Beatboxing Bach featuring Kevin Olusola from Pentatonix

What happens when you get a teenage piano whiz and the 24-year-old, multi-talented winner of NBC's The Sing-Off in a rehearsal room together? Beatboxed Bach, that's what — courtesy of our friends over at From the Top, who got 15-year-old pianist Kader Qian and the 23-year-old cellist/vocalist/YouTube star Kevin Olusola together for their own riff on the Goldberg Variations.

The Recycled Orchestra

Landfill Harmonic film teaser from Landfill Harmonic on Vimeo.

Landfill Harmonic is an upcoming feature-length documentary about a remarkable musical orchestra in Paraguay, where young musicians play instruments made from trash. For more information about the film, please visit

Classical Music and the Movies

Dies Irae from Verdi’s Requiem
Hear Verdi’s Dies Irae in the movies Battle Royale and Water Drops on Burning Rocks. 

 A great “power” song, people all over the world, even those who dislike classical music, appreciate this work. Verdi’s Dies Irae is arguably the most well known and recognizable movement of the work. Although, many classical music lovers can tell you the name and composer of the piece, the great majority of the world cannot. Its heart pounding rhythms and driving melodies are truly awe inspiring.  

Do Orchestras Really Need Conductors?

Does This Guy Matter? Conductor Leonard Bernstein during rehearsal with the Cincinnati Symphony at Carnegie Hall in 1977.

Have you ever wondered whether music conductors actually influence their orchestras?

They seem important. After all, they're standing in the middle of the stage and waving their hands. But the musicians all have scores before them that tell them what to play. If you took the conductor away, could the orchestra manage on its own?

A new study aims to answer this question. Yiannis Aloimonos, of the University of Maryland, and several colleagues recruited the help of orchestral players from Ferrara, Italy.

They installed a tiny infrared light at the tip of an (unnamed) conductor's baton. They also placed similar lights on the bows of the violinists in the orchestra. The scientists then surrounded the orchestra with infrared cameras.

When the conductor waved the baton, and the violinists moved their bows, the moving lights created patterns in space, which the cameras captured. Computers analyzed the infrared patterns as signals: Using mathematical techniques originally designed by Nobel Prize-winning economist Clive Granger, Aloimonos and his colleagues analyzed whether the movements of the conductor were linked to those of the violinists.

The scientists hypothesized that if the movement of the conductor could predict the movements of the violinists, then the conductor was clearly leading the players. But if the conductor's movements could not predict the movement of the violinists, then it was really the players who were in charge.

"You have a signal that is originating from the conductor, because he is moving his hands and his body," Aloimonos explained. "And then the players, they perceive that signal, and they create another signal by moving the bows of the violin appropriately. So you have some sort of sensorimotor conversation."

(The research study is part of a larger project where Aloimonos is trying to figure out if human movements share something in common with human language; he suspects both are not only governed by a grammar, but that both may be based on similar processes in the brain.)

Aloimonos said the study found that conductors were leading the violinists — the movement of the conductors predicted the movement of the violinists, not the other way around.

But the study found more: The scientists had two conductors lead the same orchestra. One was a veteran who exercised an iron grip over the violinists. The other was an amateur.

"What we found is the more the influence of the conductor to the players, the more aesthetic — aesthetically pleasing the music was overall," Aloimonos said.

Music experts who listened to the performance of the orchestra under the control of the two conductors found the version produced by the authoritarian conductor superior. Remember, these experts didn't know which version was being led by the veteran conductor and which by the amateur. All they heard was the music.

Kennedy Center's New Organ No Longer A Pipe Dream


Dr. Woodruff will be signing his newly released children’s fantasy novel
Dr. Fuddle and the Gold Baton
On Saturday December 1st from 1-4 p.m.
At the Phoenix and Dragon Bookstore
5531 Roswell Road, Atlanta GA 30342
(just inside 285)

$25 Hardback Collector’s Edition
$15 Soft Cover
For every book purchased Dr. Fuddle’s LLC will donate a soft cover to a children’s charities or to child who cannot afford books

Dr. Fuddle's Musical IQ Test # 3

One-handed violinist transcends perceived limits to become rising star in classical music realm


Adrian Anantawan is more than a rising star in the classical music world. He is a shining example of the power of perseverance in transcending perceived limits.

"I guess when you see a one-handed violinist play the Tchaikovsky violin concerto, you can always say that there's a story behind the notes," the musician said.

 Anantawan was born without a right hand. The son of parents of Thai-Chinese descent living in Ontario, Anantawan nonetheless began taking music lessons when he was nine, with a rehabilitation center in his native Toronto helping to create an adaptive device for his violin.

