Piano savant, Diapason n° 681, June 2019.
By Jérôme Bastianelli
Ziad Kreidy, musicologist and pianist, has collected some twenty scholarly articles, in French or English, on the history of the piano. The most varied themes are covered, from "The Issues of African-American piano aesthetics" to "The Search for Innovation in Piano Manufacturings", "Piano making in Russia until the Second World War" or "The percussive incarnation of the contemporary piano". The panel of authors reflects the diversity of the subjects covered: composers (Alain Louvier, Tristan Murail), performers (notably Dominique Merlet who evokes the differences between the concert pianos on which he has played), academics (Danièle Pistone, who questions the place of the piano in French musicological research), builders, historians, heritage curators... The whole is aimed primarily at specialists, but the informed amateur can gather interesting information there. For example: how Chopin adapted the performance practices guidelines in the various editions of his works to the characteristics of the instruments. Or the causes of the disappearance, at the end of the 19th century, of the "pedal piano", a hybrid instrument that had seduced Schumann, Liszt and Alkan. The book ends prospectively by examining, under the penmanship of Stewart Pollens, former curator of the New York Metropolitan Museum, how should be conceived the "piano of the future" to remain faithful to what it was.

Clefs pour le piano/Keys to the piano/ Ziad Kreidy (dir)., lejarsjasejazz, 02/03/2019.
By Guillaume Lagrée

Lamenting the ‘lost sonorities’ of the modern piano, Facts & Arts, 01/28/2019
By Michael Johnson

Piano design has become so “radically standardized” since the middle of the 20th century that players and audiences are robbed of any choice today, claims a new book the piano’s past, present and future.  This book fearlessly confronts the big questions: Should we even call today’s top-selling acoustic models the “modern piano”, considering that they are all based on a 140- year-old design? Will the 21st century mark a turning point in piano building?

The authors ask these controversial questions in Keys to the Piano (Editions Aedam Musicae), conceived and edited by Lebanese-born Parisian Ziad Kreidy, a pianist and ranking academic. It is a fascinating collection of 21 essays and papers from a disparate collection of piano builders, composers and a few visionaries from ten countries. Twelve contributions are in English and nine are in French. Kreidy has appended chapter summaries at the end, all in English. Kreidy personally co-authored seven of them. Timelines run from the father of the piano, Bartolomeo Christofori to radical builder Wayne Stuart of Australia. 

Most of the contributors make no secret of their frustration and irritation over the piano makers’ copycat tendencies. The only evolution they can see is the move toward more and more power. In the process, they say, subtleties have been subsumed. 

“Many facets of the masterpieces of the past, dependent on timbre and duration of sound -- in other words the osmosis of piano resonances -- have disappeared. This is the great historic epic of lost sonorities,” Kreidy argues in his introduction. Hammering Chopin on a big Steinway grand means missing what has often been described as the master’s “fine, delicate, barely audible playing”. 

Kreidy includes essays by four innovative piano makers who believe the piano has not completed its evolution – David Klavins of Germany, Wayne Stuart of Australia, David Rubenstein of the United States and Stephen Paulello of France.

Wayne Stuart, a dynamic and innovative maker of handcrafted pianos in Australia, has experimented with expanded keyboards, first with 102 keys, and more recently with 108 keys. He recalls “shouts of outrage” when he presented the 102-key version to his board. But his proposal was a “triumph of common sense over conservatism”, he insists. As he continued to expand this keyboard, he achieved nine octaves, “the subconscious dream of piano markets for 300 years”. (Facts and Arts plans a full profile of Stuart in March).

German piano maker David Klavins has been in the forefront of piano innovation for some time, always seeking new sounds and new solutions. In this video, David Klavins and Nils Frahm discuss the creation of their Una Corda piano:

Another interesting contribution comes from Geoffrey Smith, a British composer and pianist who has developed the fluid piano, an instrument that draws on his experience with the fluid dulcimer. Smith’s piano can alter the pitch of each note while playing, moving up microtonal intervals to as much as one whole note. The result, he says, is “creative freedom, renewal and change”. Kreidy applauds the piano’s capabilities. “This has never been done before,” he says.

