Professor Malcolm Bilson has been in the forefront of the period-instrument movement for over forty years. A member of the Cornell Music Department since 1968, he began his pioneering activity in the early 1970s as a performer of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert on late 18th- and early 19th-century pianos. Since then he has proven to be a key contributor to the restoration of the fortepiano to the concert stage and to fresh recordings of the “mainstream” repertory.
Schedule of Events:
Friday October 27:
Colloquium at 4pm (Harkness Chapel)
“For He Has Taste and the Most Profound Knowledge of Composition”
Saturday October 28:
Masterclass at 1pm (Harkness Chapel)
Concert at 8pm (Harkness Chapel), featuring Chopin, Schubert, and Beethoven,
on CWRU’s fortepiano after Conrad Graf (circa 1830), by Rodney Regier
Events are free and open to the public.
More about Bilson:
Bilson has recorded the three most important complete cycles of works for piano by Mozart: the piano concertos with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists for Deutsche Grammophon-Archiv, the piano-violin sonatas with Sergiu Luca for Nonesuch Records, and the solo piano sonatas for Hungaroton. Also for Hungaroton he has recorded the complete Schubert piano sonatas, including the so-called “unfinished” works.
In 1994 Bilson and six of his former artist-pupils from Cornell’s DMA program in Historical Performance Practice presented the 32 piano sonatas of Beethoven in New York City and several other places in the US and Europe. This was the first time in history that the complete cycle was given on period instruments. The New York Times said that “what emerged in these performance was an unusually clear sense of how revolutionary these works must have sounded in their time.” The subsequent 10 CD recording on the Claves label garnered over fifty highly positive reviews.
He gives master classes (usually in conjunction with performances) all over the world and still works with graduate students at Cornell. In 2005 he made a DVD entitled Knowing the Score, in which he discusses the question: Do we really know how to accurately read the notation of the classical masters? Further DVDs Knowing the Score, Vol. II and Performing the Score have appeared since and have sold widely all over the world.
Bilson has an Honorary Doctorate from Bard College and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as an honorary lifetime member of the Society for Eighteenth-Century Music. He is the recipient of the 2006 James Smithson Bicentennial Medal as well as the 2017 Curt Sachs Award from the American Instrument Society. In 2015 he was awarded The Golden Cross by the president of Hungary for his long contribution to the musical life of that country.