I first met pianist Steven Beck when he was 16 or so. Martin Goldsmith was hosting a book event for Fred Starr, author of Bamboula, the bio of Gottschalk. Martin enlisted me to play some Gottschalk excerpts, and I in turn recruited Steve to play part of the Grande Tarantelle, which he was about to perform with the National Symphony Orchestra. For his reward, I gave him my copy of the book.
So 14 years later Steve is about to unleash all 32 of the Beethoven sonatas at Barge Music starting July 16, 2008. This is an effort that I simply cannot imagine myself doing, and is the domain of the rare pianist. The last time I attended such a marathon was when Wilhelm Kempff performed them to an exclusive audience at the Brahmssaal in Vienna in 1974. Kempf was at the very end of his career and the audience was worshipful to say the least. Every pianist and teacher was there, including John O’Connor, Dieter Weber, Noel Flores, etc.
So I am confident there will be a crowd of the cognoscenti lurking at Barge Music. I will attend on July 20 when he does opus 10 nr. 1, opus 22, 26, and 109.