The ‘Chromasoul’ Steinway Piano

Earlier this year, I was invited to the launch of a new Steinway piano. Not entirely a new instrument, but more a new ‘design’; the Chromasoul Steinway. This Chromasoul piano is a Steinway Model D instrument that has been fastidiously painted by renowned Argentinian artist María Inés Aguirre. I wrote about Mia and the concept behind her pianos a few years ago on my blog, and you can read the article here.

Mia has been Steinway artist-in-residence since 2010, and in that time has transformed several pianos, hand painting each one with her own brand of beauty. Such explosions of colour won’t be to everyone’s taste, and those who prefer a Steinway with a deep matt black finish should perhaps look away now! However, there’s no doubt about the love, care and attention to detail lavished on this instrument, and for me, the intricate brush strokes and the richness of the paint simply must be admired in person. It’s most certainly a breath-taking design, and Steinway sell Mia’s pianos to various piano collectors around the world.

The Chromasoul piano was born in 2018 and formed the latest stage in Mia’s long-standing project ‘The Music of Colour’. According to the artist; ‘my inspiration comes from movement and light, which is why I want the piano to evoke the energy, movement and colour of the Ballet Russes….you could say I am writing a musical score in colours which I hope will touch everyone who sees the piano – and add an extra dimension to the music created on it’.

With Aisa Ijiri and the Steinway ‘Chromasoul’ Piano

The launch took place at Moor House situated on the London Wall on May 9th 2019. Japanese pianist Aisa Ijiri gave a short recital on the instrument which was recorded and subsequently transformed into a short film which focuses on how the instrument was created.

Aisa opened the concert with a piece I wrote for her, Aisa: Sand, Silk & Love. This short work explores various colours and harmonies, oscillating between major and minor whilst circumnavigating the entire keyboard, and in many respects, it complements the painter’s philosophy behind the creation of this piano’s design.

Aisa: Sand, Silk & Love will be published by Schott (in the Edition Schott Series) in January 2020 as part of a volume of five virtuoso pieces called Simply Driven, and it has been used as the soundtrack to the following film. You can watch it by clicking the link below.


My publications:

For much more information about how to practice piano repertoire, take a look at my piano course, Play it again: PIANO (published by Schott Music). Covering a huge array of styles and genres, the course features a large collection of progressive, graded piano repertoire from approximately Grade 1 to advanced diploma level, with copious practice tips for every piece. A convenient and beneficial course for students of any age, with or without a teacher, and it can also be used alongside piano examination syllabuses too.

You can find out more about my other piano publications and compositions here.


 

Let’s make way for the Ladies!

The latest edition of Pianist Magazine is now available and it’s an ‘all women’ affair. Spotlighting Isata Kanneh-Mason, who appears on the front cover, this issue offers all the usual magazine goodies; ‘how-to-play’ articles by Lucy Parham, Nils Franke and myself, highlighting female composers (Maria Szymanowska, Cécile Chaminade, and Clara Schumann), in-depth masterclasses from Graham Fitch and Mark Tanner, a Piano Teacher Help Desk written by Kathryn Page, a Playing by Ear article from John Geraghty, and articles on female pianists and composers by Jessica Duchen, Peter Quantrill and Inge Kjemtrup.

There’s also a fascinating feature on Clara Schumann by concert pianist Lucy Parham, who is currently touring with her new composer portrait programme I, Clara, which celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Clara Wieck Schumann. The narrative of I, Clara, drawn from letters and diaries, is interspersed with live performances of Clara’s works, and of music by Robert Schumann, Brahms, Liszt, Mendelssohn, and Chopin. The narrator is the acclaimed actress, Dame Harriet Walter. Lucy and Dame Harriet have just released a CD to accompany the tour, and you can find out more about it, here. And you can enjoy a preview of I, Clara by clicking on the link below:

Pianist magazine always contains at least forty pages of sheet music as well as an accompanying CD, all performed and recorded by house pianist Chenyin Li. In this edition, the lion’s share of the sheet music is devoted to female composers, including a charming Mazurka in C by Maria Szymanowska, Bagatelle No. 2 by Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, No. 1 from 25 Easy Etudes Op. 50 by Louise Farrenc, Tarentelle Op. 123 No. 10 by Cécile Chaminade, Polka Op. 36 No. 5 by Amy Beach, Méditation by Mel Bonis, and Romance Op. 11 No. 1 by Clara Schumann. I feel most honoured to have one of my educational piano pieces, Kaleidoscope, included amongst this collection.

I wrote Kaleidoscope in a couple of hours on a rainy Thursday afternoon. Set in one of my favourite keys, F minor, it’s an intermediate level piece (intended for pianists of around Grade 5 ABRSM standard), and it contains a wistful melody and accompaniment, which blossoms out into cascading semiquaver passages, with plenty of movement around the keyboard, ideal for showcasing virtuosity. Kaleidoscope has been beautifully recorded by Chenyin Li, and you can hear it by clicking the following link:

If you don’t already subscribe to Pianist, you can do so here.

www.pianistmagazine.com


My publications:

For much more information about how to practice piano repertoire, take a look at my piano course, Play it again: PIANO (published by Schott Music). Covering a huge array of styles and genres, the course features a large collection of progressive, graded piano repertoire from approximately Grade 1 to advanced diploma level, with copious practice tips for every piece. A convenient and beneficial course for students of any age, with or without a teacher, and it can also be used alongside piano examination syllabuses too.

You can find out more about my other piano publications and compositions here.