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MUSICAL FAMILY TREE
TRACING LIABRAATEN'S MUSICAL ROOTS TO LISZT & BEETHOVEN
Themulti-faceted musical talentsof CraigLiaBraaten ~ concert pianist, singer-songwriter,teacher-conductor,commissioned composer for stage and television, recording artist,humanitarian-philanthropist -- has been featured inover forty states ~ from the Seattle OperaHouseto Florida's Disney World and from the Minneapolis Convention Center tothe Louisiana State Capitol. He has collaborated on stagewith Victor Borge, the Baton Rouge Opera, TheMinnesotaOrchestra, has performed with some of the world's finestconductors ~ Sir Neville Marriner, Robert Shaw,andLeonardBernstein ~ and for royaltyfromNorway, Denmark and Sweden. LIABRAATEN BIOGRAPHY
Briefly, Craig LiaBraaten's"Musical Family Tree" looks like this:
CRAIG LIABRAATEN STUDIEDWITH GYORGY SEBOK, WHO STUDIED WITH BELA BARTOK, WHO STUDIED WITH ISTVAN THOMAN, WHO STUDIED WITH FRANZ LISZT, WHO STUDIED WITH CARLCZERNY, WHO STUDIED WITH LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN.
Quite an impressive musical family for all the pianists and chamber music ensembles whohave had the pleasure of studying under the renowned GyorgySebok. Here in more detail is Craig LiaBraaten's Musical "Family Tree":
Beethoven entrusted Czerny with the premier of Beethoven's finest piano concerto, "The Emperor". Czerny (1791-2857) was a central figure in the transmission of Beethoven's legacy to a new generation of composers and pianists. It has been aptly stated that "Beethoven's spirit was transmitted by Czerny to Liszt." Beethoven was so enthralled with Czerny's musicianship and technique that he offered to teach the young Czerny several times a week.
Liszt said Czerny was:"That good master to whom I owe both my talent and my success." When Beethoven met and heard the young Liszt perform in 1823,the master kissed young Liszt on the forehead.
Moscheles wrote in 1827 of Liszt after hearing him at a London concert: "In its power and mastery of every difficulty Liszt's playing surpasses anything previously heard." In 1827 Liszt was only sixteen years only. AndBeethoven died in 1827. So the musical baton had been passed to Liszt through Czerny.
By 1844 Liszt was universally regarded as the world's greatest pianist (at age 33). In1845 the Portugal press described Liszt, then 34, as "The God of thepiano." By 1847 Liszt had ended his famous virtuoso career and neveragain accepted a fee for any future concert.
In 1863, at age 57, Liszt entered Madonna del Rosario monastery in Rome, and Liszt played pianofor the Pope. In 1868, 57-year-old Liszt became the first musical philanthropist in music history by performing a fund raising concert inRome for the needy. Liszt performed for the Pope and dignitaries.
In 1875 Liszt, then age64, was appointed President of the Budapest Music Academy. In 1886, the same year the Statue of Liberty was unveiled, Liszt, age 74, died of pneumonia.
Liszt is perhaps the most significant piano teacher and touring artist in history, for Liszt is the inventor of the piano recital and the piano master class. Nopianist has had a bigger impact on modern piano playing and teachingthan Franz Liszt (1811-1886). According to David Dubalt, in hismonumental book "Reflections from the Piano", sums up how much of avisionary Liszt was: "Liszt possessed the most pianistic mind inhistory."
According to the Liszt Ferenc (Franz) Memorial Museum in Budapest, hungary: "Istvan Thoman and Arpad Szendy were the two most representative inheritors of theLiszt-tradition in Hungary." Istvan Thoman "carried the legacy of Liszt both in his personality and in his teaching methods."
Bela Bartok (1881-1945) studied with Istvan Thoman until 1903, and in 1907 Bartok replaced the retiring Istvan Thoman on the faculty at the Liszt Academy in Budapest.Bartok so admired Thoman that he dedicated his finest piano composition, Sonata (1926) to his piano teacher and mentor, IstvanThoman.
Gyorgy Sebok (1922-1999) studied with Bela Bartok, and in 1949 Sebokwas named Professor of Music at the Bela Bartok Conservatory in Budapest. After the Hungarian revolt in 1956, Sebok settled in Paris.In 1957 the first of his many recordings won the esteemed Grand Prix duDisque.
Gyorgy Sebok received numerous honors, including the Hungarian government's Cross of Merit, LaMedaille de la Ville de Paris, Echelon Vermeille, and the Kulturpreisdes Staates Wallis, (Prix de Consecration). In 1996, the Frenchgovernment bestowed on him the decoration Chevalier de L'Ordre des Artset des Lettres. Sebok is famous the world over for his Liszt-tradition teaching and the many master classes he has given from Tokyo, Japan to Freiburg, Germany to Banff, Alberta, Canada.
