Tag Archives: 1901 Arts Club

pianist Anne Shingler

South London Concert Series Spring recital

“The South London Concert Series is innovative……..events blend an appreciation of fine music with conviviality”

The third concert in the South London Concert Series featured guest artist Anne Shingler, a vibrant and sensitive pianist whose programme reflected her wide-ranging musical tastes with music by Bach, Suk, Messiaen, Stevenson and Rodgers & Hammerstein. Anne was supported by performances by Jose Luis Gutierrez Sacristan, Edi Bilimoria and Lorraine Womack Banning, all members of the London Piano Meetup Group who play to an extremely high standard and who offered works by Ginastera, Brahms and Debussy. The programme was a musical travelogue, taking the audience from Argentina (Ginastera) to the Far East (Debussy’s evocative ‘Pagodes’) via Europe and America.

With a loyal band of “regulars”, who have been to every concert in the series so far, members of the London Piano Meetup Group, friends, family, supporters and music lovers, the atmosphere in the salon at the 1901 Arts Club was warm and convivial, while the after party was cheerful and noisy. All in all, this was very much an evening of music for friends, played by friends and amongst friends, confirming once again that the South London Concert Series offers a formula that works. The enthusiastic feedback from performers and audience more than endorsed this, and we are eagerly looking forward to the next concerts in the series, and to developing the SLCS concept further.

Forthcoming SLCS concerts:

3rd April – Emmanuel Vass at Brunswick House

BBC Music Magazine’s March “rising star” performs music by Bach, Liszt, Granados and Turina, together with his own transcriptions. Emmanuel is supported by Jose Luis Gutierrez Sacristan, Rob Foster and Lorraine Womack Banning, who will perform works by Bach, Chopin and Mozart. Ticket price includes a glass of Prosecco on arrival, and guests are invited to join the performers and hosts for dinner afterwards (not included in ticket price). Tickets here

16th May – ‘Eastern Accents’ at the 1901 Arts Club

Vatche Jambazian is the guest artist for an SLCS concert with a special accent on music from eastern Europe and Russia. Vatche will be supported by SLCS co-founders Lorraine Liyanage and Frances Wilson, LPMG member Jennie Barham and violinist Alex Ewan. Music by Shostakovich, Ustvolskaya (a student of Shostakovich), Khatchaturian, Szymanowski, Biber, and Rachmaninov. This is the final concert of the SLCS 2013/14 season. Tickets here

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South London Concert Series

London Piano Meetup Group

1901 Arts Club

South London Concert Series with Emmanuel Vass

Emmanuel Vass

Emmanuel Vass

The 2014 season of the South London Concert Series (SLCS) got off to a rollicking start with a sell out concert on Friday 24th January, featuring guest artist Emmanuel Vass. Described by The Independent as “one to watch”, Emmanuel, or Manny to his friends, is a rising star and with a deal with ClassicFM to promote his debut CD ‘From Bach to Bond’, the omens are good for this young Filipino/Yorkshire pianist.

The format of the event was the same as our launch concert: a guest recital of around 35 minutes, bookended by performances by “supporting artists” (we have dropped the moniker “amateur” because so many of our amateur pianists play to a very high level – and last night was no exception). And now that we have already run one successful event, the second one seemed much easier in comparison; in fact, the event basically ran itself. It helped that the bar at the beautiful and intimate 1901 Arts Club was open before the concert, which allowed guests to have a drink and socialise while the performers warmed up downstairs. And as an added benefit, which contributed to the convivial atmosphere, patrons were allowed to take their drinks into the music salon.

The concert was opened by Marina, an amateur pianist and violinist who works in financial services, playing an Etude in G minor by Moszkowski. This proved a lively opener, which caught the audience’s attention. Julie, a piano teacher from Surrey, took to the stage next, with Gershwin’s evergreen standard ‘The Man I love’, which had a lovely romantic lilt. Then it was time for our headline performer, Manny, who introduced his programme engagingly before launching into the bright and haughty first movement of Bach’s popular Italian Concerto. The middle part of his programme was all Spanish, an exotic Orgia by Turina and a sensuous Secreto by Mompou. Manny rounded off his performance with his witty and luxuriant James Bond Concert Etude, complete with Lisztian fiorituras and some vertiginous cadenzas, all of which were applauded very enthusiastically by the audience.

