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Garrick Ohlsson: How to Make a Piano Sing

Garrick Ohlsson.
Garrick Ohlsson.

"Too much practice and not enough sleep is a bad recipe... Sooner or later, you'll blow a gasket." World-renowned pianist Garrick Ohlsson calls this the best advice he got when he was a teenager: "It's better to get plenty of sleep and not enough practice. The important thing is to peak in the concert, and not in the practice room."

That's not to say that Ohlsson doesn't practice; in fact, he's renowned for having a huge range of repertoire under his fingers. This summer, he's performing all 32 Beethoven Piano Sonatas at two prestigious festivals: Ravinia and Tanglewood. Listen to Ohlsson play one of Beethoven's earliest sonatas, from a recital at the University of Denver: Beethoven's Sonata No. 2 in A.

Ohlsson launched his career in 1970 with a spectacular Gold Medal performance at the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw. For all of Ohlsson's range, Chopin has been his anchor. He's recorded all of Chopin's solo piano music, and no Ohlsson recital is complete without a Chopin encore. Listen to Ohlsson's parting gift to the Denver audience, the Etude in C-Sharp Minor from the Op. 10 set.

On Aug. 2, 2006, Ohlsson will perform live on the PBS program Live from Lincoln Center. Ohlsson is the featured soloist for the 40th anniversary gala opening of the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York. Ohlsson will play Mozart's "Coronation" Piano Concerto No. 26, with conductor Louis Langree.

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