the tonic

tonebase presents the tonic: a podcast about music and the people who make it, delving into the hidden meanings behind great works of the past with legendary pianists of the present.

Creator: Lowry Yankwich
Producer: Ben Laude

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Episode 2

A Lifelong Companion | Leon Fleisher and Brahms's First Concerto

What does it mean to live a life with a piece of music? Leon Fleisher made his Carnegie Hall debut performing the Brahms D Minor Piano Concerto, and played the piece many times throughout his life. But, in a story that is now well-worn, Fleisher developed focal dystonia at the peak of his career, limiting his use of his right hand for the next 30 years. In this episode, we draw parallels between the piece that Fleisher considered his "lifelong companion," the adversity he faced, and the constructive ways in which he responded to it.

Episode 2

Featured tonebase Artists

This episode features the voices of three world-class pianists and professors. All of the interviews in this episode come directly from their lessons on tonebase. Click below to view profiles and lessons.

Episode 3 - September 15

Stealing Time | Rubato and Humanism in Piano Playing

Rubato is one most vital expressive devices in a musician's toolbox, but its meaning function have been debated centuries. This episode explores the many competing "dos and don'ts" of rubato from a motley cast of concert pianists, and seeks to uncovers a common thread running through the diverse approaches to "stealing time."

Your Host

Lowry Yankwich

Lowry is a classically-trained pianist, podcast producer, and law student. He came to podcasting because he loves to tell stories, and finds audio uniquely suited to exploring music and its links to other aspects of culture. He holds an Associate Degree in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music, studied history at Stanford University, and is now in his final year at Harvard Law School, where he focuses on environmental policy and music law. In 30 Bach, his first podcast, Lowry created a composite version of J.S. Bach’s “Goldberg Variations,” through interviews with and performances by musicians across the world.

Episode 1

Beginnings | Chopin's First Ballade

Frédéric Chopin's Ballade No. 1 in G Minor was revolutionary for its time, and remains a jewel of the piano repertoire today. Touching on everything from Bellini to Cole Porter, poetry to politics, this episode reveals the potency of the piece's opening measures through the eyes (and hands) of acclaimed concert pianists Garrick Ohlsson, Emanuel Ax, Rebecca Penneys, Jerome Lowenthal, Gary Graffman, and Seymour Bernstein.

"I don't regret for a minute having spent the money on the membership. There's something for every musician on tonebase – I recommend you give it a try."

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Dave McLellan

Concert & Chamber Musician

Join over 40,000 pianists improving every day with courses and lessons on tonebase.