the 59th annual
MATTHAY PIANO FESTIVAL
Pennsylvania State University
State College/University Park, Pennsylvania
June 1-4, 2016
Matthay in the Twenty-First Century
Honoring the Past and Shaping the Future
Tobias Matthay (1858-1945)
One of the greatest piano teachers of the twentieth century,
Matthay was the foremost piano teacher Britain has produced. In his lifetime,
Matthay trained scores of famous pianists, including Dame Myra Hess,
Dame Moura Lympany, Sir Clifford Curzon, York Bowen, and Harriet Cohen.
Throughout the world, his revolutionary teaching principles were
communicated to thousands more by his books, including The Act of Touch (1903), Musical Interpretation (1912), and The Visible and Invisible
(1932). For nearly 50 years, he taught at London's Royal Academy of
Music, and for over 40, at his own school, which became a magnet for
countless numbers of pianists and teachers who established successful
careers in countries the world over—especially America.
The annual Matthay Festivals are designed to offer participants direct
concentrated access to the Matthay teaching principles as they apply at
all levels, including that of the performing artist. Daytime sessions
include lectures, demonstrations, performances, and master classes, and
a recital is heard each evening.
The year 2016 marks the fifty-ninth annual gathering. Previous Matthay
Festivals have taken place at many locations throughout North America,
including the Philips Academy at Andover, Massachusetts, the University
of Maryland, the
University of Central Florida, the Royal Conservatory of Music in
Toronto, San Jose State University, Williams College, Pennsylvania
State University, the University of South Carolina, Wittenberg
University, the University of Kansas, Columbus State University, the
Richmond, East Carolina University, Union University,
Western Carolina University, Texas Wesleyan University, and the Eastman School of Music.
Matthay and "Modern" Music
In his article devoted to Béla Bartók in the Revised New Grove, scholar Malcolm Gillies, former Vice-Chancelor of London Metropolitan University, discussed the composer's Violin Sonatas, which he dedicated to
Hungarian-born violinist Jelly d'Arányi, a lifelong friend of MYRA HESS, with whom she often performed. But he added that when Bartók first performed these works with d'Arányi in London in the early 1920s, "his avowedly percussive approach to the keyboard was deemed unfortunate by many British critics, brought up on Matthay’s views about relaxation and use of weight." Although it was by no means true that the British always favored Matthay's views, "ultra-modern" music, the term used by the BBC to describe the musical vocabulary of the post-World War I era, was slow to be favored in Britain, and many have regarded Matthay as a relic of the past, more than a prophet of the future. But nonetheless, his pupils remained remarkably in the vanguard of the newer styles and trends: Bartók dedicated his Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm from Mikrokosmos, Vol. VI, to HARRIET COHEN, Benjamin Britten wrote three works for the duo pianists BARTLETT & ROBERTSON, including his Scottish Ballad (1941) for two pianos and orchestra, and Bartlett & Robertson later recorded all the two-piano and four-hand works of Stravinsky. In addition, MOURA LYMPANY was the first Western pianist to perform Khatchaturian's Concerto, which she coached extensively with Matthay.
This year, the Matthay Festival focuses on how Matthay principles enhance the post-Romantic era, with performances and discussions of major works by Prokofiev, Satie, Stravinsky, Ginastera, Copland, and others.
LEFT: ETHEL BARTLETT at her home in Escondido, California, in 1941, with BENJAMIN BRITTEN (left) and PETER PEARS (right).
Britten wrote his Scottish Ballad while staying with Ethel and her husband, RAE ROBERTSON. While he and Pears lodged with
the Robertsons, he also conceived the idea for his opera Peter Grimes.
RIGHT: MOURA LYMPANY with ARAM KHATCHATURIAN in 1954.
be our featured guest artist, giving the opening recital on the evening of June 1. One of America's most esteemed pianists, she has studied with Mieczyslaw Munz, Arthur Rubinstein, and Dame Myra Hess, and in the 1980-81 season, she extended their legacies by performing six concerts devoted to major works of Chopin in Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, the first Chopin cycle presented in New York in 35 years. She was also featured as a leading exponent of twentieth-century works in Cecelia Hopkins Porter's highly acclaimed
Five Lives in Music: Women Performers, Composers, and Impresarios from the Baroque to the Present, and she has released a CD for MSR Classics which features the Copland Piano Variations and Elliott Carter's Sonata.
