the 62nd annual

The University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
June 19-22, 2019


"Sergei Rachmaninoff and the Golden Age of Pianism"

                    Tobias Matthay (1858-1945)

The year 2019 marks the seventy-fourth anniversary of the death of Tobias Matthay, one of the greatest piano teachers of the twentieth century, and the foremost piano teacher Britain has produced. In his lifetime, Matthay trained scores of famous pianists, including Dame Myra Hess, Irene Scharrer, 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 and 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 2019 marks the sixty-second annual gathering, and this year's Festival will also include performances and masterclasses featuring the recipients of the 2019 Clara Wells Fellowship Awards. 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 University of Richmond, East Carolina University, King College, Union University, Western Carolina University, Texas Wesleyan University, the Eastman School of Music, and Arizona State University. Because this year the Matthay Association is also honoring the legacy of one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century—as well as one of America's great pianist/teachers—a number of special events have been planned.

A Newly Discovered Live Recording by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

One evening after Sergei Rachmaninoff played a piano recital in London, Tobias Matthay—who well remembered the performances he had once heard from Liszt, Anton Rubinstein, and von Bülow—remarked to his ward, Denise Lassimonne, that he thought it was some of the greatest playing he had ever heard. Matthay was not alone in his estimate, because for decades, connoisseurs and laymen alike have granted Rachmaninoff a unique status in the pantheon of great pianists. On December 21, 1940, a few weeks before Eugene Ormandy was scheduled to premiere the composer's Symphonic Dances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Rachmaninoff sat at the piano to guide the conductor's understanding of the tempos and voicings he most desired. Perhaps unaware that his rendering was being recorded, on that occasion he created a remarkable solo reduction of virtually the entire work, delivering a performance of extraordinary poetry and stunning virtuosity. As is well known, Rachmaninoff was so averse to recording his performances that he never even permitted live broadcasts, so this priceless document stands as a sui generis addition to his discography. Today, Rachmaninoff's most extensive "live" performance, lost for decades, can now be heard by modern audiences thanks to the efforts of master recording engineer Ward Marston, who will discuss aspects of its background and creation at this year's Matthay Festival. The track listings and the extraordinary liner notes by noted Russian music scholar Richard Taruskin, author of The Oxford History of Western Music, can be read by clicking on the cover image at left. Several Festival recitals and presentations this year will also feature the music of Rachmaninoff—a composer whose works continue to beguile and fascinate modern audiences.

"One of the most searing listening experiences in the history of recorded sound. ... More than a lost art, it documents a lost world."

—Joseph Horowitz, author of The Ivory Trade, Classical Music in America, and Artists in Exile, writing in the Wall Street Journal, September 17, 2018

"For my money the year's top-ranking CD release. ... Henceforth it will alter the way you listen to some great music."

—Rob Cowan, writing in Gramophone, October, 2018

"Why is the existence of this recording so exciting? First, because Rachmaninov, it is generally agreed, is one of the greatest pianists who ever lived. Secondly, people have been searching unsuccessfully for lost Rachmaninov recordings and radio broadcasts ever since his death in 1943. ... It is certainly as near as we shall ever get to hearing Rachmaninov playing unihibited by the pressures of the recording studio. It is, in short, a document that in every way lives up to its hype."

—Jeremy Nicholas, writing in International Piano, November/December, 2018

Celebrating the Recorded Legacy of Cécile Genhart (1898-1983)