Kreidy’s book is the result of three years of sifting, editing and rewriting many of the contributions that flooded in from his call for papers.  He cast his net wide, inviting contributions from academics, piano makers, restorers, organologists, curators, philosophers, performers, and composers. And his book reflects the guidelines he set -- piano analysis from the standpoint of aesthetics, history, symbolism, social function, metamorphoses, place in contemporary music, current orientation and acoustics. 

One of the appealing features is the variety of opinions collected. “This field of research …  is far from being consensual, he acknowledges. 

French piano maker Stephen Paulello contributes a wide-ranging paper on his own innovations and on the world marketplace, including a discussion of his Opus 102, a keyboard with 102 keys. But Kreidy asks him whether the piano is headed for the museum anyway, along with the cornet and the hurdy-gurdy. His answer is yes and no -- the European middle market piano is disappearing but the Chinese are producing some 500,000 middle-range pianos a year, about 80 percent of the global market, Paulello notes. 

In this video, the Paulello Opus 102 produces the clear and resonant sounds of La Toccata by Charly Mandon, played by Philippe Hattat: 

Optimism is not a common feeling through these essays. Former Baldwin director of research Delwin Fandrich laments the fact that making music “is no longer a fundamental part of growing up” and he cites “design lethargy” as one of the self-inflicted wounds of the piano world. He calls for a strong innovative base of pianos that appeal to the middle class piano shopper. Specifically, he notes that among the competitors are the growing producers of electronic keyboard. 

And Fanwich ends with a ringing appeal to the industry.  “We can strive to become part of the future and not stay mired in the past. We can return music to the halls of learning and ensure that the instrument we love will survive to bring future generations the same musical pleasure we have enjoyed.”


Ziad Kreidy, pour une histoire esthétique de la facture du piano, ResMusica, 04/05/2018.
By Agnès Simon

Ziad Kreidy, for an aesthetic history of piano manufacturing

Pianist and musicologist Ziad Kreidy continues his crusade against the standardization of the piano in his latest book, La facture du piano et ses métamorphoses.

The piano followed a process of industrialization and standardization in the 19th century, as did many instruments, aimed at developing power, length and sound equality. Today, the Steinway model D, "the best piano in the world", according to the company's slogan, dominates the market and serves as a reference.

Ziad Kreidy traces a history of the piano in a problematized way, reversing the progressive and, so to speak, Darwinist stories of the instrument. What is a historical piano, when you know that Beethoven or Chopin have known a diversity of keyboards, linked to different manufacturings school, but also to the evolution of materials? Should we prefer the facsimile or the period instrument? Above all, in what way does composition, instrumental notation, depend on the instrument itself? Advocating a history of the expressiveness of piano building, he reconciles aesthetics and organology in a succinct and not entirely new, but striking way. He cites in particular the writings of Paul and Eva Badura-Skoda, among the pioneers of interpretation on period instruments.

On the other hand, the author questions the relevance, in the 21st century, of a modern piano which is in fact a heritage of the second half of the 19th century. Let us note that Ziad Kreidy evokes rather little Yamaha, who is often booed in the piano world, probably because he puts it on another level, that of the distribution of quality pianos at low prices. He then presented four isolated but exemplary figures of innovation: Wayne Stuart, Stephen Paulello (whose 102-key piano was adopted by Boris Giltburg, in particular), David Klavins, and David Rubinstein, who each dared to question the achievements of the modern piano (the number of keys, the height of the instrument, the crossed strings...). Thus, the fluid piano represented on the cover, first conceived as an evolution of the tympanon and built in 2009 in England, allows the pitch of each key on the keyboard to be modified independently of the others, without any electronic tools. For the author, it is an emblematic example of the potential for the evolution of the modern piano.

