American Pianists in an English Hall

It is not often I get to hear two of our Classical Fellows in short proximity but such was the case May 6-12. Our 2006 Classical Fellows Spencer Myer and Stephen Beus each played a concert at London’s historic and prestigious Wigmore Concert Hall.

Spencer played on the evening of May 6 to an enthusiastic, wildly-applauding and cheering full house. No surprise, as the concert was marvelous from start to finish, with all the typical “Spencer” characteristics in abundance: gorgeous tone, elegant phrasing, attention to every detail of the score. The centerpiece of the program was Debussy’s Preludes, Book 1. Following the performance in London, Spencer departed for a lengthy concert tour of South Africa, playing concerti and solo recitals.

Stephen Beus played on the evening of May 12, his second engagement at Wigmore Hall in as many years. In the audience was APA Board member Janet Nine, who sponsored Stephen in his 2006 APA Fellowship, along with a devoted fan in London who graciously sponsored the Wigmore recital, and the director of the London International Piano Competition. The centerpiece of Stephen’s program was the great Chaconne of Bach/Busoni, and as that work came to its thunderous conclusion, the cheers and bravos resounded throughout the hall. In similar manner to Spencer, Stephen left the next day for a concert tour of the Czech Republic and a concluding tour performance in Paris.

And I left London the next day to go home to Indianapolis, feeling very good about American pianists in London!

– Joel M. Harrison, DMA
  President/CEO and Artistic Director


Classical Fellowship Awards

The Finalists of the 2012 – 2013 ProLiance Energy Classical Fellowship Awards of the American Pianists Association were announced at a Media Event at Steinway Hall on April 24, 2012 in New York City. 

{This event can be heard via a simultaneous broadcast on WQXR (105.9 FM) New York and on WFYI (90.1 FM) Indianapolis on May 16, 2012 at 9 PM.}

Read their thoughts on April 24th here…

I had a great experience at the event on the 24th. At the lunch, I immediately felt like 21C Media Group was less like a PR firm doing “business” with the artists and more like supporters that are working in tandem with us to help us further our vision in regards to our art. The atmosphere of the day was very genuine and collegial and one truly felt that the APA organization cared for each artist individually. I am so honored to be associated with the American Pianists Association, 21C Media Group, and the other incredible finalists.
Sara Daneshpour

As a Minnesota pianist that studied in Houston, I always felt a little outside the ‘mainstream’ in classical music training of New York. However, working with 21C Media Group, and debuting in Steinway Hall, was a profound and wonderful experience for me. I gained invaluable advice from 21C members, and the experience of playing for so many distinguished people in Steinway was something I will forever cherish. If only all serious classical pianists could experience what I was fortunate enough to experience that week!!
Andrew Staupe

The event, which took place at the wonderful Steinway Gallery was both an amazing opportunity to get to meet people who are involved in supporting the arts and the American Pianists Association, as well as to catch up and enjoy an evening with my fellow colleagues. Doing an interview with Bob Sherman is always fun, since he never gives you a heads up about what he will throw at you! Having a program of short but exciting showcases was a great way to finish the day, which began with lunch and conversations with Joel and members from the 21C Media Group. It was great to talk with the people who are experts at spreading the word about classical music, and we covered very interesting and important topics including the transformation into the digital era. It was a privilege to be part of such an amazing group of people!
Sean Chen

April 24th 2012 was a banner day for me! I was already bubbling with excitement at being chosen as an APA finalist and having the chance to appear before such a knowledgeable and interesting audience at Steinway Hall was the cherry on top. Meeting the staff at 21C Media Group was both fun and informative. I learned a great deal about standing out in the current market and heard some very amusing anecdotes about a-class artists. All in all, it was a day of learning, good food, great company, and brilliant music from my colleagues. 
Claire Huangci

It was a fantastic event and I was honored to be part of it.  All of the other finalists are extraordinarily talented and I am happy to be able to call all of them my friends and colleagues.  I was especially thrilled to perform in beautiful Steinway Hall in front of such a distinguished audience.  Many thanks to APA and all of those involved who made the event so special.
Eric Zuber

Reds, Whites & Blues


Five Similarities Between Jazz and Wine:

1)   For some reason, both are kept in dark, dank rooms underground.

2)   It’s often best to look for a vintage for both jazz and wine.

3)   No matter how many kinds you’ve tried of either, there will always be more to discover.

4)   To a trained observer, jazz and wine will give important insight to the culture from which it came.

5)   Both bring you into a state of heightened consciousness.

Five Differences Between Jazz and Wine:

1)   Jazz is an American artform that has spread to Europe; wine-making is a European artform that has spread to America (and elsewhere).

2)   You want your jazz dirty and gritty! But keep the wine clean and pure.

3)   Jazz does the blues; wine does the reds and the whites.

4)   Jazz thinks the “Days of Wine and Roses” is a heartbreaking song. Actual days of wine and roses are amazing!

5)   You definitely want to smell your wine before drinking; please don’t smell your local jazz musician.

– Written by Jeremy Siskind

Reds, Whites & Blues




A few things you should know about wine… (Part 2)

Order from the middle of the wine list. Price wise, you’re getting your best value in the middle of the list.

