I’m so excited about yesterday’s launch of H. Paul Moon’s exquisitely designed Sitka: A Piano Documentary! It’s about the rebuilding of The Phillips Collection’s piano, now lovingly called “Sitka,” after the 600–800 year-old Sitka spruce tree native to Alaska from which the new soundboard was made. This film offers a fascinating and beautiful look into what exactly happens at PianoCraft, what I call a ‘hot-rod shops for pianos,’ and how they masterfully dealt with our piano from the inside out. Hearty congratulations, Paul!
Composer and pianist Timo Andres performed the Impromptu in F minor, Op. 142, No. 1a of Franz Schubert at a Sunday Concerts performance in January. Mr. Andres paired several of these Impromptus with new Etudes by Philip Glass, proposing that the composers share more in common than just their birthdays (January 31st), generations apart.
(left) Dec 6, 1942 program from the Music Department permanent archives (right) Feb 21, 1943 program from the Music Department permanent archives
In honor of Veteran’s Day this week, the Phillips celebrates military musicians serving in the Army Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps Bands. Nearly 100 performances were held in the Phillips’s Music Room between 1939 and 1945, making Sunday Concerts the longest continually-running series in Washington, DC.
Of the many fine military musicians performing at the Phillips, GRAMMY-winning American pianist Earl Wild (1915–2010) was one. Wild is renowned as one of the greatest pianists and all-around musicians in history, and one Harold Schonberg called Wild a “super-virtuoso in the Horowitz class.”
We are proud to boast several Phillips Camerata musicians who presently serve in the US Marine Corps Band, including violinist Karen Johnson and cellist Charlie Powers. On our 75th season anniversary, we honor the legacy of Armed Services musicians in two concerts during our 2015/2016 season, featuring Navy Sea Chanters and the USMCB string ensemble.