Susan Geffen is a managing editor of Clavier Companion. She is active as an educator, editor, adjudicator, presenter, and critic. She recently served on the press jury for the 2016 Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition.

November/December 2018: New Music Reviews

(S3-4) Big Phat Jazz Piano Solos: 10 Big Phat Band Classics , arranged by Gordon Goodwin. (S3-4) If you're not familiar with the name "Gordon Goodwin," you probably haven't played in a high school jazz band in the last fifteen years or so. Goodwin's music has achieved near ubiquity in the jazz ...
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September/October 2018: First Looks, New Music Reviews

jingle-bells (S1-2) Jingle Bells, arranged by Wendy Stevens.
New Music Reviews Editor's note Ho, ho, ho! The holidays are on the horizon. We know how it is for piano teachers (we're teachers ourselves). We frantically run to the music store, hoping to snag our favorites before the teacher with 120 students cleans out the inventory. Clavier Companion is here to help. This issue's holiday reviews will help you...
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July/August 2018: Closer Look, Book Review

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by Ann DuHamel Adaptive Strategies for Small-Handed Pianists is a revolutionary, pioneering work that addresses small-handedness in an extraordinarily comprehensive manner. The book, by Lora Deahl and Brenda Wristen, examines the many facets of pianism affected by small-handedness, and it provides numerous excellent suggestions on playing with what...
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May/June: Closer Look

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An invitation to the piano party SE3-4) Lang Lang Academy: The Lang Lang Piano Method, Levels 1-5, by Lang Lang. No one could ever rightfully accuse Lang Lang of a lack of enthusiasm. The pianist is known for his chops, his energetic and physical stage presence, and his truly gregarious nature—not to mention his videos on YouTube. He is also t...
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May/June 2018: New Music Reviews

Preludes
(S5) Pacific Preludes by Christopher Norton, CD recorded by Iain Farrington ​ Christopher Norton is well known for his contemporary works in jazz, pop, Latin rhythms, and even musicals. His Pacific Preludes Collection is an interesting set of fourteen pieces based on folk melodies from countries bordering the Pacific Ocean: the United States, the P...
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May/June: New Music Reviews

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Festival Sonatina by Eugénie Rocherelle  The Classical sonatina is such a pedagogical treasure, as it provides great material to study and perform—teachers can spur growth in artistry, and students love the musically satisfying material. Eugénie Rocherolle's Festival Sonatina has two commonalities with the Classical sonatina: its three-mo...
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March/April 2018: First Looks: New Music Reviews

First-Looks
(SE3-4) Fantasia del Tango: 6  Original Piano Solos and 1 Duet,  by Eugénie Rocherolle. Fantasia del Tango augments  The Eugénie Rocherolle Series  with a volume of tangos by a  perennial favorite pedagogical  composer. Dedicated to  Kathleen Theisen, the seven  pieces in this collection (six solos and one du...
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Jan/Feb 2018: First Looks New Music Reviews

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(S1-2) 24 Short and Easy Pieces, Op. 1, Alexander Reinagle. Teachers and students enjoy Reinagle's pieces both for their charming writing and their accessibility to elementary students. Reinagle's biography, moreover, is a fun and interesting one that connects traditions of European classical music to life in the United States. Reinagle is tho...
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New music reviews: November/December 2017

(S3) From Sight to Sound: 6 Original PIano Solos, by Randall Hartsell.  Randall Hartsell composed From Sight to Sound to express the "interconnectedness of nature and our lives," and this collection contains six reflective pieces characterized by melodic simplicity and harmonic richness. The collection capitalizes on the piano's capacity for c...
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Our woman at the Cliburn: He was robbed

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Author's Note: Like so many of you, I watched the June 10 Cliburn finals online. (My daughter was graduating from high school on June 10. I can't imagine why the school district didn't plan around the Cliburn.) God save the child whose piano lesson followed little Georgy Tchaidze's. Georgy has his own. And he was robbed. Certainly, all six finalist...
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Our woman at the Cliburn: Judgment is nigh

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"Dies Irae." Judgment Day. In Fort Worth, that day is tomorrow, June 10, when, at the end of the three-week Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, final judgment will be passed on the six finalists. How apt, then, that, in Friday's night concerto round, American Kenneth Broberg performed Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43....
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Our woman at the Cliburn: Brahms triumphant

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There's good, and there's Brahms. The Franck F-Minor Quintet and the Dvořák Op. 81 in A Major allow pianists to display their chops, but, baby, when Brahms enters the room, other composers might as well step aside. It takes intellect as well as musicality to play the Brahms Op. 34 Quintet in F-Minor, and Cliburn finalist Rachel Cheung possesses bot...
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Our woman at the Cliburn: Exposure on the concert stage

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Performing Mozart is precarious business. The pianist who tackles a Mozart concerto—in public, no less—is a brave person indeed.  To play Mozart is to risk exposure; so many things can go wrong. Miss a note, and there is no thick, Romantic, bulwark of harmony to cover your mistake. Minimize the shading, and the scalar passages sound like click...
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Our Woman at the Cliburn: Dvořák. And More Dvořák.

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​ How much Dvořák is an innocent listener expected to endure? Quite a bit, apparently, at least if the listener is attending this year's Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The competition has moved into the final rounds, and each of the six remaining contestants joins the Brentano Quartet in the Cliburn's chamber portion. The finalists co...
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Closer Look Pieces for warm weather

This spunky solo is a toe-tapping audience pleaser. A humorous recurring bumblebee motif alternates with jazzy broken chords and syncopated rhythms to create a very visual and dancelike aural story. Students move quickly around the piano, exploring ever-changing textures and articulations. The few pedal markings for sonority do not require a legato...
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