Vienna: a small but thriving fashion and craft scene; cute trams; an enchanting food market; tremendous architecture; world beating cake; and the startling Flaktürme – enormous concrete Nazi bunkers that rise out of bourgeois districts with the brutal presence of a Rottweiler in a poodle parlour. But we had a train to catch.

Previous page: morning, in the mountains of northern Greece; Cologne station and cathedral Top: a tram passes alarmingly close outside a cafe in Vienna Above: the Seccession Museum Below: weaving through the mountains on the way to Serbia

Vienna-Belgrade Vienna to Budapest was the tricky leg; a tight connection at Budapest meant we couldn’t be late. Luckily, the hyper efficient Austrian Railways has a digital counter in the carriages telling you exactly how close to schedule your train is. We only had ten minutes to play with. When the counter reached minus nine, it was looking grim. But they smoothly made up the extra minutes and we arrived bang on schedule, into a maelstrom of locals harassing us to take taxis and buy cigarettes, or just shouting randomly it seemed. We grabbed our luggage, executed a swift flanking run round a crowd of noisy touts, then sprinted on to our train – which then sat, unmoving, for forty minutes. From the 21st Century efficiency of Austria we found ourselves back in the 1950s. The coach, while clean and tidy, was clearly a well used hand-me-down from some other network. And as we trundled south and east the villages clearly became less prosperous, the cars waiting at level crossings smaller and smokier and the stations we passed, each with its saluting stationmaster, more tatty and isolated. The climb through the mountains from southern Hungary into Serbia, though, was something spectacular: towering peaks, soaring eagles, rushing waterfalls... it was like travelling through an enchanted forest of travel brochure clichés come true.

All photography: Carol Sharp

Vienna It was raining hard in Vienna. The pavement cafés were bedraggled and the tourists trooped around, soggily anoraked under garish umbrellas. Luckily the many museums were dry and warm. The striking Secession Museum, once home to the turn of the century art movement, is now home to cutting edge modern art, as well as a mural by the Secession’s megastar, Gustav Klimt. The basement, through which one has to travel to see the Klimt, has been transformed by mischievous modern artists into a perfect replica of a sex club, complete with whips, chains and other kinky apparatus. Much blushing ensued. Vienna also has a whole quarter given over to museums – yes, the MuseumsQuartier – which are as large, grand and time consuming as you could want. Then there’s the opera house, a landmark for those addicted to opera, Italianate architecture, murals, marble and maroon velvet. The costumed ushers/barkers who attempt to drag in unwary tourists strike a slightly jarring note, but in the battle between substance and showbiz, the Viennese still seem to be just about resisting Disneyfication, notwithstanding the gift shops full of tacky Mozart themed souvenirs.


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Belgrade You can imagine what Belgrade is like: neo-brutalist Soviet architecture, bomb scarred bridges, headscarfed crones fighting over root vegetables in a sleety marketplace. But you’d be wrong. It’s pleasant, prosperous, sunny and up to date. There’s a medieval castle overlooking the junction of the vast Danube and Sava rivers, giving it a maritime feel. The charming bohemian quarter has numerous restaurants and a vast array of terrace cafés to make the most of its Southern European climate; and if you venture out at night there are wall to wall gleaming BMWs, upmarket clubs and glittering glamour girls in mini dresses. Precisely one building serves as a reminder of the Balkan conflict: the government office that NATO strafed has been deliberately left half destroyed. It’s a powerful reminder of the force of modern warfare, and one’s enough. The Serbians don’t dwell on the past, though; they’re much too busy energetically importing ideas from all around the world. Shops sell every globally known brand name, and food runs from tapas to Moroccan, cutting edge French to top notch sushi. We indulged in a traditional Serbian meal that consisted of vast hunks of expertly grilled meat, exquisitely sharp peppers and a quite literally mind numbing selection of flavoured brandies. Thoroughly numbed, we tottered gently around a positively pleasant city for a few days before raiding the local supermarket and heading for the railway station. Belgrade-Istanbul The reason we arrived armed with bags of produce is that we had read The Man In Seat 61. “There is no restaurant car,” he’d warned. And the journey takes roughly 24 hours. So when the party of eager Americans came crashing past the compartment door saying loudly, “Hey, which way’s the restaurant?” it was difficult to know whether to sympathise or snigger. Our oracle had also described the sleeping cars as “amongst the oldest and most basic in Europe”. But we found them acceptably comfortable, and as we racketed through the evening gloom, it was by no means an unpleasant place to be. Serbian red wine is hardly subtle, but it’s effective. And fortunately the Americans didn’t have to resort to cannibalism. They discovered the conductor could be bribed to hop off at a convenient stop to make an expedition to the village shop. Perfect. The bonhomie disintegrated, however, at the Turkish border. If you’ve ever seen the film Midnight Express you’ll know how this goes. A

