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In Practice

In Practice: Jonathan Biss

June 20, 2012 A building demolition inadvertently helps pianist Jonathan Biss discover the perfect practicing solution. Moving the piano out of his apartment away from the commotion allows him the concentration he needs for his nine-year Beethoven project.

It's tough to concentrate on the rigors of Beethoven with jackhammers pounding in your ears. So when they started demolishing the building next to Jonathan Biss, he moved his piano out of his apartment into a separate studio, away from the commotion. "I would get up in the morning, the piano wasn't there, and I had to leave my apartment to go practice and I've decided that's a much more productive way of working," he says. Biss needs a good working environment for his massive project. He's begun a nine year deep-dive into Beethoven, learning and recording all 32 of the composer's piano sonatas. We eavesdropped on Biss, working through Beethoven's vigorous Piano Sonata No. 5, during an unexpected Manhattan heat wave.

Credits

Producers: Mito Habe-Evans, Anastasia Tsioulcas; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Production Assistants: Amanda Ameer, Nick Michael; Executive Producers: Anya Grundmann, Keith Jenkins

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