  • Wines and foods from the same region generally pair well together. Think Albariño with seafood, Grenache with the aïoli platter, Alsatian Riesling with choucroute, Sherry with Manchego, Barbera with pasta, and Montrachet (the wine) with, well, Montrachet (the cheese). As some like to say, “if it grows together, it goes together.”
  • Bubbles are cleansing. This is why Champagne goes so well with rich dishes, including fried foods. The texture and, frequently, the acidity of sparkling wines scrub your palate, refreshing it for the next bite.
  • Tannic red wines are best partnered with a little protein and fat. This is why wines from Bordeaux, Cahors, and Rioja are so often served with roasted—and especially rare—red meats.
  • High-alcohol wines, including California Zinfandel, AustralianShiraz, Southern Italian reds, and many New World wines need to be paired with rich and highly savory food, like barbecued or roasted meats, and richer, aged cheeses. Ditto full-bodied wines, those with both high alcohol and heavy weight.
  • Riesling goes with everything. Well, not everything—not a bloody steak, to my palate. But this wine’s range of sweetnesses plus good acidity make it one of the most versatile wines on the planet.

David Honig – Reds, Whites & Blues Committee Member

Reds, Whites & Blues

A few things you should know about wine… (Part 1)

The wine cork is not for smelling.  The cork is actually for examining.  Check to see if it’s all in one piece; a fragmented or moldy cork might mean a lower quality wine. With the best wines, the cork will display the date and other information, as well.

The word “toast,” meaning a wish of good health, started in ancient Rome, where a piece of toasted bread was dropped into wine.

Wine testers swirl their glass to encourage the wine to release all of its powerful aromas. Most don’t fill the glass more than a third full in order to allow aromas to collect and to not spill it during a swirl.

The vintage year isn’t necessarily the year wine is bottled, because some wines may not be bottled the same year the grapes are picked. Typically, a vintage wine is a product of a single year’s harvest. A non-vintage wine is a blend of wines from two or more years

There is a right and wrong way to hold a wine glass. Wine glasses should always be held by the stem and not the bowl because the heat of the hand will raise the temperature of the wine.

It is a common misconception that all wines improve with age. In fact, more than 90 percent of all wines should be consumed within one year.

Traditionally, wine was never stored standing up. Keeping the wine on its side kept the wine in contact with the cork, thereby preventing the cork from drying, shrinking, and letting in air. However, wine can be stored vertically if the bottle has an artificial cork.

Make sure you never store wine in the kitchen because it is warm, and thus not an ideal place to store it. Moreover, refrigerators are also not the right place to store wines because even at the warm settings, they are very cold.

There are 10,000 wine grapes varieties worldwide.

David Honig – Reds, Whites & Blues Committee Member

Reds, Whites & Blues

At its core a home is a life source, a place where people and ideas can thrive.  For over 33 years, the American Pianists Association has been such a life source for its musicians.  That home has inspired pianists, composers and other virtuosos – through fellowships, competitions, and community outreach to create full-fledged professionals that touch and improve our local and national cultural landscape.  That’s why I believe the APA is a necessity!

It’s an organization full of vitality and creative forward thinking.  And, through the APA especially, our love of music continues to unite and bring together audiences of all ages and languages.  That’s why for the past three years, I have been honored not only of being an active board member of the APA, but thrilled when initially asked to Co- Chair a new annual fundraiser.  Along with my Co-Chair and great friend Bob Gowen, we were charged with executing a new way of bringing people together that would marry the musical mastery of our APA Fellows with a fun evening of delicious food and spirits.  These annual creatively themed events were to not only entertain but also educate by providing visibility to the APA’s mission and work, and allow our local community to engage in the social spirit of music!  I’d like to give you a little taste of our last two sold out fundraisers where we reveled in pairing delicious tastings of food and libation with masterful musical talents of our Fellows.

We kicked-off three years ago with a unique beer tasting called Beethoven and Brew at the Rathskeller, where APA Fellow John Salmon memorably and brilliantly enchanted us with his musical interpretations inspired by unique German food and lager.  Most notable was his clever interpretation of the Schlenkerla Urbock lager; Dark and primal to the palate upon tasting, but observed by Mr. Salmon as having a clearly concealed and nuanced beauty that would conjure a timeless piece equal to his interpretation: the 1st movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata.  Last year’s entrancing Chopin and Champagne at Mo’s mesmerized all of us when Fellow Michael Lewin stunned with one of his graceful yet penetrating displays of artistry by playing Frederic Chopin’s Nocturne in D-flat major– paired with, and inspired by, the Gramona Grand Cuvee Cava Champagne, Foie gras pate with balsamic onions on toast points, Chickpea hummus with jalapeno and cilantro on pita crisps.  And this was just the beginning of the evening! 

This year on April 29th we are poised to have our most inspired fundraiser yet called Reds, Whites and Blues!  The jazz-inspired evening at The Jazz Kitchen will send blues into the night air, as American Pianists Association 2011 finalist Jeremy Siskind takes the stage in a veritable theater in the round to perform pieces inspired by the evening’s vintages. These bold red and whites, paired with savory bites and Mr. Siskind’s matchless musical flair are guaranteed to set a whole new tone and standard!

For those of you who have been supporters at our past events, I want to take this opportunity to thank you and celebrate you for being the keepers of the APA collective home.  It’s our shared passion of artistic sensibilities, our true love for nurturing music and art, and our continued support – alive and alert with hope- that has built the American Pianists Association –our home for aspiring musicians.  I encourage you, our patrons, old and new friends, to attend Reds, Whites and Blues for the rare opportunity in tasting some of the finest wines, revel in the musical mastery of a piano master, and support, and enhance, the work and music we care about.

See you at The Jazz Kitchen!

Izabela Ozdemir

Co- Chair

Reds, Whites and Blues

Tickets can be purchased for $75.00 per person directly from the APA website