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  • Jul 23, 2014
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Keyboard Instruments

A Natural History of the Piano: The Instrument, the Music, the Musicians

A Natural History of the Piano: The Instrument, the Music, the Musicians by Stuart Isacoff Knopf

Sunday, 5 February, 2012, 12:00am

Bad boy of some note

Organ purists shudder at the mere mention of his name. Much of it can be attributed to a combination of his bad boy image, his outspoken nature and his flair for the dramatic.

However, few can deny his brutal honesty and intellect. Fewer still can question his technical ability and intense passion for revolutionising the 'king of instruments' - the organ.

6 Mar 2011 - 12:00am

Peace pipes

You wouldn't normally associate a church organ with China. Nevertheless, it's an association that dates back more than 400 years. In 1600, the Jesuit missionary in the Portuguese enclave of Macau, Matteo Ricci, set about building the first organ in China as a sweetener for the Chinese emperor's toleration of the Jesuit presence.

26 Oct 2010 - 12:00am

Blue notes

For jazz keyboard players, a strong disincentive to specialising in the organ has always been the difficulty of carting one around. The classic jazz organ, the Hammond B-3, is a heavy and unwieldy beast, but there's no denying the magic of its sound. Most synthesiser substitutes sound anaemic by comparison.

8 Mar 2009 - 12:00am

Promo work helps pay classical pianists' bills

You have to wonder when Lang Lang finds time for a classical music career. So far, he's done Rolex ads, Panasonic commercials and now he's back helping Steinway sell pianos.

30 Apr 2007 - 12:00am

The pipes are calling

Manuel da Costa looks after the biggest organ in the southern hemisphere. The 68-year old has the rare privilege of maintaining the Grand Organ, a magnificent confection of soaring pipes, pillars and plasterwork which dominates Sydney's 19th-century town hall.

15 Dec 2006 - 12:00am

Keyboard queen off to US

Mozart considered the organ the 'king of instruments' and it seems the traditional church accompaniment is now attracting more young people.

Anne Lam Cheuk-bun, 22, discovered the joys of organ playing at an LCSD summer workshop in 2001 - and it's taking her all the way to New York.

3 Jun 2006 - 12:00am

Growing up with music

German pianist Daniel Rohm, 32, was raised in a house filled with music. His mother is a professional cellist and his father plays the violin as a hobby.

The music-loving couple had a piano in the house, which Rohm was drawn to as a toddler. By the age of three, he was tinkling the piano's keys.

'I thought it was my own instrument,' he recalled.

30 Apr 2006 - 12:00am

How can we 'pull together' without real government?

Bernard Chan's article ('In everyone's best interests', December 24) pointed out that members of the public objecting to plans put up by the government or developers are simply pushing their own vested interests in the same way as the developers do.

28 Dec 2004 - 12:00am

Yours faithfully

ON A RECENT cold Sunday in Beijing, organ-maker Kenneth Jones was putting the finishing touches to a 2,000-pipe organ in a new auditorium at the capital's prestigious Central Conservatory of Music middle school.

25 Dec 2004 - 12:00am