Mario Merdirossian

Biography

Based on his extensive experience as performer, teacher lecturer and consultant for the piano industry, Mario Merdirossian has developed an 80-minute presentation called “The Piano Story, a Narrative Concert”. With an entertaining approach but solid scholarship, Merdirossian talks about the factors leading up to the invention of the piano as well as its 300 years of evolution. The narrative includes projected images, sound clips of Cristofori’s forte piano, Mozart, Beethoven and other composers’ pianofortes, and a live replica of Cristofori’s first piano action, to explain its revolutionary mechanics. He also details further developments by Silbermann, Stein, Broadwood, Erard, Steinway and others. To supplement the story, he performs period pieces by Scarlatti, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, Ginastera, Khachaturian, and Gershwin amongst others.



REQUIRED STAGE EQUIPMENT
- Concert quality grand piano, 7” or larger.
- Digital projector and large screen (approx. 10 ft. x 10 ft.)
- Cordless microphone and amplifier
- Small display table

Program Outline

PART I
Duration: Approx. 45 minutes.

• The modern piano as a marvel of music, industry, mechanics, design and engineering.


“Toccata”…………………………………………………………… Khachaturian


• Let’s go back in time. Is the harpsichord the true ancestor of the piano?

• Composers were not wealthy enough to own a harpsichord.

• An inside look at the harpsichord, zither, dulcimer and clavichord. How much music could be played at the 4 ½ octave keyboards of the time?


“Toccata”…………………………………………………………… Scarlatti


• The Austrian court, the “prima donnas” and the invention of the piano.

• An Italian prince and Cristofori’s first escape action. Cristofori was a genial inventor but an
awful businessman.

• Bach and the Silbermann piano. Why Bach disliked the piano? Is it proper to play Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier” at the piano? Would he mind if you did? Bach the first piano salesman.

• Mozart’s early works were written for the “clavier”. Mozart and Stein’s pianoforte.
Mozart’s piano? Did he play with pedals?

• Clementi vs. Mozart.


Fantasy in C minor (Fragment) ……………………… Mozart


Sonata No. 18, in B Flat Major (1st. movement)….………… Mozart


• What did George Washington have to do with the advancement of the piano?

• The finest pianoforte in Europe was made by a woman.

• Beethoven the ”piano-terminator”.

• Beethoven as the driving force in the evolution of the piano.

• The Broadwood piano.

• Most Beethoven sonatas were unplayable during his lifetime.


Sonata Op. 2 No. 1, in F Minor (1st. movement)………… Beethoven


Sonata Op. 109 No. 30 in E Major (1st.movemen).,………Beethoven






PART II
Duration: Approx. 45 minutes.

• Chopin, Liszt, Schumann, Mendelsohn and a little piece of wood.

• Erard the genial inventor and piano maker. His double-escape action. The Erard-Pleyel
partnership.

• Chopin couldn’t play his Polonaises.


“Military” Polonaise…………………………………………. Chopin


Nocturne “Postume” in C Sharp Minor……………………... Chopin


• Liszt., the greatest virtuoso. The Bosendorfer, Bechstein and Blutner pianos.


Etude “Un Sospiro”…………………………………..………… Liszt


• Early piano making in America. Claus, Babcock, Chickering.

• Steinway & Sons, their innovations and “secrets”. Why the Steinway factory hired dwarfs?

• Debussy and Steinway’s “sostenuto” pedal.


Prelude “Danceuses de Delphes”…………………………… Debussy


• Modern times. The phonograph and the microphone. The great virtuosi pianists and the
the beginning of the recording industry.

• The piano as a percussion instrument.


“Danza del Viejo Boyero”……………………………………Ginastera


• WW II and the mass production in corporate America.

• An outlook at the Japanese, Korean and Chinese piano industry.

• Hand craftsmanship in our times.

• The digital piano and the popular piano music.


Tango “Grillito”………………………………………………Salgan


“I’ve Got Rhythm”…………………………………………. Gershwin






pianist
The Piano Story
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