Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 32

The Internet Fake

Pandora Selfridge
concert pianist

discovered
by Corentin Boissier
March 2015, Paris
http://www.corentinboissier.net

My name is Corentin Boissier. I’m a young French post-romantic


classical composer. I’m the one who discovered the Internet fake
"Pandora Selfridge concert pianist" that deceived thousands of music
lovers, journalists and young composers. As I was going to be involved in
this fake ("Pandora Selfridge", with whom I was in correspondence for
two years, was going to perform one of my compositions for piano), on

1
November 27, 2014 I asked "Pandora Selfridge" to end this fraud. The
creator immediately destroyed his creation…
Here’s all I know about this strange and elaborate hoax.

1- The fake
In the beginning of 2013, a channel appeared on YouTube : « Pandora Selfridge ».
In less than two years, "Pandora Selfridge" uploaded on her channel more than 30 of her
piano performances. Nearly all her uploads were videos, except for two or three that
showed only static photos of her (close to a white piano, cf. below) in addition to the
music :

"Pandora Selfridge concert pianist"


One of her videos showed her, at age 14, performing her own Romantic Poem :

Pandora Selfridge’s Romantic Poem (2009, date given by "Pandora Selfridge")

Other videos showed her at around 20 :

2
Leoš Janáček’s Piano Sonata Ernesto Lecuona’s Malagueña

A website titled « Pandora Selfridge concert pianist » appeared :

Home page of "Pandora Selfridge’s" website

"Pandora Selfridge", born on May 1, 1994 in Alabama (USA), was a young concert
pianist who, in addition to having a passion for the piano, had also been a model during

3
her school years. "Pandora Selfridge" was a pretty young woman and excellent pianist,
whose accomplishments were impressive :

On YouTube, each of her thirty videos reached between 5,000 and 35,000 views. So
more than 300,000 persons had listened to "Pandora Selfridge’s" performances, not to
mention the other websites that hosted her videos. All the numerous comments on her
videos were laudatory, especially on the video of her own composition Three Dramatic
4
Études, for piano (2014). Because "Pandora Selfridge" was not only a concert pianist who
performed Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Khachaturian (among other ones)… she was
also, with her four original works, a good – in my opinion – composer in a post-romantic
idiom. She premiered her largest work, Three Dramatic Études, for piano (16’), during a
recital at the Mobile Concert Hall in 2013 :

"Pandora Selfridge concert pianist" became rather famous : some people were
writing about her on the web. In particular Richard Waterman, of the
website RealPianoMusic.com, posted the following (this page is now deleted) :

5
On April 18, 2013 "Pandora Selfridge" subscribed to my channel « Corentin
Boissier composer ». I wrote a letter to thank her, as I do to everyone who subscribes to
my channel. The same day, she answered by YouTube mail she liked the works I
composed, especially my Glamour Concerto, for solo piano (2012) :

« Wow !!! Great work and great performance too... This concerto has a consistently high quality from the
first to the last bar, which is rather rare in contemporary concertos, and even in all works of a certain
scale, generally speaking. Personally, my favorite parts are from 5:08 and from 14:06 (...ah ! when my
starry-eyed young girl heart speaks :-)
Furthermore the virtuoso passages obviously show an expert craftsmanship. Bravo ! » (18 April 2013)

After that, we exchanged a friendly and regular correspondence. She also


commented on YouTube on several of my principal works. She had a very sensitive
perception of my music. So I had the idea that she might like to perform one of my
compositions, in particular Passionately Yours, three pieces for piano (2012), which she
liked a lot :

« Just reading the title of the work and the titles of the movements brings up at the same time a program,
an expectation, a dream... and your music doesn’t disappoint, quite the contrary ! We are irresistibly
carried away by a wonderful whirlwind as soon as pressing "play", and for eleven minutes of pure
emotional intensity till the very end.
As a matter of fact, the first thing I did then is to click on "replay" ! » (18 April 2013)

At the same time, I discovered that "Pandora Selfridge" was very present on the
web : in addition to her website and her YouTube channel, she had a very popular
Facebook page, a LinkedIn page, a Flickr page, a Topface page, a Skill Slam page, a
Musopen page, and at least two other web pages…
"Pandora Selfridge" invited me on Google+, then on Facebook, then on LinkedIn…

6
I lead on YouTube the classical musical channels collectionCB (533 videos),
collectionCB2 (570 videos), collectionCB3 (512 videos) and collectionCB4 (one new
video each day), which make available recordings of little-known post-romantic
masterworks. So on August 5, 2014 I proposed to her that I upload on my channel
collectionCB3 her Three Dramatic Études, for piano… She answered :

