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Melody Bober Alfred Clinician Thursday August 7th

Bober Flyer-1
In partnership with Portland Music Company and the leading music publisher in the world, Michelle’s Piano Company is pleased to welcome popular and insightful clinician Melody Bober to our recital hall this coming Thursday August 7th from 9-12pm.

Melody graduated summa cum laude from the University of Illinois Champagne-Urbana with a bachelor’s degree in music education. She later received her master of arts degree in piano performance from Minnesota State University, Moorhead. Melody credits much of her success to her influential teachers who include Joel Shapiro and Andrew Froelich (piano), Mary Hoffman (music education) and Tony Carmia (jazz).

As an active church pianist and accompanist, Melody has held the position of church music director. In addition to teaching piano in her private studio, Melody’s music experience includes twenty years of public education and two years of college instruction.

A dynamic clinician and innovative composer, Melody is in great demand at convention and workshops for piano teachers across North America. She resides in Minnesota with her husband Jeff.

Melody’s workshop will be concentrating on these components:
– Develop technic and reading skills by performing pieces in various keys.
– Develop practice strategies for enhancing rhythm,articulation, dynamics and velocity.
– Plan repertoire for your students with a fast paced review of new music.

Again, this workshop if free and open to the public from 9-12pm Light refreshments, Melody’s music will available for purchase, as well as check out the best selection of new and used Steinways in the Pacific Northwest.

Toshiko Akiyoshi in Concert & Other Jazz Greats Here @ Michelle’s Recital Hall

Cropped, Toshiko LIVE 2 This Friday June 17th Michelle’s Pianos welcomes Toshiko Akiyoshi to the stage in our recital hall. We are partnering with the Bravo Northwest Concert Series in bringing this wonderful Jazz Legend and GRAMMY Nominated artist. But in fact, Michelle’s Piano is fast becoming a well liked venue for jazz, classical, piano studio recitals and other music performances.

Michelle’s recital room is becoming a well known room due to its wonderful acoustic, low rental costs, and the ability to socialize afterwards. In fact, we have hosted some great performers of international and national fame. But the main reason that performers love to do their concerts here is due to the fact that they have a brand new 9′ Steinway on the stage. Randy Porter , Portland native & Steinway Artist, remarked that a lot of the jazz musicians really love the room but more importantly appreciate the beneficial relationship which builds greater community.

Most venues have subpar instrument for their performance space. When you have the best piano in the world on your stage, the audience then gets to enjoy the best performance in the world. The other factor which makes Michelle’s desirable is the fact that their isn’t a restaurant and immense amount of background noise. Not to say, that the concert goer can participate in some nibbles and refreshments it is the best of both worlds- food, folks and fun so to speak. Check our website often for upcoming events, Costs are relatively low and the interaction between performer and audience is warm and inviting!

Portland Youth Piano Competition Set for 2016

Following on the success of last year’s piano competition here at Michelle’s Piano Company in November we are set to announce this years concert dates. Eligible piano students who are OMTA Syllabus level four and above are welcome to enter this years competition. The preliminary round is set for the weekend of November 4-6 with the final round set for Sunday November 13th.

Our criteria is as follow repertoire may be from the Baroque period to twentieth century. Two pieces maybe selected and performed. They are not to exceed 20 minutes in total time. Each contestant is to be in concert attire.

Last year’s first prize winners were able to take advantage of a weekend in New York. This weekend trip included a trip to the Steinway Piano Factory in Astoria Queens New York, the use of a Steinway grand piano in their home and access to rehearsals with the Oregon Symphony and Vancouver Symphony. This year’s first thru third place winners will receive the same prizes. early bird registration is $35 before April 30th and $45 up to the date of the competition. For further questions you may contact Ms.Layla Kastner at

PYP-Music & Merriment “A Salute to Carol SIndell”

PYP Music & Merriment 2015

Portland Youth Philharmonic was established Valentine’s Day 1925. It is the oldest youth orchestra in the United States! Since its inception many young people have come to find their joy, passion and pursuit of music in the this world class orchestra. In fact each December, many of these alums come back and join the current youth orchestra for another whirl in the opulent Arlene Schnitzer Hall. What a joy to see many of our active seniors playing with the orchestra members of today and inspiring younger musicians for tomorrow.

