See what’s new and exciting at Jordan Kitt’s Music Education Centers with this Fall preview newsletter.
Having amassed billions of views and millions of followers, The Piano Guys have become one of the most successful instrument music groups ever to grace the Internet, while capturing the hearts of music fans as they tour worldwide. See them in a virtual performance along with Yamaha’s Craig Knudsen at Jordan Kitt’s Music on August 6th at 7pm.
The meteoric success of the “Guys”-pianist Jon Schmidt, cellist Steven Sharp Nelson, video producer Paul Anderson and music producer Al van der Beek-came about from more than 60 breathtaking videos. The talented group performs their unique brand of classical, contemporary and rock and roll music in locales where a piano has never gone before-from atop the Great Wall of China and a speeding train, to the edge of a 1,000-foot cliff in the Utah desert.
At Jordan Kitt’s Fairfax showroom and Music Education Center at 7pm on August 6th, six of The Piano Guys’ most popular viral videos move out from the screen, to be experienced for the first time as simultaneous television and “live” piano performances in the homes of Disklavier owners around the globe.
These DisklavierTV performances, as they are known, put a bright spotlight on both the amazing talent of The Piano Guys and the Yamaha Disklavier, the world’s most technologically advanced piano. The Disklavier is a remarkable high-tech reproducing piano that can transmit highly-nuanced performance data – the actual keystrokes and subtle gradations of pedal movement – between similarly equipped instruments over the Internet. As an artist performs, their precise note-for-note performance data is captured, then streamed to similarly equipped remote instruments anywhere in the world, where it is recreated exactly as the artist originally intended.
The end result is nothing short of spectacular. As fans watch and hear Schmidt and Sharp Nelson trade piano and cello jabs on the big screen television, Schmidt’s actual piano keystrokes are faithfully recreated, note-for-note, on the connected Disklavier at Jordan Kitt’s Music.
Yamaha’s ‘Technology Guy,’ Craig Knudsen, encouraged Yamaha to save the performance data from day one during the very first videos. This data is not a recording of the sound of the piano, but rather it’s a precise digital map of Jon’s performance-what notes he played, how fast and hard the key was pressed, how he used the sustain pedal, etc. Jon’s fingers are essentially reaching out from the video and playing the piano sitting in front of you.”
To make the experience even more authentic, Van Der Beek meticulously removed Schmidt’s acoustic piano part from the original audio recordings, while Knudsen replaced it with Schmidt’s performance data that enables playback on Yamaha Disklavier pianos.
This special performance includes six of The Piano Guys video releases, including “Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends,” “All of Me,” “Arwen’s Vigil,” “Codename: Vivaldi,” “Lord of the Rings-The Hobbit” and “Charlie Brown Medley.”
You can get more information or register for the event here:
Jordan Kitt’s Music is proud to be a part of the 2018 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Music Education Advocacy D.C. fly-in. Each spring, Jordan Kitt’s Music is joined in its home town by other NAMM members to serve as advocates for the right of every child to learn and grow with music by visiting with their elected representatives on Capitol Hill.
NAMM Fly-In participants receive intensive training with policy experts to learn about the policies and priorities of the current administration. With guidance from veteran delegates and seasoned professionals, NAMM members prepare research-based talking points for visits with their Members of Congress.
These visits are not just a time to make demands of our legislature, however. It is also when we encourage Senators and Representatives to celebrate the school districts and schools that receive national recognition through The NAMM Foundation’s Best Communities for Music Education SupportMusic Merit Awards within their states and congressional districts.
The event included a Day of Service, where NAMM members commit a day getting involved in local music education, meetings on Capital Hill, and a number of NAMM hosted special events designed to maximize the impact of the event.
For more information about NAMM or the Fly-in Event, visit www. namm.org
Jordan Kitt’s was proud to provide the Yamaha C7X grand piano for a performance by jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut at this year’s Folger Gala on Monday, April 16th.
Described in Time magazine as “the best jazz pianist of his generation”, Cyrus has more than a dozen albums in his discography, and his leadership and prowess as a soloist has also led him to be a first call for the piano chair in many big bands including the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Dizzy Gillespie Big Band, and Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra.
The Folger Shakespeare Library’s annual gala is the organization’s largest and most significant fundraiser of the year, providing support to the Folger and its impact driving discovery, transforming education, and creating experiences.
As one of Washington’s most elegant social evenings this special event is attended by the leaders of the social, business, government, and diplomatic communities.
The British Ambassador and Lady Darroch are the Honorary Gala Co-Chairs, and Folger Board member Vinton Cerf of Google and his wife Sigrid are the 2018 Folger Gala Co-Chairs.
In addition to Cyrus Chestnut, the eveing also featured entertainment by Sir Derek Jacobi and Richard Clifford, as well as singer and actress Erica Dorfler.