Ann Schein has performed with conductors including George Szell, James Levine, Seiji Ozawa, James dePreist, David Zinman, Stanislaw Skrowacewski, and Sir Colin Davis, and with major orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Baltimore Symphony, the
Washington National Symphony, the London Philharmonic, the London Symphony, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Over her many years performing in London, she appeared repeatedly in the Promenade Concerts in Albert Hall, including several Last Nights, when favorite soloists are invited to perform. The Washington Post has written, "Thank heaven for Ann Schein. ... What a relief it is to hear a pianist who, with no muss or fuss, simply reaches right into the heart of whatever she is playingand creates music so powerful you cannot tear yourself away."
is a "Second Generation" Matthay student, having worked with Frank Mannheimer for several summers in Duluth, Minnesota. She has also studied extensively with students of "First Generation" Matthay teachers, including John Kenneth Adams and John Perry. She has performed extensively as a recitalist, concerto soloist, and chamber musician throughout the Southeast and many other regions of the United States, and her repertoire is broad and varied, including many works of the twentieth century. A highly sought teacher in the Atlanta area, she has served on the piano faculties of both Georgia State University and the University of Georgia, and her list of award-winning students includes many who have won scholarships to Juilliard and other major conservatories. She received the Georgia Teacher of the Year Award from the Georgia Music Teachers Association in 2005. A graduate of the University of South Carolina, she is also a gifted soprano, and she holds DMA degrees from the University of Texas in both piano and voice. As a pianist, the State and Columbia Record has described her as "an artist of amazing fire and brilliance ... possessed of the most graceful sensitivity and delicacy."
has served as a professor of piano at the Eastman School of Music since 1970. He holds both a B.Mus. and a M.Mus. from Eastman,
where he studied extensively with Cécile Genhart, who began studying with Matthay in 1929. In 1966, he was a
triple-prize winner at the Van Cliburn International Competition,
receiving the Silver Medal, as well as the Pan-American Union and
Chamber Music awards. Barry Snyder has performed and given master
classes across Asia, Europe, Australia, and South America.
Additionally, he has performed in festivals, including Aspen,
Schwetzingen (Germany), Takefu (Japan), the Vienna Summer Festival,
Bechyne (Czech Republic), and Shenyang International (China). He has
also appeared as a soloist with numerous major orchestras around the
Other accolades include his listing in the book The Most Wanted Piano Teachers in the United States, the Diapason D’or
for recordings of the complete cello and piano works by Fauré with
Steven Doane, and the Edward Peck Curtis Award for Teaching Excellence.
Anderson & Roe
A former winner of the American Matthay Association's Clara Wells Scholarship Auditions, GREG ANDERSON has frequently appeared at Matthay Festivals, and this year the AMA is pleased to present Greg and his musical partner, ELIZABETH JOY ROE, who presently form one of the world's most exciting two-piano teams. Known for their adrenalized performances, original compositions, and notorious music videos, Anderson & Roe are revolutionizing the piano duo experience for the 21st century. Described as “the intense synchronization of genius” (ThirdCoast Digest) and “the most dynamic duo of this generation” (San Francisco Classical Voice), the Anderson & Roe Piano Duo aims to make classical music a relevant and powerful force around the world. Their recent album, When Words Fade (Steinway Label), was released to critical acclaim in 2012 and spent over a dozen weeks at the top of the Billboard Classical Charts, while their Emmy-nominated, self-produced music videos have been viewed by millions on YouTube.
Since forming their dynamic musical partnership in 2002 as students at The Juilliard School, the Anderson & Roe Piano Duo has appeared on NPR and MTV, toured extensively worldwide as recitalists and orchestral soloists, and presented at numerous international leader symposiums. A performance by the Anderson & Roe Piano Duo was handpicked to appear on the Sounds of Juilliard CD celebrating the school’s centenary. Highlights of the 2014/15 season include tours throughout North America, Asia, and Europe; concerto performances with the Calgary Philharmonic, Chautauqua Symphony, and Winnipeg Symphony; a new all-Bach album on the Steinway Label; and the release of their ambitious—and literally explosive—music film, The Rite of Spring.
