This educators' guide features profiles, information, and film clips of Schumann, Clara Wieck, Hector Berlioz, Franz Liszt, Felix Mendelssohn, Frederic Chopin, Richard Wagner, and Giuseppe Verdi.  For information on how to obtain this two-disc DVD (which is also operable on your computer), contact John C. Tibbetts/

Below you'll hear an excerpt from “The World of Robert Schumann,” click on the controller to start & stop

To acquire this series, contact me at tibbetts@ku.edu

To preview the contents of the Schumann companion CD, click here.

For an article about the Schumann series, click here.

For a review in Gramophone magazine of Schumann series, click here.


by John C. Tibbetts

Informal Conversations about Men, Women, and Pianos
This 17-part audio series is now available for worldwide distribution.

                                                NEWS RELEASE




      Contact: John C. Tibbetts, tibbetts@ku.edu.

                    "Here is a wonderful opportunity for pianists to talk shop about our lives,

                   the challenges of our profession, and the glories of our favorite repertoire."

                                                                                       Emanuel Ax

GARRICK OHLSSON. . . LEIF OVE ANDSNES. . . GEORGE SHEARING. . . RUTH LAREDO. . . JEAN-YVES THIBAUDET. . . . These and many other world-class keyboard celebrities are the subjects of PIANO PORTRAITS, a new radio series from producer/broadcaster John C. Tibbetts.  This series of informal conversations, commentary, and music was broadcast on Kansas Public Radio in 2005-2006 and is now available from Pandemonium Productions for individual sale and world-wide broadcast distribution.  Each of the programs is self-contained.  They may be packaged as a complete series or in smaller increments of four, eight, thirteen parts, etc.


“I’m drawing upon more than 25 years of my interviews with great pianists, associated with the fields of classical music, ragtime, and jazz,” says Dr. Tibbetts, “And I’ve found that, like movie stars, the bigger they are, the more forthright and honest they are about their lives and work.  I hope listeners will find that my PIANO PORTRAITS series allows these artists to speak out in their own words about the composers and repertoire they know best.  And along the way, we’ll hear some of their finest performances.”


“PIANO PORTRAITS brings famous pianists and their favorite repertoire up close and personal,” says Van Cliburn Gold Medalist Stanislaus Ioudenitch.  “I know most of these great keyboard artists, past and present, and it’s pleasure to hear their voices and share in their insights into the world’s greatest piano literature.”


Here is a breakdown of each of the seventeen episodes:


1.      ROSALYN TURECK talks about her lifetime dedication to the keyboard

          music of Johann Sebastian Bach. 

2.      MALCOLM BILSON discusses and demonstrates at the keyboard his

          performances of Mozart on the forte-piano.  Additional commentary by

          conductor John Eliot Gardner, keyboard artists Paul-Badura Skoda and

          Edmund Battersby, and music historian Harry Haskell.

3.      THE CONTIGUGLIA BROTHERS examine the four-hand piano music of

    Franz Schubert.  Additional commentary by music historian Joseph


4.      RICHARD GOODE AND CLAUDE FRANK talk about their performances

          of the complete piano sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven.  Additional

          commentary by Beethoven historian Robert Winter of UCLA.

5.      GARRICK OHLSSON discusses his performances and recordings of the

    complete piano music of Frederic Chopin.

6.      LEIF OVE ANDSNES talks about his devotion to the piano music of his

    Norwegian countryman Edvard Grieg.  He performs music on Grieg’s own

    piano at his villa in Troldhaugen.


          ROSEN, and other pianists talk about the piano music of Robert Schumann. 

          Additional commentary by biographer Peter Ostwald and music historians

          Eric Sams and Alan Walker of McMaster’s University.

8.      LESLIE HOWARD talks about his unprecedented project to perform and

          record the complete piano works of Franz Liszt.  Additional commentary by

          biographer Alan Walker of McMaster’s University, whose three-volume

          work is the definitive biography of the composer. 

9.      RUTH LAREDO discusses her performance and recordings of the complete

          piano music of Sergei Rachmaninoff.  Additional commentary by music

          historian/critic Harold Schonberg.

10.  RUDOLF FIRKUSNY discusses his long association with and advocacy of

          the piano music of his homeland, the former Czechoslovakia.  He discusses

          the music of Smetana and Dvorak and recalls his personal associations with

          Leos Janacek and Bohuslav Martinu.  Additional commentary by music

          historian Michael Beckerman of New York University, a Janacek specialist.

11.  GYORGY SANDOR recalls his association with his Hungarian countryman,

          Bela Bartok, and demonstrates at the keyboard Bartok’s tonal language and

          his activities as a proto-ethnomusicologist.  Additional commentary by

          Bartok’s biographer, Elliott Antokoletz.

12.  ARNALDO COHEN talks about his advocacy of the music of his Brazilian

          countrymen, Villa-Lobos, Nazareth, and others.  Additional commentary by

          Brazilian music specialist and record producer Paul Myers.

13.  PORTRAIT OF THE STEINWAY PIANO.  Franz Mohr, Chief Technician

          at Steinway Pianos in New York City shares his experiences of more than

         35 years working with Vladimir Horowitz, Artur Rubinstein, Van Cliburn,

         and Emil Gilels.  He also gives us a lesson in the mechanics and the spiritual

         aspects of piano tuning.  Additional commentary by John and Henry


14.  JEAN-YVES THIBAUDET and ALDO CICCOLINI talk about the piano

         music of Maurice Ravel and Deodat de Severac.  Additional commentary by

         Ravel’s biographer Arbie Orenstein of Queen’s College.

15.  MAX MORATH shares a lifetime devoted to the traditions of American

         ragtime music.  Additional commentary by pianist Joshua Rifkin, composer

         William Bolcom, and singer Joan Morris.

16.  GEORGE SHEARING and AHMAD JAMAL talk about their jazz keyboard


17.  TRIBUTE TO EUGENE ISTOMIN.  The series concludes with this special

         tribute to one of the great pianists of our time.  It features conversations with

         the late pianist and commentary by Columbia Masterworks producer

         Thomas Frost and Marta Istomin.


Note:  Dr. Tibbetts is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre and Film at the University of Kansas and has had extensive experience as a radio and television producer and broadcaster for CBS Television and Monitor Radio.  His 13-part radio series, The World of Schumann is scheduled for worldwide broadcast in 2006-2007 on the WFMT Radio Network.  He has written many books and articles on the subject of film and music, including Composers in the Movies:  Studies in Musical Biography (Yale University Press, 2005) and Dvorak in America (Amadeus Press, 1993).



“These PIANO PORTRAITS are not concert programs,” says John Tibbetts, “but informal conversations with artists about their music, illustrated with musical excerpts and commentary.  In effect, these pianists step away from the concert platform and invite us into their practice rooms.  They speak affectionately and frankly about their careers and the music they love.”

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