Top: upmarket supermarket cum cafe cum bar in Belgrade Above: Serbian railways – the seats fold up to make two bunks Below: the Turkish border around 2am – not the time or place for stepping out of line

2am thump on the door, then two heavily armed thugs in ill-fitting uniforms demand passports and papers. A few minutes later another brusque thud and shout and you struggle into clothes and disembark, bleary and blinking, into a dismal concrete yard ringed with razor wire and dotted with jut-jawed military personnel. You’re marched between passport stamp and visa office, all under the scrutiny of a sneering official whose day would be made by a slip-up and the chance for some ad hoc imprisonment and light torture. We finally returned to our bunks and a few hours of fitful sleep, before waking to see a busy, turbulent working scene of ferries, tankers and traffic on the Bosphorus, all rushing somewhere on important business. It was a fitting introduction to the bustle of Istanbul.

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The famous mosques are awe inspiring; the legendary bazaars enjoyable; and still there are places to relax and let it sink in

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Istanbul Turkey is on the way from Ottoman Empire to Western democratic state; and Istanbul, on the cusp of Europe and Asia, is where all the sparks fly when two continents and cultures scrape together. That makes it exciting, exhilarating and mildly exhausting. The famous mosques are full but awe inspiring; the legendary bazaars crammed yet enjoyable; and still there are odd spaces to relax and let it sink in. Rooftop restaurants are common and give a fine view in such a hilly city. And you’re rarely out of sight of water, which makes it feel spacious, even when it isn’t. Istanbul is ambitious and not short of people with the money to make things happen. For instance, after years of stuffy traditionalism they’ve decided that modern art is a good thing. So now there is a new art gallery, the Istanbul Modern, plus a new art museum, SantralIstanbul, and a purpose built concert space called Borusan Music House, which happens to double as a world class modern art gallery. But before it was full of wealthy gallery builders, Europe’s well-to-do were making pilgrimages here via the Orient Express. We’d shadowed some of its route on the way and were now catching our train westwards from the Express’ own terminal; a striking, striped but surprisingly small edifice, now tacked onto the side of a large sprawling station complex. A deeply average meal at what used to be the Orient Express’ grand restaurant and a glance at its vast, vaulted but dusty waiting rooms proved that it has definitely seen better days. Faded grandeur can be appealing, but we had a train to catch.

Opposite: the Hagia Sophia dominates Istanbul’s skyline Top middle: the extravagantly striped Orient Express terminal Top right: a fine range of Turkish Delight on sale, as you’d hope, in one of Istanbul’s bazaars Above: the guard on the train to Thessaloniki wakes for his photo Below: the once grand restaurant of the Orient Express terminal

