American Concert Pianist, Steinway Artist, Susan Merdinger

"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 WORKING PEDALS! Thankful for my organ-playing experience I was able to "re-write" the piece as I went along using "finger pedalling" and "finger substitution", and somehow made large chordal melodies into legato lines and held down bass notes while still playing all the other left hand notes to create the resonance and legato melodies when needed! It also helps to have fairly large hands, but this was definitely a challenge- and the audience didn't seem to mind ( or notice) one bit! I imagine it led to a very clear and clean-sounding performance, albeit a bit note-y. As I have always told my students, too, it is far better to commit the sin of too little pedal than too much- and one should never use the pedal to do what the fingers and hands should be able to do. That being said, I pray that this never happens again!

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