18 Stories

Dementia Hasn't Dulled Gifts of 101-Year-Old Pianist

She's a 'wonderful example of an indomitable human spirit'

(Newser) - The incredible abilities of a 101-year-old pianist with vascular dementia highlight just how much we still have to learn about our own brains. The woman rarely knows where she is and can't recognize anybody she has met in the last 20 years or more, but she can play more... More »

Deaths of Pianist's Kids Renew Talk of Cliburn Curse

3 of 16 Cliburn winners have died at an early age

(Newser) - Three years after winning the prestigious gold medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, pianist Vadym Kholodenko suffered the deaths of his two young children, for which his estranged wife has been charged with capital murder . It's just the latest tragedy to befall a Cliburn winner, Scott Cantrell... More »

School Gives Homeless Piano Player Full Scholarship

Donald Gould getting chance to finish his degree

(Newser) - A viral video of a homeless man artfully playing a piano in Sarasota didn't just make 51-year-old Donald Gould an Internet star. It's giving him a real shot at turning his life around. Michigan's Spring Arbor University, where Gould studied music years ago but left before getting... More »

This Homeless Man Will Amaze You

Sarasota's Donald Gould becomes an Internet star on the piano

(Newser) - A homeless man in Florida is an Internet star after footage of him playing the piano went viral this week. But more than that, the newfound fame may give him a chance to stop being homeless, reports People . Donald Gould, 51, who has been living on the streets of Sarasota... More »

Hilltop Piano Mystery Solved: Music Video Prop

It showed up at spot with panoramic views in California

(Newser) - For a couple of days this week, a Southern California hilltop was alive with the sound of—mystery. Hikers venturing to Topanga Lookout in the Santa Monica Mountains found a battered upright piano, sitting on a graffiti-scrawled concrete slab with a panoramic view over the mountains between Calabasas and the... More »

Mystery Solved of Piano in Seattle's Woods

It's perched between pair of large Douglas Firs

(Newser) - The mystery behind an old out-of-tune piano that appeared in early August in Shoreview Park just north of Seattle has been solved, and nobody had to pull any strings. The piano itself, which was not a part of the local "Pianos in the Parks" program, came with a clue:... More »

Pianist Faces Jail Over Incessant Practicing

Neighbor says it caused psychological damage

(Newser) - Spanish prosecutors want to send a young pianist to jail for more than seven years after a neighbor accused her of causing psychological damage and noise pollution. The plaintiff—identified only as Sonia B.—claims she suffered from noise contamination between 2003 and 2007 owing to the five-days-a-week, eight-hour... More »

Famed Pianist Van Cliburn Dead at 78

Texan's 1958 performance helped thaw Cold War

(Newser) - The renowned American classical pianist Van Cliburn has died at age 78. His publicist and longtime friend Mary Lou Falcone said that Cliburn died this morning after a battle with bone cancer. She'd announced in late August that Cliburn had been diagnosed with advanced cancer and was being cared... More »

More Pianos Getting Sent to the Dump

Beloved instruments are being burned for firewood

(Newser) - Imagine the cacophony: More pianos are being thrown out these days in a mangle of legs, keys, and twisted wire, reports the New York Times . Why the unceremonious dumping? Well, their value is plummeting, electronic keyboards are more affordable, and music education is suffering from budget cuts. "Instead of... More »

So You're a Piano Virtuoso? Get in Line

More and more musical geniuses crowding the field

(Newser) - So you can effortlessly play all of Chopin's piano études with flawless precision, style, and personality. Join the club. Being a young piano virtuoso is not the amazing feat as it used to be, writes Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times . "The overall level of technical... More »

Mystery of the Sandbar Piano Solved

Not too shockingly, it was an art stunt, courtesy of Nicholas Harrington

(Newser) - Good grades just aren't enough to get you into a top-notch college these days. So Nicholas Harrington took a different route. The 16-year-old has stepped forward as the brains and (part of the) brawn behind the baby grand piano that mysteriously appeared on a sandbar off the coast of Miami—... More »

Grand Piano Found on Sandbar off Miami Coast

It sits in Biscayne Bay ... and authorities say they won't move it

(Newser) - It's not exactly sunken treasure, but it's just as mysterious: A grand piano has appeared on a sandbar off the Miami coast. Weighing in at 650 pounds (or more), it sits at the highest spot along the sandbar, which keeps it from being submerged during high tide, reports the Miami ... More »

Armless Pianist Wins China's Got Talent

Liu Wei wows judges by performing with feet

(Newser) - Double amputee Liu Wei won the inaugural season of China’s Got Talent last night, wowing viewers and judges with his rendition of “You’re Beautiful,” which he performed entirely with his toes. The 23-year-old lost his arms in an electrical accident at age 10 according to Mediaite... More »

2 New Mozart Pieces Found

Two piano pieces surface in Austria

(Newser) - Two pieces of music found in the vaults of the International Mozarteum Foundation in Salzburg, Austria, have been confirmed as the work of Mozart himself, the BBC reports. The compositions are for solo piano, but other details are being kept under wraps until a formal announcement next month, said a... More »

Canadian Plays World-Record Piano Solo

Musician Gonzales tickles ivories for 27 consecutive hours

(Newser) - Canadian musician and producer Gonzales set the world record for longest solo piano performance today, AFP reports, clocking in at 27 hours, 3 minutes, and 44 seconds. The harrowing performance incorporated 300 musical pieces, from Britney Spears to Beethoven. Gonzales was allowed a 15-minute break between three-hour sets, and 30... More »

Polish Pianist Launches Rant Against US at LA Concert

Zimerman vows never to return to America

(Newser) - Famed Polish concert pianist Krystian Zimerman vowed to never again return to the US after his concert in Los Angeles last night, the Guardian reports. Dozens of audience members walked out as Zimerman, hailed as one of the greatest living pianists, delivered an anti-American tirade, accusing the US of wanting... More »

Britney Back in the Studio 'Just for Fun'

Singer working on voice, aiming to stay 'on right track'

(Newser) - Britney Spears is taking voice lessons and spending time in a Burbank recording studio, singing and playing piano "just for fun," E! Online reports. Insiders say that after a troubled year, the star is simply enjoying herself. "It may lead to something down the road, but right... More »

Oscar Peterson Dies at 82

Jazz virtuoso known for quickness at the keyboard

(Newser) - Legendary jazz pianist Oscar Peterson died last night at his home near Toronto from kidney failure, CBC News reports. He was 82. The Canadian musician made hundreds of recordings, won seven Grammys, and played alongside greats like Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, and Ella Fitzgerald. "The world has lost the... More »

18 Stories