Susan Yondt — concert pianist

October 21, 2008 at 12:51 pm (Uncategorized)


Sept.29, 2010 Practicing some delicious chamber music right now: Schumann’s piano quintet, and Schuberts Eb piano trio. Really fun after playing so much solo piano music of Chopin and Schumann! A lovely Fall day too makes the practicing go better!

Feb.15, 2010 Playing music of Charles Ives for my lecture on Thursday. Wow, what a pioneer! Can’t believe I used to play his stuff all the time! It’s interesting anyway, and think, so many notes, that no one can possibly hear if you hit the wrong one! Some south paw pitching is really quaint, with melodies interspersed with all the atonalities. Better get my chops going!

October 28, 2009  Just saw the film “Julie, Julia” and decided that if I hadn’t become a pianist, I would’ve been a cook! so inspiring! Think, if Julie could blog every day, maybe I should get at my blog a little more often. Today, I performed Chaminade’s Automne, etude de concert, at a teacher’s concert. A great piece… Though I hate waiting to play…it’s much easier to play a whole 75-minute program, than waiting a half-hour to play 6 minutes!

September 24, 2009 Now it’s beginning to feel like Fall, colder and all the colors. I usually miss the red maples of my childhood in the US, but there are actually a lot of reds and lovely yellows here in Uppsala. I have a huge hollyhock outside the kitchen window, my first one! It must be 3 meters tall. And still growing even though it’s Fall. i’m winding up the Fanny and Felix project, and starting new program ideas for next year. Hmmm….will it be Chopin (200 years) or a climate/ecological concert? Always exciting with new music!

June 11 2009  Great to be playing a brand-new program! “Fanny and Felix” is lovely music of the Mendelssohn kids, wow, were they talented! Fanny’s music is almost a little more daring than little brother Felix’s. Just love the Variations serieuses and the Rondo Capriccioso! And of course, Fanny’s songs for pianoforte. Played the program for the first time on Tuesday and it felt quite good. Guess I’m an incurable romantic!

Feb.12 2009 Two successful concerts in Finland! Lahti concert went very well for the 200 piano teachers who attended. My ladies felt interesting to play and act out their personalities too. Fun time with the other teachers. A nice day in Helsinki on Monday, and then my concert on Monday night at the Sibelius Academy. There, I played on the “Rolls Royce” of grand pianos, a Fazioli concert grand! This was a very special piano, nothing like anything else I’ve ever played. Light touch, delicious tone, pure response, mmmm…. It was like driving a Ferrari compared to my trusty Volvo! Thanks to Eeva and Jussi for making my concert visit such a pleasure!

Jan.28, 2009  More work on the ladies first program. It’s always amazing how much the music matures when I set it aside for awhile. I find new ideas about interpretation every day, and it’s so much fun! Guess that’s the mark of good music, you can play it over a longer period, and still keep finding new things to do. Now, I’m off to Finland next week to play two concerts there. Lahti conservatory and Wegelius hall at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. Should be interesting and I’ll do my programs in English. Probably cold there, will wear good warm gloves!

USA in September! It was great to play in the good old USA again. I opened the “Friends of Vienna” concert series in Buffalo, New York for the fourth time, this time with my concert “Ladies first”. The audience was very responsive and appreciated the women’s music. Mary Kunz put it so well in the Buffalo Evening News article, ” Part recital, part theater piece, it’s a tribute to woman composers through the ages. Yondt portrays five composers during the course of the show. in effect, she steps into their shoes as she plays their music.” That’s how it feels for me, like stepping into their shoes! My work on the recital has been such a chain of discoveries; finding new pieces, information about their lives, and new ways to portray them. Playing the huge, old Baldwin grand in Buffalo was, as always, an interesting experience. Actually, the mellowness of the grand’s sound was very suitable to this romantic music. Thanks to my parents for all their loving support, they’re always there for me!

