American Concert Pianist, Steinway Artist, Susan Merdinger

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Preparing a concerto for performance with orchestra 

As I get ready to perform Brahms' monumental Piano Concerto No.2 on May 5th with the Northbrook Symphony, I figured my fans might want some insight into the process that I go through to prepare a concerto for performance. 

I will tell you first that it is at once a challenge and a pleasure to play a concerto with an orchestra. The Van Cliburn Silver Medalist Santiago Rodriguez once told me backstage after one of his concerts that "concertos are the bread and butter" of a pianist's career. So, what exactly…

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Concertos Galore!  

I just love performing concertos with orchestras- it can be the most gratifying and also at times the most terrifying of musical experiences as a soloist. It's a little bit like chamber music on steroids- so much more to listen for, so much more to watch and observe, so much more SOUND! It is really quite a thrill, and I was lucky to perform two of my favorite concertos last season- Cesar Franck's Symphonic Variations and Beethoven's Triple Concerto. Now this season two more show-stoppers- Tchaikovsky's…

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Fulcrum Point New Music Concert- Chicago Latino Music Festival 

SO delighted to perform in the Fulcrum Point New Music Group's concert this evening at the invitation of the founder and Artistic Director, Stephen Burns, who also happens to be a world-class Trumpet soloist. What a fascinating, electrifying and mesmerizing concert of electro-acoustic contemporary music works by the distinguished composers Gustavo Leone, Gabriela Lena Frank, Elbio Barilari, Rodrigo Sigal, and Javier Alvarez. 

I was delighted to perform in this program along with Stephen Burns, cellist…

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Perfect Pianissimo: Jeremy Denk in Recital At Symphony Center 

Sunday afternoon proved to be a challenging time to give a piano recital- a glorious, beautiful day, following a week of the most historic and tumultuous Presidential Election in recent times. Jeremy Denk's recital proved to be at times challenge for both him and the audience, with varying degrees of success. Denk presented a most interesting and engaging recital program, of choice standard repertoire more memorably complemented by some unusual fare.

His program opened with the famous Mozart Sonata in A…Read more

"The show must go on!" 

Yesterday was a first-time ever experience for me of playing a concert and in the middle of it, the complete lyre and pedal assembly fell off the piano hitting the floor with a big thud! I mean, I have endured some broken strings, and keys falling off, and notes not repeating, and the like. But THIS??? The SOUL of the PIANO just GONE? In keeping with the tradition of "the show must go on" I still never imagined I could continue to perform the Finale movement of Mendelssohn's C minor Piano Trio with NO…

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Reflections on Winning.... 

I sit here today and am proud announce the news about my dear friend and colleague, German-born violin virtuoso, David Yonan, winning First Prize in the Alexander Buono International String Competition, with his performance on the Four Centuries CD we just recorded together in July leading to this significant prize. 

David Yonan is already a First Prize winner of so many international competitions- I don't have to recount them here- you can visit his website to learn more: www.davidyonan.com. But what I can…Read more

A lot is happening! 

Looking forward to offering a Chopin Mazurka Masterclass to the Chicago Amateur Piano Guild this Saturday! I've been working on the Mazurka's and finding such joy in the creative spark that Chopin displayed in this stylized dance form native to his homeland- Poland. I cannot wait to listen to the passionately dedicated adult pianists who are in a quest for "piano perfection". Does this "perfection" ever exist? Not a chance...not for any true professional nor amateur. That is the fate of being a musician-…Read more

Preparing for final concerts and festivities of 2013! 

What a busy season it is! Parties, concerts, fundraisers, open houses....particularly busy if one is the one playing the concerts!
While the season for gratitude and thanksgiving begins on Thanksgiving, it doesn't end there! We all hope and pray for another New Year- with good health, prosperity, and contentment.

For those of you in the Chicago area- come here me perform on Sunday December 15th at 2pm at the Northbrook Public Library in a chamber music program entitled "Homage to Beethoven"- featuring three…Read more