« Hello dear Corentin,


Glad to hear you ! Yes, I know your collectionCBs for a long time ; these are wonderful channels to
discover rare repertoire, although I’m grieved to observe that works for solo piano are very seldom
presented... :-)
Of course I gladly accept your very nice proposal. I’m very pleased you find my music good enough to be
included in your channels ; and I see you do things very well concerning the presentation, judging by the
links you kindly pointed out to me. […]
Best regards,
Pandora »

Then I proposed that she perform my Passionately Yours, three pieces for piano. On
August 13 , she answered :
th

« Concerning your Passionately Yours, I consider it’s really a masterwork, and indeed it’s no doubt one
of the most romantic contemporary works I know. More generally speaking, I find you’re one of the rare
"contemporary" classical composers who compose a music intended to speak directly to the heart of the
listener... which is proper to the "true" great music, in my view. I would really like to perform your
Passionately Yours.
The only problem is that I’m really busy (I have more than 20 recitals scheduled before the end of this
year !) – I might nonetheless find some free time, but this composition really requires its performer to be
fully invested in it, I think. Perhaps a work as the first movement of your wonderful Glamour
Concerto would also "match" my style while being a little more feasible given the time and opportunities
I’ll have...
Please send me both scores, if you want – I’ll give them a quick read and tell you more shortly
afterwards. I can’t promise you a performance soon, but I sincerely promise you to try my utmost to
realize it as soon as possible... »

I sent her both scores. On August 15 she wrote me :


th

« I can already confirm that the first movement of the Glamour Concerto is really more feasible given the
(little) time I’ll have to study it. Additionally, as it’s a stand-alone one-movement work, it should also be
more easy to program it during a concert than a multi-movement work. I’ll give you a more detailed
feedback about both your works within some days/weeks, but I have to tell you before all that I really
LOVE your rich, generous, sultry and passionate piano writing – the exact opposite of all these thin, dry,
astringent and dissonant "contemporary" pieces !
Yes, I hope I’ll be able – sooner or later – to perform your Passionately Yours and maybe other of your
works as well... And no matter if other pianists play Passionately Yours meanwhile : I want to play your
works because I like them, not because I would be "the first one". »

Meanwhile, on August 13 , she also had sent me the score of her Romantic Poem for
th

piano. I learnt later, during my investigation, that she had sent this score to at least three
other young composers. Here’s the first page of the 5-page score :

7
On September 15, 2014, I uploaded on my channel collectionCB3 her Three
Dramatic Études, for piano (none of the young composers that I contacted during my
investigation seems to have received the score from her) :

8
Three Dramatic Études, for piano uploaded by myself on collectionCB3 (pages 1 & 2 on a total of 3)

Immediately, numerous and dithyrambic comments (from an exclusively male


audience) appeared. Two examples :
- « It doesn't happen very often that a piece of music is able to really move me. These Three
Dramatic Études by Pandora Selfridge certainly accomplish just that. This is music I can feel.
Music which affects me. Truly romantic music that in this case explores the darker side of
romanticism. This composition conveys beauty in the midst of longing and yearning, even
sadness and turmoil. I would like to call it a winter masterpiece, crafted in the season in which
we as human beings often tend to become more open to the deeper levels of our inner life and
also to express the darker side of our life experience, mirroring what is happening in nature. I'm
looking forward to listen to more of Pandora’s own compositions in the future. She is really
unique. »

- « Excellent, fluent pianism, and this composer knows how to make the most of Romantic
sonorities. "Dramatic" indeed ! Well named as I felt rather lucky to have escape a terrible, un-
named, looming and menacing fate with all those piled-on minor chord progressions. Even the
third étude (a good crowd-pleasing encore surely), with all its liveliness, can’t free itself from a
sense of panicked pursuit. Bernard Herrmann/Kurt Weill meet Rachmaninoff ! What a pity the
applause was cut out ; I'm sure the audience appreciated this fine playing. »
There have been so many comments, and all of them were so laudative, that it
surprised me. I told my surprise to "Pandora Selfridge". On October the 23rd she
answered :

9
« Yes, indeed, I noticed all these comments on your video of the Etudes ; I have to admit it’s a little odd.
There are some people I personally know among them, but many other ones I didn’t know before.
Anyway, all of them seem to enjoy the work, but I agree with you that such extensive comments are
normally seldom seen on Youtube. »

