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Classical 31/03/2020

Deutsche Grammophon's World Piano Day Virtual Festival Reaches Audience Of 4 Million In Over 100 Countries

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New York, NY (Top40 Charts) Ten Yellow Label artists came together to mark World Piano Day on Saturday 28 March by pre-recording intimate live performances on smartphone video - from the safety of their current locations - which were then streamed online to create a unique international virtual festival.

In spite of increased internet traffic, over 4 million people have so far been able to enjoy three and a half hours of piano music via YouTube, Facebook and, with roughly 800,000 music lovers having followed the stream live. The emotionally charged programme was performed by Maria João Pires, Víkingur Ólafsson, Joep Beving, Rudolf Buchbinder, Seong-Jin Cho, Jan Lisiecki, Kit Armstrong, Simon Ghraichy, Daniil Trifonov and Evgeny Kissin.

Maria João Pires opened the virtual festival with a plea for compassion: "I think we should take this terrible crisis we're going through as … a reflection, a thought about what we should do better in the future - to take more care about ourselves, about the planet and about each other." She matched her words with a moving performance of Beethoven's "Pathétique" Sonata.

Other highlights included Víkingur Ólafsson's mini lecture-recital on Debussy and Rameau, a spellbinding interpretation of Chopin's Polonaise in A flat from Evgeny Kissin, new works inspired by Beethoven's Diabelli Variations - by Max Richter and Jörg Widmann, among others - and performed by Rudolf Buchbinder, and a closing selection of pieces from Bach's The Art of Fugue recorded by Daniil Trifonov on a dilapidated grand piano in a closed school in the Dominican Republic. The festival also included miniatures by Chopin, Brahms and Mendelssohn, and the world premiere of Joep Beving's Solitude. Those who missed Saturday's live stream can watch the programme in full on DG's YouTube and Facebook channels until tomorrow night (31 March; see links below).

"Throughout music history, the piano has probably been the principal instrument of solitude, one on which musicians have expressed their innermost feelings and thoughts - and also composed new music," comments Dr Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon. "The beauty of World Piano Day was seeing ten outstanding individual performances collectively form something greater to send out a message of unity, hope and comfort. This was a truly global initiative, created in ten different locations and delivered to an audience in more than 100 countries. I would like to thank all our artists for their generosity and heartfelt contributions to this memorable one-off event, staged in the most challenging of circumstances."

Deutsche Grammophon has launched and supported further online initiatives to provide a strong platform for classical music and connect its artists to a large audience: notably the professionally produced "Moment Musical" series based at Berlin's Meistersaal and "Hope@Home" - daily recitals from violinist Daniel Hope's living room - both presented in collaboration with Arte Concert.

"Moment Musical" continues on Friday 3 April (7pm CET) and Sunday 5 April (4pm CET) with performances by oboist Albrecht Mayer and mandolin player Avi Avital respectively, with more recitals to follow on subsequent Fridays and Sundays.

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