As an enhancement to the Irving S. Gilmore Keyboard Festival, the Kalamazoo Valley Museum is hosting a free film series during the week of May 7. Shows start at noon and will be presented on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
The Monday, May 7, film is Piotr Anderszewski Plays the Diabelli Variations. This performance features noted pianist Piotr Anderszewski returning to the works of one of his favorite composers, Beethoven. A hero in his native Poland, Anderszewski’s interpretation of Diabelli’s Variations has been praised both for his intense use of rhythm and the intelligent, sensitive rendering of this difficult piece.
On Wednesday, May 9, Pianomania will be shown. Pianomania follows a group of world-famous virtuosos – Lang Lang, Alfred Brendel, Rudolf Buchbinder, Till Fellner and Pierre-Laurent Aimard—but the real stars of this documentary are Stefan Knüpfer, the earnest piano tuner doubling as physician and voice coach, and the beautiful instruments themselves. The film observes Knüpfer over the course of a year as he assembles, tightens and fine-tunes a series of magnificent grand pianos, bringing a rare spirit of ingenuity, knowledge and extraordinary competence to his work.
Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould will be shown on Thursday, May 10. An enigmatic musical poet, pianist Glenn Gould continues to captivate twenty-seven years after his untimely death. His inimitable music and writing reveal an insightful worldview that we are still unraveling – his use of complex recording technologies, including editing and manipulating recordings and overdubbing, was unprecedented. Though there have been many documentaries about Gould, most are distracted by his eccentricities, focusing on the pills, gloves, and scarves while missing the man and message behind the music.
The final film in the series, The Art of Chopin, will be shown on Friday, May 10. This documentary film is a tribute to the art of Chopin (1810-1849) and his unique and inimitable writing, which prepared the ground for 20th-century music and the modern piano. The film combines a narrative chronology of the composer’s most creative periods, describing his genius, the pivotal stages in his career and musical influences along with commentary from some of the greatest interpreters of his works including Garrick Ohlsson, Vladimir Ashkenazy, BellaDavidovitch, Piotr Anderszewski, Evgeny Kissin and Yuja Wang. This commentary is the crux of the film, conveying the passion with which today’s artists perform Chopin, their understanding of his music, seemingly so easy.
Mary McCormick, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for The Gilmore called the film series a nice extension of the festival and said there are many well-done documentaries related to pianos and those who have mastered them. The films are free and open to the public. For more details go to www.kalamazoomuseum.org or www.thegilmore.org/tags/film/www.thgilmore.org/festival/.