Join us here at Michelle’s Piano Company on December 20th 4-530pm as we listen to PYP’s three concert masters; Fumika Minuzo, Haeun Jung, and Halie Borror. The Florestan Trio will rounding out the afternoon, made up of Janet Guggenheim, Hamilton Cheifetz, and Carol Sindell. Incidentally, PYP will be honoring Carol Sindell as both a past PYP conductor, teacher of many PYP students and a strong proponent of the arts here in Portland. This music & merriment event is a both an awareness event as well as a fundraising opportunity to continue to seed the next generation of rising stars of musicians!

A new kind of piano competition in town

Last weekend November 14 & 15 saw,forty eight students, representing nineteen studios, and playing for sixteen hours from intermediated to advance OMTA Syllabus X in our recital hall. All vying for two trips, an all expense paid trip to the famed Steinway Piano Factory in Astoria Queens New York. The two winners from the intermediate and advanced categories will be able to meet and have lunch with a Steinway executive as well as take in a musical event.

The purpose of the competition is the promotion of the next generation of musicians. The competition criteria was relatively straight forward- students could perform anything from Baroque to 20th Century. We also encouraged students to perform a piece from as Asian composer!

The top three finishers in each will also have the opportunity to use a Steinway grand piano in their home for forty-five days. This coming weekend eleven finalist will be try to see who will take the New York trip, cash and the use of a Steinway piano! Sunday’s finals will be from 12-3pm with presentations by Portland Art and Cultural Center, Michelle’s Piano Company and Delta Airlines. All are welcomed to stay for the reception following the award’s ceremony.

Native NW’erner Pianist to Present Beethoven Recitals at the Old Church

Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas

“One of the most significant facts for the understanding of Beethoven is that his work shows an organic development up till the very end. The older Beethoven lived, the more and more profound was what he had to say. Such sustained development in the case of an artist who reaches years of maturity is a rare and important phenomenon.”

—J.W.N. Sullivan, Beethoven: His Spiritual Development

“Gregory Partain is a gifted pianist, and every item is intelligently and sympathetically played.” —BBC Music Magazine


Tuesday, May 5; 7:30

A fresh, compelling voice: Vienna conquered (1795)

Sonatas Op. 2, nos. 1, 2, 3


Thursday, May 7; 7:30

Early mastery: The virtuoso spreads his wings (1795-1798)

Sonatas Op. 7; Op. 10, nos. 1, 3


Friday, May 8; 7:30

Beethoven’s “New Way”: High drama, moonlight, and countryside (1798-1801)

Sonatas Op. 10, no. 2; Op. 13 (Pathétique); Op. 27, no. 2 (Moonlight); Op. 28 (Pastoral)


Tuesday, May 12; 7:30

Expanding horizons: Broken boundaries and novel sonorities (1802-1804)

Sonatas Op. 31, no. 2 (Tempest); Op. 31, no. 3; Op. 53 (Waldstein)


Wednesday, May 13; 7:30

Uncharted territory: “Beethoven–Hero” (1804-1814)

Sonatas Op. 57 (Appassionata); Op. 78; Op. 81a (Les adieux); Op. 90


Wednesday, May 20; 7:30

The final phase: Romantic yearning and epic struggle (1816-1818)

Opus 90; Op. 106 Hammerklavier ( iii Adagio sostenuto ); Opus 101


Thursday, May 21; 7:30

Apotheosis: Revelations, strange landscapes, and a last ascension (1821-1822)

Sonatas Op. 109; Op. 110; Op. 111

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) wrote 32 piano sonatas over the course of his adult life–the first when he was 25, the last at age 52, just five years before his death. Sometimes called the “New Testament” of the piano repertoire, collectively they represent one of the most significant achievements in the history of western music. Spanning nearly three decades, these masterworks chart the artistic and spiritual evolution of a man some see as the greatest composer of all time.