Istanbul-Thessaloniki This was the last overnight trip, leaving Istanbul in mid-evening and arriving in Thessaloniki the next morning. Or so we thought. The train was more decrepit than the inbound one had been, with well worn (if, thankfully, newly washed) sheets, shared toilets that were nose grippingly fragrant and a guard who spent most of his time either snoring loudly in his chair or sneaking off to the next carriage to share card games and ouzo with his colleague. Again, no onboard refreshments (but if you could find him, the guard had a stash of beer and mineral water, which he sold for adventurous prices). Luckily we’d brought a few breakfast ingredients. We awoke in the morning to sun on the mountains and a view of a small town, which, consulting the map, meant we’d made good progress. Except it wasn’t the town we thought. It was one much further back along the route. Apparently the driver had stopped for a nap too. With an arrangement to meet a hire car at the station, it was time to dig the guard out and ask how late we were going to be. “One hour?” he ventured, as though expecting me to haggle. I relayed this to the rather excitable woman at the hire car firm. An hour after our predicted arrival time, we were still firmly in the hills, nowhere near our destination. “Two hours?” guessed our guard. “Maybe three?” A mere five hours late, we rolled into Thessaloniki to meet a resigned young man in a small hatchback. By this time his boss was telephone meltingly incandescent with rage, but he was stoic, as a good Greek boy should be. “Maybe next time you fly?” he suggested. Yes, maybe next time, I thought, we’ll do it differently: find some more time and just keep going. You can get to Aleppo in Syria from Istanbul, and then travel on to Cairo; or Iran’s capital Tehran (if you can get a visa). Sure, we could fly. But you see, I like trains. Did I mention that?

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Oh what a circus!

Travelling across Europe you will expect to see such wondrous sites as Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, the Brandenburg Gate, the Acropolis… but you probably won’t expect a giant turtle filled with frogs flying from parallel bars, bungee ballet, pointes on the high wire... just a tiny taste of the spectacular Cirque du Soleil, whose technicolour cast of weird and wonderful characters has been lighting up cities and stunning audiences with some of the greatest shows on earth since it began in Canada in 1984. Having celebrated its 25th year, in 2010 Cirque du Soleil performed in 250 cities, to 100 million spectators. With twenty different shows taking place around the world annually, the company relies on 5,000 dedicated employees, spanning forty nationalities and twenty-five languages. Its philosophy: “To take the adventure further, step beyond its dreams and, above all, believe that our people are the engine of our enterprise.” Here are the shows not to be missed in 2011:

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Saltimbanco A colourful, baroque display of life in the metropolis, “where diversity is a cause for hope.” Saltimbanco appears in Portugal, Czech Rep, Croatia, Serbia, Switzerland, Hungary, Germany, Belgium, France. Totem An acrobatic journey depicting the meeting of science with legend in the evolution of man. “Each acrobatic number has its own respiration, its own rhythm and its own arc.” Totem is in the UK in January before heading to the Netherlands.

Triple trapeze action, cavaliers, duo-trapeze and bungee ballet – all part of the weird and wonderful spectacle that has made Cirque du Soleil such a popular attraction for the last twenty-five years

Varekai A man falls from the sky into a nomadic journey through a magical forest in a spellbinding world at the top of a volcano. Hawaiian ritual meets gospel and the songs of French troubadors. Watch out for Varekai in Switzerland and Spain. All the latest news and information can be found on the iPhone CirqueSoleil app or at www.cirquedusoleil.com

Photography: Cirque du Soleil

Corteo Graceful acrobats and playful clowns perform on turntable stages in a carnivalesque world between heaven and earth. Corteo starts the year in Belgium, and then travels to Austria, Russia and

Spain. “There are surprises and laughter around every corner.”


B AC h O n A S tE i n wAy

the first release on the new Steinway & Sons record label.

stns-30001

“Superbly engineered by 15-time Grammy-winning producer Steven Epstein. Jeffrey Biegel brings this music to life.� JEd diStlEr

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Available at


INTERIORS

Creativity begins at home

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If you want to add a touch of spirited style to your interiors, take a look at the latest designs in supercool furniture. Linda Parker offers advice on how to make the unconventional work amidst the conventional, with stunning results

