Piano Academy

Living Performance: Music as Story

Castello Borgo di Postignano

Emotion, Meaning, and Interpretation

in Haydn, Mozart & Beethoven

 A unique Piano Masterclass

co-directed by

STEVEN LAITZ, the Juilliard School


Stop. Look. Listen. Understand. Then Love. This unique and ambitious masterclass brings together a small, tightly-knit group of artists and the music they perform through discovering the secrets born within the piece.

Led by two internationally recognized performance artists, Beate Perrey and Steven Laitz will balance attention on the individual pianist as well as on the entire group of participants in an intimate, intense and supportive setting where ideas can be shared and perspectives developed. Once unearthed and understood, the underlying narrative will powerfully impact one’s performance.

Aiming at committed pianists, this singular event explores the multiple connections between performers and their scores, and investigates this relation through a three-stage process: the close study of the score and its impact during practice, refinement through rehearsal and coaching, and the performance moment.

This course teaches performers how to approach a score to ignite the imagination, and to create a story, a scenario, one which is always evolving, changing with each performance. To better understand a musical score while using one’s own personal narrative: this is the central goal of the Living Performance project.


Steven Laitz is Chair of Theory and Analysis at the Juilliard School. Holding degrees from the University of California Riverside and Eastman School of Music, he is a pianist, coach and author of the groundbreaking textbook The Complete Musician, An Integrated Approach to Tonal Theory, Analysis and Listening. He was previously also on the faculty of the Eastman School of Music. An expert in the relationship between analysis and performance, Laitz has taught piano and music analysis at the Chautauqua Institution for many summers.

BEATE PERREY BA/MA(Munich/Harvard), PhD (Cambridge) is a pianist, Professor of Piano Performance and Associate Researcher at EHESS Paris. She studied at Interlochen Arts Academy, with Sulamita Aronovsky (Royal Academy of Music London), Jacques Rouvier and Jean Fassina (Paris) and through masterclasses with Pavel Gililov, Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, Vitaly Margulis, Maria João Pires, and Jorma Panula (conducting). Author of Schumann’s Dichterliebe and Early Romantic Poetics, editor of The Schumann Companion (both Cambridge University Press) and In(ter)discipline (Oxford), she previously taught at Cambridge University, University College London, Liverpool and the Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris. Current projects include Sense Experience in the Performing Arts.

  1. LESSONS: Each student will receive four private lessons, two from each professor.
  2. PERFORMANCES: In addition, each student will perform in an open setting for fellow students encouraging discussion and a productive exchange between all participants in an informal and relaxed, yet rigorous performance setting.
  3. LECTURE DEMONSTRATIONS: by the faculty on a variety of topics such as:
  • The art of sensitizing the performer to what can be referred to as “musical keystones”, as driving forces behind the work, charting a musical path through the piece.
  • The performer as conduit between the composer and listener
  • The performer as actor
  1. Two group excursions: One excursion to the world-famous historical Assisi, one of the most important sacred sites of the western spiritual tradition. A second excursion to beautiful Spoleto, its Roman theatre, cathedral of 1175 and its church San Piedro founded in 419.
  2. Repertoire: This year’s academy will focus on the wonderful body of music created by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. Focus works include (but are not limited to):

Haydn: nos. 33 in C major, 38 in F major, 47, in B minor, 50 in D major, 52 in E-flat major, 58 in C-major, 60 in C-major and 62 E-flat major.

Mozart: K. 280, 310, 311, 332, 333, 457 and 545.

Beethoven: op. 2, op. 10, op.13, op. 22, op. 27, op. 28, op. 55, op. 90 and op. 109, op. 100 and op. 111.

  1. SCHEDULE: Each day will be full, beginning together with breakfast, and including group lessons, individual lessons and masterclasses, lectures and discussions, analysis, close readings of scores, experimentation, concerts, all of which will be balanced with respites of relaxation and the stimulation gained by the excursions to historical sites.
  2. VENUE: Castello di Postignano is a stunningly beautiful medieval hill town situated in the heart of the Umbrian countryside, less than two hours from Rome, Florence and Siena. Its serene atmosphere and its views are second to none. Ideally suited for art and music lovers from all over the world, it hosts one of today’s most innovative European music festivals. Postignano’s extraordinary 9th century frescoed church will serve as the masterclass’ venue for performances and classes. Facilities at Postignano castle include a Steinway concert grand for lessons and concerts, and several upright pianos for practice.
  3. TARGET GROUP: postgraduates, advanced students of high artistic level, professionals.
  4. LANGUAGES: English, German, French, Italian
  5. FEES: please drop us a line for further information on course fees, room, board and availability.

Fees include individual and group lessons, as well as access to practice pianos. All travel and accommodation expenses are at the expense of the participant.

  1. ACCOMMODATION: Single and shared rooms and meals available at Postignano.

Places are limited to 12 students. We encourage you to apply as early as possible.

Send your CV and indication of works you wish to study to: beateperrey@beateperrey.com

Learn more about the venue here: Castello di Postignano

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