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

I remember hearing a tape recording of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony in my dad’s car when I was very young, and I simply could not believe how good it was. I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t being played on every radio station! The result of this exposure was that I began to experiment at an old Blüthner piano that we had in my house at the time, and soon began taking lessons with a private teacher when I was about 8 or so. And with regard to making it my career, I think composing and performing has always been such an all-consuming interest for me that I didn’t have a choice!

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

If I were to narrow it down to a list of three pianists, they would be Sviatoslav Richter, Murray Perahia and Krystian Zimerman. Richter for his notational precision and incomparable technique, Perahia for his extraordinary clarity, and Zimerman for his delicate phrase endings. I also admire them for their naturalness and dedication to live performance.

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

I suppose one of the main challenges is that very often people tend to think of classical music as a genre or style of music, which it isn’t. I try to encourage people to both appreciate the vastness of the term, which covers many extremely diverse approaches to music making across hundreds of years, and to discover a style period that they find musically engaging, which they inevitably will if they are a curious person and maintain an open mind. I am also a staunch believer that you do not require years of music training to appreciate and enjoy classical music, and this is something else I try to communicate.

What are the particular challenges/excitements of working with an orchestra/ensemble?

I did a recording of some compositions of mine with an ensemble that I brought together last March, and really enjoyed the experience. Irish traditional music represents a major stylistic influence in my work, and so a large part of the instrumentation featured for the recording was traditional instruments such as the Uilleann Pipes, Button Accordion and Irish Harp. I found it very stimulating to work with authentic players from a completely different musical background to my own, and learnt a lot from them, especially with regard to the improvisatory ornamentation that is such an indispensible feature of Irish music.

Do you have a favourite concert venue?

I think the most attractive venue I’ve ever played was the Oak Room in the Mansion House in Dublin. It’s a small, intimate room that seats around 100 or so, with two spectacular chandeliers, as well as an oak-panelled wall decorated with the coat of arms of every Lord Mayor of Dublin since Daniel O’Connell.

Who are your favourite musicians?

A musician that I really admire is Keith Jarrett. His improvisations are always imaginative and evince a wide range of musical sources. And not only is he one of the outstanding improvisers in contemporary Jazz, he is also an accomplished classical performer, and is seemingly just as comfortable playing classical repertoire. Check out his harpsichord recording of Bach’s C-sharp minor Prelude and Fugue (Book 2 of the WTC) on YouTube to see what he is capable of. I copied out this fugue a few years back, and am familiar with many of the technical intricacies as a result; Jarrett absolutely nails them.

What is your most memorable concert experience?

Finishing out the last of my cycle of 12 Études at a concert I gave in July as part of the “10 Days in Dublin” arts festival. It had been a hectic few weeks leading up to the concert, and I had been feverishly working to get all of the music composed on time. I was worried that I had tried to fit in too much in too short a space to time for my brain to subconsciously process everything, and that as soon as I went on stage to play it would all somehow conspire against me. But the first few went reasonably well, and gradually I began to ease into the performance. And then suddenly there I was, with 11 behind me, and it really felt like I had reached the home stretch.

I had been aware during the composition of this last piece that I was not drawing 1 isolated piece to a close, but rather a cycle of 12 pieces. I tried to reflect this sense of gravity technically through the use extensive dramatic pauses in juxtaposition with a sparse, monophonic texture, both of which are salient features of the Sean-Nós singing tradition that inspired much of the cycle. This economy of material lent itself well for improvisation, and allowed me to be spontaneous in the closing moments of the concert in a manner that would have been much harder to achieve if I had continued to compose in strict polyphony.

What is your favourite music to play? To listen to?

I enjoy playing and listening to lots of different styles of music from lots of different periods. Recently I’ve been listening to Handel’s Oratorios a lot, Fantasias by Sweelinck, as well as the Bossa Nova album “Getz/Gilberto”. I hate to use the word eclectic, so I won’t use it.

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

For musicians generally, try seek self-reward through intrinsic improvements in your craft, rather than improvements in ranking against your competitors.

For performers, when practicing, aim to isolate and focus on the technical and musical areas where you are weakest, and keep run-throughs of an entire piece to a bare minimum.

For composers, firstly try to accumulate a wide array of knowledge about style periods and their composers, secondly compose in imitation of the style of some of these composers, and lastly try to express your own voice and creativity through this absorbed knowledge of craft.

