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Biggest Ensemble on Longest Day

It’s official: the Guinness Book record for the world’s largest keyboard ensemble was broken on the summer solstice, June 21. The performances—of Broken Records by Jed Distler (Pre-College ’74) and a keyboard transcription of Pachelbel’s Canon—took place on Cornelia Street in Greenwich Village; afterward Yamaha donated the 175 keyboards used to New York City public schools. Among the 175 pianists were Philip Glass (Diploma ’60, M.S. ’62, composition), Stephen Gosling (BM ’93, MM ’94, DMA ’00, piano), Journal editor Susan Jackson, Taka Kigawa (MM ’94, piano), Beata Moon (BM ’90, piano), and Kathleen Supové (MM ’75, Professional Studies ’76, piano).

Keyboard World Record

A new record entered the Guinness Book on June 21: the most keyboards simultaneously playing one piece.

(Photo by Getty Images)

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The keyboard event was part of a citywide series of festivities called Make Music New York. Another highlight took place uptown: at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, faculty member Kent Tritle (BM ’85, MM ’88, organ; MM ’88, choral conducting) led a pickup chorus in Fauré’s Requiem and Cantique de Jean Racine in what was called a Mass Appeal Mass. The pickup chorus was accompanied by Alyssa Reit (BM ’72, MM ’75, harp) and her Mass Appeal Harp ensemble. 

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