History Of The Piano

Tracing the roots of the piano to the very beginning of consciousness, when man first became aware of sound.


1920, Simon

Abbey Henry Simon (1920 – 2019): American Concert Pianist and Teacher

  • Taught by Josef Hofmann at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
  • 1940 won the Naumberg International Piano Competition.
  • Performed in Carnegie Hall and toured throughout Europe and South America.
  • Has been called a 'a pianist's pianist,' and super-virtuoso.
  • Additional awards: Federation of Music Clubs, National Orchestral Association, Ford Foundation, Harriet Cohen Medal, and Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge.
  • Jurist: Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Geneva International Music Competition, Leeds International Piano Competition, Clara Haskil International Piano Competition, Sydney International Piano Competition, and South Africa International Piano Competition.
  • Taught at Juilliard, Indiana University, and University of Houston; he holds a Cullen Distinguished Professorship at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music.
  • 1984 Founded the International Piano Festival at the University of Houston.
  • He is a featured Yamaha Artist.
YouTube Placeholder Image for biqPyoEt1Cg
A Conversation With Abbey Simon. 1

Page Sources

Tim Duquette.  "A Conversation With Abbey Simon."  Online Video Clip.  YouTube.  YouTube, 6 March 2009.  Web.  9 Aug. 2019.  Standard YouTube License.
Additional References:
  • Psales, Chris.  "Piano’s Old Pro Drops By for a Visit."  Los Angeles Times.  23 Oct. 2001.  Los Angeles Times, 2019.  Web.  9 Aug. 2019.
  • Schonberg, Harold C.  "Abbey Simon: Evolution of 'a Pianist’s Pianist.'"  The New York Times.  26 Feb. 1988.  The New York Times Company, 2019.  Web.  9 Aug. 2019.
  • Emery Mike.  "Chat with Piano Legend Abbey Simon."  Houston Chronicle.  31 Jan. 2014. Hearst Newspapers, LLC., 2019.  Web.  9 Aug. 2019.
  • Duffie Bruce.  "Pianist Abbey Simon: A Conversation with Bruce Duffie." BruceDuffie.Com  19 Feb. 1988.  Web.  9 Aug. 2019.
  • Opera Musica.  "Abbey Simon"  OperaMusica.Com  n.d. Mathieu Abelli 2019.  Web.  9 Aug. 2019.
  • Faculty.  "Abbey Simon."  UH.EDU.  University of Houston, 2019.  Web.  9 Aug. 2019.

1923, Duckworth

Book cover of Guy Duckworth's 'Keyboard Discoverer Book II' from 1963.
Guy Duckworth's Keyboard Discoverer Book II, 1963. 1

Guy Duckworth (1923 – 2015): American Pianist, Pedagogue

  • Played violin at age 4 ½, began the piano at 7.
  • Piano soloist for MGM Studios and Columbia Artists, as well as various radio stations in Los Angeles.
  • Received his BA from UCLA in 1951, his Masters in Music from Columbia University in 1953, and his Doctorate in Philosophy from Columbia University in 1969.
  • Pioneer of group piano pedagogy. “A student in a group of peers is more likely to express his views and differ with the teacher than a student alone with a teacher. His individuality is more obvious with his peers. He’s more natural. In private teaching a student is less venturesome. He picks up patterns from adults. […] There are more chances for individuality when there are no hard fast rights and wrongs.” – Guy Duckworth [ 2 ]
  • Created the doctoral program Piano Performance Literature and Pedagogy: Process of Group Environments at The University of Colorado, Boulder. “I believe the healthiest environment for learning is when enlightened teachers encourage students to teach students.” – Guy Duckworth [ 3 ]
  • Considered among one of four pedagogues (among Richard Chronister, Frances Clark, and Robert Pace) who changed piano pedagogy in the 20th century.