August blog
A great five days in Estonia! First, my memorable concert “Ladies first” in Käsmu Meremuuseum, (Sea museum) located right on the Baltic. In fact, the window next to the Bechsteingrand piano looked out on the sea, just beautiful! The audience enjoyed the ladies, and something very unique happened during one of the pieces: a dog came walking into the hall! He took a look around, and casually sauntered out again. I guess ladies’ music from the 1800’s wasnÕt his cup of tea! Then, the EPTA conference in Tallinn for the next three days was a fruitful experience. I played the ladies again there and received such a warm response from the pianists and teachers from all over Europe. I enjoyed all the many exciting discussions about music and being a pianist in this day and age, one can always learn new things. We all agreed that being an administrator is not what we are trained for! I always feel that playing on the computer keys is not as fun as the piano keys, if you know what I mean!

July 23, 2008
On Friday I played a concert at the Hochalpines Institute in Ftan, Switzerland and had the most incredible experience. I actually played on a New York Steinway grand piano (a “D”) from 1898! It was rebuilt, but still retained the mellow, warm tone of an old Steinway. Absolutely perfect for the music of women composers from the 1800’s. It felt like perhaps some of my women may have actually played on this very piano in New York, maybe Amy Beach, who often performed there at this time. Or perhaps, Cecile Chaminade had one of her grand concerts on this piano! If only the piano could tell me its life story! Talk about vibes from the past! I was thrilled to be in the beautiful hall at the Institute and as I played, I looked out the window, and saw one of the Alps spotlighted by the setting sun. It was probably the most ultimate setting for a concert I’ve ever experienced. I will never forget it.

July 11, 2008
The music of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel is following me wherever I go. Her “Songs for Pianoforte” are just that: songs meant for the piano to sing! I’m working hard on nrs.7 and 9, and loving every minute of it. She writes so expressively and passionately. Sometimes it feels like I’m playing Robert Schumann, but yet, her writing is quite unique. A fantastic discovery of a rather unknown composer. Her pieces are included in my latest recital: Ladies first. An effort to bring forth these somewhat forgotten ladies and their lives. I admire them so much, their stamina to compose despite the odds, to live for their music despite the hindrances society placed on them. Just the fact that they got married prohibited them from playing publicly! But, they created some beautiful music.

Bloggandet fortsätter… 12 maj
Tomorrow is the first performance of “Mikado” by Gilbert & Sullivan. The peppy music keeps going through my head, and the students are really great in their roles. My role as pianist/orchestra is quite nice. What other instrument other than piano can substitute for a whole orchestra? I think the operetta is so cheerful, very positive for me in these full days with exams, concerts, and absolutely everything coming to a huge crescendo now in the merry month of May.

April 14, 2008
What a beautiful day! Sun shining, birds singing, fountain gently splashing in the yard. The other day, I performed a piece by Rameau called “Rossignols amoureux” for piano and soprano. All about nightingales singing to each other, the singer Elisabeth and I had a real exchange of nightingale-calls between us. It reminded me of the Spring, biking along the Fyris river to work in the morning, hearing the loud call of the nightingale. A sure sign of Spring! Amazing to imitate birds in a musical piece, what a joy!

Ett första försök!
1 april
“Jag har alltid varit fascinerad med pianoklangen. När jag var liten, i fyra-fem års åldern, hade vi inget piano hemma, så jag bad mina föräldrar att köpa ett instrument snarast. Äntligen, vid åtta-års åldern, fick jag mitt första piano, och det var min största lycka. Pianot finns med mig under varje dag av mitt liv och är min trogna följeslagare. Jag älskar pianoklangen, gillar övning och att umgås med mitt instrument. Likaväl att arbeta på nya stycken, och klura på intrikata och tekniska partier. Det är mitt liv!”

Om arbetet vid flygeln:
“Jag är trogen vid partituren och försöker ärligt fundera ut vad tonsättaren försöker säga med musiken. Min tolkning ska ligga så nära tonsättarens avsikter som möjligt, annars vore det oärligt, tycker jag. När man studerar ett stycke, kommer man in i tonsättarens huvud (tankar) och det är en otrolig upplevelse.”


Permalink 2 Comments