Before that, on October 4 , "Pandora Selfridge" wrote to me :


th

« Hello Corentin,
Firstly, I have to tell you that I began deciphering your wonderful Glamour Concerto. This work is really,
really pleasing to play and is very richly and efficiently written without being overly virtuosic. A perfect
balance. And your melodies and harmonies are just ravishing. In particular your deep pedal of E
decrescendo leading to the second theme is worthy of the best Rachmaninoff in my view. Of course I’m
sure you’ll understand I’m rather busy these times and so I’ll need several months to fully learn it and be
able to play it correctly before performing it in concert/video...
I also listened to your new uploads, and I really enjoyed them. Btw I’m myself composing an extended
"nocturnal" work for clarinet and piano to be premiered in February 2015 by a rather famous clarinetist if
everything goes smoothly. So your delicate ballade for saxophone and piano can really be a source of
inspiration :-) And it’s really fine to see that your works begin to attract more and more talented
performers – your compositions are worthy of being world renowned... »

And on October 23 : rd

« […] Concerning my work for clarinet and piano, yes, it’s in good progress... Actually it’s even almost
finished, as the "official" premiere in concert is intended to take place in February 2015, but a last minute
upheaval makes an opportunity happen to schedule a private performance as soon as late november
(sunday 23 november to be precise, in just one month !), an ideal opportunity to test the work and make a
rd

few alterations if necessary before the public concert. So you realize I spent all this last ten days to
finalize the work so that the rehearsals can begin within one week or so. I can already tell you that the
work is in three movements, each one lasting about five minutes. Be sure I’ll send you a recording as
soon as I have one.
As you can guess, these last few days have been very busy. Generally speaking, I think I’ll probably have
a little more time to seriously study your Glamour Concerto after the rehearsals of the clarinet-piano
work...
[…]
Keep in contact !
Pandora
PS : You didn’t tell me your "observations" about my new website :-) Of course I understand you must be
very busy as well... »

So we had both private and professional correspondence. On October 27 , as she had th

just created her new website and as she asked me, I suggested some ameliorations to her ;
she accepted all of them.

Now I have to explain what was the brand image of "Pandora Selfridge" : she
always wore extravagant high-heeled shoes.

A set of photos showed her as a glamour model :

10
Nearly all of "Pandora Selfridge’s" other photos never showed her face.

Her head was sometimes shown, but only her hair in this case :

11
(seems to be an Asian woman) (seems to be an Asian woman)

Her YouTube videos never showed the face (some of these videos must have been
intentionally cropped at the neck) :

Alexander Scriabin’s « Prelude » op. 11 n°14 Claude Debussy’s « L’Isle joyeuse »

Bach/Busoni’s « Chaconne » Franz Schubert’s « Piano Sonata No. 16 »

12
A great part of the glamour of "Pandora Selfridge concert pianist" was based on her
high-heeled shoes (stilettos). Her shoes were always highlighted :

Cover of "Pandora Selfridge’s" website

On August 13, 2014 she explained to me this omnipresence of high-heeled shoes :

« I decided to wear "attractive" outfits while playing the piano and to focus my videos mainly on my legs
and high heels as it gives me a special "look" that most people seems to enjoy. It’s a way to be noticed
among the numerous young pianists whose videos are available on YouTube. At the beginning, my first
videos classically showed my hands, my head and full views ; and at one point I made a "fun" video
focused on my legs and high heels... and this video got many, many more views than any other... You
understand what I then did for my following videos ! »

And this « marketing » strategy was efficient for an essentially male audience. One
of her male commentators commented on her video titled « Debussy’s L’Isle joyeuse in
very high heels » :

« 1) Your performance of this Debussy masterpiece is awesome, I like your piano 2) You give to
this performance an erotic dimension... by showing your wonderful legs and high heels. This is
really original and when we like beauty, it’s a pleasure... 3) If only we could make a "four legs"
interpretation one day... I’ll be so happy !! »

On October 21, 2014 Susanne Kübler, a German journalist of the Tages-Anzeiger


and the Berner Zeitung, titled her article about "Pandora Selfridge" :
Pianistin auf Stelzen : Die höchsten High Heels in der Klavierwelt ? Die hat
Pandora Selfridge
(which means : « Pianist on stilts : The highest high heels in the piano world ? She
is Pandora Selfridge ») :

13
A commentator on Susanne Kübler’s article wrote :
« Ein Genuss in jeder Beziehung : Tolle Musik, herrlich gespielt, schöne Beine, elegante
Schuhe. Was will man mehr ? »
(which means : « A delight in every respect : Great music, played wonderfully,
beautiful legs, elegant shoes. What more could you want ? »)

All this made me think that my Glamour Concerto, for solo piano had found the
perfect performer.