Page Sources

Duckworth, Guy.  Keyboard Discoverer Book II.  Evanston: The M-F Co., 1963.  Scan of Book Cover.  Print.  15 Feb. 2016.  No Known Copyright Restrictions.
Otto, Jean.  "Piano Should Be Fun, Teacher Says."  The Milwaukee Journal.  10 July 1970: 4.  Google News.  Web.  17 Sept. 2015.
Baker-Jordan, Martha, Dr.  Practical Piano Pedagogy: The Definitive Text for Piano Teachers and Pedagogy Students.  Warner Bros. Publications, 2003, 2004.  Google Books.  Web.  17 Sept. 2015.
Additional References:
  • "Guy Duckworth: Educator, Musician, Pianist."  Prabook.  Prabook, n.d.  Web.  17 Sept. 2015.
  • "Celebrating the Legacies of Guy Duckwroth and Louis Goss."  Keyboard Pedagogy.  The Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy, n.d.  Web.  17 Sept. 2015.

1924, Pace

Book cover from Robert Pace's 'The New Kinder-Keyboard' from 1988.
Robert Pace's The New Kinder Keyboard, 1988. 1

Robert Pace (b. 1924 – 2010): American Pianist, Composer, Music Theorist, Pedagogue

  • Began playing the piano at age 5. At age 9, along with his sister (who played the violin), performed on radio concerts. He also played the trombone.
  • As a scholarship student at Juilliard School of Music, under the tutelage of Joseph and Rosina Lhévinne, received a BS.
  • In 1948, started his Masters and received his Doctorate from Teacher’s College, Columbia University in 1951. (Received an honorary doctorate from Westminister Choir College in 2003.)
  • Taught at Julliard and then Teachers College, becoming head of piano in 1952 and Chairman of the music department in 1969.
  • National piano chair for the Music Educators National Conference (1953 – 1956).
  • Editor of Music Journal (1959 – 1962).
  • Appointed by JFK in 1962 to a small panel to study the standing of music and music education is in the United States.
  • Served as Director of the National Piano Foundation from 1963 – 1977; at which time he became executive director of the International Piano Teaching Foundation.
  • Developed “peer-teaching,” “Comprehensive Musicianship,” as well as the “Pace Method” curriculum. “The philosophy of the Pace Approach is to develop, from the beginning, a real musical independence. [Students] in the Pace Approach learn to teach themselves, since in reality they must be their own teachers 6/7ths of the time during their practice between lessons. The ability to sight-read, [improvise] and create one’s own music [is essential]. [To play] in any key with a good and responsive technique [will] enable the learner to get the right note at the right time with the right intensity.” – Robert Pace [ 2 ]
  • His wife, Helen Crabtree, a vocalist, pianist and graduate from Juilliard, collaborated with him on many publications and recordings.

Page Sources

Pace, Robert.  The New Kinder Keyboard.  Chatham: Lee Roberts Music Publishing, Inc. 1988.  Scan of Book Cover.  Print.  15 Feb. 2016.  No Known Copyright Restrictions.
Zeigler, John, Dr.  "Artist/Educator Archive Interview – Dr. Robert Pace."  Piano Education.  John M. Zeigler, Aug. 2004.  Web.  17 Sept. 2015.
Additional References:
  • Pace, Cynthia, Dr.  "An Enduring Legacy."  Lee Roberts Music.  Lee Roberts Music Piublications, Inc., 2013.  Web.  17 Sept. 2015.

1924, Powell

Bud Powell (1924 – 1966): American Jazz Pianist, Composer (Bebop Jazz)

YouTube Placeholder Image for TaSDinL6pC8
Bud Powell Performs at Café Montmatre, Copenhagen, 1962. 1

Page Sources

logudorian.  "Bud Powell – Anthropology (1962)."  Online Vide Clip.  YouTube.  YouTube, 14 Jan. 2010.  Web.  5 Nov. 2015.  Standard YouTube License.

1925, Peterson

Oscar Peterson performing in Munich Germany, 1977, photographed by Hans Bernhard.
Oscar Peterson at the Piano, Munich 
by Hans Bernhard, 1977. 1

Oscar Peterson (1925 – 2007): Canadian Jazz Pianist, Composer (Swing Jazz)

Page Sources

Bernhard, Hans (Schnobby).  "Oscar Peterson Plays Piano, Munich 1977."  Photograph.  Commons Wikimedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 8 March 2009.  Web.  5 Nov. 2015.  GFDL, and CC BY-SA 3.0.

