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The Buddha of the Piano
 
 
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Antonio Iturrioz
Pianist, Director/Producer

Antonio Iturrioz was born in Cuba and came to the United States when he was Seven years old. He played his first concert at age Nine and made his orchestral debut at age Fifteen playing the Liszt First Piano Concerto. His teachers include his father, Pablo Iturrioz, Francisco De Hoyos (a pupil of Gyorgi Sandor), Bernardo Segall who studied with Alexander Siloti who was a pupil of Liszt, Aube Tzerko and Julian White. He is a recipient of the Los Angeles Young Musicians Foundation Scholarship. In 1969 at the age of Thirteen, he took several master classes with Jorge Bolet who offered him a scholarship to Curtis, but the family was unable to move. In 1971 he took several master classes from Byron Janis. In 1972 he participated in the Aspen Music Festival, and in 1973 he was one of ten young pianists selected nationwide by Andre Watts to participate in the Andre Watts Piano Seminars at Tanglewood. After Tanglewood when he was learning the Rachmaninoff piano concerto No. 3, he took several master classes from Alexis Weissenberg on the piece.

In 1973, just before Tanglewood, he fell while jogging and injured his right hand. At the time, the extent of the injury was not apparent, and he continued to play recitals. Hiding his hand injury, he moved to Los Angeles to study with Bernardo Segall. While preparing for the 1977 Cliburn Contest, 10-12 hours a day at the piano began to take its toll on his right hand, and Iturrioz dropped out of the Cliburn competition to seek medical attention. In the Spring of 1977 he had surgery on his right hand.

It was Three years before he could play again with both hands. During these difficult years he tackled almost the entire left hand piano repertoire including all of the Leopold Godowsky left hand arrangements and compositions. Encouragement from family and friends, most particularly from the late Marina Derryberry (Jon Nakamatsu's teacher) kept Iturrioz on the path to complete recovery. His repertoire ranges from Scarlatti to present day composers. He plays the complete piano works of Robert Schumann and has a large concerto repertoire including the five Rachmaninoff works for piano and orchestra. He recently added a new body of Godowsky works to his repertoire, both original and arrangements. While working on his documentary film about legendary pianist Leopold Godowsky, Mr Iturrioz played for the late Leopold Godowsky III in New York in 2010 and 2011. Several contemporary composers have written works for Iturrioz, including the late Julian White, who dedicated several compositions for the left hand alone to him.

His career interrupted by the hand injury, Iturrioz found it difficult to get back into circulation. He had missed the Cliburn and the important competitions for pianists of his age. A break came when he was invited to play in Athens at the Hellenic American Union, received good reviews, and was invited back twice to play at the American College of Greece.

Getting important recitals in the U.S. was still difficult. It was at this point that Iturrioz decided to capitalize on his extensive left hand repertoire to produce an educational film about left hand piano music. This became his first film, a one-of-a-kind documentary called The Art of the Left Hand: A Brief History of Left Hand Piano Music, which appeared in 2006 to critical acclaim and has been shown twice on PBS. Clavier Magazine called it "an important film." A second film followed in 2010 and again the inspiration came from those Godowsky studies during his recovery from right hand surgery. The Buddha of the Piano: Leopold Godowsky is the first and only film about Godowsky and also has been shown twice on PBS, at the Portland International Piano Festival in Oregon, and at the invitation of the President of the International Godowsky Society, Harry Winstanley, the film was shown at the Edinburgh Society of Musicians in Scotland, where Iturrioz also played two recitals. The Buddha also was shown at the Querceto International Piano Festival in Florence, Italy, July 18-20, 2013, where Mr. Iturrioz played the opening recital of the Festival and gave a Master Class.

In addition to his special interests in left hand piano music, and the life and music of Godowsky, Mr. Iturrioz is presently researching material for a documentary film about L. M. Gottschalk. On January 13, 2013, he gave a World Premiere on one piano of Gottschalk's two-movement Symphony Romantique, Nuit des Tropiques. The first movement of the work was arranged for solo piano by Gottschalk, but he died before he could arrange the second movement for solo piano and it remained for Cuban-American pianist Iturrioz to arrange the second movement, "Fiesta Criolla" for one piano.

Having reinvented himself as concert pianist-documentarian, Mr. Iturrioz continues to play recitals and show his films in the U. S. and in Europe. He lives with his wife in the Russian River area of Sonoma County, California, and teaches privately in Sonoma and Napa Counties.

Antonio Iturrioz is a Steinway Artist
 
For related information, see: www.newinternationalgodowskysociety.com
Live performance of Felix Blumenfeld’s Left Hand Etude from Santa Cruz, CA
Live performance of Strauss-Godowsky's Artist's Life from Santa Cruz, CA
 
Dr. Charles Sepos
Narrator

Charles Sepos is the host and exectutive producer of Curtain Call on KRCB 91 FM Sonoma County CA Public Broadcasting, including a PBS TV program.
He is a pianist and also Co-Founder of American Philharmonic - Sonoma County, serving as Artistic Director, Composer-in-Residence, and Communications Director.
Dr.Sepos's WEB Site and be found HERE.

Wine Country Films
Filming and Editing
Founded by Jim Stewart in 1996, Wine Country Films has been
shooting professional video throughout Northern California for
over a decade.
Their WEB Site can be found HERE