What are you working on at the moment?

I have just finished composing a set of 3 Continuo Songs, which I wrote as a part of collaboration with a friend of mine, Conor Leahy, who is a very talented poet. The songs vary somewhat in style; the Sean-Nós influence is still there, but the continuo harmonies are infused with exotic jazz chords and Bossa Nova-style rhythms. I’m very excited about the project, and we’re getting some of the members of the Trinity Orchestra on board for the performance. Keep an eye out for updates by following Louis Ryan Music on Facebook, or alternatively @louisryanmusic on twitter.

Louis Ryan is a 22-year-old professional composer and pianist based in Dublin. He has just completed a B.A. in music at Trinity College Dublin, where he specialised in composition and attained 1st class hons. Other relevant qualifications include a Licentiateship in piano performance held with Trinity Guildhall School of Music in London, as well as winning 1st place and a prize of 1,000 Euros in an inter-varsity piano competition at the Lord Mayor’s house in Dublin in November 2011. He has given several public recitals across Dublin, the most recent of which was given as part of the 10 Days in Dublin arts festival in the Royal Irish Academy of Music, where he premiered his cycle of 12 Études for solo piano. All 12 are now posted and available to watch on YouTube (see attached links below).

Further videos in the series can be viewed here


A selection of my favourite Christmas music, in no particular order

Corelli – Concerto Grosso No.8 “Christmas Concerto” in G Minor, Op.6: III. Adagio – Allegro – Adagio

Joubert – Torches, Op. 7a

Rutter – Adam lay y-bounden

Britten – There Is No Rose

Cornelius – The Three Kings

Traditional – Myn Lyking

Traditional – Personent Hodie – carol 14th c. Germany. Words from Piae Cantiones, 1582 – Arr. Holst

Rutter – Sans Day Carol, ‘Now the holly bears a berry’ (Traditional English Carol, arr. Rutter)

The Sixteen – Messiah – Chorus – For Unto Us a Child Is Born

Best wishes for the holiday season. Cross-Eyed Pianist will be back in 2013.

John Mills, violinist

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

No one individual directly; we were asked in school assembly if we would like to learn the violin and I said yes. Still not sure why! Over time I realised I couldn’t imagine doing anything else and threw myself into it. I was quite a late starter so I felt I had some catching up to do.

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

At the start of my career it was my teacher at music college, Rodney Friend. He showed me that any problem can be overcome quickly and easily, he taught me to be my own teacher. He also gave me the confidence to enter a highly competitive environment.

In the profession, working with the English Chamber Orchestra shaped my approach to different kinds of repertoire. It was immediately apparent that it was an orchestra who knew how it wanted to play classical repertoire and beyond. This made it very easy to fit in with and assimilate this stylistic approach.

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

Time management! When you have a lot of work, preparation at home to do and admin/planning/promotion etc. time becomes a valuable commodity. You quickly learn to do all of these things faster.

Which performances/compositions/recordings are you most proud of?

With the ECO there have been many occasions over the years, often tours as you have the opportunity to develop performances over time. We toured Germany at the end of last year, by the end of the tour we were playing a mean Britten Frank Bridge Variations!

I also had the opportunity to lead the orchestra at Kings Place this year where I thought the orchestra sounded terrific.

With my group the Tippett Quartet I’m very proud of our Bernard Herrmann recording for Signum.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in?

This depends on the repertoire and so the size of the orchestra. When it’s the ensemble you simply can’t beat Wigmore Hall. Kings Place also sounds great and is a welcome addition to London’s venues. Our home at Cadogan Hall is a really good venue and an appropriate size for the repertoire we play. A lot of the best halls are out of London though; personal favourites are Symphony Hall Birmingham, The Sage Gateshead and the Royal Concert Hall in Perth.

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?

With ECO I have a list! Bartok Divertimento, Britten Frank Bridge Variations, Strauss Le Bourgeoise Gentilhomme, any symphony by Beethoven or Mozart…

On a smaller scale, Schubert string quintet, string quartet Death and the Maiden, anything by Mendelssohn but specifically string quartets Op. 12 & 13 and late Beethoven.

Who are your favourite musicians?

I’ll restrict this to people who have worked with ECO recently or the list is endless! Isabelle Faust, Plamena Mangova, Sergie Krylov, Marianna Thorsen, Lawrence Power and ECO’s own Stephanie Gonley!

What is your most memorable concert experience?