These experiences transformed his life. His memories of life before this point were of being "marginalized" in school for being "slightly different," he said. But his world opened when he joined a chamber orchestra at age 12 and the focus became the sound he created, rather than how he looked, he has said.

Fast-forward eleven years and his musical exploration would bring him to a solo debut performance, playing Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. The performance was captured in a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation documentary, "Adrian Anantawan: The Story Behind the Notes."

Next came entrance to Philadelphia's prestigious Curtis Institute of Music for a bachelor's degree, and later to Yale University, where he received his master's degree in music in 2006.

Since then, his professional career has included performances at the Athens 2006 SummeOlympic Games and Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and the Aspen Music Festival. He has performed extensively in Canada as a soloist with the Orchestras of Toronto, Nova Scotia, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Montreal, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Classical Music and the Movies

Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin

Almost anyone can recognize Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. Like, Orff's O Fortuna, Rhapsody in Blue is featured in many movies and television shows. Some consider it strictly jazz while others say it's classical, when in all actuality, it's a perfect combination of both. Here's an interesting fact, when Gershwin was commissioned to write the piece, he wrote it so speedily he didn't have time to compose the part for piano. At its first performance, Gershwin improvised the piano part. Later, it was finally composed.

Hear Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue in the movies Fantasia 2000 and Manhattan.

Mozart Gets Credit for Two “New” Musical Pieces

Mike Vogl/European Pressphoto Agency
The scores attributed to Mozart, in his father’s handwriting.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart continues to make us wonder when his next long-lost composition will emerge from an attic somewhere in Central Europe. In January 2009, the then newly-discovered composition was performed for the first time after being found in a library in Southern France. Now, two new works have popped up in a likely place – inside a music book used during his sister’s clavier lessons.

The two musical fragments – formerly considered anonymous scribblings – are now believed to make up a full movement of a keyboard concerto written by Amadeus himself. The music remained among many pieces that were hand-written inside the practice book, 18 of which had already credited a precocious Wolfgang. Now, it seems that the two new works were indeed written by a young Mozart.

In a
New York Times interview, Ulrich Leisinger – the Mozarteum research director responsible for the find – estimates that the pieces were written around 1763, when our beloved Wolfgang was just 7. He believes the concerto “was composed by someone with high ambitions but lacking the expertise to write out the music.”

A Mozart family portrait, about 1780-81: Wolfgang, center, with his sister Maria Anna (known as Nannerl), and father, Leopold.

Dr. Fuddle's Atlanta Holiday Tree Lighting Update: 8 PM (not 9 PM)

Dr. Fuddle and the Atlantic Station Tree Lighting
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2012, Downtown Atlanta, 17th Street
Musical Performances from 12-8

Dr. Warren Woodruff, author of Dr. Fuddle and the Gold Baton
Will be signing books all day in Dr. Fuddle’s Holiday Booth
$25 Hardback Collector’s Edition/$15 Soft Cover


Dr. Fuddle's Top Ten Composers

7.    Franz Liszt 

(1811-1886), Hungarian romantic pianist and composer, most noted for being the first musical “superstar,” the greatest pianist of all time, creating some of the most demanding virtuoso piano music in the repertoire, such as the Sonata in b minor, the Mephisto Waltz, the Transcendental Etudes, Hungarian Rhapsodies; also noted for his development of the symphonic poem.

Listen to Nocturne in A flat Major No. 3 (Liebestraume - Dream of Love - Love Dreams) & Excerpts from Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in C Sharp

An Interview With I Heart Book Reviews

Author Profile: Dr. Warren L. Woodruff

Dr. Warren L. Woodruff holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Piano Performance and a Ph.D. in Musicology with a concentration in Piano Performance. He has a twenty-five year distinguished teaching career and is currently head of the Woodruff School of the Arts in historic Roswell, Georgia. His interests include attending great musical performances across the country, reading books of philosophy, history and science as well as fiction. His favorite pastimes, besides music and writing, are fitness and weight-training. To learn more, please visit

Q: Why did you decide to write this book?
A: Because I wanted to create a fun adventure in a setting very different from anything written before–something totally unique. As a classical musician, I wanted to create an alternate world for immortal composers, but one that any reader could relate to, like our own world, with its own challenges and imperfections.

Q: Do you have any secret writing tips you want to share?
A: Absolutely! Don’t be afraid to re-write several times, and from the first draft, READ EVERYTHING YOU WRITE OUT LOUD!

Q: Tell us a funny, quirky or unexpected story about you.

A: It’s definitely not funny, but unexpected. Since age 13 I’ve been afflicted with a very rare autoimmune inner ear disorder, very similar to what Beethoven suffered. I did all my classical piano training in high school, college, and graduate school with one functioning ear. Since 2000, the other ear became affected and I’ve had to rely on a hearing aid in order to teach and perform. In the past decade the quality of my hearing has deteriorated, but using Beethoven as my inspiration, I continue for the sake of leaving behind what I feel I was destined for–to expose and inspire a whole new generation to the joy and excellence of classical music.