14
2- The investigation
Around November 20, 2014, while "Pandora Selfridge" was officially working on
her work for clarinet and piano and on my Glamour Concerto, for solo piano, I discovered
on YouTube the video of a Japanese pianist named reitrcpiano, who is herself a very, very
curious person because she never shows her head and she never tells her name. She seems
to be more a creation for marketing brands of clothes and shoes than a real person.
Obviously her videos are focused on the fetishism of the feet and high heels. Curiously the
title of her video is B minor Walz and not Waltz in B minor (which would be correct).
This video from reitrcpiano dates from April 2011. "Pandora Selfridge" had
uploaded the same video two years later, with the correct title « Own composition : Waltz
in B minor ». So I wondered : Is "Pandora Selfridge" also reitrcpiano ?
I discovered that reitrcpiano (YouTube channel created in February 2011) was
derived from a YouTube channel reitrc created in April 2009. As reitrc is supposed to be a
young Japanese woman and she doesn’t seem to be a concert pianist, I deduced that
"Pandora Selfridge" had stolen the music and video of reitrcpiano.
So I began some searches in order to know more things about "Pandora Selfridge". I
discovered that the photo of her recital where she premiered her Three Dramatic Études,
for piano (cf. above) came actually from a set of photos from the website istock :

Two other photos from the istock set :

I continued my searches about all her other photos : actually all the photos showing
"Pandora Selfridge" were not "Pandora Selfridge" !!!

Some of "Pandora Selfridge’s" photos were actually (slightly anamorphosed)


hyperrealistic paintings by the painter Rob Hefferan :

15
Original paintings (with the signature of the painter) :

Source : http://www.robhefferan.net/GalleriesElegance004.html

Concerning the main pictures showing "Pandora Selfridge" close to a white piano
(cf. below), an American girl friend, who is a model, helped me to discover the truth and
wrote on December 9, 2014 :

« Concerning the photos supposedly showing Pandora Selfridge, I contacted many of my


acquaintances and "informants" at TheFashionSpot... and I conducted my own little investigation
to know who is the real model on these photos. It turned out that these photos are taken from a set
of about twenty commercial photos realized as part of an advertising campaign for the Internet
brand "Modatoi", specialized in women’s dresses, shoes and cheap jewelery. I checked them and
obviously the faker simply
cut the extreme right part of the image where there was the logo. These images are no longer
available on Modatoi’s website, as they date from early 2012.
The indicative numbers of these photos are respectively : E2110, E2111, E2112, E2113, E2118, E2123,
E2124, E2127, E2137, E2138, E2140, as well as P5010 and P5040. It’s likely that the set also included
E2114, E2115, E2139 and so on although I didn’t manage to find them. »

16
Example :

"Pandora Selfridge concert pianist" Original with the logo « Modatoi.com »


(at the bottom right corner)

Modatoi.com, a French brand, didn’t want to give me the name of the model nor the
name of the photographer, in spite of two e-mails I wrote them :
« Je suis au regret de vous informer que la Direction ne souhaite
pas fournir ces informations confidentielles. »
(which means : « I regret to inform you that management does not wish to provide
this confidential information. »)

Then I carefully studied "Pandora Selfridge’s" Curriculum Vitae :

« Pandora Selfridge was born on May 1, 1994 in Mobile, Alabama (USA). She began playing the piano
at the age of three and by the age of five, her parents had enrolled her in a piano class in a small county
conservatory. She quickly progressed and her teacher urged her to pursue the course at the Mobile
Music School.
In 2008, she won the Alabama Young Pianist Award, a showcase for performers no older than age
fifteen. She then studied at the Montgomery State University, Department of Music, in particular with
pianist Jennifer Elden, while continuing her high school studies. During this time, she increased her
recital appearances, at first for local events. Then in 2009, she premiered her own personal composition,
« Romantic Poem ».
In 2011 at age seventeen, she brilliantly graduated with her high school diploma. Subsequently, she was
selected to be one of the fifty "Azalea Trail Maids" for the year 2011-2012, making appearances at many
local, state, and even national events.
Also in 2011, she won the 2nd prize in the 16-18 category at the prestigious Bosendorfer and Yamaha
USASU International Piano Competition, held biannually at the Katherine K. Herberger Institute for
Design and the Arts. And in 2013 she has been a medalist at the Hilton Head International Piano
Competition. She also attended several master classes of concert pianists Sylvia Constantinidis and
Stephen Beus.
Pandora has given many successful recitals for various regional events including a performance of
Mozart’s 23rd Concerto with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. During a concert in December 2013,
she received a standing ovation when she premiered one of her own personal compositions, the « Three
Dramatic Études » for piano. This work remains her larger-scaled composition to date and she frequently
performs it to end her concerts with a flourish...