I suffer from a terrible memory and after about a month most things start to blend in together. However, there are a few dates that linger in the memory for different reasons: my first ECO date I was at the back of the 2nd violins and there wasn’t room on stage for me in the piano concerto! I turned pages… We played in Eisenstadt a few years ago where Stephanie played Haydn C major violin concerto in the home of Haydn live on radio. She turned an average piece into a masterpiece. My first concert leading the orchestra is also a very fond memory.

With the quartet it is playing Beethoven Op. 131 in Wigmore Hall.

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

The most important thing is that they love doing it, you can work on the rest. In our field, it is harder than ever to make a living as pay and opportunity have dropped dramatically over the years while competition is now global. Loving what you do gets you through the frustrations and helps you stay creative. With the right perspective, we can view ourselves as very lucky people doing what we love, otherwise it becomes just a job, a grind with few benefits.

What are you working on at the moment?

ECO has a little time off after Grange Park Opera at the moment so it’s mostly my own projects. I’m listening to edits of a forthcoming Rozsa string quartets disc for Naxos with my group the Tippett Quartet. I recently played a very last minute Elgar violin concerto for the 1st time; chastened by the experience I’m getting in some early preparation for a Glazunov concerto that I’m playing with Bath Symphony Orchestra in November. It’s a work I’ve played twice before but as I mentioned earlier, time management!

What is your most treasured possession?

I always feel the real value of a possession is the pleasure you get from using it rather than the possession itself, so a qualified entry here. I don’t actually own my violin but have had it on loan for 7 years now. It has been an amazing journey as I have learnt to play it and it has changed out of recognition over the years. At nearly 300 years old you could forgive it for being stuck in its ways, but we have both adapted to each other remarkably.

John Mills began studying the violin in Southampton in 1990 and in 1996 he gained a place at the Hampshire Specialist Music Course and joined the National Youth Orchestra. Two years later John gained a place at the Royal College of Music where he studied as a scholar under professor Rodney Friend, one of the great orchestral leaders, for five years. He also participated in master-classes with Hugh Bean CBE, Ida Haendel and Zvi Zeitlin. He became a ‘Making Music’ (National Federation of Music Societies) recommended artist in 2003-2004.

John is well known as a chamber musician and is the leader of the highly acclaimed Tippett Quartet, performing, and broadcasting widely across the UK and worldwide. He has recorded extensively with the quartet for EMI, Naxos, Signum, Classic FM, Dutton and Guild record labels.

John is the co-leader of the English Chamber Orchestra and is in demand as an orchestral leader, including a trial with the Bournmouth Symphony Orchestra and guest work with the London Mozart Players, Rambert Dance Company and others.

John is gaining a fine reputation as a soloist, performing and broadcasting the major violin concerti across the UK and abroad, including the Liszt Hall in Hungary and concerts in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, New Zealand. He has also appeared as soloist with the English Chamber Orchestra and will be appearing with them next year in a performance of the Bach Double violin concerto.

John Plays on a 1735 Januarius Gagliano violin.



An intriguing envelope, postmarked from Ireland, dropped through my letterbox this morning, a welcome change from the daily deluge of Christmas mail. The A4 sheet of text, which accompanied the enclosed CD, immediately caught my attention when I saw the name Joyce Hatto, and initially I misread the text, thinking I’d been sent a recording to review by one of the artists Joyce and her husband ripped off in the course of their great classical music scam.

Pianist Archie Chen with actress Maimie McCoy who plays Joyce Hatto (right) as a young woman
Pianist Archie Chen with actress Maimie McCoy who plays Joyce Hatto (right) as a young woman

In fact, the CD, a collection of works by Chopin, performed by pianist Archie Chen, relates to the upcoming BBC biopic of Joyce Hatto, Loving Miss Hatto. Written by Victoria Wood and starring Francesca Annis and Alfred Molina, the film will be aired on Sunday 23rd December on BBC One.

Archie Chen is indeed the pianist “behind the hands” –  in that he provides the music for the film, under the direction of the musical director Niall Byrne. Chen himself is the pianist playing in the film, and he was also charged with teaching the actress Maimie McCoy, who plays Joyce as a young woman, how to play convincingly for the camera. The challenge for Chen was to learn some of the most difficult works in the repertoire in a very short space of time. As Chen himself says of working on the film: “I’m in such a privileged position to be involved in this project……I really relished the challenge of learning the most fiendishly difficult Godowsky Studies…..The hardest part was putting in the mistakes!”.

