An absorbing, enlightening and entertaining conversation with Karl Luthmayer- musical raconteur, international concert pianist, academic, rock star keyboardist & theremin player in a prog-rock band!

As well as chatting about Karl’s career and piano playing, we discuss his fascinating research on facial expressiveness in piano performers, the history and aesthetics of piano concert arrangements, the explosion of interest in Western classical music in India, concert etiquette and reaching new audiences.


Show Notes

  • Some background about Karl’s career and interests [1:15]
  • On the growth of classical piano in India [7:40]
  • Karl’s research- facial gestures in pianists and how this has changed over history. How findings from this research can help us to perform and memorise [17:20]
  • Karl’s other current research project- piano concert arrangements, how these were more common before our age of ‘authenticity’, and attitudes towards the original score. Also concert etiquette and re imagining the concert experience [31.15]
  • Narcissism and music-making [55:40]
  • About Karl’s Busoni Festival [1:04:20]


Karl’s website:

The interview with Karl that appeared a couple of days before we recorded this podcast episode and is referred to a few times:

A clip from one of Karl’s conversational concerts:

A paper which has a useful summation of Jane Davidson’s pioneering research on visual expressiveness in music performers and the effect on audiences:

The research paper that demonstrated how experts’ judements of music competition performances changed radically with and without being able to watch the video as well as hear the performances:

A video of my arrangement of the Chopin Nocturne Op.55 No.1 in F Minor that Karl somehow heard about and is discussed here in this episode:

The fantastic CD ‘Got a Minute? – Paraphrases on Chopin’s “Minute Waltz” and Other Works’:
and on Spotify:

More Spotify links to various albums of transcriptions referred to in this podcast discussion:

I don’t know what possessed me to say there was a jazz version of the whole of Chopin’s 2nd Piano Concerto done entirely as a jazz trio with all the structure intact- what I meant to have come out of my mouth was the 2nd Piano Sonata. Unfortunately the CD’s not on Spotify, but there’s information here:

An album by Karl’s prog rock band- The Connoisseur… I’m listening to it now and forgot just how good this album is, I must put more time aside to listen it properly!

A fantastic book linking Confucianism to piano/music learning in China which I came across as a result of our conversation!

A couple of articles about the fascinating genre of Polish jazz pianists who jazz up Chopin:


Intro/outro music is the usual music used for this podcast which is Chopin ‘Raindrop’ Prelude Op 28, No. 15 arranged by me, Bob Rose