Maria Tallchief, America’s Most Famous Prima Ballerina

Although she became one of the most famous prima ballerinas in America, Maria Tallchief was a young girl much like many other young girls her age. She loved horses and exploring the wide, open spaces of nature. She was born in Oklahoma, the daughter of a Native American Indian Chief of the Osage Nation. Her mother had dreams for Maria and her sister, Marjorie, to become famous entertainers. When Maria was three, she was sent to ballet class. Even when she was young, she was already working very hard. Her days were filled with schoolwork and ballet and music lessons. She and her sister often performed at local events and rodeos.
In 1933, when Maria was eight, the family packed up the car and drove to Los Angeles to start a new life. Maria was amazed to see huge groves of orange trees and the Pacific Ocean, which scared her a bit, since she had never seen so much water before. Before she knew it, her mother had found a new place to live and a new ballet school, right in the neighborhood where they made their first stop after arriving in Los Angeles.
Maria never really committed to being a ballerina until she was twelve, when she began classes with the famous Russian ballerina named Bronisalva Nijinska, who had a powerful personality, and was a very demanding teacher. From her, Maria learned to be disciplined and precise and that being a dancer requires hard work. It was at this time that she made the choice to become a ballerina and dedicate herself to her art.
Her burning desire to dance brought her to many places, including Europe, where she danced with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and the Paris Opera. While she was in Europe, she met George Balanchine, a Russian choreographer. She became his wife, and they returned to America, where he founded the New York City Ballet. Maria became the company’s first prima ballerina. She danced as many as eight performances a week, and her legend grew because she was such an energetic and powerful dancer. Balanchine created more than thirty-two ballets for her, including The Firebird, and the Sugarplum Fairy in the Nutcracker. The ballets she danced were very difficult, but her dancing looked effortless. Her complete devotion, discipline and hard work made her incredibly famous.
Tallchief danced with New York City Ballet until 1960, although she was a guest artist in the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo from 1955-1956, where she was paid the highest salary a dancer had ever received. In 1962She was Rudolph Nuryev’s chosen partner for his first televised American performance after he defected from Russia. She continued to dance with New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater and other groups until her retirement in 1965. The announcement of her retirement came as a shock, since she was only forty-one years old, but she made the decision to retire while she was still in her prime.
She chose to share her considerable knowledge and love of dance with other young dancers, teaching them to devote themselves with a single point of focus as dancers. She founded the Chicago City Ballet with her sister Marjorie in 1981, and served as artistic director there until 1987 and artistic advisor to Chicago Festival Ballet from 1990 through present day. She has received the Kennedy Center Honors and the National Medal of Arts from the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington D.C.

Deniz Türkmen

Deniz Türkmen knows how to make a concert colorful

Hong Kong, Bangkok, London, Singapore, Macau, Dubai, Paris, New York, Shenzhen and Kuala Lumpur are few of several places where the virtuoso Deniz Türkmen enchanted the listeners. The German-Turkish pianist and composer is now one of the absolute exceptional talents in the world.
His concerts are very versatile and always include different composers from the classical period, songs of different nations he has arranged for the piano, as cherry on the cream cake some own compositions.

Many of his own works reflect his mysterious personality, as he always leaves a lot of room for interpretation, which makes it interestingly difficult for the audience to gain an insight into the deepest sanctum of his inner world.
Being part of his audience is like going away on a trip to another planet – many people might think of an LSD trip when they read that, but music itself is regarded as a ‘drug’ by many individuals, as it is something magical that connects human beings, which Deniz Türkmen does with his repertoire in an outstanding way.
In fact, this ‘drug’ is the earth – his home – for the virtuoso and the “earth has its music for those who will listen”, as George Santayana once said.

Part I
From Bach to Prokofiev, the exceptional talent has a challenging repertoire that he always shows in his concerts. Deniz Türkmen also differs from other concert pianists in bringing less known composers such as Guillaume Lekeu to the program, a composer who died at just 24, but a composer far more demanding than Schubert or Beethoven.
Also popular are his Chopin interpretations. He become well-known as the “Young Chopin” among piano lovers. So much sensitivity and laxity make his way of playing Chopin unique and marvelous.

