Danny Holt

After writing about getting rhythm in piano and mentioning that the piano is a very rhythmic and percussive instrument I found a very interesting pianist thanks to google. His name is Danny Holt, a pianist, composer and percussionist from L.A.

A couple of words that can’t describe him better are INNOVATIVE and INVENTIVE. He definitely is one of the most innovative young musicians ushering classical music into the 21st century. Called “phenomenal” by the late music critic Alan Rich (SoIveHeard.com), and called “freak” (in a good and respective way) by me when I finished watching the first video I found from him – He simply is outstanding!

So what is so good about Holts style? Is boundless energy, wit to unique interpretations, obscure, unusual and neglected repertoire enough for you? I guess it is and I bet you can’t wait to see him in action.

Danny Holt has performed in halls, theaters, music schools and universities across the U.S. He debuted with his “Right Now” album in 2002 which had a lot of good comments and reviews but unfortunately is out of print – “… offers a taste of his offbeat take on the classics and cutting-edge music”, “Eclectic and fun…” – You could contact Danny and in exchange for some fine dark chocolate, he can be persuaded to send a copy, or e-mail some mp3s…

He also performed with Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2006 and has been very active since then, releasing 3 more albums.

More recently, in 2010 Holt unveiled a new project; the one that put the “freak” word in my mouth after watching his performance. In this project Danny takes advantage of his skills as a percussionist to perform new works written for a piano-percussion setup he has developed… Can you believe that? Well, see it and hear it on the video below:

And watch this other video performing “Wed” by David Lang in 2011, it is very impressive:

This guy is truly an inspiration to any musician!

If you like what you see, you should go to Danny´s website.

Franz Liszt

Franz Liszt
Looking back to move forward!

We’ve all experienced being in awe of another pianist, whether it be a friend or family member, emerging artist or just the guy or girl next door. It certainly gets you fired up about playing and can spur you on to greater things.

Franz Liszt had one such experience when, in 1832 he witnessed a performance by Paganini who was a Violin virtuoso, no less. He was so in awe of Paganini’s performance that he resolved to become the greatest piano virtuoso. In his tireless pursuit of this lofty goal, he dedicate 10-12 hours each day learning the most difficult playing techniques.

With this kind of dedication he went on to compose some of the most intricate and difficult to play piano pieces. He enthralled audiences with his astounding playing skills and founded the ‘piano recital’. Few thought that and audiences’ attention could be held for an entire concert with a lone piano, but Liszt proved them all wrong.

His playing was electrifying and astounded audiences. To add to the excitement he was the first composer to tune the piano around so that the keyboard was viewable by the audience, adding a visual aspect to his playing.

There’s no doubt that Liszt was an extremely gifted individual who dedicated many many hours to his playing. But it was that one performance of Paganini that was the catalyst for his dedication to the piano.

So what is it that has changed the piano playing game for you? When things get a little tired for you with your playing, think back on what or who got you playing in the first place and re-connect with that feeling of awe and excitement you had about the piano.

Take those feelings and let them push you on in the direction you want to go. Not everyone can be a Liszt – few that have followed have even come close. BUT, we can apply something of the same dedication to our instrument and be an inspiration to others.

If you haven’t heard any of Liszt’s compositions, take some time now to listen to a few and be inspired:

We also recommend you to visit this site for general facts and complishments.