Solo pianist plays every single orchestral line in painstakingly brilliant Chopin concerto

23 April 2021, 15:43 | Updated: 23 April 2021, 16:09

By Rosie Pentreath

When you don't have an orchestra to accompany you, so you just play the whole thing yourself...

This pianist learnt every orchestral part of a Chopin concerto, so he could accompany his own performance of the work.

Pianist Thomas Deng lost the chance to perform Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with his college orchestra, Colby Symphony Orchestra, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Not willing to except defeat and miss the chance to perform the magnificent work in its full symphonic glory, the pianist took measures into his own hands and painstakingly recorded every part from the orchestral score himself.

Using MIDI technology, Deng laid down the tracks for the string, woodwind, brass and percussion parts, to provide an orchestral accompaniment worthy of his pianistic talent.

Read more: 10 essential pieces by Romantic composer Chopin >

Pianist Thomas Deng didn’t have an orchestra to accompany him, so he played every part of a Chopin concerto.
Pianist Thomas Deng didn’t have an orchestra to accompany him, so he played every part of a Chopin concerto. Picture: Colby College

Deng’s careful recreation of the third movement of Chopin’s Second Concerto resulted in a “MIDI orchestra”, rich not just in technical precision but also the emotional depth it portrays.

Read more: This AI has reconstructed actual Rachmaninov playing his own piano piece >

“It’s really quite amazing, both from the musical and from the technological standpoint,” associate professor of music at Colby College, Jon Hallstrom, has said.

“The literal number of notes that Thomas had to enter is pretty staggering and the fact that each note of each player’s part was entered individually, and in real time – in order – to get the nuance of dynamics and timing, make the orchestra part sound so ‘natural.’”

Watch in wonder as Deng performs with himself in orchestral form, above.