Although we remember Beethoven chiefly for his compositions, he earned early fame as an electrifying and unorthodox pianist. Upon arriving in Vienna, it was the young virtuoso’s eloquence at the piano that most impressed the musical king-makers of his adopted home. For the rest of his career, the piano remained his favorite vehicle for self-expression, and the piano sonata became his compositional laboratory as he challenged the limitations of the genre and stretched the boundaries of music itself. After two centuries, the brilliant sonatas of Beethoven’s early years continue to delight, his “heroic” works still stun and inspire, and his profound final statements offer rich rewards through their depth and transcendent mysticism.

The 22 sonatas chosen for this seven-recital series include those traditionally deemed the most satisfying and most historically significant. Hearing them performed chronologically allows listeners the unique experience of following Beethoven’s creative thought process as it unfolds through an illuminating, powerfully moving odyssey.

Gregory Partain, pianist

In his twenty-eight years on the concert stage, Camas, Washington native Gregory Partain has performed as piano recitalist, concerto soloist, and chamber music collaborator throughout the United States, as well as in Germany, Poland, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Russia, and Greece. He has garnered consistent critical acclaim in the U.S. and abroad for his live and CD recordings of a wide-ranging repertoire: “…some of the best Scarlatti I’ve ever heard…these approach the same level as Horowitz’s legendary recordings” (American Record Guide); “Gregory Partain is a gifted pianist, and every item is intelligently and sympathetically played” (BBC Music Magazine); “…brilliant clarity, crisp articulation, and a magnificent sense of pacing” (All Music Guide); “He is a sterling-silver player. He doesn’t glitter; he gleams. Suffice it to say that the thrill in the audience was very real” (Lexington Herald-Leader).

Also a serious composer, Partain has focused in recent years on compositions for voice that explore spiritual themes. Major works include Requiem (a large-scale concert piece for chorus and orchestra) and Stabat mater dolorosa for a cappella chorus–both with traditional Latin texts–and “Come to the Garden in Spring,” a song cycle for soprano and piano based on spiritual love poems of Jalaluddin Rumi, the 13th-century Islamic mystic.

Partain received his Bachelors degree in Piano Performance from the University of Washington and Masters and Doctoral degrees from The University of Texas at Austin as a Javits Fellowship recipient. Since 1991 he has taught at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, where he holds a Bingham Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Digital Pianos – The low cost, no maintenance, and fun alternative to piano learning


Robert Cutiietta, now Dean of Thornton School of Music at USC, wrote an insightful book called, “Raising Musical Kids.” The approach of the book was written from the vantage point of an educator of music teachers, parent, band director, and more importantly musician! The overarching theme of the book was music improves the culture of a community and we want our children to be playing music as adults in their 90’s. Digital pianos, are becoming a great option for families looking to engage their children and even themselves in learning the piano.

With technology and more importantly learning the piano, technology increasingly plays a larger role! Roland’s family of instruments have the capability to be blue-tooth enabled thus linking it with the Apple device whether tablet or phone. The free Roland, Piano Partner App, allows the beginner to learn notes either visually or aurally. A flash card or corresponding note is displayed or played for the student and then they find the corresponding note. They also can play a wide range of music and the Hanon/Czerny exercises along with both notation and track with. This capability also allows the student to change the tempo. This instrument increases the student’s ability to become more engaged with the music as well, reinforce practice time with lesson time, and connect them to the music for the long term.

The digital piano has come a long way since the early days of the class piano. Touch and tone have been improved vastly. Digital pianos are modeled extensively after the concert grands. Roland uses digital recording of the New York Steinway Model D to capture the beauty and touch of the prestigious concert grands. Roland is the only manufacturer where one can put “dip weight” on their keys and the keys slowly drop similar as to the action of a grand piano. Why is this important? It provides a more responsive touch allowing for more expressiveness for the pianist. The tone of digital pianos have drastically improved. Most music professionals in hearing the recording of digital vs. acoustic are unable to differentiate the difference.

One can make the correlation of that to digital photography. When the first digital cameras came out they were grainy at best but we were excited because we could take multiple pictures, silly picture, and perhaps photos we didn’t want anyone to see and we were not wasting paper in the process. Today’s 22 mega pixel camera are as clear, detailed and life like as their SLR counterparts. So, is the sound of digital pianos.