The American Matthay Association is proud to announce a modern CD compilation of the finest recordings of Cécile Genhart—the product of several years of intensive preparation and restoration—which will be commercially available at our June 2019 Festival. Mme Genhart's biographer, the distinguished pianist, scholar, and teacher Stewart Gordon—who contributed the liner notes—delivers this year's keynote address, and he will also moderate a panel of some of her most distinguished students, many of whom have been directly involved with this project. Mme Genhart, who was born Cécile Staub in Basel, Switzerland, was from an intensely musical family, and her father was intimate with some of the greatest musicians of the day—including Max Reger, Fritz Kreisler, Albert Schweitzer, and Walter Gieseking—all of whom were welcome guests in their home. She was, quite literally, born into the "Golden Age" of pianism, and during World War I, she played for both Ferruccio Busoni and Eugen d'Albert in Zurich, later studying intensively with Emil Frey, a student of Rudolf Breithaupt. She made her European debut in Zurich in November of 1920, before relocating to Munich to attend the master classes of Josef Pembauer, eventually reaching Berlin in October of 1921, where she became close to Edwin Fischer and his wife. But though she revered Pembauer and Fischer for their musical insights, she felt profoundly disappointed that neither offered any guidance to explain how their effects were achieved at the instrument. In December of 1922, she made her Berlin Philharmonic debut to a packed house under its concertmaster, Otto Marienhagen—deputized to stand in for an ailing Fischer—performing both the Beethoven First and the Brahms Second, and the reviews were marvelous.

After she married pianist and conductor Herman Genhart, they arrived in Rochester, New York, in 1924, and two years later, she joined the faculty of the Eastman School of Music, where she served for decades as one of its preeminent teachers. She began studying with Tobias Matthay in 1929, and in her words,"He was the greatest teacher I had ever known. ... If one of the criteria of a great teacher is the ability to make every one of his students play beautifully, then surely Tobias Matthay is master of us all."

To see the program Mrs. Genhart performed for the American Matthay Association in 1944, click here.

Special Guest Performers and Presenters


will deliver the keynote address at this year's Matthay Festival. One of America's most noted pianists, scholars, and teachers, Dr. Gordon, as Cécile Genhart's biographer, brings a thorough understanding of her contributions, and he will also moderate a panel discussion with the participation of some of her most noted students, all of whom are Eastman alums. In addition to his work with Mme Genhart, his intensive studies with Walter Gieseking in Germany brought him into intimate contact with the "Golden Age" of pianism, and as an artist whose discography includes the 24 Preludes of Rachmaninoff, he is uniquely qualified to unite this year's Festival themes. Currently Professor of Piano and Keyboard Literature at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, Dr. Gordon's many books include A History of Keyboard Literature (Schirmer, 1996)—considered by most to be the standard work in the field—Mastering the Art of Performance (Oxford, 2006), and Beethoven's 32 Piano Sonatas (Oxford, 2017). As an editor, he has completed a new critical edition of the 32 Piano Sonatas of Beethoven (Alfred) in four volumes (2002, 2004, 2008 and 2010), as well as the Debussy Etudes (2015). He is currently engaged in a critical edition of the Mozart piano sonatas, scheduled for release soon.


will be our featured guest artist, performing a recital on Friday evening, June 21. One of America's most esteemed pianists, she has always been a great favorite with Matthay-trained audiences, and her studies with Mieczyslaw Munz, Arthur Rubinstein, and Dame Myra Hess gave her direct contact with some of the greatest pianists of the "Golden Age." 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 playing—and creates music so powerful you cannot tear yourself away."

Special Sessions with Ward Marston:
Bringing the "Golden Age" into the Digital Age

The American Matthay Association is pleased to present Grammy-award winning producer WARD MARSTON, considered by many to be the most accomplished restoration engineer in the field. His company, Marston, which he founded in 1997 with his partner, SCOTT KESSLER, has set a new standard in CD historical reissues, and is known worldwide for its superlative sound, informative liner notes, and extensive booklets. The mission of Marston is to preserve the great performances of the past and keep alive the traditions that were prevalent at the dawn of recording, and it has received outstanding reviews and awards. In addition to the recent release of Rachmaninoff performing his Symphonic Dances, to date, Marston's catalogue incudes landmark compilations devoted to Jorge Bolet, Frederic Lamond, Vladimir de Pachmann, Leopold Godowsky, Ernst Levy, Emil von Sauer, and—in collaboration with Hofmann scholar GREGOR BENKO—a nine-volume set covering all extant recordings of Josef Hofmann. In addition, the company's vocal catalogue is second to none, and it includes rare releases by Chaliapin, Lotte Lehmann, John McCormack, Rosa Ponselle, and many others.

