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UpBeat Blog | The Woman Who built Beethoven’s Pianos

Back in November, a fascinating article appeared in the New York Times which highlighted the career of Nannette Streicher.  In all my years of study of Beethoven, I never came across this name.  As I read the article, I was amazed at all her accomplishments and that she has been so marginalized, if not ignored, in the history of western classical music.  Streicher was one of Beethoven’s closest friends and one of the finest piano builders in Europe.  She owned her own company and her pianos were known throughout Europe, producing 50 to 65 grand pianos a year.   In Beethoven’s late period she managed his household in order to give him more time to compose.  It was in those years he wrote such masterpieces as the “Hammerklavier” Sonata and the Ninth Symphony.  I’m glad that her history is known and hopefully she will become an integral part of Beethoven’s life story.

Practice Tip:  Exercises are Music

We often put technique and repertoire in two different categories.  I suggest when you are practicing your etudes and scales and arpeggios, imagine you are in the middle of a beautiful Mozart work.  Technical work should ideally be played as musically as possible since that is the sound you want to achieve in a Mozart passage.  It also helps to make technical work more interesting and it could even inspire you as you master your repertoire pieces!


Speaking of Beethoven, on Friday, March 12 you can hear his famous “Moonlight” performed by BSM faculty member Nuno Marques, as well as percussion music performed on a variety of instruments from around the world by Mark Katsaounis of the percussion faculty.  On March 7 we will have a special concert of 29 compositions by BSM students in the annual A4TY concert.  Come hear an afternoon of world premieres!  All the information about these two concerts is on our website under “events”.  See you there!