Playing Chopin His Way

Romantic Pianos and Performance Practice

a Westfield Center Conference
at the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments

24–26 September 2010

Registration form available here

Silhouette of Fryderyk Chopin at the piano
F. Phillip, Lebrecht Music & Arts

2010 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Chopin, a composer whose style—highly original and designed for the intimate drawing rooms of Paris’s high society—became the bread and butter of twentieth-century virtuosos. Decades after Wanda Landowska’s famous remark to Casals, “continue to play Bach your way, and I’ll play him his way,” there have been few attempts to discover what playing Chopin “his way” might be like.

The conference will bring together:

Sessions will be devoted to:

Featured Performer:
Other performers include David Breitman (Oberlin Conservatory) and Andrew Willis (University of North Carolina at Greensboro)


All events are at the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments, 15 Hillhouse Avenue, New Haven CT, unless otherwise noted.

Friday, September 24, 2010
4:00 pm Registration
6:00 pm Reception buffet
8:00 pm
Saturday, September 25, 2010: Getting from Here to There: Performance Practice, Pianos, and Pieces
9:30 am Keynote Lecture: Chopin's Pianism and the Reconstruction of the Ineffable (Jonathan Bellman, U. of Northern Colorado)
10:45 am Pianos: Chopin and the pianos of the mid-19th century (Anne Acker, fortepiano restorer): ca. 1830 Bösendorfer, 1842 Pleyel, ca. 1842 Broadwood, 1848 Pleyel
12:00 pm Lunch on your own
Study/discussion sessions
1:30 pm Study/Discussion: Chopin's pedaling: David Breitman (Oberlin Conservatory) will use the Impromptu op. 29 as a springboard for the discussion; participants are encouraged to bring their own problematic examples for exploration during this session.
2:30 pm Study/discussion: Nocturnes: Op. 62/2 in E major (Sandra Rosenblum, author of Performance Practices in Classic Piano Music; Andrew Willis, U. of North Carolina at Greensboro)
3:30 pm Break
3:45 pm Study/discussion: Larger forms: Barcarolle (James Parakilas, Bates College;
4:45 pm Playing: Access to pianos for participants
5:30 pm Dinner at the Graduate Club (155 Elm Street)
8:00 pm Recital: David Breitman, Andrew Willis, Shuann Chai, Yi-heng Yang, Matthew Bengtson; ca. 1830 Bösendorfer, ca. 1842 Broadwood, 1848 Pleyel, ca. 1864 Bechstein, 1864 Steinway, and 1881 Érard
Sunday, September 26: Getting from There to Here: Later Instruments, Early Recordings
8:30 am Playing: Access to instruments for participants
10:00 am Pianos: New Trends after Chopin's Day (Anne Acker) 1864 Steinway, ca. 1864 Bechstein, 1881 Érard
11:15 am Recordings: The Chopin Connection, and Other Distinctive Approaches from the Early Days of Recording (Donald Manildi, Curator, International Piano Archives at Maryland)
12:30 pm Sessions end
1:30 pm Master class for Yale School of Music students, registrants welcome