17
The bimonthly magazine Fanfare interviewed Pandora for their January/February 2014 issue. They
wrote : « With her outstanding technique, her high sensitivity, and her distinguished dress style, this
young pianist has a fantastic career ahead of her ! And we can already predict she will be one of the
talks of the classical music world before long. »
In September 2014 Pandora became a "permanently featured artist" on the classical musical website
Real Piano Music. And in October of that same year the famous Swiss newspapers "Tages Anzeiger"
and "Berner Zeitung" devoted an article to her (in German).
Pandora's original piano works include a sonata « Three Dramatic Études », a « Romantic Poem » and a
« Waltz in B minor ». Videos of her performances, available on her YouTube channel, grow increasingly
popular. »

This biography is pure fiction. There’s no « Mobile Music School ». There’s no


« Alabama Young Pianist Award ». Concerning the two competitions she won
(Bösendorfer and Yamaha USASU International Piano Competition and Hilton Head
International Piano Competition), her name is not mentioned on the official websites.
But on the Wikipedia articles, her name was mentioned ! The histories of both Wikipedia
articles show that, in the beginning, these two Wikipedia articles didn’t include any list of
winners. On August 8, 2014 the faker (under the Wikipedist pseudonym ClassicMusic33)
added a list of all the winners, in which he put the name Pandora Selfridge. The truth now
has been restored in both cases on Wikipedia (by myself in the case of the Hilton Head, on
November 28, 2014).

Bösendorfer and Yamaha USASU International Piano Competition

What the faker did (on August 8, 2014) :

"Pandora Selfridge" is falsely listed as winning 2 prize in 2011.


nd

Real results (excerpts) :

18
Hilton Head International Piano Competition
What the faker did (on August 8, 2014) :

"Pandora Selfridge" is falsely listed as winning 6 prize in 2013.


th

Real results (excerpts) :

I also discovered that the name "Pandora Selfridge" was a kind of private joke. The
mysterious Japanese pianist reitrc, who never shows her face (cf. above), is linked to the
selling of clothes for young girls :

19
http://reitrc.blog27.fc2.com/blog-entry-99.html

Two brands are often present in reitrc’s fashion world : « Pandora » and « Miss
Selfridge ». « Miss Selfridge » is famous especially for its high-heeled shoes :
http://blog.missselfridge.com/weblog/2011/10/tulisa-shows-off-her-luscious-legs-in-our-pretty-peter-pan-
style-dress.html

In "Pandora Selfridge’s" website, a false interview supposedly realized by « Fanfare


Magazine » in January/February 2014 called her « Miss Pandora Selfridge » and of course
it asked several questions about her high-heeled shoes :

20
21
22
I was puzzled by another thing on her Flickr page : there were, of course, many
photos of "Pandora Selfridge", but also, among them, some pictures from the movie
Avatar (2009). At first, I guessed she just liked this movie, but as I was beginning to
understand the « logic » and the sense of humor of "Pandora Selfridge’s" creator, I
eventually discovered that in the movie, the creator of the planet « Pandora » is named «
Parker Selfridge » :

It’s indicated : Parker Selfridge, Head Administrator of the Pandora Division ("Avatar", 2009)

There was another important question : who were the performers of the more than
30 YouTube videos uploaded by "Pandora Selfridge". By watching them, one after the
other, I understood that these videos had been stolen from more than 30 different pianists,
including several Japanese ones. The pianists were often young girls, but sometimes they
were young women of around 30 years old. The creator made sure, firstly, that nobody
was able to see their faces (some videos had probably been cropped in order not to see the
head ; fortunately for the creator, many of the videos were filmed sideways, to show
mainly the pianist’s hands) and, secondly, that on each video the pianist wears high-heeled
shoes.
The only video that really showed "Pandora Selfridge’s" face was the one of a
young girl aged c. 14 years old. "Pandora Selfridge" was supposedly performing her own
composition Romantic Poem, which dates from 2009 :