Whilst we all crave a beautifully decorated, sophisticated and stylish home, there is a school of thought that says every home needs a touch of ‘high spirits’ to lighten the look. Furniture and furnishings are areas where we tend to play safe; however, introducing joyful streaks of colour, texture and contrast into your choice of fabrics and flooring schemes, or simply making a focal point of an unexpectedly flamboyant piece of furniture, can lift the mood and look of a room. And in many cases, that standout piece can go on to become an investment buy. Good interior designers are well versed in the practice of commissioning bespoke pieces to complement a room scheme and, although undeniably beautiful, these items are often literally designed to work with the existing ideas. Adding something unpremeditated may send your designer running for cover, but don’t be afraid to make your own mark on your design scheme. As long as you follow some simple rules and don’t overdo it, you can create a spectacular look that’s all your own. One of the most understated and elegant furniture products out there must be the recent Pianoforte range from the Roche Bobois’ Les Contemporains collection. Comprising a series of two chairs (with and without arms), a games table and a desk, it comes in glossy white or black lacquered beech, with chair seats in ‘leather look’ fabric or your fabric of choice. It was created by Japanese designer Gregorysung and there simply couldn’t be anything more appropriately chic, whilst still having a funky, tongue-in-cheek appeal. These are pieces that are definite candidates to become heirlooms in the future and are likely to outlast transparent acrylic chairs in the style stakes as they cleverly combine elegance with a sense of fun and luxury. Left: classic curves and chic tones in Ligne Roset’s Togo foam settees Below: stylish chairs from Roche Bobois’ recent Pianoforte range

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Creative colouring Nothing creates that truly unconventional impression quite like a splash or a dash of colour. A piece of furniture might well be simply designed and perfectly functional, but then give it a daring hue or even a different textural finish and it will hold centre stage like a scene stealing actress in an Oscar winning movie. The red Picasa console table from Hutson Bespoke (pictured below right) is a gorgeous example of classic lines and proportions, but it has also been given a shot in the arm with its vibrant scarlet colouring and glossy finish for that something more unusual and eye-catching. In a different style, the Coast range by furniture designer Steuart Padwick is understated and beautifully crafted, but the addition of semi-matt lacquered coloured doors or drawers drags it kicking and screaming out of the ‘conventional’ bracket to give it a striking presence. The collection includes chests, dresser, dining table and chairs and is made to order, so you can request any colour you desire. The wildest shades and shapes generally come in modern materials, such as acrylics and various types of plastic. Just take a look at the day-glo ball chairs from London’s Finn Stone (right), which are available from Bodie & Fou. And yet the contrast of quirky colours or materials in classic styles can be just as striking. The Wonderland chair from The French Bedroom Company (top right) takes the classic Alice in Wonderland armchair and turns it a vivid blue, making it fabulously curiouser and curiouser.

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Daring dining Until recently, dining rooms have always been formal spaces designed for entertaining in a traditional way. However, the trend towards open plan ‘entertaining kitchens’, where the latest gadgets and appliances are on display and where the dining area is adjoining, enabling the host or hostess to continue to entertain while stirring the soup, has brought about a move towards less formal dining furniture. And there are some wonderfully cool styles available. The trick is to have either a funky table or funky chairs, but not both. The Tila dining table from Danetti (top left) is a beautiful piece of furniture in its own right, but team it with some purple dining chairs and it moves up a few notches on the

Top left: Danetti’s Tila dining table with purple chairs Top right: Wonderland chair Above from top: Conran wire table; Bodie and Fou ball chairs Right: vibrant red Picasa console from Hutson Bespoke


INTERIORS

desirability scale. Ditto the wonderful Calligaris Gemini glass table from Mac&Mac Interiors (right). It’s plain and simple and would look good in virtually any setting. Combine it with the witty L’Eau chairs, though, and it becomes a truly eye-catching arrangement. Traditionally styled interiors could happily accommodate the delicious transparent acrylic chairs in classic styles available from Juliette’s Interiors, or the fabulous Kandinsky range from BHS (below right), which includes a sleek, minimalist dining table and a host of colourful and groovy Ice dining chairs. Unexpected upholstery We tend to choose and buy upholstery as investment pieces: costly and in use every day, we don’t really expect these pieces of furniture to be fashionable even, let alone funky. But ‘upholstery with a twist’ is a very easy way of adding wit and humour to your rooms. You can choose classic shapes (built using traditional, time honoured methods), but specify ultra-contemporary colours and fabrics for impact. How about a denim chaise longue or a riotously multicoloured patchwork chesterfield from Couch? Ligne Roset has a fine selection of high quality, unusual and contemporary upholstery that will raise eyebrows and lift the spirits at the same

Above: Mac&Mac Calligaris Gemini table with L’Eau chairs Below: Kandinsky dining table and chairs from BHS Bottom: Ligne Roset’s Moroccan inspired Ottoman upholstery

time. Some designs are reminiscent of the more outlandish furniture from the 1960s and 70s, but with a firm modern edge. Look at the Ottoman styles in mustard and ice blue with gorgeous mosaic style quilting (below), inspired by Moroccan footstools. Or, for a slightly more elegant look, cast an eye over the Ruche range, which is the perfect blend of unusual and traditional: solid timber framework with modern colours and fabrics in contemporary shapes, but using classic quilting methods. Whatever elements you select to add an injection of individuality into your interior design, choose carefully, think about the context, and above all, be bold!

