Episode 5

Elaine Comparone

Brief Bio:

Jan Vermeer’s famous painting “A Lady Standing at a Virginal” shows the instrument mounted on a table and the player standing. (Virginal: an early keyboard instrument)

The award winning harpsichordist Elaine Comparone has been called, by the The New York Times, a “harpsichordist with few equals”. Born in Lawrence, Massachusetts into a family of musicians, she began piano at age four and also played violin, flute and the pipe organ. While in college, she discovered and fell in love with the harpsichord. Her success with that instrument resulted in a Fulbright Fellowship to study in Vienna.

She has taken her two harpsichords to performances in every state of the continental US as well as many European countries. Founder of an organization dedicated to stimulating interest in the harpsichord, she teaches audiences about the instrument, its history, and its music. Her videos of her harpsichord performances are well-known on Youtube.

Elaine Comparone enjoys standing at the harpsichord to play. Under her direction, a tall oak stand was designed and built that elevates both of her harpsichords.She cites Vermeer paintings as inspiration along with the fact that she is a member of the “rock’n’roll generation”.

Piece: Les Tourbillons by Jean-Phillipe Rameau

The harpsichord was widely used in Renaissance and Baroque music. During the  late 18th century it gradually disappeared from the musical scene with the rise of the fortepiano, an invention by the Italian instrument maker Bartolomeo Cristofori.  Haydn and Mozart, composed for this instrument. During Beethoven’s time, the fortepiano evolved into the modern grand piano we play today. Here’s a video that explains a little  more about the harpsichord.

My, how keyboards have changed over the centuries. The way in which music is shared AND where (and how) it is played has changed as well. While Ms Camporane uses Youtube to show music of the past, The Piano Guys use Youtube to show how they create, mix and share music from the past and the present in new ways never imagined before.

The Piano Guys

Brief Bio:

Hailing from Utah, The Piano Guys became an internet sensation by way of their series of self-Web-hit-Piano-Guys-sign-with-Sony-81276Q7K-x-largemade music videos. They’ve made 35 since joining forces a little more than a year ago.

The Piano Guys are made up of only one piano player, Jon Schmidt, and one other instrumentalist, Steven Sharp Nelson, on cello. Yet the other three – Paul Anderson (store owner and promotions), Tel Stewart (videographer) and Al van der Beek (studio operations) – are equally significant members of the group. The Piano Guys’ name comes from Anderson’s piano store in St. George, Utah, called The Piano Guys.  Anderson was so taken by the music of Schmidt and Nelson that he closed his store at the end of 2011 in order to devote himself to the group, which only became a full-time operation in February 2012.

Their videos have netted over 130 million YouTube views (and 500,000 new views a day). “We try to put a ‘wow factor’ in every video” with a dual goal of bringing people to classical music and inspiring young musicians!

Piece: All of Me

Piece: “Peponi” or Paradise by Coldplay

Piece: One Direction (the piano keys AND BEYOND)

Bonus Piece: Titanium (original tune) with Gabriel Faure’s “Pavane” –an example of mixing old with new

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Episode 5

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Flashcards for Episode 5