New Jersey Symphony concert goes on, after piano mishap

Posted on: March 3, 2017

“Is there a piano doctor in the house? That was the question—literally—at Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood on Thursday night, when the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra came to an abrupt halt after the piano stopped working mid-concert,” writes James C. Taylor in Tuesday’s (2/28) Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). “Music Director Xian Zhang and soloist Kirill Gerstein were about a minute into Rachmaninoff’s [second piano] concerto when something sounded wrong…. A few minutes later, Gerstein stopped playing mid-phrase. He turned to the audience and said, ‘The sustain pedal isn’t working.’ … He then asked if there was a piano doctor in the house… The piano was taken off-stage for repairs…. The Elgar Variations—which was to close the program—would be played first. … Zhang came out and stalled for more time by singing certain Variation’s themes, sharing anecdotes about Elgar’s romantic history and so forth. [Then] … the music continued. On Friday, a spokesperson for the symphony said: ‘It broke during the performance, was fine in rehearsal.’ … When the piece ended, Gerstein and Zhang shared a bear hug as the crowd cheered. Functioning piano or not, you can’t keep a good orchestra down.”

Posted March 3, 2017