The 2018 Jordan Kitt’s Music Piano Festiva was a big hit, with tremendous participation by area teachers and students:
Here were the winners:
Div. 2A: Ages 7-9 (and Div. 1: Ages 4-6)
Div. 2B: Ages 7-9
Div. 3A: Ages 10-12
Div. 3B: Ages 10-12
Div. 4: Ages 13-15 (and Div. 5: Ages 16-18)
On Monday, March 12th the Piano Technician’s Guild held their annual meeting at the Jordan Kitt’s Music Showroom and Music Education Center in Rockville, Maryland.
The event featured Yamaha Concert and Artist Master Technician Ace Ugai and a fine Yamaha CFX Concert Grand. Ace called his class: “A Master’s Approach to Performance Preparation.”
Ace Ugai and action removed from a Yamaha CFX concert grand piano.
In his words, a master of the craft must include consideration of the room acoustics ,tuning and action regulation specifically tailored for those conditions. The class identified the sounds and effects to look for, and demonstrated how to listen, evaluate and manipulate all of those facets.
Mr. Ugai and PTG DC Chapter President Robin Olson
The Piano Technicians Guild, Inc. is the largest non-profit organization serving piano tuners, technicians, and craftsmen throughout the world. Formed in 1957 by the merger of the American Society of Piano Technicians and the National Association of Piano Tuners, the Guild was organized to promote the highest possible service and technical standards among piano tuners and technicians.
The Washington DC Chapter was the first chapter in the Piano Technicians Guild (PTG). We have approximately 70 members in our chapter and over half of our members are Registered Piano Technicians. A Registered Piano Technician (RPT) is a piano technician who has passed a series of rigorous tests given by the PTG.
Learn more about the PTG here…
National Philharmonic welcomes more than 10,000 second graders to the Music Center at Strathmore during the annual Strathmore Student Concerts from now through Thursday, Nov. 16. The purpose of the program is to expose every Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) 2nd grader to a live performance of classical music.
The students learn about classical music and prepare for the concert hall experience during the month of October.
For many young people in Montgomery County, the National Philharmonic is their first exposure to classical music. The orchestra was a founding partner in the annual Strathmore Student Concerts, a hallmark education initiative that welcomes every Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) 2nd grader to the Music Center concert hall for a live performance. The National Philharmonic, Strathmore, and Montgomery County Public Schools are shaking up the annual concerts with a new conductor, new repertoire, and new vision to better serve students.
National Philharmonic Associate Conductor Victoria Gau is now at the helm. She worked closely with key partners and educators to create an experience that aligns with evolving MCPS curricular goals. Gau wanted students to leave the concerts with a better understanding of how they process music and how it can elicit specific emotional responses. The lively new format explores rhythm, dynamics, tempo, and musical texture—foundational elements of the concert experience that can make a piece feel happy or sad, serious or lighthearted, contemplative or full of unbridled excitement.
To reinforce these touchpoints, Gau selected music that bridges the classical canon and new works, demonstrating that classical music is evolving. Works by Beethoven and Brahms are paired with compositions by American composers Leonard Bernstein and Jennifer Higdon, and music by Mexican composer Arturo Marquez. Gau was also conscious to include gender and ethnic diversity to reflect demographics in the County and show that anyone can enjoy and be a part of classical music.
The concert also includes a new commission from Bethesda-based composer Charlie Barnett, Second Grade Second Line, a short participatory work that introduces different sections of the orchestra—woodwinds, brass, percussion, strings, and keyboard.
Students are engaged through call and response, clapping, and percussive music-making from the audience—National Philharmonic musicians even get in on the fun from stage.
Gau has maintained a relationship with National Philharmonic since 2005 and joined National Philharmonic’s conducting staff in 2010. Gau is in demand nationally as a youth orchestra festival conductor. She is also Artistic Director and Conductor of the Takoma Ensemble and Capital City Symphony, where she has written and performed annual family concerts for 20 seasons.
The 2nd grader student concerts represent a $185,000 investment in public education, with sponsorship provided by The Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, GEICO, and Jordan Kitt’s Music.
via Mongtomery Community Media. Read more here…
This past Saturday, October 14th, Jordan Kitt’s Music presented the William J. McCormick Jr. Teacher Grant Awards to four area teachers. These grants are designed for the continuing music education of the teacher, or as a scholarship opportunity for a student in need.
The awards were presented at the annual MSMTA Conference at the University of Maryland this past weekend, and recipients were:
The award is funded by Jordan Kitt’s Music as a way to help foster the continuance of excellence in music education in the Washington Metropolitan area, and is named after the modern founder of Jordan Kitt’s Music, William J. McCormick Jr.
For Matthew Van Hoose, the Washington Nationals’ playoff run will start on a low note. In the way that only a music professor can be, Van Hoose is psyched about the ultra-deep, bleacher-shaking registers of the team’s brand-new stadium organ.
“This thing has a ton of extra bass,” said Van Hoose, the Nats’ official organist, as he twiddled a few foghorn notes from the bright red, W-emblazoned, three-keyboard instrument that was installed last week at Nationals Park. “It’s good to have a little time to get used to it before the playoffs.”
