The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
We tend to blow out the anniversaries of composers. Can anyone forget all the Mozart 250th hoo-ha a few years ago?
But what about the instrument many of those icons have composed on.
The piano, at least from this vantage point, has had a fairly quiet 300th birthday. Kentucky Wesleyan College music professor Diane Earle is celebrating, however, and KET’s Kentucky Muse takes viewers on a tour of the instrument from her perspective at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The moment Earle appears on the screen leaning in and talking about her instrument, it is obvious producer Tom Bickel came up with the perfect advocate for the piano.
By the time she says, “Since I was 6 years old and my fingers first touched the keys, I have been absolutely in love with the piano,” that’s obvious. It’s no surprise the vanity plate on her little red sports car is “KEYS 88.”
Earle’s world revolves around those keys as a teacher, performer and even in hobbies such as collecting piano memorabilia.
She says the piano is her best friend. It has been a great relationship: Earle has played in seven countries and 27 states at venues including Carnegie Hall in New York and John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
The Owensboro professor’s story is a nice basis for the larger story of the piano, which she appreciates for its wide range of expressive possibilities. It was originally named a pianoforte, “Italian for soft loud,” she points out, in recognition of that dynamic range.
In a quick half hour, Earle talks us through the instrument’s history in interviews and classroom sessions.
Most importantly, she plays through some of the great works for those 88 keys, sometimes accompanied by the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra. The works from W.A. Mozart to Claude Debussy to Henry Cowell remind us why the piano’s 300th should be celebrated.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich