The Complete Chopin Etudes
It took time to discard vestiges from a typical conservatory schooling and look back at the Chopin Études which 'lived' with me, as with any other pianist, since my early teens. Laden with all those years of school exams, piano competition performances and all physical and mental stresses, it is definitely uneasy to bring to light what the Etudes are. Not just 'beautiful gems-little-short pieces' as usually described, but a radical shift in piano playing after Beethoven and Czerny. The history of keyboard playing, from a physiological point, can be summarized as a journey starting with the use of fingers only (clavichord, harpsichord), gradually including the thumb (J. S. Bach) and moving up to the wrists (Czerny, Beethoven), forearms (Chopin), shoulders (Liszt) to ultimately binding the whole upper body (Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky). Chopin's Etudes are actually totally different than Liszt's. While Liszt authors a brand-new sound-universe which requires previously unknown techniques to perform, Chopin affirms 'simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties.' He therefore expands the known techniques in such revolutionary ways to create new sound-universes. Yet 'simplicity is (should be) the highest goal.' Mehmet Okonsar, pianist, composer, conductor and musicologist is the First Prize Winner at the International Young Virtuosos Competition, Antwerp, Belgium, 1982 and laureate of other prestigious international piano competitions such as the Gina Bachauer, Sixth Prize, Salt Lake City-UT, 1991 and J. S. Bach, Second Prize, Paris, France 1989. He is graduated from the Brussels Royal Conservatory of Music on piano, composition and orchestration. He studied with Jean-Claude Vanden Eynden and Madame Jacqueline Fontyn. He has been a pupil of Alexis Weissenberg. Mehmet Okonsar performed in major concert halls in Europe, North America and Japan both solo and orchestral. He was special guest judge for the National Piano Competition of Japan (1999) P.T.N.A. (To-On). His researches in music related technologies were broadcast in a series of documentaries presented by the artist on the National Broadcast of Turkey (TRT). Mr. Okonsar is a prolific composer of orchestral, chamber, choral and piano music. His composing line is highly avant-garde and complex. Also a musicologist, writer and lecturer, Mr. Okonsar's writings are published in English and French and he is lecturing on music, composing and related technology. His recital programs are usually highly eclectic and often thematic mixing works by A. Webern, A. Berg, I. Stravinsky, K. Stockhausen, P. Boulez and L. Berio with the more traditional piano repertoire.
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