This book focuses on the lives, careers, and musical contributions of American pianists from the very beginnings of the nation until the present day. Pianists are each given an entry exploring their life’s work—relevant biographical details, musical career, and impact on American musical culture—as well as a list and brief discussion of existing and available recordings, if any. Also included are important collaborative pianists—none of whom have ever appeared in any volume on classical pianists—and pedagogues, some of whom never had significant performing careers but produced important students.
The book functions in an encyclopedic A - Z format, and an introduction situates these pianists into historical trends. Research for entries will be based on archival research, period newspapers, interviews with living pianists, and other primary sources.
In addition to historical pianists, current active performers are included, such as Jeremy Denk and Marilyn Nonken. The book also spotlights historical women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ pianists who either never had the opportunity to win widespread acclaim but were top notch performers or who achieved important careers against heavy odds but were soon forgotten after their deaths. Some examples include Augusta Cottlow, a Busoni pupil who toured widely in the early 20th century and was Harry Truman’s favorite pianist; George Copeland, an openly gay Bostonian who studied with Debussy and was one of the first to perform the Frenchman’s works in the United States in the early 20th century; Natalie Hinderas, a mid-20th century African American pianist who was the first African American to perform a concerto on a subscription concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra and recorded a disc of piano music by African American composers for Desto in the 1970s.
This book will provide a comprehensive view of the depth and breadth of American pianistic achievement up to the present day and will serve as the most up-to-date work for piano departments, music libraries, researchers, and interested pianophiles.
This project will be overseen by an editorial advisory board: Thomas Riis (University of Colorado at Boulder, founder and former director of the American Music Research Center), Hsiang Tu (Virginia Tech), Kiyoshi Tamagawa (Southwestern University), Sarah Rushing (West Texas A&M University) Peter Elliott (RCA Records).
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