Special Lecture Presentation:
Remembering Sir Clifford Curzon (1907-82)
Two of Matthay's many students became international superstars. These
of course were MYRA HESS and CLIFFORD CURZON, who received the C. B. E. in 1953, and was knighted in 1977, when he was 70. Almost all biographical
entries in reference books and online concerning Matthay include the
two names among his students, and such entries for Hess include
reference to Matthay as her teacher. But if one were to check
Curzon's Wikipedia article and other potted biographies, one often learns only that
he studied with Schnabel, Landowska, and Nadia Boulanger. The name
"Matthay" does not appear. Matthay thought Curzon was already "a
fine player" as a student, and their relationship is covered in
detail in Stephen Siek's biography England's Piano Sage. Curzon
himself does not seem to have downplayed his connection to Matthay,
but he was caught between two worlds (as were other Matthay pupils,
some of whom went on to minimize their connection to Matthay while
exaggerating their connections to German teachers). Curzon was indeed
a great artist and a colorful (though perhaps not always likeable)
personality. Pianistic scholar GREGOR BENKO, the co-founder of the International Piano Archives, will outline the highlights of Curzon's
biography and art.
A Bicentennial Celebration of Sir William Sterndale Bennett
On July 29, 1873, The Times of London reported on some serious conflicts facing the Royal Academy of Music, conflicts so severe that Britain's Royal Family was then pressuring it to dissolve and merge with other London institutions. Many who hoped that the Academy would retain its independence had reason to thank the man who then served as its principal, because William Sterndale Bennett had withstood immense pressures to fight for the institution he loved. The Times's principal music critic, J. W. Davison, wrote that if the Academy "cannot continue to exist as it has existed for so long a period, it has really no pretence to exist at all. We believe sincerely that it can—more especially with such a musician for its chief director and pilot as Sir W. Sterndale Bennett." But eighteen months later, Sir William Sterndale Bennett, Britain’s most prominent musician, was dead at the age of 59. His funeral, which occurred on the morning of February 6, 1875, saw a solemn cortege of over 30 carriages winding its way to Westminster Abbey, where he was soon laid to rest in the North aisle alongside Purcell and Handel. The Times then proclaimed him to be “the first musician of our day,” and devoted an entire column to the ceremony, an event without parallel among nineteenth-century British musicians. The article continued: “There were members from all the Societies of Music, not only from those of our own country, but of France, Italy, and Germany, and with the carriages of those who desired to do honour to the memory of the man who has been laid in Westminster Abbey it was pleasant to see those of the Queen and of her two elder sons."
Shortly after Bennett had been knighted in 1871, the Academy created the Sterndale Bennett Scholarship, then its most prestigious award, and its first recipient was the fourteen-year-old Tobias Matthay. In the few years they worked together, they grew close, and Bennett, who had known Mendelssohn and Schumann intimately, forever remained one of the most formative influences on Matthay's teaching and musicianship. In this year, the bicentennial of his birth, former AMA President TERRY McROBERTS offers a special celebratory presentation focusing on Bennett's life and compositions, with an emphasis on his piano works, his relationships with musicians on the Continent and in England, and his influence on British musical life. Selected works by Bennett will be performed, and this session will provide some context into the musical world that Matthay entered.
A Special Panel Presentation:
Passing the Torch:
Matthay's Teachings Enrich the "Second Generation"
In his lifetime, Tobias Matthay trained hundreds of distinguished artists and teachers. Some later promoted his teachings with a missionary-type zeal, but all were exposed to his principles, which virtually redefined the conventional approaches to piano study which had preceded him. Although virtually none who studied personally with him are any longer active, today a "Second Generation" of artists have gained immeasurably from their study with his pupils, many of whom became some of the most distinguished teachers of the twentieth century. This year, the American Matthay Association will host a special panel of noted artists and teachers who will discuss their experiences with some of the most famous Matthay-trained pedagogues. Participants will include ANN SCHEIN, JOHN KENNETH ADAMS, MARY PENDLETON-HOFFER, and NIGEL COXE, and STEPHEN SIEK, the author of England's Piano Sage: The Life and Teachings of Tobias Matthay, will serve as moderator. The noted pianists and teachers discussed will include HAROLD CRAXTON (1885-1971), HILDA DEDERICH (1901-69), DAME MYRA HESS (1890-1965), DENISE LASSIMONNE (1903-94), FRANK MANNHEIMER (1896-1972), and BRUCE SIMONDS (1895-1989). We will also have the opportunity to listen to some commercial recordings made by these artists, and audience participation and interaction will be welcomed.