Ziad Kreidy acknowledges that, while playing on old keyboards is on the rise, innovation on modern piano remains very marginal. Steinway's business strategy and that of developing digital keyboards are the main factors. However, one may wonder about the lack of interest on the part of the world of current performers or composers in the field of instrument making. Is the subject anachronistic or is their lack of interest a consequence of the commercial standardization of the instrument? The question remains open.

This book, which is certainly brief and not without repetition, benefits from the combined experience of an interpreter who has already recorded on early instruments (pieces by Grieg on an Erard and sonatas by Mozart and Haydn on fortepiano, in particular), and a musicologist (a complete bibliography of the text). He will speak to pianists, creators and music lovers alike.

" La Facture du piano et ses métamorphoses " Ziad Kreidy, lejarsjasejazz, 01/20/2018.
By Guillaume Lagrée

Recension: Les avatars du piano de Ziad Kreidy, Le blog des éditions Beauchesne,11/06/2015
By Grégoire Mabille

A "historically informed" approach by Edvard GRIEG - Magnificent Lyric Pieces offered on a period fortepiano, by Ziad KREIDY, www.appogiature.net, 09/2013
By Stéphane Houssier

Born in BERGEN, Norway, on June 15, 1843, Edvard GRIEG was the son of a diplomat (his father was the British consul of Norway) and a mother pianist - who became nothing less than his first teacher. It is at the age of fifteen that his beginnings as a composer are noticed.

On this date (1858), he entered the LEIPZIG Conservatory, then left for Denmark in 1863, where he spent three years, before returning to Norway. In 1867, he began writing his Lyric Pieces, a corpus of ten opuses that spanned more than a third of a century: the last pieces date back to 1901, six years before his death.

In addition to these Pieces for the keyboard, GRIEG will also compose - as we know - numerous orchestral works, chamber music, melodies - as well as the famous Piano Concerto (Opus 16)...

However, The Lyric Pieces, along with his other opuses for solo keyboard (Sonata opus 7, Scènes de la vie populaire opus 19, Feuillets d'album opus 28, etc.), form the most important part of his work.

Nevertheless, his Peer Gynt continues to eclipse - for a large part of the "general public", at least - many of his compositions, despite a strong pianistic discography.

These scores were thus confronted, whether in selection or in their entirety: in addition to GRIEG itself (available from the Simax label, among others), Sergei RACHMANINOV, Svjatoslav RICHTER, Emil GILELS, Walter GIESEKING, Gerhard OPPITZ. All of them have left us, in turn, their version of these Pieces. Håkon AUSTBØ, the creator's compatriot, remains one of the few to have engraved all the collections (Brilliant Classics).

Ziad KREIDY, a French-Lebanese pianist and musicologist born in 1974, is working today to record the first four parts... and the least we can say is that he does not do it in any way...

All the above-mentioned pianists have of course worked on these pieces on "modern" instruments... but Ziad KREIDY, for his part, decides to propose them to us on a magnificent ERARD upright piano from 1867, contemporary therefore with the composition of these first fascicles.

In fact, listening to the first bars makes you listen, and you wonder where this muffled sound comes from! We move to adjust the sound of our equipment.... Unquestionably, a small miracle is happening.... Gradually, with a sense and science of the fortepiano with a natural, spontaneous, clear discourse, the artist leads the listener into a microcosm woven with mysteries, shadows and lights, joys, sorrows - sometimes tears.

Meeting with a confounding ease the technical challenge raised by an ancient instrument (not designed for concert halls, but for domestic use; not restored), using  great freedom in the narrative... Ziad KREIDY offers here not only an absolutely masterful keyboard lesson, but also one of those rare moments of complete happiness that the world of the record, which has become so commercial, now reveals to us with parsimony.

There is no need to beat about the bush: finding the same pianist, reenchanting on the same ERARD the following opuses of Pièces Lyriques by Evard GRIEG, becomes more than one time the most lively of demands.

