New York City - Spring 2012 -
In 1960, renowned classical pianist Byron Janis was chosen as the first American to be sent to the Soviet Union, and his performance opened the successful exchange between the cold war adversaries. In the 1980s, after revealing his long-secret battle with arthritis, he became the worldwide spokesperson for the International Ambassador for the Arthritis Foundation. Now, in the 21st century, Byron Janis, at 85 years young, has taken up the torch of Disklavier technology.
As one of the first pianists to embrace the Disklavier's ability to broadcast and archive performances worldwide, Janis officially joined the Yamaha Artist roster in 2011. To celebrate this announcement, he offered a lecture recital on his signature Chopin repertoire, Reflections on Chopin
, at Yamaha's Artist Services Salon in New York City.
With the launch of the Disklavier Education Network, this historic lecture with performance excerpts can be experienced for the first time in its entirety, just as if Janis is right at your own piano. Not only did Janis share some of his personal wisdom on faithfully interpreting Chopin, he brought some amazing artifacts with him to the filming session. Examining such artifacts as a velvet coat and two casts of Chopin's left hand (taken from different eras of his life), Janis observes moments in the composer's life which must have influenced his musical output. Noticing the thin fingers on the cast of Chopin's hand in his last year, for instance, he points out how the misery of tuberculosis must have contributed to the mood of Chopin's later works.
Mr. Janis released the digitally re-mastered compilation CD entitled, The Chopin Collection, in April 2012. This new release is a combination of Byron Janis Plays Chopin, which was released in 1996 and Byron Janis True Romantic, which was released in 1998, both with stellar reviews. The Chopin Collection brings together for the first time on a single CD both recordings of the two previously unknown versions of Chopin waltzes which he discovered: the Grande Valse Brilliante in E♭ Major
(Op. 18) and the Waltz in G♭ Major
(Op. 70, No.1).
The DEN Piano Archives, a forthcoming part of DisklavierTV
, will include many lecture recitals on topics including Franz Schubert (Inna Faliks), Duo Performance (Michael and Jessica Shin), and Beethoven Sonatas (Lisa Yui).