23
"Pandora Selfridge’s" Romantic Poem

But by watching her hands closely, I discovered that the young girl of the video is
not playing the work that is heard.
After the publication of this article (on March 2, 2015), Richard Waterman, of the
website RealPianoMusic.com, gave me a correspondence he has had with "Pandora
Selfridge" :
On October 9, 2014 Richard Waterman sent this e-mail to "Pandora Selfridge" :

« Hi Pandora,
I saw your videos online and I'd like to feature you on my website www.realpianomusic.com and our
Facebook page at www.facebook.com/realpianomusic. I love your original compositions, Romantic
Poem and the Three Dramatic Études. I have a question before I proceed.... As a pianist myself, it's
obvious that in your Romantic Poem video, the girl playing the piano is not playing the same piece of
music that is coming through the audio. It's not even close. In fact, I'm not sure it's the same girl as you,
though there is a resemblance. The music is lovely, I'm just wondering if you dubbed it into another
video of you playing something else ? The video of your hands playing doesn't match the music is the
point. I'm surprised no one else pointed that out in the comments. »

And on October 10, 2014 "Pandora Selfridge" answered :

« Hello Richard,
Thank you for your very nice proposal. I gladly accept my compositions to be included in your great
website and Facebook page. Yes, of course the "girl playing the piano" in the video of the Romantic
Poem is myself (a younger myself back in 2009). But you’re absolutely right – here’s the whole story :
24
the technician who had to record and film the concert has unfortunately failed to film the first part of the
concert, where I performed my Romantic Poem. He then solved the problem during the short intermission
and so he has been able to film only the second part of this concert, during which I played some other
works (works that I have played better since).
When four years later, in 2013, I created my YouTube channel and I wanted to upload my Romantic
Poem, I compared all the recordings I’ve done of this work, and the one from 2009 appeared to be the
best, having been performed right after the composition of the work... So I decided to upload this one,
even with just the sound and no video. But several friends told me that it would be far more viewed with
sound and video : that’s why they suggested me to upload the sound of the Romantic Poem with the video
of some extracts of the second part of the concert which has been filmed. And they assumed nobody will
discover the trick.
And it seems their idea was rather good, since my music has been listened and appreciated by more than
3,000 persons, and obviously nobody, before you, never noticed the trick (which also surprise me by the
way :-) Now you know the whole story...
So you can already put my Three Dramatic Études on your website and Facebook page, and, concerning
my Romantic Poem, I suggest you to put only the audio ; or, if you are interested, I can do a video with
the sound and the synchronized sheet music of this work (since I accept to divulgate this score, unlike the
one of my Three Dramatic Études I keep for my own use). Just tell me...
Thank you once again,
Keep in contact !
Pandora »

And Richard Waterman told me (on March 5, 2015) :

« Another fact that led me to choose to believe that Pandora was real was that I actually researched
some of the Awards that she claimed and I in fact saw her name on Wikipedia, so again, I chose to
believe her because I couldn't imagine at the time that anyone would be so brazen, but with your help,
I've since learned otherwise. »

Alas, I haven’t been able to discover the original videos of all the uploads of
"Pandora Selfridge". Nonetheless, concerning the video titled : « William Lloyd Webber’s
Romantic Evening » (whose video cover was just a static photo of "Pandora Selfridge"
close to the white piano, not a video), I’ve been able to find that the performance was the
one of the concert pianist John Lill (born in 1944). I haven’t had the time to do any
searches concerning the one or two other videos with static images as video cover, but
they may have been taken from the recordings of other famous pianists.

Here’s the list of all the works that "Pandora Selfridge" was supposed to have
recorded for her YouTube videos :
Johann Sebastian Bach :
- Chaconne for solo violin, arranged for piano by Ferruccio Busoni
- Sarabande from French Suite n°5 in G major, BWV 816
Ludwig van Beethoven :
- Piano Sonata No. 2 in A major, op. 2 n°2
Lili Boulanger
- D’un Vieux Jardin
Frederic Chopin
- Etude n°11 from 12 Etudes, op. 10
- Fantasie-Impromptu in C sharp minor, op. 66
Claude Debussy
- L’Isle joyeuse
Miriam Hyde
25
- Woodland Sketch
Charles Ives
- Piano Sonata No. 2 « Concord Sonata »
Leoš Janáček
- Piano Sonata
Aram Khachaturian
- Toccata in E-flat minor
Ernesto Lecuona
- Malagueña
Franz Liszt
- Un Sospiro
William Lloyd Webber
- Romantic Evening
Fanny Mendelssohn
- Andante soave
Felix Mendelssonh
- Song Without Words, op. 38 n°2
Astor Piazzolla
- Libertango
Sergei Prokofiev
- Dance of the Knights/Montagues and Capulets
- Piano Sonata No. 7
Sergei Rachmaninoff
- Prelude, op. 23 n°4
Ottorino Respighi
- Intermezzo-Serenata
Franz Schubert
- Piano Sonata No. 16
- Impromptu No. 3 from the Four Impromptus, op. 90
Robert Schumann
- Piano Sonata No. 2 (« with the original finale » as indicated by "Pandora Selfridge")
Alexander Scriabin
- Etude in F sharp minor, op. 8 n°2
- Prelude in E-flat minor, op. 11 n°14
Pandora Selfridge
- Romantic Poem (2009)
- Waltz in B minor (2012)
- Three Dramatic Études (Piano Sonata No. 1) (2013)
Pyotr Tchaikovsky
- Tendres reproches, 3 of the 18 Pieces for piano, op. 72
rd