From Bach to Bond and then back to Bach with Alan’s measured and elegant performance of the Prelude & Fugue in C# from the first book of the Well-Tempered Clavier. The concert closed with a piece by Japanese composer Kozaburo Hirai called Sakura Sakura, which translates as Cherry Blossom, appropriately. Performed by Kyoko, it was atmospheric and arresting.

In keeping with the nineteenth-salon atmosphere of both event and venue, most of the audience retired to the upstairs bar and sitting room where the conversation grew louder as more Prosecco was consumed. It was lovely to chat to friends, old and new, and to be amongst so many music lovers and piano fans. Manny signed copies of his CDs and charmed everyone. The stalwarts amongst us then proceeded to the pub, where the conversation continued…..

The Spring edition of the South London Concert Series is on 21st March, featuring guest artist Anne Shingler, and a limited number of tickets are available.

Tickets are now on sale for our May event. Entitled ‘Eastern Accents’, it has a distinctly Russian flavour and includes music by Shostakovich, Ustvolskaya, Szymanowski and Stanchinsky, performed by Armenian-Australian pianist Vatche Jambazian, myself and Lorraine Liyanage. Buy tickets

Future SLCS concerts feature Angelo Villani and Daniel Roberts, and a new concert format ‘Notes&Notes’, in which a guest artist will give a short recital with talk. Full details on the South London Concert Series website. There is also the opportunity to hear Emmanuel again in a solo concert at a unique London venue. Again, details are on the SLCS website.

The South London Concert Series launches at the 1901 Arts Club

“a wonderful range of repertoire in this most intimate of venues”

“proactive and inspiring”

“Enjoyable time travel at the 1901 Arts Club: The venue was perfect.  It transported us back a century or so to the salons of the late 19th century.  Even the subdued lighting contributed to the effect.  Then the performers gave us a fascinating, varied programme of piano music which again whizzed us from the 18th century back to the present day.  The playing was of an excellent standard, and the pre- and post-concert atmosphere warm and convivial.  Highly recommended.”

On a windy Friday evening at the end of November, a group of pianists, piano fans and music lovers gathered in the gold and scarlet salon of the 1901 Arts Club, an intimate and stylish venue close to London’s Waterloo Station, for the launch of a unique new concert series.

Conceived by pianist, harpsichordist and piano teacher Lorraine Liyanage, and hosted and curated by Lorraine and myself, the South London Concert Series (SLCS) developed out of the London Piano Meetup Group, which we co-host. We are both passionate advocates of amateur pianism, and we wanted to give adult amateur pianists the opportunity to perform in a formal concert setting on a really beautiful piano (a Steinway C). But that is only half the story: we also wanted to give young and emerging professional artists exposure and support as they embark on a performing career. So we wondered what it would be like to place professionals and amateurs in the same concert format. Our first guest recitalist was Helen Burford, a Brighton-based pianist with a keen interest in contemporary British and American repertoire and an unerring ability to create exciting programmes with unusual musical juxtapositions.

Any anxieties about this new concert concept were soon dispelled when the first performer, Mark Zarb-Adami, stepped up to play two stormy and passionate Preludes by Karol Szymanowski. This was followed by the first movement of Mozart’s Piano Sonata K576, played with conviction and some sensitive articulation and shading by Emma Heseltine. Then it was the turn of Helen, our guest artist, whose programme lasting approximately 35 minutes combined the sensuality of Chick Corea’s Three Piano Improvisations with the powerfully haunting Incarnation II by Japanese composer Somei Satoh, an elegantly romantic reading of a Sonata by Scarlatti, the industrial sounds of Martin Butler’s Rumba Machine, and ended with the exuberance of David Rakowski’s Etude: A Gliss is Just a Gliss. In a nice gesture, Emmanuel Vass, guest performer at the second SLCS concert in January 2014, presented Helen with a bouquet, before Susan Pickerill played works by J C F Bach and Stephen Heller. The final performance was by Daniel Roberts, a young professional pianist who will also feature in as a guest recitalist in a later concert in the series. He played a work by his teacher, the maverick pianist and teacher Peter Feuchtwanger. Subtitled “study no. 4 in an Eastern idiom”, Tariqa 1 recalls the harmonies and timbres of Middle Eastern instruments, in particular the santur, an Iranian dulcimer.