TOP LEFT: Hilda Dederich at the age of 18 in 1919
TOP RIGHT: Harold Craxton about 1905
BOTTOM LEFT: Frank Mannheimer performing on Chopin's Broadwood at the BBC Studios
in London in 1936
BOTTOM RIGHT: Tobias Matthay with Denise Lassimonne about 1930
BELOW: Bruce Simonds at Yale in 1953 (Click on the image to hear him play a portion of the "Appassionata")
The School of Music at Penn State
Founded in 1855, The Pennsylvania State University is the Commonwealth's only land-grant institution and a member of the Big Ten Conference. Situated within the beauty of the central Pennsylvania foothills, the University Park campus offers outstanding programs in a wide range of disciplines.
The School of Music, a unit of the College of Arts and Architecture, takes pride in its student-centered philosophy and the quality of the individualized instruction provided by its 50 full-time faculty, guest artists, and scholars. Enrolling approximately 325 students, the School grants undergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide range of programs that help students develop as performers, teachers, and scholars. It also serves an additional 1,000 students annually who enroll in its high-quality academic courses designed to fulfill general education requirements. Esber Recital Hall (left),
located on the first floor of the Music Building, this 400-seat auditorium is the primary venue for the School's solo recitals and chamber music performances. The hall is home to two beautifully matched Steinway "D"s, as well as a Holtkamp organ.
The School is served by two major buildings. Music Building I, constructed in 1963, houses classrooms and seminar rooms, Esber Recital Hall, the choral rehearsal room, a graduate resource center, the choral music library, faculty and graduate student offices, all music administrative offices, and organ practice rooms.
Connecting to Music Building I by a second-floor breezeway (pictured at right) and student lounge, Music Building II was constructed in 1993. It houses faculty studios and graduate student offices, percussion studios and storage, classrooms, the instrumental ensemble library, music technology facilities, numerous practice rooms, a piano lab consisting of 17 Yamaha Clavinovas, and a suite of four recording studios that serve the dual purposes of providing training in audio production and of producing professional quality audio projects.
(Click on photos to enlarge)
Lodging and Banquet
Festival participants are responsible for their own housing arrangements. This year, a block of rooms has been reserved at the world-class Penn Stater Hotel & Conference Center, 215 Innovation Boulevard,
State College, PA 16803 (814) 863-5000.
The Penn Stater's 300 rooms offer comfort and top-notch amenities in graciously appointed accommodations. The staff members pride themselves on personalized service and attention to detail, and everyone at the Penn Stater is committed to providing the level of service that brings guests back time after time. The hotel also offers first-class dining experiences, as well as a fitness center, including aerobic and Nautilus equipment, an indoor lap pool, and a whirlpool. For the week of the Festival, rooms will be available, including WiFi, for $114 a night. (Festival attendees are advised to use the code "amee16B" when phoning, to guarantee the $114 rate.) Parking is free, and the hotel also offers a free shuttle to the campus, which is about three miles away. A complimentary airport shuttle is also available.
This year's banquet will also take place at the Penn Stater, on Saturday, June 4, with a cash bar opening at 6 pm, followed by dinner at 6:30. This year, diners will have a choice of either a beef, chicken, or vegetarian option for a price of $35. Please click on the registration form at the bottom of this page to indicate your choice.
Travel to Pennsylvania State University
Penn State is serviced by University Park Airport, just minutes away from campus, which now offers direct flights to major hubs including Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Washington Dulles, and Chicago. Connecting flights are also convenient and frequent.
UPA is currently served by Delta, United Express, and American/US Air.
Avis, Hertz and National car rentals are also available as well as free WiFi, a café, courtesy airline baggage scales, ATM banking services, and local hotel phones to call for reservation and limousine services.
For driving directions to the Penn Stater, please click here.
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