Yann Tiersen
- Comptine d’un autre été, from the film score to Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain (2001)

And here’s the complete list of the works (from her website) that she was supposed
to have performed during her recitals (as you can see, because of an announcement,
Lecuona’s Malagueña is missing on this Pdf) :

26
27
So I was absolutely convinced that "Pandora Selfridge" was purely a fake. On
November 27, 2014, I wrote to the creator, via "Pandora Selfridge’s" e-mail, to destroy his
creation : « I admire your mind, your intelligence and your sense of humor. But a fake
stays a fake. It will finish badly, as every fake does. […] The friendship and the artistic
interest you have toward me flatter me a lot. I know you’re understanding me and that I’m
acting in your own interest, as well as in mine. »
The same day, the creator destroyed all "Pandora Selfridge’s" Internet pages and
videos. He wrote me only three words : « It’s done ». As a gift, he gave me a link to the
audio files of the last composition by "Pandora Selfridge" : her Sonata for Clarinet and
Piano written in the style of my ballade From Midnight to Dawn (2014) :

« So your delicate ballade for saxophone and piano can really be a source of inspiration :-) »
(4 October 2014)

I also decided to send an e-mail to the four young composers with whom I was in
correspondence for a long time and who had commented on "Pandora Selfridge’s"
compositions. I also contacted Richard Waterman, of the Internet website
RealPianoMusic.com, who had made "Pandora Selfridge" a « permanently featured artist »
as well as the journalist Susanne Kübler of the Tages-Anzeiger and the Berner Zeitung,
who published an article about her (cf. above).
One of the four composers considered it appropriate to answer me : « I knew there
was something not quite right about "Pandora Selfridge". » Richard Waterman
immediately deleted his page and thanked me.
In the first version of my article (March 2, 2015), I wrote : « If somebody knows
how to contact the journalist Susanne Kübler who wrote an article, he should ask her

28
if she discovered "Pandora Selfridge" by herself or if someone suggested she write
this article. My efforts to contact her have been unsuccessful… »
On March 8, 2015 the Swiss writer Telemachos Hatziisaak contacted me and
proposed me to contact the journalist Susanne Kübler. I accepted his proposition on March
9 in the evening. The next day in the morning I got a response of Susanne Kübler who
wrote me :

« Das ist ja eine spannende Geschichte um „Pandora Selfridge“… Ich wurde von einem Lehrer der
Zürcher Hochschule der Künste auf ihre Videos aufmerksam gemacht. Offenbar kursierten sie in
Musikerkreisen – als neuste Absurdität in einer durchaus realen Entwicklung (auch manche echte – und
durchaus sehr gute – Pianistinnen setzen ja auf wenig Stoff und hohe Absätze). Interessant wäre es zu
wissen, wer hinter dem Fake steckt, aber das ist wohl schwer herauszufinden. »

I asked Telemachos Hatziisaak to translate this e-mail :

« It is an exciting story about “Pandora Selfridge”. A professor from the Zurich University of the Arts
drew my attention to her videos. Apparently they circulated among the musician’s environment – as the
latest absurdity in a thoroughly real development (even some real – and by all means very good –
female pianists turn to short dresses and high heels). It would be interesting to know who is behind the
fake, but this is probably hard to discover. »

The same day (March 10) Telemachos Hatziisaak wrote me :

« My boys (twins, 14 years old) have “shazamed” the “Romantic Poem” and found in the internet a
piece called “Romantic Air”, which to my opinion resembles the “Romantic Poem” very much. It is taken
from an instrumental album called “Romantic Music – Chamonix”, with 33 titles. The only strange thing
about it : It was released the 2nd March 2015 ! The music is available on itunes. Maybe this can help your
search for the composer. »