In an extensive session devoted to the Rachmaninoff Symphonic Dances release, Ward Marston will be joined by noted Rachmaninoff scholar FRANCIS CROCIATA (right), who assisted with its production and was also once a close associate of Cécile Genhart. Immediately following their session, he will contribute to the panel discussing the Genhart discography. In an additional session, Ward will be joined by his partner SCOTT KESSLER, who will discuss the founding and background of Marston, and relate some of the challenges that confront the modern engineers who attempt to restore and market the "Golden Age" of pianism.

Researching documents as background for the Marston Rachmaninoff discs, FRANCIS CROCIATA (center) is
shown at Senar, Rachmaninoff's home in Switzerland. He is joined by piano scholar GREGOR BENKO (right) and
PETER GREENLEAF (left), who contributed funding to the project.

A Special Duo-Piano Recital with Constance Carroll and Kevin Chance

The American Matthay Association is pleased to feature a duo-recital with two of our most distinguished members: KEVIN CHANCE, our host at the University of Alabama and currently Vice-President of the AMA, and CONSTANCE CARROLL, Professor Emerita at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. In addition to his studies with Prof. Carroll, Dr. Chance has worked with ANN SCHEIN, AMA member BARRY SNYDER, and the late ANNE KOSCIELNY, who was a lifetime member of the American Matthay Association. He has been acclaimed as “a superlative musician” playing “with musical conviction and muscularity," and has performed throughout the United States and abroad as both soloist and collaborator. Recent engagements include performances at Carnegie Hall as well as concerto appearances with Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Huxford Symphony Orchestra, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the University of Alabama Wind Ensemble, and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with the Athens Chorale in Georgia. Ms. Carroll, who worked extensively with Matthay's pupil Frank Mannheimer, has been praised throughout the nation for the elegance, refinement, and bravura of her playing. She received her Master of Music and Performer's Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, and following her study as a Fulbright Scholar in Vienna and Salzburg, she was appointed to the music faculty at Louisiana State University. Subsequently, she taught at Wisconsin State University and Lenoir-Rhyne College, and was artist-in-residence at Centenary College of Louisiana for twenty-one years. She was re-appointed to the faculty at Louisiana State University in 1995, and in 1996 became the first recipient of the Barineau Professorship of Keyboard Studies. The program chosen by Ms. Carroll and Dr. Chance will include Rachmaninoff's Suite No. 2 for Two Pianos, op. 17.

The week's events will also include a two-piano recital featuring the composer's ethereal First Suite performed by Nancy Elton and Wendy Freeland, two superb artist-teachers long dedicated to Matthay principles, as well as a solo program by composer and pianist Richard Becker, which will include Schumann's Kreisleriana. This year, you can also obtain complete information about our annual Clara Wells Fellowships, available to both high school and college students, by clicking here, and we're pleased to present a lecture/recital dedicated to the Etudes of Liszt and Rachmaninoff by our 2017 Fellow, the brilliant young pianist Nicholas Susi, winner of the 2018 Beardsley Piano Competition, and the 2015-2017 National Federation of Music Clubs Young Artist.