1926, Goss

Louise Goss (1926 – 2014): American Piano Pedagogue

  • Studied piano and clarinet.
  • Educated under Frances Clark (who established the first piano pedagogue program in the United States) as the first class at Kalamazoo College, receiving a B.A with three majors—music, philosophy, and English.
  • Along with Frances Clark, Goss was director of the piano and piano pedagogy program at Westminster Choir College in New Jersey.
  • In 1960, collaborated with Frances Clark to create The New School for Music Study in Princeton.
  • Writer and editor of the Frances Clark Library for Piano Students and The Music Tree piano method series.
  • First woman on the faculty of music literature at the University of Michigan.
YouTube Placeholder Image for wtzBiBCNwow
Louise Goss Teaches a Group Lesson (Parents' Class), 1985. 1

Page Sources

PianoPedagogy.org.  "Louise Goss, Warm-Ups, Group Lesson (Parents’ Class) 1985."  Online Video Clip.  YouTube.  YouTube, 18 Aug. 2015.  Web.  5 Nov. 2015.  Standard YouTube License.
Additional References:
  • "Louis Goss (1926-2014)."  NSMS Piano.  The New School for Music Study, n.d.  Web.  17 Sept. 2015.
  • "Louis Goss, 1926-2014."  Keyboard Pedagogy. The Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy, n.d.  Web.  17 Sept. 2015.

1927, Kawai

Company logo on the fallboard for Kawai Pianos.
View the stats on pre-owned Kawai.

Kawai piano company established by Koichi Kawai (1886 – 1955) in Hamamatsu, Japan.

1927, Milburn

Amos Milburn (1927 – 1980): American Rhythm and Blues Pianist, Singer

YouTube Placeholder Image for 6W8nr_blMRk
Amos Milburn Performs 'Down The Road A Piece.' 1

Page Sources

drboogie8.  "Down the Road a Piece."  Online Video Clip.  YouTube.  YouTube, 11 July 2007.  Web.  5 Nov. 2015.  Standard YouTube License.

1928, Köhler

Karl-Heinz Köhler (b. 1928): German Musicologist, Librarian

  • Studied violin.
  • Studied Musicology at Weimar Musikhochschule and Jena University, where he received his doctorate in 1956 writing his dissertation on J.S. Bach.
  • Among the many positions he held, Köhler was the director of the music department at Deutsche Staatsbibliothek (1955 – 1979), lecturer at Humboldt University (1965), and president of the East German section of AML (1971) for which he eventually became vice-president (1977 – 1980).
  • Written over 188 works comprising 520 publications translated into 5 languages.
  • “Köhler's research and editorial work is concerned with performance, musicology and librarianship. [He] has concentrated on Mozart, J.S. Bach and early works by Mendelssohn and is co-editor of Beethoven's writings, [contributing] to the development of music librarianship and source material information systems.” [ 1 ]

Page Sources

Seeger, Horst, and Jutta Pumpe.  "Köhler, Karl-Heinz."  Oxford Music Online.  Oxford University Press, 2007 – 2015.  Web.  18 Sept. 2015.
Additional References:
  • "Köhler, Karl-Heinz 1928 -."  WorldCat.  Online Computer Library Center, Inc., 2010.  Web.  18 Sept. 2015.

1929, Evans

Bill Evans performing at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, 1978, photographed by Brian McMillen.
Bill Evans Performing, 1978. 1

Bill Evans (1929 – 1980): American Jazz Pianist, Composer – 20th Century Period (Post-Bebop Jazz)

Page Sources

McMillen, Brian.  "Bill Evans Performing at the Montreaux Jazz Festival, Switzerland, 1978."  Photograph.  Commons Wikimedia.  Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 6 Oct. 2010.  Web.  5 Nov. 2015.  CC BY-SA 3.0.
End of Article