Digital pianos get their sound through sampling. This is simply recording acoustic instruments taking the recording converting to algorithms plotting these points along a curve that resemble the natural frequency of the sound wave of an acoustic piano.

Digital pianos provide more than just piano sounds. Digital pianos span the musical genre from the clavichord to electric piano sounds in pop soundtracks of today. When both young and older students alike can play music from rag time, well tempered clavichord, or with an accompanying rhythm this ability brings a greater sense of fun and enjoyment in the pursuit of learning music. Music is all around us and we simply must find the musical outlet for all of these budding musicians. So, come in and try for yourself this exciting, captivating and highly engaging instruments to tap the inner musician waiting to express yourself!

Up Coming Concerts and More Here at Michelle’s Piano


Legendary be bop sensation Bob Mover with pianist George Colligan will be performing this Saturday at 8pm in a concert. First, Bob will be presenting a vocal master class $10 for students to participate. Bob Mover’s Musicianship for Singers Clinic at 4:30pm

Master saxophonist/vocalist Bob Mover has been giving performances, lessons, and clinics world-wide for nearly fifty years and has performed with some of the biggest names in Jazz. His teaching method is transformative and provides students with the means to express themselves.

Among the topics discussed:
*Learn to find and develop a personal repertoire
*How to find the best key for you to sing a song in
*Eliminate vague pitches
*Achieve rhythmic free in phrasing
*Use method acting techniques in interpreting lyrics
*Understanding song forms- no more getting lost
*Harmonic movement and voice leading in tunes
*Identifying the colors of chordal upper structures

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to study with with this Jazz master.
$25 suggested donation/$10 for students

At 8:00 pm he then will be joined by George Colligan for an incredible concert. Incidnetally, George will be releasing his new CD, here at Michelle’s on April 11th at 8 pm.

A jazz musician with an international reputation who has been working with names like Cassandra Wilson and Jack DeJohnette, PSU professor George Colligan is presenting two of his bands for one night of music in Portland.

Theoretical Planets, a group in which Colligan plays drums, has released a CD on the Origin label entitled ” Risky Notion.” The CD has gotten rave reviews, including 4 stars in Downbeat Magazine. The group features Joe Manis and Nicole Glover on saxophones, and Jon Lakey on bass. It’s been described as one of Portland’s most exciting jazz groups.

Also on the bill for the evening will be Colligan performing on his main instrument, the piano. His regular Portland trio includes the great Chris Higgins on bass and the great Chris Brown on drums. Colligan was described by New York Times jazz critic Nate Chinen as “A pianist of deep harmonic and rhythmic assurance…”

Thinking of buying a used piano?


On an average week we get several calls from customers who are inquiring as to what it will cost to move a piano from a private source to their home? As the conversation goes along with a few investigative questions we find out that the piano is free or within a few hundred dollars. These characteristics of the “free piano” raises several red flags, which then the customer then begins to question if the purchase is a wise investment.

1000’s of parts-

Pianos have several 1000 parts made of wood, wool, felt and fabric material. We have seen several of these pianos in our restoration/ rebuild center with a tell-tale sign of damage, usually indicated by mouse droppings, hence the deterioration and destruction of parts. For many of these pianos the parts of the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) maybe obsolete or it is not cost effective to replace them. The time and labor to replace these parts then becomes a cost that maybe too much to bear. Many pianos of this magnitude are simply to cumbersome and financially to absorb.

It has London, New York or some other major city on the plate-

There were over 400 piano manufacturers in the United States and Europe. Simply because it has the name of a major city on the plate does not indicate the quality of the instrument. When buying a used piano check to see if the brand is Steinway, Mason Hamlin, Baldwin, Knabe, Clarendon, Bush and Lane or a few other major brands. Again, there were 400 manufacturers and the so called city of origin does not always indicate quality. Unlike the Antique Road Show some of these obscure piano names does not mean that you have hidden financial pot of gold!