"Edvard Grieg : Pièces lyriques, recueils 1 à 4, opus 12, 38, 43 et 47 - Ziad Kreidy (piano)", www.concertonet.com, 05/04/2013
By Christine Labroche

Ziad Kreidy : Voyage musical à travers les âges et métamorphoses du piano, Agenda Culturel, 01/03/13
By Zeina Kayali

Edvard GRIEG : Pièces lyriques op. 12, op. 38, op. 43 et op. 47. Ziad Kreidy, piano. 1 CD LdN. L'éducation musicale, newsletter, March 2013
By Jean-Pierre Robert

"Ziad Kreidy joue les Pièces lyriques d'Edvard Grieg sur un piano à 5 euros", lejarsjasejazz, 23/01/2013
By Guillaume Lagrée

Pianos anciens, pianos modernes ?, L'Orient-Le Jour, 19/12/2012
By Clément Kolopp

"Le piano, instrument introuvable" on www.musikzen.fr
By François Lafon

"Piano de salon, Grieg sans flonflon - Ziad Kreidy joue Les Pièces Lyriques sur un instrument de 1867" on www.musikzen.fr
By Gérard Pangon
In today's musical scene, this CD looks like a little alien. First, Grieg's Lyric Pieces are not part of current production standards, although Emil Gilels, Sviatoslav Richter and Leiv Ove Andsnes once recorded a good handful. Then, the instrument contrasts with the usual ones, an upright Erard from 1867, never restored, comparable, it is true, with Grieg's own piano on which Shani Diluka played and recorded some of these Pieces in the composer's own house in 2006. Finally, Ziad Kreidy's approach is remarkable: passionately attached to period instruments, he strives to replace works and composers in their original climate. With these pieces composes at the end of the 19th century, we are immersed in a living room whose decoration and draperies, one can easily imagine, create the intimate atmosphere and the suffocation just necessary to dampen the instrument's small clicks. That is precisely what makes this recording so charming. In addition, Ziad Kreidy's systematic approach, who interprets Grieg's first four opuses in order (he composed ten, the first in 1867 and the last in 1901, with a total of 66 pieces), reveals how, over the years, the composer returned to his native Norway's folk roots to revitalize them.

EDVARD GRIEG - Pièces lyriques op.12, 33, 38 & 47 - Ziad Kreidy, piano droit Érard circa 1867 - LdN 002
Péché de classique n° 122, novembre 2012
This recording reveals what is probably the first upright piano recording of the second half of the 19th century. This magnificent 1867 Érard with its small dimensions is a perfect match for the poetry of the first four opuses of Grieg's Lyric Pieces that Ziad Kreidy performs in concert. Author of the must-read Les avatars du piano, published by Beauchesne, Ziad Kreidy is the defender of the diversity of pianos adapted to each one. It is in many ways a discovery

Ziad Kreidy : "Les Avatars du piano" by Guillaume Lagrée

"Ziad Kreidy : Les Avatars du piano" on www.concertonet.com
By Christine Labroche

"Edvard Grieg: Pièces lyriques pour piano (Kreidy, 2011)" on www.classiquenews.com
1 cd LDN (piano Erard circa 1867), by Ernst Van Bek

Under the penmanship of the eminent Lebanese-French pianist and musicologist Ziad Kreidy, this is a must-read! (about Les avatars du piano)
By Francis Cousté
L’éducation musicale

Télérama - n° 3257
Macassar review, le 06/16/2012
Le pianiste Ziad Kreidy défend les couleurs du pianoforte, qu'affectionnaient Mozart et Haydn

Autre Radio Autre Culture
Ziad Kreidy : Les avatars du piano, recorded in Paris on May 31 by Marion Delhaye

L'identité du piano, mythes et réalités
Lecture leaded on May 3, 2012, by the musicologist Ivanka Stoïanova about "Les avatars du piano".

