Sunday, September 16, 2007

In search of a Piano

It is not everyday that I have the possibility to talk with a world class pianist but that happened last week. Her name is Ethella Chupryk, a winner of many different piano competitions, including The Lysenko Competition in L'viv, The Rachmaninov Competition in Moscow, and she was in Kyiv to both check out studio's and the pianos available for recording some classical music.

Like every musician she has her preferences about what type of piano she would like to play on. While I don't know a great deal about pianos, with the exception that I can name about half a dozen brand names; firms like Baldwin, Bechstein, Boston, Estonia, Kimball, Steinway and Yamaha, Ethella Chupryk's choice of all of these is Steinway, and this she made clear as a guest on Rostyslav Styn's Skhidna Liha radio program this past Friday on Radio Continent.

However, there is not a single Steinway in a studio in Kyiv, the main locations are the Philharmonic and the Opera and in fact there aren't very many Steinway's in the entire country. Probably less than a dozen, a fairly reliable source has told me.

So with all the oligarchs in this country who purportedly support the arts, why don't even the different conservatories in Ukraine have Steinway's? They can all drive around in super expensive cars, but really when it comes down to it, its all show and no action.

If the listener's of contemporary music have no idea of what is going on in the music world, then it seems that those who are interested in classical don't seem to care at all about the development in Ukraine's talent.

I recall reading in the latest issue of a Ukainian trade magazine Pro Sound & Light that no one here is interested in investing in the recording of classical music in Ukraine because National Radio of Ukraine has such an archive of classical music there is no need be recording any more classical music. What an absurd statement! I've tried finding the magazine online but the site doesn't seem to be loading as I am writing this. Hopefully, I will be able to include a more complete citation to this comment in the near future.

In any case with such attitudes of professionals in this country, it is no surprise why the industry as where it is.

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