Part II
Songs like ‘Kalinka’ or ‘Hava Nagila’ have already been arranged by so many concert pianists, but the arrangements of Deniz Türkmen are pieces to break the fingers, which can count as a competitive sport. A lot of flexibility and perseverance are required in his arrangements to master these.
He has also arranged songs of Turkish art music, which are rich in beauty and elegance. The song ‘Sari Gelin’ evolves from pianissimo in C minor to fortissimo in E minor and is truly one of the greatest arrangements in the piano history. An arrangement that blows at the beginning like a spring wind, but later suddenly explodes like a volcano. Only a master can arrange with such a fire.

Part III
‘Poems’ is the latest composition by Deniz Türkmen. Various thundering and stormy pieces that reach the limits of the possible, but at the same time pieces with romantic and profound passages that lead one into a completely different world.
Such majestic, diabolical and thoughtful compositions the world has never heard before, these works are a treasure chest of music.

Part IV
Even with the encores Deniz Türkmen knows no limit. One encore after the other. The master pianist plays with great tenderness and all harshness if need be.
He gives the impression that he could play the concert again. The passionate marathon runner simply knows no exhaustion.

Deniz Türkmen, a musician with so many colors on the palette. His naturalness on the piano is always remarkable. May this genius continue to enchant this world with beautiful music.

Pianist Garrick Ohlsson and Beethoven’s Concerto No 5

Garrick Ohlsson, one of the world’s most esteemed pianists, is in his element when performing Beethoven’s Concerto No. 5 known as the “Emperor.” He loves the blue skies and optimism Beethoven projects as he pushes the boundaries outward to give the feeling of spaces with great vistas. He regards it as a grand piece containing the small dramas found in all concertos when the individual voice enters.
The “Emperor” opens with three chords by the orchestra before the piano comes in and plays the main theme. Beethoven is the first composer to announce the piano in this way. When the explosive power and range of the piano gets warlike, there is a brief tug of war between the piano and strings before the setting evaporates into a quiet, pastoral place.
“The sheer beauty and romanticism of the slow movement is dreamy with a spiritual and warm welcome,” Ohlsson said. “When the piano enters with the theme from the last movement, there is a joyous outburst and a tremendous moment of assertion.”
Ohlsson’s repertoire is wonderfully broad and eclectic, but he initially was thrust into the limelight by Chopin. Upon winning the 1970 International Piano Competition, he became regarded as an expert on the composer. Although he has recorded many albums and CDs of Chopin works, he has also devoted considerable time to Beethoven, performing the complete cycle of the composer’s piano sonatas at numerous venues and winning a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance of Volume 3. His prolific discography includes works by Bartok, Barber, Brahms, Busoni Prokofiev, Gershwin, Scriabin and other composers too numerous to mention.
Most music students get to know Chopin early, but Ohlsson did not like him as a teenager and preferred Liszt. It was only when he got to know Chopin’s music more intimately that he appreciated his wide range and decided to enter a major competition, always the first step in a solo career.
Ohlsson compared the nature of an artist to that of an actor in that some can do small, exquisite roles while others can perform a wide range. By immersing oneself in a single composer for a given period, a musician learns his language system, his frames of reference and his strategies for outbursts of lyricism. Ohlsson likens the process to moving chess pieces or armies.
He is not only a superb artist, but also a witty speaker with the gift of getting inside a composer. His intensive research of favorite composers has unearthed intriguing information that allows them to be better understood. When he speaks before an audience, he likes to present information about a composer that can interest a layman and often take him by surprise. But when he performs a work such as Beethoven’s Emperor concerto, he wants everyone to forget what they know about the piece and to be as open as possible. There is no right way to hear a work, he cautions. Just listen. Just appreciate.

