Meet the Artist……Rosie Whiting, pianist

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

Initially it was my older sister. She started taking piano lessons and we were very competitive so anything she did I did too! Then it was really my mother who encouraged me to continue. She took me all over the country for lessons and competitions and really invested a lot of time in my early musical career.
Who or what were the most important influences on your musical life and career?

I have been really lucky to study with the most incredible teachers and they have definitely influenced the direction of my career. My teacher at the Purcell School, Carole Presland, had a fabulous career and ever since we met, I have always strived to have a career like hers. And then my current teacher Douglas Finch really nurtured my love of contemporary music. We have been working together now for 5 years and he has really been an invaluable source of encouragement and inspiration.

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

All the knock backs I have had. There were many people who told me that I wasn’t good enough so I will always be grateful to those who have had faith in me!

Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?

I am very proud of my latest performance at the 1901 Arts Club. It really took a lot of pain and suffering to get there and I feel I really gave the audience something new and special. Shortly after that I recorded some Chopin Preludes which have turned out really well so I am very proud of them!

Which particular works do you think you play best?

Contemporary works are definitely my thing. I love compositions by my teacher, Douglas Finch. I have performed his work Preludes and Afterthoughts quite a lot recently and it is just the most fun! The more obscure the better!

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

It depends on what I have got going on further down the line. I listen a lot. I do, to some extent, go out of my way to find the weird and wonderful pieces that people don’t hear so much. I like to bring something new to the performance platform with every concert I do. I also get asked by composers to perform their works also, which is always a privilege.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

The 1901 Arts Club is just phenomenal. It is the most intimate and friendly venue in London. It’s a different kind of concert there. Audience members talk to each other and as a performer you really feel like you are performing to a room full of friends, even though you maybe don’t know a soul!

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?

That’s a very difficult question. I like to perform all pieces. Performing is just too much fun to not enjoy performing everything! Chamber music is particularly enjoyable. I work with a violinist and we have had particular fun performing Schnittke – Violin Sonata No. 3. To listen to, always Argerich playing Prokofiev Piano Concerto no. 1.

Who are your favourite musicians?

So many it is difficult to pick! I love Pierre-Laurent Aimard, he is an inspiration. Argerich as well. I cannot live without her Prokofiev

What is your most memorable concert experience?

When Charles Rosen came to perform and give a master class at the Purcell School. I will never forget that day!

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

To enjoy what you are doing. I think a lot of musicians forget we are not only doing this for a job but out of choice. We made that choice because we love music. You can hear when people have forgotten to love their art.

What are you working on at the moment?

Takemitsu – Litany, Scriabin Fantasy in B Minor, Schnittke – Little Piano Pieces and Prokofiev Sarcasms.

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?

In 10 years’ time I would like to be doing something that makes me as happy as I am now.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Days off where I can practice, sit in the sun, read a good book and do everything at my leisure. Generally do all the things I never have time to do.

What is your most treasured possession?

My rabbit, Sausages. And my sanity (sometimes wavers!)

What do you enjoy doing most?

Practicing… sometimes… only when it goes well! I am a keen powerlifter so I really enjoy working out. Drinking copious amounts of tea with Mili Leitner, the violinist who I work with.

What is your present state of mind?

Stressed but excited about studying with Corey Hamm at the University of British Columbia in September!

British born pianist Rosie Whiting is a musician who likes to get under the skin of contemporary performance and bring something new to the performance platform. In every concert she performs the audience can be guaranteed of hearing something new and unexpected.

Rosie started playing the piano at the age of 7 after hearing her sister practice. In 2007 she won a place to study at the prestigious Purcell School of Music, with a full scholarship. Under the tutelage of Carole Presland she explored music from all the epochs and soon realised that her passion was with the contemporary repertoire.

In 2009 Rosie began to study with Douglas Finch at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London, and under his guidance immersed herself in modern music. During her time at Trinity, Rosie was able to work with many composers including Tansy Davies, Errollyn Wallen, John White and Mark Grey to name a few. Rosie graduated in 2013.

In 2013 Rosie was awarded first prize in the John Halford Competition for contemporary piano music for her performance of Boulez Piano Sonata No. 1 and Messiaen L’Alouette Lulu. She also made her concerto debut with a performance of Mozart Piano Concerto K. 449.