Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - Page 15 News List

US ‘genius’ recreates masters’ fortepianos in the Czech Republic

By Jan Flemr  /  AFP, DIVISOV, Czech Republic

Sofronitsky once ordered a fortepiano from McNulty after playing one of his instruments at Harvard University, and when she came to pick it up from the workshop, she stayed.

“Paul is a genius. These instruments make music come alive, they allow people who don’t like classical music to suddenly discover the whole universe of it,” Sofronitsky said.

His clients include virtuosos, universities, conservatories and institutions such as the Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw, which recently bought a copy of Chopin’s fortepiano made by Fryderyk Buchholtz from McNulty.

“For me, Paul McNulty is the embodiment of the ideal master, who is summarizing the makers from different epochs,” Russian pianist Alexei Lubimov once said. “He is a master who is able to travel through time as if he had magic boots. He can go from Mozart’s era to Chopin’s, then from Brahms’s back to Beethoven.”

Rejecting any ideas of retirement — “ask me in 10 years!” — McNulty said he dreams of making a replica of a late Conrad Graf piano once owned by German composer Robert Schumann, and remains humble.

“I’m happy to be a stage assistant, that’s my function. Everything that happens in the kitchen, backstage, is just pure work, and you’re happy if you do a good job. So I’m happy in this way,” he said.

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