Pianist Rudolf Buchbinder Pursues Many Interests

Pianist Rudolf Buchbinder does not spend his valuable time practicing for hours on end; he fills his days with projects that illuminate him. One of the world’s most prolific recording artists, he boasts a discography of more than 100 albums encompassing the complete cycle of Beethoven sonatas, the complete Beethoven and Mozart’s concertos, all of Haydn’s compositions for piano, both Brahms concertos and numerous other major works. No wonder he is called the “Viennese oracle.”
To close his U. S. tour with the Dresden Staatskapelle conducted by Daniel Harding, he chose Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor for the Kennedy Center. He enthuses over the concerto, one of the great ones in the repertoire, pointing out that Schumann, like Beethoven and other composers of his period, is romantic and sensitive with feeling and soul in his music. He snubs the idea of classification done by people who came along later and wanted to put everybody into a neat package.
Laughing, he said, “These poor guys didn’t know they were supposed to be organized and classified as classical, romantic, modern, or what-have-you.”
The Dresden Staatskapelle, one of the world’s oldest orchestras, has been led by many outstanding chief conductors since its founding in 1548, including Carl Maria von Weber and Richard Wagner. As the orchestra of the Saxon State Opera, it is based in the opera house. This season, in his role as the orchestra’s Artist in Residence, Buchbinder will participate in two subscription series in Dresden and over a period of seven days will perform all 32 of Beethoven’s sonatas.
What might be a daunting task to others is sheer joy to the man who welcomes every opportunity to express himself live. He recorded all five Beethoven concertos live in two concerts on a single day and recorded the newly released Brahms piano concertos live with the Israel Philharmonic in Tel Aviv, Zubin Mehta conducting. He never goes into a studio if he can avoid it because he seeks the emotion that eludes him there. He enjoys recording live so much he doesn’t mind people coughing, especially if they cough when he plays wrong notes.
Buchbinder is not only one of the world’s greatest pianists, he is also a serious collector of autographed scores, first editions and original documents which he seeks out worldwide. He is equally interested in painting and modern art and often sketches for his own amusement, as evidenced by his intriguing signature in the form of a figure at the piano. Just for fun, he is an avid collector of great books and movies. Ask him about Abbott and Costello, Alfred Hitchcock, Danny Kaye or Frank Sinatra and you quickly learn that all are represented in his collection of more than 4,000 movies. He even relishes bad movies.
“One day is not long enough for me,” he said. “Instead of using the piano as one would go to the office, I use my head, not my fingers, and become involved in many interests.”

Playing Violin Can Benefit Your Children

Studies have shown that music can help stimulate a child’s brain. Children who are exposed to classical music tend to be more active and responsive and can interact very well. This is the reason why pregnant women are encouraged to play classical music before their baby is born. This can be a great start for the child’s brain development. One instrument that fits well with classical music is the violin. If you introduce violin playing to your child at an early stage, your child might have an advantage in personal and mental development.
There are many reasons why playing a violin at an early stage can be helpful to your child. It can help in your child’s brain development. With violin playing, your child will learn how to identify the right tone and pitch when he/she is playing. This may help in the increase the intelligence level of the child. This is a good exercise for the brain as it develops more skills in other areas such as analysis and abstract reasoning.
Not only can that be very helpful in the mental development of the child, playing a violin can also help in the physical development such as developing the child’s coordination skills. Just like other instruments, playing a violin requires the right coordination of the hands. In this case, the left and the right hand should coordinate well to produce great music. The left hand is responsible to finger the violin string to produce the right tone and pitch. And the right hand should bow correctly to product the right sound. The coordination of both hands is essential to produce beautiful music.
The other area that can be developed by playing the violin is the child’s emotional development. Just like with other music lessons, this can be very helpful in boosting a child’s confidence. He/she won’t be capable of playing any instrument if the child does not develop trust and confidence in his/her self. One way to step this up is to let your child join music performances. Encourage your child to do a solo performance or to join a group playing instruments.
All of these aspects will not be achievable if you are not there to support your child. These lessons can be difficult at first, but with your help and constant practice, this is very achievable. Just be supportive of your child and they may learn how to play the violin and gain some other benefits as well.

The Origin of Jazz Music

Most people believe that Jazz music was first heard during the period known as the “Jazz Age” of the 1920’s. The truth is that the origin of Jazz was much earlier. In fact it’s roots can be traced to a period between 1850 and 1900 when African slaves and freed people began to experiment with European music.
The music of central and western Africa is filled with intricate rhythms and improvisation played on percussive instruments. When the early African American people incorporated these rhythms into American spirituals, hymns and hillbilly tunes the roots were planted for new forms of music that would eventually lead to the Jazz phenomena. However this new improvisational style of music wouldn’t be a given name until around 1915 when it was first referred to as “Jass” or “Jassing”.
The first instruments used to play this new style of music were more commonly part of military marching or dance bands. Percussion, brass, woodwind and string instruments were taken up by the African Americans. Without formal training the new musicians were free to interpret and play in their own style. The new music lacked formal structure and collaborative improvisation became a key feature of the new sound. African rhythms and improvisation were combined with European instruments and American tunes. As Jazz developed, long improvised solo performances would also become part of many music pieces.
The first style of music to be classed as Jazz was called Dixieland and it was performed from around the turn of the century in the Southern states of America. New Orleans would become the first home of this new sound. Dixieland itself had it’s roots in the Ragtime music played at the end of the nineteenth century. In fact many Dixieland bands and orchestras would include Ragtime music in their repertoire.
Jazz music would become a form that gives musicians freedom to experiment with sounds. New harmonies and rhythms could be added to music on the fly, adding originality to each performance. It can be described as “music from the heart”. Each instrument and performer adding their individual brilliance to a collective performance. Put it all together, and that’s what they call Jazz!