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Let there be light If you feel funky furniture is a step too far, you can always take a more subtle approach through the use of off-thewall lighting ideas instead. Lighting is a fabulous way of affecting the style and ambiance of any room, and for a ‘double whammy’ effect, there are plenty of fittings available whereby the design of the light itself, as well as the light it sheds, will help to hold the look of the room together. It’s very easy to end up with rather serious and elegant pairs of candlestick lamps on your sofa tables and mantelpieces. Replacing them with one or two statement pieces will transform the overall feel of the room into something more modern, even witty. Remember, it has to look as good when it’s switched off too, so don’t be dazzled by the light it emits. The lighting designs from More Blanchard have a sophisticated and quirky elegance. The Wells Chandelier is a modern take on a classic ecclesiastical chandelier, with chrome finish and quirky glass drops made with an ancient Venetian technique, while the Mark Chandelier combines modern simplicity and chrome with a classic lead crystal drop that can be coloured to match your room scheme. The solid patinated bronze trompe l’oeil Horn lamp is also seriously hip, and would work in both classic and traditional settings. For sleek, modern and minimalist looks, take a look at Heal’s, The Conran Shop and London Lighting. For more

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Top left: retro-modern Ivory Pearl antler chandelier Top centre: Mac&Mac Verpan spiral double gold pendant Top right: John Lewis Rosetta ceiling light Below: little lace pendant lamp from Occa Home Bottom: high concept PizzaKobra lamp by Ron Arad

traditional and classic designs, try Besselink & Jones, Geoffrey Harris and Hector Finch. And for dramatic and eye-catching contemporary centrepiece designs, look at Bella Figura, whose ranges also include a retro inspired collection and Venetian glass chandeliers. The easiest way to make a style statement is to replace existing lampshades and pendants, but for a more comprehensive overhaul you’d be well advised to employ the skills and vision of a specialist lighting designer. Lighting is not just about lamps and shades; hidden fittings, such as uplighters, down lights, wall washers, LEDs that can be set into floors, plinths, skirtings and so on, offer effects that may well be overlooked by the unenlightened. And finally... there are two desk/table lamps currently available that, whilst making serious design statements, have an additional element of fun and funkiness. The Lumina Ra desk lamp from Mac&Mac is made from steel and sophisticated technopolymers to create flexibility and a variety of lighting effects; the other is the flexible and folding PizzaKobra lamp by Ron Arad, who sums up the form and functionality of witty lighting in his own inimitable way. “What does a task light do in the daytime? What can we do to make it look good, even when it’s off? Who needs a crane on the desk when it has no job to do? How can we make it fully adjustable without it looking like a piece of technical equipment? I think it’s a big job and it needs a snake charmer. Isn’t it amazing what can come out of a pizza box?”


shopping

Gifts of distinction From the ultramodern to the antique, via the conceptually mind-boggling, Nik Berg picks out some suggestions for presents for the person who has everything‌ or so they think

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Steinway & Sons | ISSUE two 2010


shopping

Persol 714 Sunglasses

Luxury iPad Case

$386 www.persol.com Steve McQueen – actor, racing driver, king of cool – was, and still is, the man every man wants to be. And now you can get just a little bit closer to his legendary style by snapping up a pair of limited edition Persol 714 sunglasses – as first worn by McQueen in The Thomas Crown Affair. With tortoiseshell frames, an updated folding mechanism and those iconic blue crystal lenses, just 10,000 are being made at a very reasonable S$500 each. An original pair from McQueen’s collection sold for US$70,000 in 2006.

