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

Cerasi leads renaissance of the clavichord

The ochre-painted walls are smothered in oil portraits of powerful men in their golden years, silver-haired and bearded, many with grand pendants hanging from their necks like mayors, all looking thoughtful, wise and inspired.

5 Dec 2004 - 12:00am

Toy piano 'sorceress' casts spell at film fest

Margaret Leng Tan likes to equate herself with Schroeder, the toy-piano-playing character from the Peanuts cartoons.

Tan, 51, has played miniature pianos in some of the world's most famous concert halls and is today considered one of the world's most avant-garde musicians.

3 Oct 2004 - 12:00am

Pulling out stops gives good return

Ng Siu-wai doesn't practise much. It's not because she's lazy or unmotivated - she often just can't find an instrument to play. Ng specialises in the traditional church pipe organ, the kind that can take up the entire balcony of a cathedral. There aren't many options for rehearsal in Hong Kong.

5 Sep 2004 - 12:00am

What's On


Shall We Go to Mars? is a heartwarming play dealing with the issue of communication that will wrap up the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre (HKRep) 2003/04 season.

This production is part of the Black Box Theatre, a series of small-scale and experimental plays to promote local playwrights.

10 Mar 2004 - 12:00am

Piano humour proves to be duo's forte

2 Pianos 4 Hands

City Hall

Matinee and evening performance tonight

There wasn't an empty seat for this comedy. Already performed more than 700 times around the world, this fusion of music and theatre has been especially popular in the US and Britain.

6 Mar 2004 - 12:00am