Q: What books are on your nightstand right now?
A: The Ninth, Beethoven and the World in 1824, by Harvey Sachs. A Wish Can Change Your Life, by Gahl Sasson and Steve Weinstein. RareEarth by Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee. And of course, all seven Harry Potter books are proudly displayed on the shelf nearby

Q: What is you favorite quote?
A: As a writer, this is a no-brainer: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!”

Q: Who inspires you most?
A: Recent/Living: Stephen Hawking, award-winning scientist
Dead: Ludwig van Beethoven, immortal composer

Dr. Fuddle's Musical IQ Test 61



 b.  Camille Saint-Saens

 a.  Gioachino Rossini
 c.   Robert Schumann
 a.   Theme 
 a.  Franz Liszt

Simone Dinnerstein's Bach

Simone Dinnerstein communes with the music of J.S. Bach at the NPR studio.

There's something about Johann Sebastian Bach's music that nourishes musicians. Pianist Andras Schiff and cellist Yo-Yo Ma have said that they play Bach almost every day — like having breakfast, it seems essential for them. Pianists Glenn Gould, Angela Hewitt and Rosalyn Tureck (among others) have based entire careers on Bach.

Then there's Simone Dinnerstein. Like Gould, she was rocketed into the public consciousness by Bach. Five years ago, the Juilliard grad was virtually unknown. Then she financed her own recording of the Goldberg Variations. It got picked up by a prominent label, shot up the charts and a career was launched. Dinnerstein still includes Bach in nearly all of her recitals and has recorded his music on each of her four albums

Listen to Simon Dinnerstein Play Bach's Partita No. 1 in B-flat  

Dr. Fuddle's Musical IQ Test 60


a.    Johann Sebastian Bach
c.    Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
c.   The harp
c.    Medium loud
d.    Frederick Chopin    

Dr. Fuddle's Musical IQ Test 59


a.  Jean Sibelius
b.  One
d.  One Hundred and Four (officially catalogued)
c.  A wife of J.S.  Bach’s, mother of many of his famous children
c.  t lifts the dampers from the strings, leaving them to vibrate longer

Every Young Person Needs a Hero

 I remember it as if it were yesterday.

I was eighteen years old, fresh and excited as I could be about majoring in piano in college. My early years of musical study were shaky due to family finances, but the first time I’d ever witnessed an advanced classical piano piece performed in the 8th grade--I knew I’d found my life calling. A future of rags or riches? I couldn’t have cared less. All I knew is that I’d found my true passion. My mother’s influence was enormous, since she’d played classical recordings since I’d been born.

When I first arrived on campus at my small private university and saw this attractive woman in her early seventies, I didn’t realize she soon would become my role model and hero. But the first time I heard her perform a full length recital, I was captivated, aghast in utter amazement and thrilled beyond words. I knew immediately it would be the honor of my lifetime to have her as my teacher. While I watched her perform Liszt’s spectacular Tarantella, I felt as though I’d entered a different dimension. Her hands moved so rapidly they blurred. And her fairly large body lifted, airborne at times, executing Liszt’s extreme pyrotechnic demands. Sometimes she landed on the bench with such force I wondered if either the bench or piano could survive. It was like watching a female Liszt. But then, she could play gently, singing the unforgettable melodies with her fingers like an angel.

As I began my studies with her, every second of our lessons grew more precious each week. Before long, she moved me last in her schedule, so that time was no longer a concern. I was like a sponge, soaking up every drop of instruction she so willingly gave. I remember once she even gave me a five hour lesson on one single piece, the Brahms Ballade in g minor. As she stomped around the room, pounded the piano with her baton, screaming “louder, more forceful!” or “back off now, more, make it lyrical,” I obeyed as though she was the Commander in Chief. But she was so much more than that, she was my Hero and my Idol. Following her musical leadership felt invigorating, like I’d just climbed the highest mountain!

 For four years I followed her instructions precisely. She scolded me gently, and yet brutally, if I slacked off on any given week, but praised me grandly when I performed to her satisfaction. It was the greatest joy of my lifetime when I performed my senior recital with her and to this day, over 25 years later, I still have the card that she wrote to me after the recital, claiming she’d never been prouder of any student in her forty year career. I will treasure that note until the day I die.

I’ve always thought if I can have just a tenth of the impact this woman had on me to my own students, then I would feel I’d achieved more than I could ever have dreamed. And she was funny, too, once I got to know her personally, constantly performing absent-minded actions while rambling on about the wonders of Mozart and her days as an opera diva--something I never even knew until later in my studies with her.