All photography courtesy of manufacturers

From $799 www.computer-choppers.com If Apple’s iPad was the ‘must have’ portable device of 2010, what then is the ‘must have’ accessory for the ‘must have’ device? Something to protect and personalise it, of course – a case. But not just any case. A custom case from Computer Choppers, plated in 24ct gold, white gold or platinum. A case with prices starting at just over S$1,000 – more than the device itself. But with plating in matte, brushed and polished finishes, and the option to add bespoke graphics or patterns, you can at least be assured that your ‘must have’ device won’t look like everyone else’s.

Aquariva

Leica M9

$750,000 www.rivaboats.com Riva’s powerboats are the stuff of legend. Beautifully hand built, owned by the likes of Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren and Peter Sellers in the 1960s, they continue today with an updated but no less striking design: the Aquariva. If the ‘standard’ 41 knot model isn’t good enough for you, you can choose one of two limited edition versions designed in conjunction with Marc Newson and Gucci. The Gucci Aquariva features a mahogany deck with twenty coats of varnish and fabrics featuring the Guccissima print. Marc Newson, meanwhile, focuses on the very latest boatbuilding tech, with a phenolic compound replacing mahogany and a one-piece laminated windshield, plus vibrant aquamarine for the seat fabrics.

$12,500 www.leica-camera.com Leica’s rangefinder cameras are legendary. Favoured by famous photographers, from Cartier-Bresson to Capa and Ut, they’ve been responsible for some of the world’s best known images. Moving with the times has seen Leica go digital and the M9 is its state of the art model. Custom editions by Hermès and a Japan only ostrich skin (an effect, not the real deal) edition have made the M9 ever more desirable. The Titanium edition, designed by Walter de’Silva, chief designer at the VW/Audi group, is limited to 500 units, a solid titanium body making it light but extremely tough. It also features an entirely new type of strap and shoulder holster to carry it.

Steinway & Sons | ISSUE two 2010

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shopping

PDM Sunset Bed From $38,000 www.parnian.com American furniture maker Parnian has come up with one of the most luxurious, technology packed and, as a result, expensive beds in the world. With a frame made from ebony, sapele and curly maple woods, built-in iPad holders and charging stations, a pop-out television and computer monitors, plus numerous secret compartments, LED lighting and gold and stainless steel fittings, the bed took more than two years to create. The mattress is bespoke and made from all natural materials; and if you can’t sleep, at least there’s plenty here to keep you entertained.

Music Center Series IV POA www.rock-ola.com Rock-Ola has been making jukeboxes since 1935, with little change to the overall design of the elegant maple cabinet. What has changed is what’s inside. Gone are the stacks of 45s, and instead the Music Center Series IV contains a terabyte hard drive to store 15,000 CDs and powerful 1,600W amplifier (which requires no cooling fan). You can import your music direct from CD or download it from a PC or USB. Managing your music is easy thanks to the 19in colour touch screen and you can even export your favourite playlists to your iPod.

BordBar From $130 www.bordbar.de How’s this for some high flying style? Cologne based BordBar has taken the functional airline service trolley and turned it into a striking yet perfectly practical storage unit for home or office. The BordBar can be configured as a kitchen worktop with space inside, a shoe cupboard, office filing cabinet or even a mini bar. A range of flight inspired finishes are available, and since the whole unit is recycled (and also recyclable), if you buy one you can think of it is as a way of carbon offsetting some of those air miles.

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Pete Holder

Antique American Firearms

BUYS SELLS * TRADES IN INVESTMENT ANTIQUE AMERICAN FIREARMS

COLT * WINCHESTER * REMINGTON * S&W “The Guns that won the Wild West”