Throughout the concert, the audience listened attentively and applause was given enthusiastically for every performer. The immediate reaction from audience members after the concert was praise for the venue, its decor and its unique ambiance – like enjoying music in your own home – and the unusual repertoire choices, which created an interesting and contrasting programme. This is, in fact, the other unique selling point of the SLCS: we actively encourage people to play lesser-known and/or rarely-played repertoire, which one is unlikely to encounter in mainstream concert venues.

The elegant upstairs bar and sitting room at the 1901 Arts Club was available for the exclusive use of performers, audience and hosts, and we enjoyed a very cheerful and noisy post-concert reception, enlivened by Prosecco, the positive feedback from audience and performers, and the feeling that we have created something rather special. A short concert (60 mins) of varied and unusual repertoire in an accessible format combined with the opportunity to meet the performers and socialise with other music lovers seems just about perfect, but perhaps the best part was the poise and conviction with which the “amateur” pianists played, their performances fitting in perfectly with Helen’s recital in the middle of the concert. It was an extremely enjoyable, stimulating and successful launch to what we hope will be a long-running series of concerts.

The first SLCS concert of 2014 with Emmanuel Vass is already sold out. Further concerts take place in March, May, July and September. Full details of upcoming events are on the SLCS website. Visit our dedicated Facebook page for more content, including photographs and soundclips, and follow us on Twitter – @SLConcerts.

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Lorraine and I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the launch of the SLCS, from performers and audience to our media partners, friends, family and many other supporters.

helenburford.com

danielrobertsmusic.com

Concert review: Yoon Chung at 1901 Arts Club

The delightful 1901 Arts Club, tucked away down a side street close to Waterloo Station, seems just about ideal for intimate chamber recitals, and the perfect retreat on a cold November evening to enjoy a superior concert of music by Brahms and Schubert played by Korean/British pianist Yoong Chung.

The concert marked the launch of Yoon’s first CD of late piano works by Schubert, the Sonata in C minor D958 and the Drei Klavierstücke D946, which formed the main part of the programme, but the evening commenced with Brahms’ Albumblatt (“album leaf”), a short work which was only discovered in 2011. Sensitively played, a simple singing melody over a rippling bass line, it was an appropriate opening piece for an evening of music written for the salon, to be played amongst friends.

Schubert’s Drei Klavierstücke (literally “piano pieces” – the title was given by Brahms on the publication of these pieces) are sometimes also termed “impromptus”, and each expresses perfectly the sense of the word: spontaneous and extempore. Composed during 1828, that annus mirabilis of output for Schubert and only a few months before his death, they are rich in contrasts, colours and moods, and Yoon was alert to the shifting characters and improvisatory nature of these pieces. His opening of the second Klavierstück was particularly tender and lyrical, its tempo relaxed and elegant, and a reminder that Schubert was a composer of songs. Throughout, tasteful pedalling, limpid sound, clarity of expression, precise articulation, and convincing use of tempo rubato, all underpinned by solid technique and musical understanding, made for an extremely satisfying performance.

The Sonata in C minor, D958, is the most portentous of Schubert’s last three piano sonatas and also the most overtly “Beethovenian”, not least in its use of Beethoven’s “favourite” key, C minor, and the darkly dramatic opening statements of the first movement. Once again, we were treated a performance of great transparency, profound expression and sensitivity to Schubert’s writing, and while some purists may not approve of Yoon’s use of rubato here, as in the earlier pieces, I found his account wholly convincing and refreshingly imaginative. This was not surface artifice but a performance founded on clear purpose and musicality. It was the best Schubert I have heard all year.

After a rollicking Rachmninov encore, we retired to the elegant upstairs bar and sitting room at the 1901 for prosecco and convivial conversation, much in the manner of Schubert and his friends in the 1820s. It was a pleasure to meet Yoon, and two of his former teachers.

The same expression, clarity and precision is evident on his CD, all tastefully packaged with a minimalist monochrome design and attractive slipcase. For further information about the CD, please visit Yoon’s website

My Meet the Artist interview with Yoon Chung

1901 Arts Club

 

Meet the Artist……Yoon Chung, pianist

Yoong Chung performs at The Forge Camden on Sunday 23rd March. Further details here

Who or what inspired you to take up the piano and make it your career?

My parents were given a piano as a wedding present so it was a natural step for me to try the piano. Fortunately, (or, some might say, unfortunately) I took to it and liked it immediately.

Who or what were the most important influences on your playing?