Big present for The CosmoPolite! Thank you maestro Deniz!

The multitalented German-Turkish pianist and composer Deniz Türkmen dedicated his gigantic etude for piano and orchestra to The CosmoPolite after he was awarded with the PoliteAward by the jury – thanks a lot!

Review: Deniz Türkmen is one of the greatest virtuosos of our time, a multitalented ambitious young man, a creator of a new music, a maestro who is on the way to be a composer like Chopin and Liszt – musicians will play his compositions even in thousand years!


About Deniz Türkmen

Deniz Türkmen (born 8 October 1991) is a German-Turkish pianist and composer.

Early life
Türkmen was born in Oberhausen, Germany. His mother Gülay Türkmen (cook) and father Celal Türkmen (quality control inspector) worked both at Siemens, they are now retired. The brother Cagdas Türkmen is a neuropsychologist. Deniz Türkmen began playing piano at the age of eleven and learned very fast. At the age of twelve, he gave his first public recital with works by Bach and Mozart.

He studied first under the church musician Paul Brenninkmeyer who awarded him as his best student ever. Later he studied under the great virtuoso Peter Feuchtwanger.

After his debut in the concert hall of Mülheim an der Ruhr, Deniz Türkmen had stations in Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, United Kingdom, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey.

He now teaches his students and performs with concerts, projects and seminars, especially in America, Europe and Asia.

In his concerts he performs mostly with own works, but sometimes also with works by Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff and Scriabin for example. In the projects he works with his global acting group GOLDEN BULWARK on new compositions. The seminars are about natural piano playing with the method of research.


The Different Structures of Poems

Most of us have been touched by a poem at least once in their lifetime. Poems are a beautiful way to express human emotions. They can be complicated or simply formed. While most of us enjoy poetry, very few of us would think of writing a poem to express our own experiences. The task seems daunting and complicated. It does not always have to be that way. If you study the basic structure of different poems, you will easily be able to write simple poems for your own enjoyment. It is a joyful endeavour and will be a very satisfying experience. Someone has rightly said that poetry is the language of the soul.
Haiku – The most shortest and popular form of poem is a haiku. This is a form derived from Japanese poetry. Haiku is a three-line poem with the first and third line having five syllables each. The second line has seven syllables. Haiku does not necessarily have to rhyme. Haikus focus on a particular revealing or insightful moment. Images are integral to a haiku poem. The positioning and contrast of these images is what makes a haiku beautiful.
Tanka – Tanka is traditionally, a non rhyming form of Japanese poetry with 5 lines. The second, fourth and fifth lines have seven syllables each while the first and third lines have five syllables. The subject of a tanka usually deals with human emotions.
Shape poems – These are easy to master once you get the hang of it. Shapes poems are poems written in a particular shape. To begin, first draw a shape. The shape can be a triangle, a heart or even a shape of a Christmas tree. Start our writing your poem in these shapes and watch your poem literally take shape.
Calligrams – Calligrams are poems that take the shape of the subject of the poem. For example a poem talking about a house can take the shape of a house.
Acrostic poems – Acrostic poems are fun and have a puzzle to solve. The first letter on each line can spell out some name. The trick is to look for a pattern.
Ekphrastic poems – Ekphrastic poems are those which comment on an art piece such as a painting or an artefact. Sometimes it is the other way round. Artists are inspired by the imagery presented in the poem.
Quincouplets – This is a recent form of poetry inspired by a six word story by Ernest Hemingway. It is a five word poem with two words on the first line and three words in the second line.
Free verse poems – These do not have a specific structure and give the poet total freedom. This is a perfect form for beginning writers to start with.