It’s indeed the same piece for piano and the same performance. This double CD,
edited on March 2, 2015 is obviously a "pirate" edition available on iTunes, Amazon and
Spotify :

Cover of the double CD « Chamonix Romantic Music » (2015)

The track 17, titled Romantic Air (5.42), is the Romantic Poem (5.42). Amazon
indicates : Album MP3

29
Original Release Date : March 2, 2015
Label : Chamonix
Copyright : © 2015 Chamonix
Total Length : 2:33:33
Genres : Miscellaneous
ASIN : B00U9S3ILQ

Of course this CD doesn’t mention the names of the composers nor the names of the
performers. Has "Pandora Selfridge’s" Romantic Poem been pirated ? Or is "Pandora
Selfridge’s" creator also behind this pirate CD ?
I immediately downloaded the software "shazam" and tested it on the Three
Dramatic Études and the Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, but no results (in contrast I’ve
been able to discover the title and the composer of an old piece for piano and orchestra
whose I didn’t know anything :-)
If someone can discover something about this suspect CD « Chamonix
Romantic Music », please tell me.

3- No conclusion, but reflections


At this point, everybody will ask THE question : who is hidden behind "Pandora
Selfridge concert pianist" ? As "Pandora Selfridge’s" e-mail address was on gmail, her e-
mail isn’t traceable. And as "Pandora Selfridge" used Mediafire to send me audio files, the
original source of these recordings also is not traceable.
Finally I’ve no proof, only clues. Here’s my opinion :
- The creator is someone who is very serious, and obviously he has a deep
knowledge of the classical piano world (cf. his modifications of the two Wikipedia articles
about the international piano competitions).
- The creator is probably European because "Pandora Selfridge’s" Repertory shows
"Europe-oriented" musical tastes.
- I also think that the creator must be a fashion photographer because I noticed that
all "Pandora Selfridge’s" photos (even the ones which are casual) are in very high
resolution, often even better than the « original » photos I discovered on the web.

Two examples :

30
"Pandora Piano Passion" « Model is Laura K and photo was taken
(284 337 octets) at studio 1425 in Denver » (198 201 octets)

"Pandora Selfridge’s" photo The « original » one found on the web The first one, which is neither
« With My Friends » (c. 2013) (uploaded on August 29, 2003) cropped nor tagged (March 3, 2005)
(2 202 483 octets) (220 327 octets) (29 153 octets)

("Pandora Selfridge" was supposed to be the young girl with high-heeled shoes in the foreground.)

Concerning "Pandora Selfridge’s" compositional style :

• Her three works seem to have been composed by the same (good) composer. He
did advanced studies at a Conservatory. Personally, I think the composer is rather old.
Technically, his works are very well written and very well structured (sonata form). If I’m
right, he chose to write in a modern, Polar/Thriller style (a cinematographic idiom that
appeared in the 1990s) because "Pandora Selfridge" was said to be born in 1994.
• The pianist(s) who performed these works is/are excellent.
• If the creator has composed these three works, he must also work in the field of
classical music since he seems to have worked with a clarinetist for the Sonata for
Clarinet and Piano.
31
• Furthermore he must also have a professional studio because his sound recordings
are very good. It’s not for sure they are live performances. The faker may have added a
slight background noise and final applauses.
Of course, it’s possible that the creator has simply stolen the works from a
composer. Via the Internet, I asked several music lovers if they had an idea about the
identity of the composer, but alas there has been no answer. I just uploaded the three
works on collectionCB4. I hope that someone will be able to discover who is the
composer of :

- Romantic Poem, for piano (2009 or 2013, date of the video)


- Three Dramatic Études, for piano (Piano Sonata No. 1) (2013, date of the video)
- Sonata for Clarinet and Piano (2014, date when I received the audio file)

collectionCB4 link : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNHu52iy78s

Epilogue
On January 4, 2015 I sent to "Pandora Selfridge" my good wishes for an
« authentic » New Year 2015.
On January 24 , my 20 birthday, I received an e-mail from "Pandora Selfridge".
th th

Only three words : « Happy Birthday Corentin ! ».

I composed the concert piece for piano Pandora’s Box to her Memory :

I thank Dr Allan B. Ho, musicologist at Southern Illinois University


Edwardsville (SIUE), for having corrected and enhanced my English.

Corentin Boissier
March 12, 2015, Paris
http://www.corentinboissier.net
32