Tatum, Horowitz and Tea for Two

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Most know him as one of the jazz greats, while some have flat out called him the greatest jazz pianist ever.

Born in Toledo, Ohio at the turn of the 20th century, Art Tatum, Jr. was almost entirely blind by age four. Not only did this serious impairment not prevent him from having a successful career and very interesting life, it may even have been a contribution to his impeccable hearing and, in turn, his music.


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How One Pianist Defined Celebrity – in the 19th Century

Celebritate sua sat notus.” This line, which translates to “through his celebrity sufficiently known,” was the sole description in Franz Liszt’s passport, issued by authorities of the Austrian crown in the mid-19th century.

The young pianist retired by the age of 35, leaving behind him one of the wealthiest and most riveting musical careers known to mankind. Attending one of Liszt’s famed performances in 1844, German poet, critic and journalist Heinrich Heine dubbed what he saw ‘Lisztomania.’ This Liszt fever was a phenomenon we have almost become accustomed to by now, watching audiences scream, swoon, and faint at the sight of the Elvises and Beatles we have seen since – but in the 19th century, this was a first and Liszt was the first and sole cause of such reactions. (more…)

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The Cutting Room Floor: Songs Forgotten and Unfinished

When Viva Virtuoso creator and host Warren Peterson brought a slew of us creative types on board to put together a simple, old-school variety show that would showcase fun, familiar tunes in new ways and on contemporary online channels, we never imagined it would turn into such a consuming and invigorating project.

Everyone involved in making Viva Virtuoso a reality has at least two things in common – a passion for music and a day job unrelated to the show. It’ll be easy, they said. Just point a camera in the right direction and hit record, they said. Everyone’s doing it these days, they said. (more…)

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