The release of the film coincides with the launch of Chen’s new CD ‘Chopin’, which features some of the composer’s best loved works, including the Ballade No. 3, the Scherzo No. 2 in B-flat minor op. 31, and all of the Impromptus, as well as the B minor Sonata. The opening Impromptu, in A-flat major, is a joyful outpouring, Chen opting for a more relaxed tempo than some performers, with restrained rubato and a thoughtful middle section. The Ballade No. 3 is graceful and elegant, with tasteful rubato and an enjoyably lilting tempo, which calls to mind the chime of a carriage clock (perhaps on the mantelpiece at Nohant?). In the Scherzo, once again a more spacious tempo allows us to enjoy all the contrasting elements and drama of this work. Likewise in the Sonata, tempos are measured and well thought out, in particular in the final movement (marked Presto non Tanto, far too many pianists, in my opinion, take this movement at such a gallop many of the details of the music are lost). Clean and expressive playing throughout, coupled with considered tempos and spare use of rubato, make this a CD to enjoy over several listenings.

Archie Chen ‘Chopin’ is available on CD or as a download

Archie Chen’s website

An earlier article I wrote on Joyce Hatto

Whether or not to meticulously observe the exposition repeat in Schubert’s final sonata, the D960 in B-flat major, is a question which continues to trouble pianists, musicologists and listeners alike. The debate concerns aspects such as authenticity, personal taste, prevailing musical fashion, and timing. It has cropped up the press this autumn as British pianist Paul Lewis completes his cycle of Schubert’s sonatas, and has exercised myself, colleagues and other musical friends in discussion.

The opening bars of the first movement of Schubert's Sonata in B-flat Major D960
The opening bars of the first movement of Schubert’s Sonata in B-flat Major D960

When I first started learning the D960, the day my new piano arrived from Chappells in January 2007, I did not doubt the correctness of adhering to the score and repeating the exposition. Throughout my musical studies, I had been taught to trust the composer’s intentions, that composers know what they are doing, and that repeats are there for a reason.

In Baroque repertoire, sectional repeats are commonplace, often used to reinforce material and to offer soloist and/or ensemble the opportunity for some interesting extemporisation or ornamentation in the repeated material. At a recent harpsichord masterclass I attended at Handel’s House with some of my students and those of a teaching colleague, the harpsichordist, Claire Williams, encouraged students to experiment with different effects in repeats, such as using the upper manual of the harpsichord, or employing a lighter touch. Bach and his contemporaries would have expected and encouraged it.

In the piano sonatas of Mozart, for example, a repeat of the exposition in the first movement is often a reinforcing device, a reminder that this is a sonata, in Sonata Form (Exposition, Development, Recapitulation). And Mozart would have expected his keyboard player to offer some extemporisation – changes in dynamics, ornamentation and so forth – in a repeat. As musicologist, pianist and noted Mozart expert Robert Levin states:

“If you take a repeat, for instance, heaven forefend you should play exactly the same way you did before. It’s like telling somebody, ‘Look, if you could go back five years and relive your life would you change anything?’

Some people might say, ‘Nah, I think I basically did what I wanted to do,’ but a lot of people would say, ‘Oh boy. I can name you a dozen things that I would done differently.’ A piece of music is an almost cinematic opportunity to revisit a situation and reinterpret it.”

In a repeat of the exposition, the musical experience does not stay the same – there can never be a “straight repeat” because we are human and do not seek to replicate MIDI recordings – but the repeat of the same material helps the listener to assimilate the musical ideas expressed in the composition, and makes it easier to comprehend the structure of the piece.

In Schubert’s last sonatas, the repeat sign is written for an exceedingly long exposition, while the material of the exposition is repeated a third time in the recapitulation with little alteration. This has led some pianists to omit the exposition repeat in performance. But in the last Sonata (and, indeed in the penultimate Sonata, D959 in A), the first ending of the exposition contains unique material, leading the music back to the movement’s opening. If the music is performed without the repeat, this material is missed out completely as it does not appear in the second ending of the exposition (if one does not observe the repeat, one goes straight to the second time bar and thence to the development section). These bars contain striking material, which does not appear anywhere else in the piece, and is significantly different from the second ending. When the exposition ends a second time, Schubert introduces an extraordinary bridging section, three ethereal chords a single bar, which seem to come from somewhere else completely, and lead the music into darker, minor-key territory.

