Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Menahem Pressler Piano Weekend

Pianists Ilya Friedberg, Phyllis Pan, and Noah Sonderling, from this past weekend’s inaugural New Harmony Music Festival and School Menahem Pressler weekend. 

The 92-year-old Pressler is the original pianist from the Beaux Arts Trio, and has had an illustrious career as an educator at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music since the mid-1950s. Friedberg, a concert pianist, is Pressler’s senior teaching fellow, and Pan and Sonderling are two of the maestro’s prized undergraduate students.

The inaugural weekend was in part to raise funds for the restoration of “Helen”—the Steinway which belonged to Helen Corbin-Heinl, a respected 19th century concert pianist, who lived in New Harmony. Helen had moved away with her people, and the family wished her to return to New Harmony and be made whole again.

I was at Saturday night’s concert, which also included Ilya Friedberg’s compatriots in the Bloomington Trio, and guest pianist Greg Kostraba. It was amazing. Looking forward to seeing what this Pressler weekend becomes. It has certainly had a lovely beginning.