Nancy Bachus is an Associate Editor of Clavier Companion. She is the author of many repertoire collections and serves on the faculty at Cleveland State University.

Hand position basics

When hands are hanging loosely at the sides of the body, the fingers are in a "natural curve," which is a perfect hand position. The finger are not extended but in their natural, relaxed state (see Example 1). (Natural curve varies from person to person.) ​ Try This : Extend your fingers straight, and keep them there (see Example 2). Within a few s...
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Clavier Companion Teacher Profile: Madame Olga Samaroff

Clavier Companion Teacher Profile: Madame Olga Samaroff
​ Madame Olga Samaroff left an indelible mark on the world of music  and every one of her students. In the 1930s, she launched the careers of Eugene List and Rosalyn Tureck, and her best-known pupil, William Kapell. Other notable students included Joseph Battista, Stewart Gordon, Natalie Hinderas, Solveig Lunde Madsen, Raymond Lewenthal, Jerom...
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Samaroff Student: Maurice Hinson

How were you able to study with Madame Samaroff? I grew up in a musical family, playing tunes by ear. I took the Sherwood Music School Correspondence Course, which included a summer session in Chicago. For three summers (when I was 13-15) I studied with Leo Podolsky. He was not returning for a fourth summer, and he suggested I go to Juilliard. When...
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Samaroff Student: Eugene List (1918-1985)

At age ten, Eugene List played the Beethoven Third Piano Concerto in his first public concert, performing it one year later with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Soon after, he was awarded a scholarship for Madame Olga Samaroff's class at the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music. Mrs. List asked Madame if Eugene could play some concerts to help with liv...
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An unknown pupil of Franz Liszt

Today we know only a few composers and performers from the past in contrast to the many who were active, and even well known during their lifetime. I recently read that more than 16,000 works titled "symphony" were composed between 1720 and 1810. Yet when I think of symphony composers from this time period, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and perhaps a f...
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The Chinese Phenomenon in the Piano World

During the past twenty or so years,most professional pianists and piano teachers have noticed the influx of Asian pianists. They appear at piano recitals and competitions locally and internationally, often comprising the majority of the performers. The names of Yundi Li, Yuja Wang, and certainly Lang Lang are better known today than most past giant...
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An interview with Christine Barden

An interview with Christine Barden
An internationally recognized authority and leading music educator on early childhood music, Christine H. Barden is a coauthor of Alfred's Music for Little Mozarts preschool piano method, along with Gayle Kowalchyk and E.L. Lancaster. A graduate of San Francisco State University with a degree in piano performance, she also spent four years studying...
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A master class on three favorite Beethoven sonata movements

T​he thirty-two sonatas of Beethoven are often cited as the pianists' New Testament, with Johann Sebastian Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier being the Old Testament. These treasured works are a staple in piano teaching studios throughout the world, and are also required repertoire in the most demanding international piano competitions. A sonata or fugue...
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The life, love, and legacy of Morty Manus: An Interview with Nancy Bachus

The life, love, and legacy of Morty Manus: An Interview with Nancy Bachus
​During Morty Manus's tenure as owner and president of Alfred Music Publishing Company, he guided its growth from a small print and pop song catalog to the world's largest educational music publisher. Upon completion of a business degree from City College of New York, Morty joined the company his father had owned since 1928. In 1975, Alfred moved t...
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Prokofiev's Music for Children, Op. 65

​When Sergei Prokofiev returned to the Soviet Union to live after many years in the West, many were surprised; and he was probably even more surprised himself when his compositional style was soon publicly attacked and condemned by the Soviet government and press. Newly released documents are giving greater insight into the life, struggles, and mus...
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Competitions: Pinnacles and Pitfalls - An interview with Daniel Pollack

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A prizewinner in the first Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition (1958), Daniel Pollack was invited, following the competition, for a two-month concert tour throughout the Soviet Union, becoming the first American to record on the Soviet Melodya label. Over the next several decades many recordings followed, all of which sold in the millions a...
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What are your favorite "pre-impressionistic" pieces to help students develop color and imagery and to prepare for the music of Debussy and Ravel?

One of my favorite composers has always been Claude Debussy. I still remember the day I discovered his  P reludes and recall playing the L a file aux cheveux de lin (The Girl with Flaxen Hair) over and over, being fascinated with the harmonies and the magical effect the piece had on me. I found my fingers playing in a different way as I intuit...
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