I owe a great deal to my teachers:  Maria Curcio and Mark Swartzentruber for their guidance in my formative years in London, Benjamin Frith for his passion, Joaquin Achucarro for his discipline, Ferenc Rados for opening my mind.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

Finding a happy balance.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in?

Wigmore Hall is pretty special.

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?

I could happily play Brahms and Beethoven all day long.

Who are your favourite musicians?

Richter, Gilels, Haskil, Horowitz, Argerich and Schiff, to name but a few. I have also heard staggeringly beautiful recordings of Lili Kraus and Annie Fischer recently.

What is your most memorable concert experience?

Performing in the cloister of Sant’Andrea Apostolo in Amalfi. It was utterly magical.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

Honesty and truth.

What are you working on at the moment?

Schubert for my presentation recital, Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ Concerto for my debut in Seoul and Brahms for my next recording project next year.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Not to have any worries. Alternatively, a good, leisurely breakfast.

Korean/British pianist Yoon Chung will give recitals at the 1901 Arts Club (19th November) and The Forge (23rd March 2014), London, and make his debut with the KBS Symphony in Seoul next year.

His first recording, Schubert: Late Piano Works, is released in November.

Pianist Yoon Chung is a versatile musician and has performed throughout Europe, America and the Far East.  His London appearances include the Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre, Kings Place, St. John’s Smith Square and St. James’ Piccadilly.  He has been broadcast in France, Japan, Korea and America.  Born in Seoul, Korea, Yoon spent his formative years in London under the tutelage of Maria Curcio and Mark Swartzentruber and was an ABRSM postgraduate scholar at the Royal Northern College of Music.  Further studies were undertaken in America and Hungary under Joaquìn Achùcarro and Ferenc Rados.  Yoon is a founder member of Trio Andante and currently resides in London.

Yoon Chung’s full biography

www.yoonchung.co.uk

The South London Concert Series

At the risk of sounding pre-emptive, it looks as if the South London Concert Series is going to be a roaring success before anyone has even set foot inside the venue and played a single note…… It’s just under a month to the launch of the concert series which I created with my friend and piano teaching colleague Lorraine Liyanage, and we have already sold all the tickets.

manny

The series developed out of the London Piano Meetup Group, which Lorraine and I launched in May 2013, and its raison d’être is to offer support and inspiration to adult amateur and semi-professional pianists by giving them the opportunity to perform in a formal concert setting alongside professional artists. The 1901 Arts Club was chosen as the venue for the concerts: its intimate atmosphere and decor, redolent of a 19th-century salon, and fine Steinway C grand piano seems just about perfect for small-scale concerts. After the recital, guests will have exclusive use of the elegant upstairs bar and sitting room at the club.

As far as we know, our concept is unique and it has been enthusiastically received by professional and amateur musicians, and music lovers alike. We have performers booked through 2014 and we are already making plans for our 2014-15 season. If someone had asked me at the beginning of 2013 whether I imagined I would be launching a concert series, and taking on the role of impresario, I might have laughed, but Lorraine’s entrepreneurial and adventurous spirit, our shared love of all things piano and a wish to encourage amateur pianists and to support young and emerging professional artists, make our exciting plans seem entirely possible. It will certainly be very interesting to see how things develop over the coming year.

Tickets are now on sale for the first SLCS concert of 2014, on 24th January. Our guest artist is Emmanuel Vass, a prize-winning graduate of the RNCM and rising star. Emmanuel, or Manny, will play a programme of music by J S Bach and lesser-known Spanish composers, and a work inspired by the iconic music of the James Bond films. Four amateur pianists will perform in the same concert in a mixture of repertoire. Tickets are by application only: please contact me via this blog or at southlondonconcerts@gmail.com to apply for tickets.

Read more about the series and how it developed in an article I wrote for Jessica Duchen’s Classical Music Blog.

Concerts in 2014
24 January 2014: Emmanuel Vass
21 March 2014: Anne Shingler
16 May 2014: Vatche Jambazian
July 2014: Adwoa Dickson (singer)
September 2014: Daniel Roberts
November 2014: Angelo Villani

Twitter: @SLConcerts

 

Press coverage of the South London Concert Series

IMG_2017

The exciting new South London Concert Series launches on 29th November at the 1901 Arts Club, and we are delighted by the amount of interest in the series already, including a guest post (by me) on writer and music journalist Jessica Duchen’s widely-read classical music blog. We will also have a feature article in the next issue of ‘Pianist’ magazine, who are our media partners for the concert series.

