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Controversy has seemed to follow pianist Ivo Pogorelich at every move, even from the beginning. In 1980, when the 22-year-old whiz kid from Yugoslavia failed to reach the final round of the International Chopin Competition, the revered pianist Martha Argerich, who declared him a "genius," stormed off the jury in protest. Naturally, the dustup helped launch his career. With a brooding pout, movie star looks and a high-powered record deal, Pogorelich was an instant celebrity.

From the Tudors to the Windsors, Britain boasts a lot of dynasties. But there's another British household that's becoming something of a musical royal family. The Kanneh-Mason family, with seven sibling musicians aged preteen to early 20s, is a classical clan filled with promising careers.

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No composition seems too difficult for pianist Lang Lang. But on his latest solo record, Piano Book, the 36-year-old known for his finger-twisting virtuosity is exploring something simpler: Beethoven's "Fur Elise," Debussy's "Clair de Lune" and other pieces that accompanied him in the first few years of a lifelong love-affair with the instrument.

Pianist Jeremy Denk's latest album is a musical odyssey. Starting with the austere tones of medieval composer Guillaume de Machaut, Denk travels in time across the keyboard all the way to the 20th Century landing on the atonality of Karlheinz Stockhausen and the minimalism of Philip Glass.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify and Apple Music playlists at the bottom of the page.

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Pianist Sung Chang first drew the attention of San Antonio audiences in 2016, when he was awarded the silver medal at the San Antonio International Piano Competition (now known as The Gurwitz International Piano Competition). Since then, he’s returned to the Alamo City nearly a half-dozen times.

“I like the city… and especially the audiences,” Chang said after performing for the Tuesday Musical Club on November 27. “They are always very warm.”

©Esther Haase / DG

On her previous album, “Wonderland,” Alice Sara Ott explored the music and myths of Edvard Grieg and his native Norway. Now “Nightfall,” which Ott calls “one of the most personal recordings” she has made, gathers music by three composers who lived and worked in France.

Mark Chen / Contributed Photo

A classical music duo is putting on an adventurous concert in Boerne next week.

 


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“I actually remember the first time I came to San Antonio,” pianist Martina Filjak told me following her April recital at Laurel Heights United Methodist Church. “I really enjoyed the city. I think I really fell in love with San Antonio on first sight and it seems, really, that the love was mutual.”

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