Van Hoose was running the Viscount Sonus 60 through some test riffs during the Nats’ low-stakes final game of the regular season Sunday. This was basic baseball organ-izing: a little of Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” to goose a placid crowd during a visit to the mound.
But come Friday, he knows the mood will shift from the carnival calliope of regular games to the “Phantom of the Opera” drama of a postseason sellout against the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs. When 41,000 fans stand to shout “Charge!” at that classic stadium prompt, Van Hoose will be playing an organ of 41,000 pipes.
And just in time, the front office has equipped him with an instrument boasting considerably more musical muscle than the Hammond keyboard he was tickling before. This is an organ a guy can be proud of.
The Viscount was made to order in Mondaino, Italy; shipped to New York; tuned up in Harrisburg, Pa.; and, during the Nats’ final road trip, fitted in a former radio booth on the second floor of the press box high above home plate. Above the three tiers of keys are rows of tonal couplers (“tremolo,” “piccolo,” “vox humana,” etc.). Below are crescendo and swell pedals and, just off the floor, a fan of skinny pedal boards spreading out from Van Hoose’s busy feet. It is an instrument fit for an octopus.
Van Hoose musically responds to the action at Nationals Park on the new organ. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
He uses his eyes, hands and feet when he plays. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
“I’m thrilled,” said Van Hoose, 46, who was dinking away at a kiddie keyboard when he got into baseball at age 3 in Norfolk. “It’s kind of like going from a plastic bat to a wooden bat.”
[Waiters, students and veterans belt out the national anthem for the home team]
The upgrade included a room of his own. Before, his portable keyboard was tucked into a corner of the control room with the crew that pumps sound effects and recorded music through the stadium speakers.
Now Van Hoose sits alone, following the prompts of DJ Daniel Zacharias through a video monitor and a headset. They take turns mixing sounds into the action, a sample of “The Price Is Right” uh-oh music when the Pirates’ first baseman drops a foul ball, a little polka ditty by Van Hoose for the crowd to clap to as Anthony Rendon steps out of the batter’s box.
“Rendon steps out a lot,” Van Hoose said, looking down at the field, his hands on the keys. “He gives you a lot of opportunities for prompts.”
Van Hoose’s bench is within leaning distance of the open window at his shoulder. If he were to start rockin’ it Ray Charles-style, you could imagine him pitching himself down to the club seats.
“I really feel like I’m in the park now,” he said as fan noise and fall air wafted in.
The team wouldn’t say what the instrument cost, only that the desire for a true stadium organ came from “the highest levels of the organization” and that they acquired it through a partnership with keyboard dealer Jordan Kitt’s Music, now “the official provider of pianos and organs for the Washington Nationals.” The same model is advertised for about $20,000 on European websites.
Nats owner Mark Lerner said his family has long wanted to pump up the pipes as part of the game-day soundtrack.
“My family has always valued the role of music in the overall experience of attending a baseball game,” Lerner said. “We have always wanted to upgrade our organ, and we are all so thrilled about this amazing instrument and how it will contribute to our fan experience.”
Organist Matthew Van Hoose plays the new instrument high above the crowd at Nationals Park. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
Lerner’s 91-year-old father, principle owner Ted Lerner, was a Washington Senators fan back when Merv Conn played his electric accordion over the loudspeakers between innings.
“Ted is old enough to remember when they had marching bands at ballparks,” said Phil Wood, a Washington baseball historian and commentator who has a picture of Conn on his office wall. “This is an ownership that cares about the traditions of the game.”
It can be hard to gauge whether younger fans, raised on walk-up music and video clips, feel the same thrill of an instrument so redolent of Cracker Jack and 50-cent beer. A brief survey of ticket holders Sunday suggests that many assume those quick organ takes on the “Mexican Hat Dance” and “Zorba the Greek” are just buttons on a synthesizer.
“I had no idea it was a real organ,” said Sadie Cohen, a fan from Fairfax at the game with her brother. “They should show him on the scoreboard.”
Wood said he settled a bet recently when a couple stopped him in the stadium. She thought the organ music was live; he thought it was canned.
(pictured left to right: Cynthia Cathcart, President of the MCMTA, Ray Fugere, CFO of Jordan Kitt’s Music and Alice Ma, President Elect of the MCMTA.)
Jordan Kitt’s Music was pleased to have been recognized by the MCMTA (The Montgomery County Music Teachers Association) in appreciation of recent service to the their education community.
Jordan Kitt’s has worked closely with the Montgomery County Music Teachers Association for years in helping to provide its teachers and students with special resources, including the use of its 10,000 square foot piano sales and Music Education Center on Parklawn Drive in Rockville.
The MCMTA is a non-profit organization of independent music teachers representing private music teachers of all instruments and is affiliated with the Maryland State Music Teachers association (MSMTA) and the Music Teacher National Association (MTNA). Membership in MCMTA is available to all members of the state organization.
MCMTA was founded in 1965 with 25 members as a local chapter of the MTNA. With a current membership over 225 teachers, MCMTA is the largest chapter in Maryland.
For more information about the MCMTA, visit here…