A pianist with balls

A pianist with balls


norman lebrecht

May 12, 2018

This is Jenny Q Chai playing a piece by Annie Gosfield for piano and two baseballs.


  • Barry Guerrero says:

    Oh boy, here it comes. There’s going to be a lot of rubber-necking at this train wreck. Watch out for flying mud.

  • Adista says:

    The use of the baseballs wasn’t even creative; she didn’t do anything with them that couldn’t have been done with the hands. At least roll them up and down the keyboard or something. If you’re going to be a sideshow gimmick at least TRY to make it entertaining.

  • Ravi Narasimhan says:

    And here I thought it would be like Lang Lang playing Chopin with an orange.

    Piano technicians must love digging through the shrapnel after this stuff.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    This wonderful musical composition is likely incomplete. In the next movement the player has to hit the piano with a bat and run around it.

    • Stuart L. says:

      Back in the 60s I attended a concert at the Wigmore Hall, London in which the performer bounced tennis balls off the piano strings.

      I have no recollection of the music itself but still vividly remember the occasion in my mind’s eye (if not ear).

      • Pianofortissimo says:

        That was some kind of ’Fluxus’ happening, for sure. The piano is THE musical instrument of Western music, thus maltreating or destroying a piano gives pleasure to some people.

  • Ricardo says:

    I almost like it. It sounds like Ginastera on amphetamines.

    • Ravi Narasimhan says:

      Reminded me of some of David Rakowski’s piano etudes. Bunch of them available on Youtube by pianist Amy Briggs. No baseball mitts though.

  • Anne says:

    I actually liked it! It was somewhat inventive and it does not destroy the piano. I think you guys are being too harsh. Or maybe you didn’t listen through the entire work.

  • Robert Hairgrove says:

    In his later years, Liberace used to wear a pink outfit with tassels ending in fluffy balls. Apparently, he would end his concerts/happenings by going to the edge of the stage and letting people from the audience fondle his “balls” so that they could go home and brag about “playing with Liberace’s balls” later.

    I guess this pianist has “real balls”, though? (who would have thought…?) 🙂

  • Scott Messing says:

    The man who first played Chopin’s “Black Key” Etude with an orange was Nicolas Slonimsky. I saw him do it on the “Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” (May 6, 1986).

    • norman lebrecht says:

      He once gave me a personal demonstration. Amazing.

      • Dr Peter Kalve says:

        Norman, don’t you find some of these “you can only play the piano by playing on the keys, hurrumph!” comments rather depressing and uninformed?

  • Brian Hysong says:

    ……I was a little surprised she didn’t play” Take Me Out To the Ballgame” as an Encore!

  • Ganninnia says:

    Maybe someday we can play piano with bricks

  • Furzwängler says:

    All I can say is that I’m really thankful I’m not her boyfriend. The gentle touch, NOT!.

  • Tom Inkansas says:

    I found the performance somewhat Babe Ruthless.

  • Paul Davis says:

    Surely, this should be followed by that celebrote warhorse: “I slam-hey!” …by Ballakirev.