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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County



Written By Editor on 11/22/20 | 11/22/20

The Catskill Mountain Foundation will celebrate the arrival of an original 1826 Conrad Graf Fortepiano at the Piano Performance Museum in Hunter with a virtual lecture-recital by Academy of Fortepiano Performance founders and faculty members Yi-heng Yang and Maria Rose with live Q&A on November 28. The performance will be interspersed with a recorded lecture to be delivered by renowned musicologist Edward Swenson of Ithaca, NY, from whom the piano was acquired.


According to Pam Weisberg, Director of Performing Arts at CMF, the new arrival of the Graf piano is a welcome boost to the piano performance museum’s collection. She is pleased that the Foundation will be able to present such a performance and lecture by Swenson, noted musicologist and one of the foremost piano restorers in the world.


“This special presentation represents the continuation in our series of virtual offerings and will feature performances and a live Q&A with Yi-heng and Maria. It is our hope that we can add more programs of this kind which showcase our amazing collection at the Piano Performance Museum in Hunter,” notes Weisberg.


The arrival of the Graf fortepiano signals a significant step forward in the Museum’s collection, curated by Steven E. Greenstein. Conrad Graf ’s importance as a pianomaker in the history of the instrument cannot be overstated, and neither can the stellar reputation of his fortepianos amongst many of the most celebrated composers and musicians not just of the 19th century, but of the 20th and 21st centuries as well.


For the recital at the piano museum, Yang will play late Beethoven Bagatelles, Opus 126, which fit well with the composer’s late style. While not written specifically for the Graf piano, the Bagatelles make use of the contrast, unpredictability and the color of the Graf. She will also play some Vorisek impromptus, which bring out the charm and delicacy of the Graf.  The Graf now in the piano museum was featured in a recently released recording by Yang with violinist Abigail Karr entitled Felix Mendelssohn: Sonatas from Childhood, Adolescence, and Adulthood on the Olde Focus Recordings label.


Rose will play a Schubert sonata to highlight the unique sounds of the Graf. Schubert was a contemporary of Conrad Graf. In 1808, the 11-year-old Schubert already practiced on Graf ’s pianos at the latter’s workshop in a suburb of Vienna. Although he didn’t own a Graf piano, due to the fact that he was very poor, the Graf pianos remain to this day inextricably linked with Schubert’s piano music as they match each other so well in warmth, clarity and colorfulness. Rose will also play two Romances by Clara Schumann, who received a Graf piano from her husband, Robert Schumann.


A person standing in front of a piano

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Above: Academy of Fortepiano Performance founders and faculty members Yi-heng Yang (left) and Maria Rose (right)


The performance will be available online on the Catskill Mountain Foundation’s YouTube and Facebook pages starting on November 28 at 7:30 pm, followed by a live Q & A session. To register for this free event, visit


About Catskill Mountain Foundation
The Catskill Mountain Foundation’s (CMF) aim is to provide educational opportunities in the arts for youth and lifelong learners, to bring the experience of the arts to the Catskill community, and to support artists and art organizations in the development of their work through residencies. Since its founding in 1998, CMF has presented hundreds of music, dance, and theater performances; screened over 1,000 films to tens of thousands of audience members; provided studio arts classes to thousands of students of all ages; and served thousands of art-loving patrons in its gallery and bookstore.

Since 1998, CMF has raised, generated, and invested close to $15 million in facility development and an excess of $30 million in programming operations, for a total investment in the Catskill community of over $45 million. CMF believes that the arts can transform the lives of those touched by it and can transform the community. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.

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