Used pianos are not always suitable for beginner students –

We have many people who are desirous of a “beginner piano” for a young student or even themselves. Again, back to the first point, pianos having 1000s of moving parts. If the instrument is heavy this is an indicator that the piano has not been regulated. A piano is a machine, its origin of design is borrowed from the geometry of the clock. A properly “regulated” piano has been lubed, usually with a dry graphite, screws tightened, filed, hammers aligned properly, and hours of adjustments! Many of these used pianos that have been slated as “beginner pianos” will lend to injury of the young pianist! These so called cost effective instruments will not perform. A professor from one of our prestigious music schools said, “If the piano can’t do it, I can’t teach it!” This is so true, whether it is a triple pianissimo or thirty second notes in a descending scale, a poor regulated instrument means that the student is then working against the instrument. A well regulated piano is responsive to the artist touch and a pleasure to play. It’s important when buying a used piano to make sure it’s the right instrument with the right tuning, parts, history, and maintenance.

Used pianos are generally very bright –

The hammer head is generally long wool fibers stretched across wooden hammer head. As the hammers get older it becomes more compact after years of repetitive strikes on the strings. Also, dirt and other contaminates make the hammer head percussive. This over percussive and hardened head lends to a very bright and a tone that is not pleasing. With a percussive and bright annoying sound then requires a technician to come in and “needle” the hammer head. This is done by taking a very sharp tool and “pricking” the wool of the hammer head. Somewhat like fluffing the wool. In some cases we can bring back a warm tone to the instrument but this laborious and costly adjustment does not mean the piano will be pleasant to play.

Unlike wine, a piano does not get better with age –

Yes, perhaps like wine a piano might increase in value but not necessarily get better. In fact, quite the opposite happens. Again a piano is a machine made of several 1000 parts! The sound does not become sweeter. The soundboard is the heart of the piano- the soundboard does not mature, it is dead wood. In fact, the sound board, due to the lack of humidity can develop cracks or it can lose it crown dynamic. The crown dynamic is the ability of the soundboard to magnify and project sound. Again, the hammers do not ripen if anything they become unbearably bright and percussive.

The hidden cost of free –

There are many things that are supposedly free in life… free lunch, free rides, free kittens… there are always costs associated with free. We see many customers that purchased that “free piano” and now are in the quandary of what to do with this albatross called the free piano. It will cost several hundreds of dollars to get it into good working condition.

We would like to invite you to meet with our panel of qualified technicians and piano experts who can help you to:
-What five main components to check for when thinking about the purchase of a piano?
– What to look for in a beginner piano?
-What costs are associated with a “free piano?”
– How to determine the value in a used piano?
-How do I determine if the free piano is of any value either from an investment or playing perspective?
This class will be held on March 21st at 10:00 am here at Michelle’s Piano located at 600 SE Stark St. Portland, OR. If interested in attending please call 503-295-1180.

Baritone Anton Belov & Accompanist Susan McDaniel Sure to Become an Annual Tradition at Michelle’s Piano



One of the most pointed out features of Michelle’s Piano Recital Hall is the very large old wood beams from the old growth treesfrom the Oregon forest. This combination of concrete floors and old timbers in the ceiling brings a warm but vibrant tonal quality to any performance.

The audience were thrilled last Sunday afternoon with an eclectic collection Euro-Persian music performed by Maestro Belov and Accompanist Susan McDaniel. Anton’s clear explanation of how these type of songs became known to the Western world was quite educational but more evocative is when he sang them. We are very accustomed to the scaling of the well tempered clavier scaling and not as familiar with scaling and modalities of Middle Eastern music. So our ears and hearts were opened to something new but also quite old.

The concert encapsulated and demonstrated this form very well. Many enjoyed the concert and great stage presentation of Maestro Belov, we plan on bringing MAestro Belov back with frequency to our venue. Of course, Susan McDaniel played quite magnificiently supplementing Belov voice with the artistry and demonstration of the Middle Eastern nuances. This week Michelle’s Piano is hosting a double header weekend with Vocalist Heather Keizer and Steve Christofferson on piano on Valentine’s Day benefit for Oregon Montessori and World Renowned Steinway Artist Andreas Klein Concert on 3pm Sunday Feb 15th with Master Class on Monday February 16th from 10-1pm