The University of Alabama

Founded in 1831 as the state’s first public college, the University of Alabama today offers programs of study in 13 academic divisions leading to bachelor's, master's, Education Specialist, and doctoral degrees, as well as offering the only publicly supported law school in the state. Other academic programs unavailable elsewhere in Alabama include doctoral programs in anthropology, communication and information sciences, metallurgical engineering, music, romance languages, and social work. In a 1913 speech, then-president George H. Denny extolled the university as the "capstone of the public school system in the state [of Alabama]," lending UA its current nickname, The Capstone. The University of Alabama has consistently been ranked as one of the top 50 public universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The campus is anchored around the 22-acre Quad (pictured at left), which sits at the site of the original campus designed by William Nichols, and is about the same size as the original campus—it also lies roughly at the geographic center of the modern campus. It is cut in half by a line connecting the Gorgas Library on the north end and Denny Chimes, a campanile equipped with a 25-bell carillon, on the south. The west side of the Quad is filled by a grove of trees, while the east side of the Quad is open field. Academic buildings are grouped into smaller clusters and quads surrounding the main Quad itself. Engineering Row, the traditional home of the departments of the College of Engineering, is located to the northeast. Northwest of the Quad are buildings housing the Humanities and Social Sciences departments, and to the west lie the Colleges of Commerce and Education. Finally, the College of Communication and Information Sciences, the College of Human Environmental Sciences, and the School of Social Work flank the Quad to the south from west to east, respectively.

The School of Music occupies the Frank Moody Music Building (pictured at right), which provides a spacious and beautiful environment in which to study and perform. The centerpiece of the building is the 1,000-seat concert hall (pictured below) with its Holtkamp organ standing three stories high with four manuals, 65 stops, and more than 5,000 pipes. The building, which has 135,000 square feet of floor space, includes a recital/lecture hall; choral/opera and jazz rehearsal rooms; pipe-organ practice rooms; large teaching studios; 52 practice rooms; a media center; research labs for music education and therapy; and studios equipped for electronic and computer music. Additionally, Moody Music Building holds three instrumental rehearsal spaces, one of which is large enough to hold the entirety of the world-renowned Million Dollar Band. The Moody Music Building is located at the east end of the University of Alabama campus and has ample parking directly across the street. The flowers, trees, and benches in the building’s large courtyard complete the picture of a modern facility in a graceful setting.

Lodging and Banquet

Participants are responsible for their own housing arrangements. A block of rooms has been reserved at the Hotel Capstone, located on the University of Alabama campus, directly across the street from the School of Music. Hotel Capstone is the best choice for campus visits, business trips, reunions of all types, and weekend getaways. This full-service hotel is also your best local choice for Tuscaloosa-catered events and meetings. The staff promises generous doses of Southern hospitality, and the amenities include complimentary high-speed Internet access, plush bedding, and flat-screen HDTVs. Savor delicious American fare in a relaxed atmosphere at the Legends Bistro, which offers a diverse menu with affordable options for even the most discerning of palates. A few menu highlights include the BBQ Nachos, Turkey and Pesto Sandwich, and Pot Roast. Guests can dine in or enjoy their food in the comfort of their rooms, and room service is available during all operating hours. To make a room reservation, call 205-752-3200 or click here. To get the preferred rate of $125 a night, please give the conference code of AMA6A19.

The Hotel Capstone will also host our closing banquet at 6 pm on Saturday, June 22. The hotel will provide an elegant buffet with the choice of either a beef, chicken, or vegetarian entrée, at a price of $40. A banquet reservation may be confirmed on the Festival registration form.

                            For a list of other nearby hotels, please click here.

Travel to Tuscaloosa

Tuscaloosa is served by the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, which in 2014, completed a $201.6 million terminal modernization. The state’s largest airport in terms of passenger traffic, BHM is home to five major airlines—American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, and United—servicing over 100 daily flights to 25 cities. For passengers' convenience, the terminal features free Wi-Fi, a variety of excellent dining and shopping options, a beautiful collection of art, and much more.

The BHM Rental Car facility is located in section 1B on the ground level of the parking deck and BHM is serviced by all major rental car companies, whose local phone numbers may be accessed here. Raiser, LLC (Uber) is authorized to provide pick-up services at BHM. Uber may pick up passengers on the Airport’s Arrivals/Lower Level terminal curbside. The trip from BHM to the University of Alabama campus takes about an hour, and for those not renting cars, two shuttle services, Scuttle Shuttle and Birmingham Door to Door, provide reliable, comfortable transportation between BHM and the UA campus.

For driving directions to the University of Alabama, please click here.

Program Schedule

Biographies of 2019 Presenters

Festival Registration

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