In 2020 we commemorated the 75th anniversary of the death of Béla Bartók (1881-1945). To mark this occasion, the Ruhr Piano Festival Foundation is enlarging its digital educational platform www.explorethescore.org by adding a Bartók website with Sir András Schiff in German and English. Using animated, interactive video scores, the highly renowned Hungarian pianist, who has had a special relationship with Bartók’s music ever since early childhood, plays and explains selected piano works from different creative periods of Bartók’s life (For Children, Burlesque No. 2 and The Night’s Music).
“I am extremely pleased that we have been able to engage Sir András Schiff for this fascinating digital project”, says Festival Director Franz Xaver Ohnesorg. “Not only is he a truly charismatic Bartók performer, but also a gifted communicator when it comes to explaining the works of Bartók, which have profoundly marked him ever since he was five years old.”
Sir András Schiff, the 2009 recipient of the annual Ruhr Piano Festival Prize, has performed 22 times at the Festival. On the website he presents Bartók not only as a composer but also as the folk song researcher, pianist and teacher that he also was. The digital medium’s inherent possibilities are put into action to create a hands-on, multisensorial experience of the fruitful connections among Bartók’s activities. Thus, we not only get to hear Schiff’s own version of certain Bartók pieces, but the same works in recordings performed by Bartók himself, thereby showing why a pianist such as Schiff continues to find these historical recordings immensely inspiring, an essential reference for today. Bartók’s educational piano collection For Children is presented in a multimedia environment that allows the user to hear some of the folk song recordings Bartók made on his research trips around his home country with a phonograph.
The Ruhr Piano Festival Foundation will further enlarge the Bartók website in the months after its release, continually expanding not only the “Bartók and his World” section, but particularly the “Education Projects”. Bartók’s music has played a central role for many years in the Piano Festival’s long term youth outreach in the Duisburg neighborhood of Marxloh.
The Ruhr Piano Festival Foundation has been able to secure the participation of the following institutional partners for this website project: the Paul Sacher Foundation (Basel), the Bartok Archives (Budapest), music publishers G. Henle, Editio Musica Budapest, the Mercator Foundation, and the Deutsche Bank Stiftung. Under the supervision of Festival Director Franz Xaver Ohnesorg, EXPLORE THE SCORE is developed by Tobias Bleek, the director of the Ruhr Piano Festival’s Educational Program, in collaboration with London-based web designer and programmer Victor Craven.
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