The Catskill Mountain Foundation’s Piano Performance Museum


The Academy of Fortepiano Performance
International Fortepiano Salon Series
Hosted by AFP faculty members Maria Rose and Yi-heng Yang

The International Fortepiano Salon Series presents informal free online performances and discussions with fortepi­ano performers--students and professionals--anywhere, hosted by AFP faculty and guest artists around the world. If you are interested in performing (live or prerecorded) in one of the Salons, please let us know by sending an email to

Salon #10 on Saturday April 23 at 8 pm EDT

Guest hosts: Sylvia Berry (Boston) and Chie Hirai (Japan)

"The fortepiano connection: From Amsterdam to Boston and Japan"

Salon 10 featured fortepianists Sylvia Berry and Chie Hirai performing piano music of Mozart, Beethoven, Clementi, and Schubert. Berry and Chie met years ago while studying the fortepiano in Holland and are now established fortepianists with their own unique accomplishments in their respective countries, the U.S. (Boston) and Japan (Tokyo). Their friendship and mutual respect will be evident as they share their latest research and projects, and their lives as fortepianists in general.


Salon host Yiheng Yang will also share a sneak peak of her recent recording of music by Fanny Hensel, Robert Schumann, and Franz Schubert. This album, entitled Free Spirits: Early Romantic Music on the Graf Piano, will be released in May on the Deux-Elles label.

To watch it again:


Sylvia Berry is one of North America's leading exponents of historical keyboard instruments. A Philadelphia native based in the Boston area, she has played countless types of fortepianos, harpsichords, organs, and clavichords, including many noteworthy antiques. Her recording of Haydn's "London Sonatas” on an 1806 Broadwood & Son grand (#3448, restored by Dale Munschy) drew critical acclaim; a reviewer in Early Music America proclaimed her “a complete master of rhetoric, whether in driving passagework or in cantabile adagios,” while a review in Fanfare stated, “To say that Berry plays these works with vim, vigor, verve, and vitality, is actually a bit of an understatement." Of her concertizing, Cleveland Classical enthused: “Her splendid playing took her up and down the keyboard in lightning-fast scales and passagework, and her thrilling full-voiced chords allowed the fortepiano to assert itself as a real solo instrument.” Though primarily a fortepianist, Berry’s engagement with a wide variety of keyboard instruments and repertoire has informed her musicianship and understanding of historical performance practices for 25 years.


Chie Hirai studied piano at the Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo, graduating with a Bachelor of Music in 1997 before specializing on the fortepiano under Stanley Hoogland at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague where she received her Master’s Degree in 2002 with distinction. In 2006, the inaugural recital of Chie’s recital series, “Composers fascinated by Viennese Pianos” was welcomed enthusiastically by critics: “The music had its own breath under her fingers, the instrument must be rather difficult to control, but she had a complete command to allow her to choose the proper sonorities with the right taste. The performance was of highest quality”. (MUSICA NOVA, Tokyo) In the ensuing years, Chie has won international acclaim through competitions and performances, having been described as “the expert of this instrument…(a) virtuoso without any trace of vanity…” (Wiener Zeitung) Chie is currently in demand as a soloist and chamber musician in various ensembles in both Europe and Japan.


Salon #9 on March 19, Saturday at 3 pm EDT

Guest hosts: Bart van Oort and Petra Somlai

Professors of Fortepiano at the Royal Conservatory in

The Hague, Netherlands

"Beethoven and Freedom of Speech"

This salon, hosted from the couple's home in Schiedam (NL) will present a talk by Bart van Oort on the role of speech patterns in Classical Performance Practice; as well as a performance of Beethoven's sonata, op. 27 no. 2 ("Moonlight") by Petra Somlai, and a performance by Maciej Skrzeczkowski of movements from a sonata by Polish composer Franciszek Lessel (1780-1838). 



Bart van Oort and Petra Somlai

"Freedom of Speech" -- Lecture by Bart van Oort

Flexibility in performance is inherent to  the classical style and probably to all musical styles. Although this talk is about 'freedom', it is not about tempo rubato - tempo fluctuation - but about the subtle gesturing of musical figures, akin to pronunciation of words in speech: together with dynamics the most important tool for shaping a musical figure. This 'freedom of speech', exercised independently of the rhythmical pulse, is supported by historical sources. In contrast, the dominant performance style of the 20th century was the 'Strict Style' - the antithesis of flexibility in performance, which also manifested itself in the 1950s in early music. Alongside the Strict Style, the highly expressive romantic piano technique of dislocation became important again during the last decade of the 20th century.

To watch the salon again on YouTube:

Due to the large interest, we moved from the Zoom platform to StreamYard, which provides a much better quality of sound, but prevent us from seeing everyone. Audiences will receive links to the live event on the YouTube and Facebook platforms. All participants are therefore strongly encouraged to make themselves known through comments and questions.


         For more general information, see the "About" section.

       The next Salons will take place in the fall of 2022. Each Salon will be led by invited internationally renowned guest artists from all over the world. Look here for updates!