News - Fantastic Piano Performances and Where to Find Them

Fantastic Piano Performances and Where to Find Them

So you just started learning a new piece at the piano... chances are, one of the very first things you're going to do is listen to a recording (or a few) of it to get some ideas.

Don't get me wrong, that's a great thing to do - but search any well-known piece of piano music on, say, YouTube, and you will get maybe HUNDREDS of options. Listening to mediocre recordings isn't going to be very inspiring or helpful. You'll want to find the piano performances that come closest to portraying what the composer originally intended. There are plenty of incredible recordings made by professional pianists out there, you just have to know how to find them!

Here are 6 ideas to help you find fantastic piano performances to listen to:

Find a high-quality recording. The platform you use doesn't necessarily matter - streaming is very popular and there are lots of options. (Or even check out your local library for a CD!) But the quality of the recording itself DOES matter. Ideally, find a recording produced by a professional record label. (Live videos can be great, too, though.)
If you're watching a video of a live performance, think about the venue, piano, and video quality. A performance on an old, out-of-tune upright in someone's house probably isn't going to be the one you want. Similarly, blurry videos made in someone's basement also aren't likely to be great ones.

Look for the original version of the piece you're playing. Lots of people post their own arrangements of classical music or "extended versions" of their favorite pieces. There's nothing wrong with these! They just won't be the type of recording that will help you as you learn the piece.

Stay away from computer-playback recordings. They may show you how the notes and rhythms go, but a MIDI recording won't have the kind of expression that makes music really beautiful.

Look at the performer's qualifications. Have they studied music at the collegiate level or beyond? Have they made lots of recordings or just a few here and there? A quick internet search can help you find out some of this information.

Ask another musician for a recommendation! If you're taking piano lessons, your teacher will almost certainly have suggestions of specific piano performances and performers to listen to.

If you want somewhere to start, here are a few of my personal favorite pianists to listen to (with links to some amazing performances - worth it even if you just listen to a little bit):

Martha Argerich
Glenn Gould
Alicia De Larrocha
Vladmir Horowitz
Marc-Andre Hamelin
Evgeny Kissin
Lang Lang
Sviatoslav Richter
Artur Rubinstein
Yuja Wang

Of course, this is nowhere NEAR a comprehensive list, just a few of my personal recommendations! If you're listening to a recording by one of these artists, you're pretty much guaranteed to get a good one.

Do you agree with my list? Who would be on YOUR top ten? Let us know what you think!

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.