video (New York Times)
video (Kennedy Center)
"...he has emerged as the leading
American pianist of his generation." Boston Globe
"Two keyboards give Mr. Taylor’s hands space to maneuver... the mouths of
pianists in the audience must have been watering. More important were Mr.
Taylor’s legitimate talents as a Bach player. The modern piano is built for
smoothness of tone. Bach’s interweaving voices require separate, identifiable
colors. Mr. Taylor’s varieties of touch showed both love and good sense. Mr.
Moor’s invention stood out in the last of the variations, with added-on octaves
producing joyful noise for grand-finale effect."
New York Times
"Christopher Taylor, the superb soloist, brought a deep focus
and ease to the outer movements’ ebb and flow and a fierce dexterity to the
middle section, “Edgy,” a bustling workout that recalled music by Prokofiev and
New York Times
[Sebastian Currier Concerto]
"the best performance I have ever heard of [Schumann’s] Piano Concerto ...
absolutely propulsive in its energy. Taylor stepped on the gas and delivered a
sharp, driven performance that proved irresistible... showed how beneath the
arch-Romantic surface, Schumann had a thorough command of Classical–era
Well Tempered Ear
"Mr. Taylor is more typically heard in
heavier repertory, from Liszt to Messiaen and Pierre Boulez, and this
concerto seemed easy work for him. In the fast outer movements,
especially, the solo line was clean, bright and crisply articulated,
and it danced off the page." [Haydn Piano Concerto in D (Hob.
New York Times
"…after two hours at the keyboard, Taylor had become a wild man in
the thrall of a great vision, seemingly possessed of superhuman
powers. Clearly forces beyond the normal were at play." Los Angeles Times
"Christopher Taylor, a versatile, ready-for-anything soloist,
delivered a brilliant, intense performance"
"...strengths in this performance included crisp coordination of piano
and strings, keyed to Taylor's unfailingly alert rhythmic sense and
bold sonority." [Brahms Piano Quintet with the Ying Quartet]
"But that Christopher Taylor... also played Messiaen’s
approximately 130-minute work flawlessly and entirely from memory was
astounding. It is doubtful that many of us who heard Taylor’s
transcendent traversal of Messiaen’s Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus
for Cal Performances can imagine another pianist making an equal
impact in such challenging music.... the performance was
extraordinary. Taylor, who graduated summa cum laude from Harvard with
a mathematics degree in 1992 — two years after he received first prize
in the William Kapell International Piano Competition — is a genius. I
doubt few present will forget how he lifted us to a realm beyond time
San Francisco Classical Voice
"To tackle a handful of György
Ligeti's explosive and intricate piano etudes shows a degree of
bravery and dedication. To play all 28 of them, as Christopher Taylor
did in a magnificent recital in Berkeley's Hertz Hall on Sunday
afternoon, is a Herculean undertaking... [Taylor] seemed almost to
shrug off the difficulties involved. It isn't that he made the
performance seem effortless -- no one could do that, nor would it be a
good idea if they could -- but that he incorporated the very idea of
difficulty into the essence of the performance. "
San Francisco Chronicle
"But most of the études are vehemently intense
and ferociously difficult...Mr. Taylor played them all with incisive
rhythm, lucid textures and, where the music allowed, alluring colors.
Still, the sheer effort involved in playing these works was something
New York Times
"Taylor's playing -- emotionally volatile yet
scrupulously weighted and voiced -- worked hand-in-glove with
"...the blazing performance of Messiaen's ''Vingt regards sur l'enfant
Jesus'' by Christopher Taylor in the Gardner Museum is likely to stand
as a point of reference for many seasons to come."
"Throughout Mr. Taylor played with unflagging
energy and an impressive ability to articulate and even swing those
complex rhythms. There was a mesmerizing self-possession in these
performances, as if a vigorous dialogue between pianist and composer
were taking place entirely inside Mr. Taylor's head and simply finding
expression in his fingers. The nature of the discussion was anyone's
guess, but it was a pleasure to listen in."
The New York Times
"...and his performance of three of William
Bolcom's splendid "Twelve New Etudes" [was] delivered with a daring
spontaneity that masked
some phenomenal technique" Washington Post
"...his performance was a highlight of the
season and already represents an astonishing achievement."