When I created Dr. Fuddle in my novel Dr. Fuddle and the Gold Baton, I had this iconic woman in mind, a being filled with ironies, highly accomplished, yet funny, warm and loving; strict, but generous with praise on a job well done. I will never forget my Beloved Teacher and the memories of the day she passed away, many years ago, still brings tears to my eyes. May she ever live on in immortality through Dr. Fuddle.

Dr. Fuddle's Musical I Q Test 58


d.  All of the above
c.  Giacomo Puccini
b.  The treble clef sign
b.  Sergei Prokofiev
a.  Always

Classical Music and the Movies

 Sous le dôme épais (Flower Duet) from Lakme, by Delibes

Already well known, Delibes’s Flower Duet was made ever-increasingly popular by British Airway’s use of the work in an advertising campaign. This classic piece features a duet between a coloratura soprano and and a mezzo-soprano.

Hear Delibes’s Flower Duet in the movies The American President, Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, and Meet the Parents. 

Dr. Fuddle's IQ Musical Test 57


a.   Ralph Vaughan Williams
d.   Franz Joseph Haydn
b.   Christoph Willibald Gluck
b.   Play at written pitch
c.   The director of  music for a church or royalty

Preview of Angela Brown's show "Opera...from a Sistah's Point of View"

(as featured on CNN) includes arias, art songs and spirituals. She dispels the myth that opera is only for elite audiences and helps audiences see all cultures and peoples through opera plots. And, it's definitely from her witty and sassy point of view! Cliff Jackson at the piano; Steve Ivey as producer from a SRO live show at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Musical Arts Center.

Lang Lang On Beethoven

The superstar pianist talks about why Beethoven is his musical god and the daunting task of performing all five of his Piano Concertos over three nights at the Royal Albert Hall

Pianist Lang Lang may have played to thousands at the Hollywood Bowl and been under the scrutiny of millions during the televised Last Night of the Proms, but it’s a Beethoven Concerto Cycle with conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra that he regards as a real milestone. 

You’re playing all five Beethoven Piano Concertos over the course of three concerts at the Royal Albert Hall next March. What are you looking forward to about the series?
The Royal Albert Hall is one of my favourite halls to perform in anywhere in the world. And to do a Beethoven cycle with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia is going to be a very important milestone for me. Over the years I’ve worked on the Beethoven Piano Concertos with many great musicians, including Daniel Barenboim, Christoph Eschenbach, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Mariss Jansons and James Levine, and everyone seems to have a strong opinion about Beethoven. His music is dynamic but so precise at the same time and he really demands a lot in the scores. When I was in Bonn in the Beethoven museum, I had the great privilege to see some of his hand-written scripts and when you see those original Urtext editions you realise his personality is totally in control of the music he’s creating.

Why are these Concertos so important to you?

Beethoven Piano Concertos are the most recognisable works for a pianist to learn and working on them over 10 years really helped me to understand not only Beethoven’s work but also other Classical and Romantic period piano concertos. The First of his Concertos is actually quite classical and then after the Third he switched to a more Romantic style. And the times changed too. So learning these great works helps me understand musical history better.

Do you have a favourite among the Concertos?

At the beginning of my career I really thought that No. 4 was my favourite, because I played it a lot at that time. And then gradually I started to think No. 3 was my favourite and when I was a kid No. 5 was my favourite. Then when I hear the great performers play No. 2 then No. 2 becomes my favourite. And then I had an amazing performance with Mariss Jansons of the Piano Concerto No. 1 at Carnegie Hall three years ago and I thought ‘Oh my gosh, this is my absolute favourite.’ So my favourite changes a lot. It’s like when you listen to Beethoven’s Ninth, Fifth or Seventh Symphonies and you’re trying to say which one is your favourite – maybe in a different time of your life or your career you might think differently. But at the moment the Piano Concerto No. 3 is my favourite.

Which is the most challenging to perform?

They are all very challenging to perform, particularly if you put them together! I thank God I have one day off in between – Thursday – so I think I’ll spend it in a spa to rest before the last concert on the Friday.

Whose music do you feel most at home playing?

It’s hard to say. It used to be Chopin when I was younger, now it’s harder to say because there are few composers I feel very comfortable with – I’m still trying to improve a lot of things. For me Beethoven was always very difficult and it’s only recently that I have had the confidence to play his music. Beethoven is a real musical god for me because his music is so deep.

You’ve already played in many of the top concert halls around the world and with some of the best orchestras. What do you still want to achieve?

Well to play at the Last Night of the Proms was great – but it would be nice to play another time. There are a lot of great things that I’ve done once and I’d like to do twice, three times, four times, five times. That’s my dream: to keep going.

 Interview by Elizabeth Davis for