Click the links to read more:

Pianist Magazine

Guest post for Jessica Duchen’s Classical Music Blog

Planet Hugill (Robert Hugill’s classical music blog)

Concert review: Kimiko Ishizaka at the 1901 Arts Club

Just five minutes from Waterloo Station is the splendid 1901 Arts Club, an elegant venue that seeks to recreate the “salon culture” of 19th-century Europe. The building, a former schoolmaster’s house built in 1901, retains its late Victorian exterior, while inside the richly-decorated rooms suggest a private home. There is a comfortable upstairs sitting room and bar, and an intimate recital area downstairs, with a medium-sized Steinway piano set against a backdrop of gold swags and tails. The staff are welcoming and friendly, and the whole ambience is that of a private concert in your own home. It made for a very unique experience of the first book of J S Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, performed by Japanese pianist Kimiko Ishizaka.

Ms Ishizaka is on a mission to bring Bach to the people and to make his wonderful music accessible to everyone. Her Open Goldberg Variations, a crowd-funded (via Kickstarter), non-profit project that created a high-quality recording, typeset score and iPad app all free to download, is a fine example of her democratic approach.

Bach composed his Well-Tempered Clavier “for the profit and use of musical youth desirous of learning, and especially for the pastime of those already skilled in this study”, in effect the forty-eight Preludes and Fugues are technical studies or Etudes, and were probably never intended to be performed as concert pieces. But in the years since their publication, the “48″ as they are also called, have come to be regarded as some of the finest writing for keyboard. The works offer great variety of styles, structure, textures, colours, and moods, all of which Ms Ishizaka demonstrated in her performance.

In a concert lasting nearly two hours (with an interval), we experienced a committed and intense performance in which Ms Ishizaka highlighted the shifting moods and soundscapes of Bach’s writing. A serene opening Prelude in C Major (the most famous of the entire 48) launched us on a journey of discovery through dances and chorales (D minor and B-flat minor Preludes), joy and yearning (C-sharp major and F minor Preludes), sunshine and sadness (D major and C-sharp minor Preludes), seriousness and serenity (E mjaor and C minor Preludes). Ms Ishizaka eschewed the pedal throughout, though not through any wish to present a historically authentic performance. Rather, she did not need it: her superior legato technique created some exquisite cantabile playing, especially in the slow movements, while sprightly passagework and lively tempi gave the suggestion of the harpsichord in the rapid movements. Her sense of counterpoint was well-defined in the Fugues, with clear lines and distinct voices.

Ms Ishizaka is not afraid of robust fortes, perhaps sometimes too robust for the size of the venue, but overall her dynamic range was varied and colourful. There was judicious use of rubato in the Preludes, and some rather fine highlighting of dissonances and unusual harmonies, showing the forward pull of Bach’s musicial vision. Although a rather long evening of music, it was a fine lesson in Bach’s compositional thought, presented in an elegant and powerful performance.

Kimiko Ishizaka’s Meet the Artist interview

Open Goldberg Variations project

1901 Arts Club

Meet the Artist……Kimiko Ishizaka

Kimiko Ishizaka

Who or what inspired you to take up the piano, and make it your career? 

The inspiration to play piano came to me at the age of four when my mother first placed my tiny hands on the keyboard and pushed my fingers down with hers, thus teaching me the first piece I learned, the Minuet BWV 114 from Anna Magdalena’s Notebook, which at that time we still believed to be a piece by J.S. Bach. I say inspiration, but really it was a decision: a decision, that I would be a pianist, which was probably made before I was born.

The more interesting moment in time is the point at which I actually embraced my future and identity as a pianist. Certain experiences in my life, which began at university, contributed to my actively making the decision to become a musician for myself: the first time I really connected with an audience as a soloist (my early years were dominated by chamber music); having success at sports; learning a second language: these are all things that I needed to experience before I could embrace fully embrace the decision to be a pianist.

Who or what were the most important influences on your playing/composing? 

Everybody’s playing is a conglomerate of personal experience, and memories. I cannot name any single influence. However, there are many small clues that added up over time to lead me down a road of exploration that eventually allowed me to find my own voice as a pianist.

