Broadly speaking, a Piano Tradition is the synthesis of an accumulation of characteristics relating to all aspects of piano playing, including execution, technique, interpretation, sound, performance, teaching, aesthetics and musical education. The elements that configure a Piano Tradition are the result of combined specific and general approaches. These approaches emerge in a particular place and under a particular pianist or group of pianists and, subsequently, are transmitted from generation to generation. In other words, a Piano Tradition is not a specific building or conservatory but, rather, is a way of understanding piano playing that manifests itself under idiosyncratic circumstances. However, it can be sometimes associated with a particular music conservatory or school.
Since Bartolomeo Cristofori invented the piano in 1700 and with the emergence of the first composer-pianists in the history of music, several piano traditions became visible over the following decades. The first Piano Traditions surfaced with such key figures as Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788), Muzio Clementi (1752-1832), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) and Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). The style of piano playing by each one of these composers was different, therefore initiating contrasting, yet connected tendencies in the history of piano interpretation. All the major Piano Traditions which we encounter throughout history diverge, in one way or another, from the above-mentioned pianists and unrepeatable personalities. Over the decades, traditions evolved, changed, and built upon pre-existing concepts and disseminated around the world until the present day, and continue to do so.
Most Piano Traditions can be traced back to C.P.E. Bach through Jan Ladislav Dussek; to Clementi through his students Ludwig Berger, John Field or Francesco Lanza; to Mozart, through Johann Nepomuk Hummel or Thomas Atwood; and to Beethoven through Carl Czerny, whose pupils Franz Liszt and Theodor Leschetizky taught an enormous number of pianists in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and had a profound and lasting impact on universal piano playing until our time.
The Piano Traditions Through Genealogy Trees intends to cover as many pianists and teachers as possible throughout the history of pianism. For that purpose, we have created dozens of genealogies, representing both individual pianists, such as The Frédéric Chopin and The Heinrich Neuhaus traditions, and national or regional schools of playing, such as The Russian or The English schools of piano playing. Therefore, our final goal is to develop a specific Piano Tradition for each pianist or teacher who had a significant number of noteworthy students.
About the Author: Daniel Pereira
Daniel Pereira holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Maryland, a Master of Music from the University of Hartford in Connecticut and an Artist Diploma from the State University of New York at Purchase. He is the recipient of numerous honors, including the prestigious Moses Haltzmark and Hartt Alumni Awards and the Evelyn B. Storrs Scholarship, which he received on two separate occasions, and the Special Prize in Piano Performance in his native Spain. His doctoral thesis consisted of two live recordings (90 pieces in all), of the complete preludes of Alexander Scriabin. His Scriabin double CD, 90 – Scriabin Complete Piano Preludes, was released for Odradek Records in May 2020 as was received with great acclaim. Pereira was invited to lecture on Scriabin and give recitals of his music in the United States, Brazil and Spain.
Pereira combines pedagogical activities with concerts and lectures. He has conducted extensive research on pianists of the past, old and new recordings, and schools of piano playing, at the revered International Piano Archives at Maryland (IPAM). That experience, he observed, greatly enriched him as a musician and pedagogue. Through IPAM, Pereira started publishing in January 2021, digitally and on a monthly basis, his massive project titled the Piano Traditions Through Their Genealogy Trees, which consists of numerous piano genealogies and articles with short biographies of the thousands of pianists represented in them. Pereira has been working on this project for over 15 years.
In addition to Scriabin, he has lectured on a diverse array of topics in music theory and performance in North and South America and in Europe, and has performed in cultural capitals like New York, Washington and Madrid, as well as in other major cities. He has given Master Classes at the Turtle Bay Music School in New York, at IKFEM Festival in Spain, and at the State University of Minas Gerais in Brazil.
In 2016, Why We Can’t Always Play Waltzes, a book he co-authored with oboist Humbert Lucarelli, was published by Carl Fischer Music, New York, and in the same year, Clavier Companion published his article entitled The Teaching of Alfred Cortot, appearing in its Jan./Feb. issue. He was co-editor of the project Notas de Compositor, sponsored by the State University of Minas Gerais. He frequently collaborates with orchestras and festivals as writing concert program notes.
Pereira has participated in piano festivals and master classes in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Brazil and the United States. He founded the Piano Friends Society of Galicia in Spain and was the Artistic Director of the International Piano Festivals Conde de Gondomar from 2000 through 2006, where he also lectured and performed. He has also been the Co-director of the Vianden International Music Festival in Luxembourg. Over the years. he has appeared on television and was heard on the radio the United States, Brazil, Italy and Spain.
Pereira resided in the United States for 14 years where he studied, worked and performed. He subsequently took up residence in London, U.K. where he was a Master Instructor at the West Kensington Music Team. More recently, he has been a member of the jury at the Concurso Permanente de Juventudes Musicales de España. He served as piano accompanist at the Escuela Superior de Arte Dramático of Málaga and at the Real Conservatorio Profesional de Danza Mariemma in Madrid, and has taught at the Conservatorio Profesional Teresa Berganza, also in Madrid. Pereira and his four-hand piano duo were selected to be included in the 2019 edition of the AECID Music Catalogue of the Ministry of Culture in Spain. He will participate as a lecturer on the 43rd European Piano Teachers Association 2021 in Madrid.