Recreation: No Hands

Conductor Franz Waxman raised his baton, and the orchestra sailed into the opening bars of Stravinsky's piano concerto. Then he gave the nod for the first piano passage, and the piano came right in on cue. The audience at last week's International Music Festival in Los Angeles did 2,000 double takes: though the piano bench was vacant, the music was coming out loud and clear.

The instrument was a player piano, and the unseen fingers that pounded the keys belonged, in a way, to Stravinsky himself.

The absent Igor had made a piano roll...

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