It was at just such a master class in McMinneville Oregon that Gyorgy Sebok met his protege, CraigLiaBraaten. Immediately after LiaBraaten's first performance of Liszt's difficult "Transcendental Etudes" in the master class, Maestro Sebok proclaimed to the other pianists in attendance and the public audiencein the auditorium that LiaBraaten was "a born pianist" and "a born musician". Sebok and LiaBraaten formed a special bond that day. LiaBraaten's respect and admiration for his teacher, mentor and friend is deep and lifelong.
Gyorgy Sebok recruited Craig LiaBraaten to study with him for five years at Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana, during which time Sebok instilled in LiaBraaten the pure pianism of the Liszt approach ~ intensity without tension. When asked in a national interview how to produce emotional intensity without tension, Janos Starker has quoted Gyorgy Sebok as saying "Create excitement. Don't get excited." This isthe Liszt philosophy, passed down from Liszt, through Istvan Thoman and Bela Bartok to Gyorgy Sebok. And for five intense years of one-on-one study, those principles of complete freedom at the piano were passed onto Craig LiaBraaten, who now passes them on to his students and proteges. Thus the Liszt tradition continues.
Many other successful students of Gyorgy Sebok, such as Rebecca Penneys at theEastman School of Music, have similar respect for the legacy that Maestro Sebok has passed on to them. Lawrence Campbell, Professor of Piano at Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, IL has been quoted at saying: "Gyorgy Sebok inspired an even greater technicaldevelopment in my doctoral studies at Indiana University. Truly a keyboard wizard of the highest order, Sebok offered such uncanny insight into the physiology of technique that no student came away from his lessons without a powerfully enhanced grasp of keyboard technique."
Tannis Gibson, Professor of Piano at the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, who holds a Master of Music degree from Julliard has stated that the most influential person in her study of the piano is "Gyorgy Sebok, who was for many years a member of the piano faculty at Indiana University in Bloomington." Gibson explained that master classes with Sebok at Banff"were pivotal experiences that helped me put together valuable concepts regarding my playing. Sebok had a compelling way of communicating ideas that somehow reached down into the core of the issue being addressed. His observaions were insightful and brought to life through sparing, but colorful language. Sebok was, and continues to be, an inspiration."
The late Gyorgy Sebok was Distinguished Professor of Music at Indiana University from1985-1999. Sebok was born November 2, 1922 in Szeged, Hungary. He began his studies with Bartok at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest in1938. In 1958 Sebok captured the Grand Prix du disque for his Erato recording of Franz Liszt.
Sebok left Europe in1962 and followed his good friend and chamber music partner, Janos Starker, to America and Indiana University, where they both enjoyed long and successful teaching, performing and recording careers. Sebokdied unexpectedly November 14, 1999 in his home in Bloomington, Indiana at the age of 77.
Gyorgy Sebok has left an immense and intense musical legacy. Sebok's life work now liveson through his students, like Craig LiaBraaten, Rebecca Penneys, Lawrence Campbell, Tannis Gibson, A. DeWayne Wee, Nancy Paddleford, Shigeo Niriki and others. As such, the Liszt legacy, the Bartok legacy lives on, too.
Beingmentored by Sebok has been a life-changing experience for all Sebok students who have had thedistinct privilege and honor of delving deeper than simply attending his internationally-revered master classes. To spend five intense years side by side with the master was an amazing journey for young Craig LiaBraaten. For this reason, Craig LiaBraaten, CEO of Living Water Music, Inc. and the LiaBraatenTeaching Studios brings to the fore a piano competition that honorsperhaps the finest piano teacher and one of the finest human beings ofthis past century. "THE GYORGY SEBOK INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITION" is a humble but heartfelt attempt to honor the man and mentor who has impacted young musicians like Craig LiaBraaten in such a positive way.
For More Information on Recording Artist Craig LiaBraaten
Craig LiaBraaten ~ BriefBiography
LIABRAATEN TESTIMONIALS &RECOMMENDATIONS
World Piano Competition
BobDylan and Kevin McHale
InterlochenFine Arts Center
St. Olaf Concert Choir
IndianaUniversity School of Music
Master of Music With High Distinction
GrandPrix du Disque
NationalFederation of Music Clubs Young Artist
LiaBraaten:A World-class musician whose roots ~ and now his livelihood ~ are presently based on the Iron Range in Northern Minnesota.
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