Open Well-Tempered Clavier: Ba©h to Bach - Pianist Kimiko Ishizaka Announces Kickstarter Fundraising of Open Well-Tempered Clavier

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Pianist Kimiko Ishizaka, with MuseScore, GRIN Verlag, PARMA Recordings, and Bösendorfer, announce Kickstarter fundraising for a public domain, “open source” recording and score of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier

Kimiko Ishizaka is the artist who has made the bold move from concert pianist to cultural resource by liberating both the source code to Bach’s works (professionally typeset scores by MuseScore) and the performance data (in the form of an audio recording).

The project, which follows the 2012 success of the Open Goldberg Variations, aims to raise more than $30,000 from fans to finance the new works, while Ishizaka embarks upon a 12-concert international tour to promote the effort.

"Kimiko Ishizaka is the artist who has made the bold move from concert pianist to cultural resource by liberating both the source code to Bach’s works (professionally typeset scores by MuseScore) and the performance data (in the form of an audio recording) to give audiences unprecedented experiences of both musical joy and the sense of freedom that comes from authentic agency." - Michael Tiemann, owner Manifold Recording, VP Open Source Affairs, Red Hat

The main goals of the project include creating a new digital edition score, as well as a top-quality studio recording of J.S. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier (Book 1). These new works will be licensed without any copyright restrictions whatsoever, to promote the maximum reach and accessibility of Bach's music, as well as to encourage other artists and musicians to use the works in their own derivative creations, such as YouTube videos or live events.

Recent successful projects such as the Open Goldberg Variations and Musopen's current project to record the entire opus of Frédéric Chopin point to the confluence of crowdfunding (using websites such as and, and the public's desire to have cultural goods that are free from copyright restrictions, DRM, or limitations on usage.

The coalition between a pianist, a commercial software vendor, a publisher of printed books and music, a record label, and a piano manufacturer, for the sake of creating public domain goods, is noteworthy. All parties believe the model of direct outreach to music fans and supporters via Kickstarter, plus the liberal licensing of the works, represent new opportunities for growing the audience and market for classical music.

Ishizaka's 12-concert promotional tour includes performances at the Beethovenfest in Bonn, Germany, the Bösendorfer factory in Austria (where she will choose the instrument for the recording session), the grand opening of the Pianoforte Foundation's new facilities in Chicago (where she is the featured performer), and a salon at Manifold Recording in North Carolina. In order to reach the widest possible audience, Ishizaka is live-broadcasting all 12 concerts using Google's "Hangouts On Air" technology, which allows an unlimited number of people to watch each concert for free.

Kickstarter fundraising will begin on Friday, September 20th, and conclude on Friday, November 8th. The project will move forward if funding has met or exceeded $30,000 by that point.

MuseScore and GRIN Verlag plan to release the new digital and print editions of the Well-Tempered Clavier score in early 2014.
The studio recording is scheduled for March/April 2014 in the Teldex Studio, Berlin. Bösendorfer is providing the instrument for the recording, which will be performed by Ishizaka and produced by Canadian record producer, Anne-Marie Sylvestre. Release of the recording on PARMA Recordings’ Navona Records label is planned for late 2014.

"We are pleased and delighted to work with Kimiko Ishizaka on this unique presentation of Bach's 'Well-Tempered Clavier,'" says PARMA Recordings CEO Bob Lord. "Bringing new musical insight into beloved, historical works is the hallmark of a truly great interpreter and recording, and I believe that is what we will have here. This project is in many ways also about removing musical barriers and enabling access for new listeners, an issue which is a passion of mine as well as the entire PARMA team."

The recording and the score will be distributed, free of charge (gratis) and copyright (libre) online via websites including,, Wikimedia Commons,, and Musopen is currently independently raising funds on Kickstarter to create public domain recordings of Chopin’s complete works.

“The groundswell of support, both by audiences and artists, for creating new public domain recordings is a real barometer for the public’s dissatisfaction with the music industry. People are sick of restrictions, fines, lawsuits, Digital Rights Management (DRM), and the artificial scarcity of our cultural treasures. Musopen and Open Goldberg are contributing to a body of works that will be cherished and freely enjoyed by millions of people for decades to come.” - Robert Douglass, Director Open Goldberg

If both Open Goldberg and Musopen succeed with their Kickstarter campaigns, collectively raising over $100,000 for new recordings of standard repertoire, it is probably worth asking "Who is holding classical music in shackles?" and “Why do so many people feel it is so important to set Bach and Chopin free?”

About Open Goldberg Project
Open Goldberg Project is a U.S. based non-profit dedicated to promoting public domain and openly licensed musical and artistic works.

About MuseScore
MuseScore makes software and online services for musicians to create, share and use digital sheet music. The flagship is MuseScore, the leading open source and free music notation software for Windows, Mac and Linux. is a community site for sharing sheet music with mobile applications for iOS and Android. The site has social features such as embedding, commenting, annotating, statistics, groups and it comes with an open API for third party developers.

About GRIN
GRIN Publishing, located in Munich, Germany, has specialized since its foundation in 1998 in the publication of academic work. In 2012 they entered the sheet music market by publishing the Open Goldberg Variations, MuseScore edition.

About PARMA Recordings
PARMA Recordings is a New England-based music company specializing in orchestral, chamber, choral, and commercial recording as well as distribution, product design, strategic marketing, and licensing/publishing. PARMA’s work spans classical, jazz, rock, experimental, and more, and features artists such as Grammy-winner Richard Stoltzman, Pulitzer Prize-winner Lewis Spratlan, Pete Townshend of The Who, renowned percussionist Steve Gadd, and New York Philharmonic concertmaster Glenn Dicterow among others.

About Bösendorfer
Bösendorfer is among the world’s oldest piano manufacturers, rich in tradition and world-famous for their unmistakably inspiring sound as well as the outstanding quality their instruments.

About Kimiko Ishizaka
German pianist Kimiko Ishizaka, who the New York Times calls "a gifted and obviously devoted Bachian”, received worldwide attention and recognition in 2012 for her innovative recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Ms. Ishizaka, wanting to make Bach accessible to as many people as possible, released the recording directly into the public domain, making her playing available to all via the internet. Ishizaka was widely praised for her performance.

“Ishizaka's interpretation is characterised by straightforward musicianship, immaculate technical aplomb, and a warm, beautifully modulated sonority. Counterpoint passes back and forth between the hands in a conversational and judiciously balanced manner, while a strong lyrical impulse informs the cross-handed variations' rapid, bravura passages.” – Jed Distler, Gramophone

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Isabelle Winter
since: 03/2012
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