Tuning a Harpsichord

I was fortunate to be asked to tune the Carey Beebe harpsichord used in the re:SOUND Collective‘s rehearsal sessions for their concert An Italian Extravaganza. The rehearsals were held at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music.

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I also provided sound reinforcement for voice narration at the concert.

Martha Argerich in Concert

Maybe its true that one can be rewarded for not wanting something.

Three days ago, Lynnette said that she had a spare ticket for the closing concert of the Singapore International Piano Festival, and would I like to have it. I’d been living under a rock for quite a while, and therefore had not attended the SIPF at all, let alone know who the pianists were for the 2018 edition. I exclaimed WHO??!! when Lynnette told me that the featured pianist for the closing concert was Martha Argerich. Yes, the legend herself, on her first concert in the Asia-Pacific region outside of Japan.

The next day, disbelief turned to disappointment when the spare ticket was claimed by the person for whom it was originally intended. Getting another one on my own through the box office was going to be impossible, because tickets had been completely sold out a long time ago. Oh, well. I’d never imagined that I would be able to attend an Argerich concert anyway, so I left it at that.

Then yesterday morning, Lynnette said that there was a return ticket for the gallery, and she’d bought it for me. So yes, I did get to go after all, to see and hear for myself why Martha Argerich is a piano legend. I was very fortunate to be seated where I could see her hands and her feet.

The SSO was conducted by Darío Ntaca, himself one of the SIPF pianists. Lynnette was leading. Here is the programme:

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Ntaca was the pianist for the Mozart #17, and conducted the orchestra from the piano. Argerich may now be 77 years old, but age has not dimmed her skills at the keyboard.

Argerich was presented with a bouquet of flowers during the first standing ovation. She managed to pluck out one pink rose and presented it to Lynnette. After two curtain calls Argerich sat down at the piano to play an encore (Scarlatti). During the subsequent standing ovation Lynnette answered ‘yes’ to Argerich’s question about whether she should play another encore. The audience roared its approval as Argerich turned around and walked back to the piano. So there was Debussy. One more standing ovation, and the concert was over.

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Don Gomes & Aya Sekine in Concert

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Last night I attended a concert by the jazz pianists Don Gomes and Aya Sekine, held at Emmanuel & Son’s music salon. Mr Kwan very kindly invited me to attend, even though the event was sold-out. Among the audience were the Australian high commissioner, and the Brazilian and Egyptian ambassadors. Don played on a Fazioli F278, while Aya played on a Fazioli F212. As you’d expect the pianos were beautifully prepared by Mr Kwan and his staff.

There is a pretty active jazz community here in Singapore. This I learned from the delightful Karen de Silva of the non-profit We Love Jazz SG. Visit their Facebook page and blog. Some photos by Bon Goût Music.

Efim Bronfman & the SSO Play Beethoven & Bartok

My friend Lynnette passed me a complimentary ticket to the gala concert by Efim Bronfman and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. On the programme were two concertos–Beethoven’s 4th, and Bartok’s 2nd, preceded by Rossini’s Thieving Magpie Overture. Bronfman and the SSO were stunning, resulting in six curtain calls and two encores. This concert was possible only because Lang Lang had cancelled due to inflammation in his left arm.

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Efim Bronfman & the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, 30th Nov 2017