My experience as a weight lifter taught me that the millimetre matters, that a small change in the shift of your balance can mean the difference between success and failure. Also, my music school professor, Roswitha Gediga, would admonish me to relax my shoulders, to get to the bottom of the keys, and would demonstrate this to me in my lessons.

Those experiences and memories led me to deeply explore the physical aspect of my playing. And in the sanctity of my practice room, with the requisite time for exploration, I’ve looked at my playing and progressively learned about the physical mechanics of piano technique. You can’t do that type of exploration when you’ve got one 70-page chamber piece to get through after the next, where you really can’t ever find the time to get into the detail of each motion.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far? 

Every new piece that a pianist learns is a great challenge. It’s never the same set of problems twice, but this is a good thing, really. It keeps it fresh.

One challenge came at the point when I stopped playing in the chamber ensemble that occupied the first 17 years of my career. We had been playing up to 50 concerts a year and that number pretty much went to zero for me overnight when we quit. So while it was a profound change in the rhythm of my life, it afforded me the space and peace to finally embrace my identity as a pianist and make it my own.

Which performances and recordings are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my recent solo recording from the Open Goldberg Variations project that completely occupied the last two years of my life. It was a large project that involved many more people than just myself, and we produced something that is truly new and beautiful.

The recording of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations is now in the public domain, as is the new engraving of the score of the piece, which I assisted in editing. People can get this recording directly from the Open Goldberg website – www.opengoldbergvariations.org – and enjoy the full freedom of a public domain work. That means you can download it, share it, and even use it as the starting point for new creative works.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in? 

Any hall with a Bösendorfer and an attentive audience.

I recently played in the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport, Massachusetts. The hall features a window behind the performer that looks out over the ocean. I liked that quite a bit because as I was warming up during the day, all sorts of birds were swimming in the water right below me.

There are some halls on my wish list as well. From the photographs I imagine that it is divine playing in the Snape Maltings Concert Hall in Suffolk.

In the end, music is this ephemeral thing with a very strange heartbeat of its own. When it’s a good performance, the music is all that matters. So whether it’s a large audience or small, whether the piano is working with you or against you, and whether the hall is resonant or dull, the pianist only has the music to think about in every case.

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to? 

Music is a very personal thing. I recently performed a concert that was half Bach and half Chopin. It was interesting to me after the concert to listen to the audience members debating amongst themselves whether the Bach part or the Chopin part was the better, more enjoyable half.

Just like the audience at that concert, I have my personal preferences. I seek out the pieces that speak to me in the most profound way. The piano repertoire is very large, and there is far too much for anybody to play in a lifetime. So I have focused on a few composers to whom I have the closest relationship. This includes Bach, Schubert, Debussy, and more recently, Chopin. This is something that will certainly continue to evolve.

Who are your favourite musicians?

There are many, of course, though I don’t listen to recordings nearly as much as one would expect. One of the most inspiring concerts I’ve attended recently was Radu Lupu performing Schubert and Schumann in Amsterdam.

What is your most memorable concert experience? 

When I was 11, the trio I played in with my brothers debuted at the Sogakudo Concert Hall in Tokyo. At the time all three of us played both piano and a string instrument – mine was the violin. We played every combination of violin, cello, and piano music possible, including 6-handed piano.

What I remember distinctly was the audience’s extreme enthusiasm for what we had done. Many of them had brought flowers, and they placed the bouquets on the stage as we played successive encores. By the end there were over 30 bouquets, and this made a strong impression on me as a child.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians? 

Be yourself. Attending your 20th masterclass won’t make you any smarter than the 19th did. Study the music, the actual piece. Not someone’s analysis of it, or the composer’s life, or the 10 other pieces that were written at the same time. The piece is supposed to stand by itself, and it’s got its own message, but you need to take the time to find it.

What are you working on at the moment? 

I am preparing to make a studio recording of Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier, Book One. The upcoming concert at the 1901 Arts Club in London is part of my preparation. I hope to go to the studios in January 2014. Before then there will be a period of fund raising, using Kickstarter.com, which will likely take place in September – November 2013.

What do you enjoy doing most? 

Taking walks in the fresh snow. When the snow and ice go crunch under my feet I experience an advanced elevated state of happiness that cannot be equalled by anything.

German-born Japanese pianist Kimiko Ishizaka performs the first book of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier at the 1901 Arts Cub, London on Wednesday 30th January. Further information and tickets here

The Open Goldberg Project

Kimiko Ishizaka’s biography