"Les avatars du piano" review on www.pianobleu.com, May 2012
By Agnès Jourdain

L'Orient-Le Jour, 04/05/2012, Ziad Kreidy, entre morceaux romantiques et innovation musicologique, Zeina Saleh KAYALI review
L’éclectique programmation de la Fondation danoise à Paris a inclus dans sa saison musicale un récital du pianiste, musicologue et compositeur libanais Ziad Kreidy. L’artiste a choisi d’offrir ce soir-là un voyage à travers la Vienne classique et romantique, se terminant dans les brumes nordiques de la Norvège.
Le programme commence par le classicisme viennois le plus pur avec la Sonate en mi mineur de Joseph Haydn, dont on a dit qu’elle préfigurait les sonates pour piano de Beethoven. D’emblée, l’auditeur est pris par le jeu qui caractérise Ziad Kreidy: un toucher alternant force et délicatesse. Puis Vienne encore, mais dans son romantisme le plus échevelé: trois Klavierstücke de Franz Schubert, œuvres ultimes composées la dernière année de la vie du compositeur qui, rappelons-le, est mort à l’âge de 31 ans. Romantisme toujours, mais beaucoup plus nordique et retenu avec les Six pièces lyriques du compositeur norvégien Edvard Grieg, dont l’écriture pianistique raffinée annonce déjà Claude Debussy. C’est dans cette musique, aux harmonies audacieuses de celui que l’on a appelé le «Chopin scandinave», que l’expressivité de Ziad Kreidy s’épanouit totalement, portée avec naturel par un jeu au geste sobre, à la fois chantant, lisible et bien timbré.
Les mélomanes qui le souhaitent pourront entendre ce récital à l’Université de Balamand, le vendredi 20 avril.
Mais Ziad Kreidy ne se contente pas d’être un pianiste talentueux. Il est aussi un compositeur sensible et un musicologue émérite. Après Takemitsu à l’écoute de l’inaudible, paru chez L’Harmattan et récompensé d’un « Coup de cœur musique contemporaine 2010 » par l’Académie Charles Cros, voici Les Avatars du piano qui sort cette semaine aux éditions Beauchesne à Paris. Cet ouvrage audacieux et polémique ne craint pas d’affirmer que les grands maîtres du piano du temps passé auraient composé leurs œuvres tout à fait différemment s’ils avaient disposé de pianos contemporains. Ziad Kreidy convie le lecteur à un passionnant voyage à travers les âges du piano, ses qualités gagnées et perdues, ainsi que ses métamorphoses à travers les siècles. Ziad Kreidy passe d’ailleurs régulièrement de la théorie à la pratique en interprétant, quand il en a l’occasion, les grandes œuvres du répertoire pianistique sur des instruments d’époque.
En alliant l’interprétation de haute qualité et la recherche innovante, Ziad Kreidy démontre la curiosité, l’originalité et la persévérance des Libanais qui, à travers le monde, cultivent des talents multiples.

Musicologist and pianist at once, Ziad Kreidy conducts research in multiple forms. I was recently very impressed by his interest in epoch instruments. As a piano virtuoso, he plays Mozart and Beethoven on the pianoforte in a way that brings out unsuspected resonances.
Christian Goubault
Musicologist, musical critic

Ziad Kreidy’s research reflects rare intellectual honesty and scientific humility. His ethos of synthesis is one of his essential qualities as a researcher.
Ivanka Stoïanova
Professor of musicology

As an inventive musician, he demonstrates a sharp ear and a perfect knowledge of the art of France’s great orchestrators.
Alain Louvier
Grand Prix de Rome de composition

Ziad Kreidy’s interpretation is subtle and inspired. Sometimes tender, sometimes energetic, it is distinguished by great sensitivity and confident technique. It is always invigorating to realize that Lebanese artists abroad, notably musicians, demonstrate extraordinary creativity and originality, putting them at the heart of Parisian and international cultural life. (About the interpretation of the Chopin "Préludes opus 28" on a pianino Pleyel)
Zeina Saleh Kayali
L'Orient-Le Jour

Music captures his aspirations, his human and intellectual identity, and his deep sensitivity.
Marie-Claire Laroche
Concert pianist and teacher

A pianist with a remarkable touch. A beautiful musical culture benefits an elegant touch.
Edgard Davidian
L'Orient-Le Jour

Ziad Kreidy is a relentless, motivated worker inspired by everything related to art.
Billy Eidi
Concert pianist and teacher