ANTIQUE FIREARMS - A PROVEN GREAT INVESTMENT OVER THE LAST TWENTY FIVE YEARS

Pete Holder P.O. Box 138 Cranleigh, Surrey GU6 8WE, United Kingdom. TELEPHONE: 44 (0)1483 277788 FAX: 44 (0) 1483 277784. EMAIL info@peteholder.com WEBSITE: www.peteholder.com ALL GUNS ARE GUARANTEED ORIGINAL AND UNALTERED AND REQUIRE NO FORM OF LICENSING IN THE U.K. NO DEACTS OR REPLICAS


shopping

EarthRoamer XV-JP From $110,000 www.earthroamer.com “Now rough roads mean you don’t have to rough it.” At least that’s what the maker of the EarthRoamer XV-JP claims. This Jeep based camping vehicle has been designed to go anywhere, but also take everything you could need for a luxurious stay along with you. Inside there’s a solar powered fridge, a toilet and a heated shower, whilst sleeping arrangements are taken care of in a fold-out ‘loft top’, which can be heated or cooled to suit the climate. And far from being some huge, cumbersome land crawler, the EarthRoamer is the same size as a Jeep Wrangler.

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Whiskey Barrel Bar-B-Q

Definitive Wax Marble

$950 www.1000oaksbarrel.com Steel oil drums have long been recycled into jumbo grills for a beach barbecue, but now here’s something rather more stylish. Taking an aged oak whiskey barrel as a starting point, sensibly lining it with metal so that it doesn’t catch fire when the surf and turf is cooking, the Thousand Oaks Barrel Company has produced a great looking grill. A specialist in reusing and recycling old whiskey barrels, it also produces furniture, outdoor planters and even humidors.

$38,000 www.broughandhowarth.com A rare and beautiful vehicle deserves to be cared for, to be washed delicately and treated with the finest wax – and they don’t come finer than Brough and Howarth’s Definitive Wax Marble. It is composed of a unique blend of Brazilian no1 carnauba wax, beeswax and refined natural oils, and comes not in a tin, but in a handmade pot created from a single block of marble. Just one pot is currently in existence, but Brough and Howarth will blend more of its unique wax to order.

Steinway & Sons | ISSUE two 2010


shopping

Carrera Hackett Watch and Chronograph

Antique Firearm POA www.peteholder.com An antique firearm like this Colt Model 1860 revolver is not only beautiful in its design but fascinating in its history too. This particular gun, for example, was presented to 2nd Lieutenant Huntington Frothingham Wolcott of the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry in 1863 during the American Civil War. Because of all this, antique firearms have proven to be a great investment to the collector and investor. Values are based on condition, rarity and provenance, and range in price from the low hundreds up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. All Pete Holder’s weapons are sold as antiques and curios only, but you may have to obtain special licences, depending on your location.

From $2,540 www.tagheuer.com Motor racing links Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer and London fashion house Hackett. Heuer’s Carrera watch was originally created to celebrate the epic Carrera Panamericana race. Meanwhile, Hackett has a long history of making clothing inspired by race and rally. Naturally the two companies have joined forces to create the Carrera Hackett. Two versions are available, each limited to just one hundred pieces. Stylishly simple, these timepieces are also simply named. There’s The Watch and The Chronograph. The cases are stainless steel, the dials are black and the hands sport cornflower blue accents. Hackett’s trademark ‘H’ replaces the ‘12’ on The Watch.

Nautilus 5711/1 $23,000 www.patek.com Patek Philippe’s iconic Nautilus watch debuted in the 1970s and is an enduring classic, no doubt aided by being seen on the wrists of the likes of Brad Pitt and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. With a face inspired by the shape of a ship’s porthole, the Nautilus comes in a variety of styles, but it’s the classic 5711/1 stainless steel with blue dial that seems best suited to it. It features a three part case with a screwed back, with a sapphire crystal case back and a screw down crown, making it water resistant to a depth of 120m.

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KHARMA HIGH-END AUDIO PRODUCTS

Beyond imagination Kharma Exquisite collection

Creating a Kharma Exquisite loudspeaker is a very long process. Looking for the perfect shape, materials and sound... that sense of graceful elegance you would expect from a handcrafted loudspeaker. We have a reputation and style that is unique. Kharma also builds high-end audio systems for handcrafted luxury cars, super yachts and complete cinema systems. An exclusive Kharma store has been realized in Taiwan and Hong Kong. We sell worldwide through a network of highly qualified distributors and dealers. For more information please visit our website: www.kharma.com


Steinway Issue 2 2010  

Steinway Owners' Magazine - Issue 2 2010

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