The New York Times
"...Taylor really nailed it, certainly deserving
the multiple bows he gave and standing ovation he got when it was
over. He drew a plump, cushy sound from the big Steinway."
(with The St. Louis Symphony)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"The young pianist Christopher Taylor is so
talented it's almost frightening...Taylor revealed limpid, legato
lines of plaintive beauty. His ear was alert to the fantasy and drama
in this work."
The Boston Globe
"Taylor returned to the stage...and once again
displayed a remarkable combination of brain, heart and fingers. In
past appearances here, he has demonstrated his ability to bound from
Bach to Messiaen, from Rachmaninoff to Boulez -- and do it all
persuasively. Taylor can do it all."
"Taylor made the Steinway work, finding a
curiously successful balance between the distinct articulation
required for the terraced baroque textures and propelling momentum of
the Allegros with the absolute legato of a Chopin cantilena in the
Adagio." (with The Polish Chamber Philharmonic)
"A stunning new recording of William Bolcom's
Pulitzer Prize-winning "Twelve New Etudes" (1977-86) features
Christopher Taylor... [The etudes] require a pianist of equally nimble
intelligence and imagination - not to mention physical endurance --
and Taylor is more than up to the challenge." (CD review)
The New Yorker
at the Kennedy Center Video
return to Christopher Taylor homepage
Christopher Taylor, piano
Christopher Taylor performs the
Bach Goldberg Variations on the Steinway–Moór
Concert Grand, a unique dual-manual Steinway. Since the piano's restoration,
Christopher Taylor has brought the instrument to life for complete performances
of the Bach Goldberg Variations in select venues across the country. The
instrument's 21st century debut took place in Taylor's hands at the Caramoor
Festival, followed by his performances at the Ravinia Festival, the Gilmore
Festival, the Krannert Center, the Gardner Museum and the Kennedy Center.
This model D concert grand by Steinway & Sons is the only
Steinway equipped with a double keyboard developed by Emanuel Moór
(1863-1931). It was built by Steinway for Werner von Siemens of
Berlin and sold to him in 1929. The piano was purchased by the
University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1961 for the use of Gunnar
Johansen, artist in residence at the university at the time. After
Johansen's death in 1991, it remained unused for many years until
John Schaffer, director of the School of Music, and Christopher
Taylor, professor of piano at the school, began discussing the
prospect of restoring it to optimum playing capacity several years
ago. The completion of the rebuilding project by Steinway in 2007
marks the beginning of a new stage in the instrument's life. This
remarkable instrument is now used for selected tour dates by Taylor and heard in concert
at its home at the university.
A short video about this unique piano and Christopher Taylor is
New York Times website.
And Christopher Taylor demonstrates further on
this short video from
The lower keyboard of 88 keys resembles that of a typical piano. The
upper keyboard of 76 keys is one octave shorter in the treble but
sounds one octave higher than the corresponding key on the lower
keyboard. Each keyboard can be played independently but both can be
coupled together by depressing a pedal located between the una corda
(far left) and sostenuto (second-from-right) pedals. A catch
mechanism allows the pedal to be retained in its depressed position.
the keyboards are coupled, each note played on the lower
keyboard sounds both its own pitch and that of the key directly
behind it on the upper keyboard, one octave higher. As a result,
polyphonic textures available to the player are greatly expanded,
volume levels may be increased, and chords which extend over two
octaves may be played with one hand.
Many individuals have played a part in the restoration of the
Steinway double-manual piano and in providing the means for it to be
heard on tour.
John Wiley, Chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Madison
John Schaffer, director, School of Music, UW-Madison
Baoli Liu and Mark Ultsch, piano technicians, School of Music
Christopher Taylor, associate professor of piano, School of Music
Chris Arena, Bonnie Barrett, Ljubomir Begonja, Ed Carrasco, Peter
Goodrich and Michael Megaloudis, Steinway & Sons
Kenneth Wentworth, Jonathan Wentworth Associates, Ltd.
Read the full bio.
(all rights reserved):
Christopher Taylor in the Steinway factory at the Moor Concert Grand by
Steve J. Sherman
Photo at left, above: Jeff Miller
Photo Below: Katrin Talbot