The first and second time bars at the end of the exposition
The first and second time bars at the end of the exposition

British-Hungarian pianist Andras Schiff feels that the omission of the exposition repeat is as “the amputation of a limb” (Schiff, “Schubert’s Piano Sonatas”), while Alfred Brendel declares the exposition repeats in the final two sonatas to be “unimportant”, that the transitional bars in the D960 are too unconnected to the rest of the movement, and that their omission actually contributes to the coherence of the piece. Brendel also states that “repeat marks must not be taken as orders to be automatically obeyed, as if the repeatable section were written out by the composer.” (“Schubert’s Last Sonatas: An Exchange”; Frisch and Brendel). But the last two sonatas have more than mere “repeat marks”: the bars of music specifically written out by the composer suggest that Schubert requires the repeat to be observed.

Personally, I have never doubted the inclusion of the exposition repeat, and it irritates me when I hear performances, either live or on disc, which omit it.

In reading reviews of live performances of Schubert’s last three sonatas, it strikes me that many pianists omit the exposition repeat/s simply to save time. Most concerts last around 90 minutes (plus interval); any longer and the audience starts to get restless, worrying about last trains etc. Critics, who praise the omission of the exposition repeat, are similarly impatient, presumably keen to get out of the Wigmore and into the pub before last orders! Played in its entirety, with all repeats intact (including in the third movement Scherzo), the D960 comes in at around 40 minutes.

Another issue which relates to this is the tempo of the first movement. It is marked Molto Moderato, and in some pianists’ hands (Richter), this can verge on Adagio! Moderato means “not rushing or dragging”, and Schubert also used the German term mässig, implying the calm flow of a measured allegro. A quick glance through Spotify of recordings of this work reveals that most versions which include the repeat come in at around 20 minutes; Richter’s is 25 minutes, which is verging on self-indulgent, while Pollini’s is 18 minutes. At this length, the opening movement of the D960 is as long as an entire sonata by Haydn or Beethoven.

It is customary to programme Schubert’s last three sonatas together, just as Beethoven’s last three are, to stress the interrelations between the three. The D958 and D959 are played in the first half of a concert, and the D960 after the interval. It can feel like a long haul for the audience, and one of the solutions to this problem is to shorten the programme by omitting repeats, mainly those of the opening movements’ expositions. However, it irks me when I read reviews of pianists such as Paul Lewis (a protégé of Brendel), who is completing his survey of Schubert’s piano and lieder music with performances of the final three sonatas, in which critics praise the omission of the repeat without outlining at least a little of the background to this ongoing debate. I feel that without the exposition repeat the audience is cheated of the opportunity to experience Schubert’s compositional intent, and the drama, which comes from the tension between the contrasting harmonies in the exposition, and the transition between exposition and development, is lost.

To my mind, a well-played opening movement of the D960, with repeat, need not feel unnecessarily long. The music has an spaciousness (its key and scale always calls to mind, for me, a great river charting its final course towards the sea) which is offset by a considered interpretation of the Molto Moderato marking. I particularly like Pires and Uchida in this work. I have enjoyed all three sonatas in a single concert, or the D960 on its own, preceded by one of the D899 Impromptus in a lunchtime recital at the Wigmore (Andreas Haefliger – repeat omitted!). Both programmes work equally well.

Here is Maria Joao Pires

Maria João Pires – Schubert : Piano Sonata No.21 in B flat major D960 : I Molto moderato

Tra Nguyen

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

I was growing up in Hanoi right after the war so taking up piano was not exactly my conscious decision, given the trying circumstances that we were all facing.  My father, though, was a violinist, a graduate from the Moscow Conservatory, had noticed that I had some musical abilities and was very persistent that I would take up an instrument. After my refusal to play the violin (too difficult !), he miraculously found a second-hand piano that I was much more happy to get on with. My father certainly had ignited the love for music that has become my close companion since.

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

I do find that most things are closely interconnected: human voice plays a substantial part in my understanding of sound – innate and comparative; literature helps me to understand the psychological architecture and the narrative sense of a music composition; visual arts inspire me to explore different spectrums and shapes of sound and, more importantly, the relationships with people in my life teach me to understand the emotional meaning of all the above.

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

The greatest challenge so far is to view what I love doing most as a career. I constantly struggle with this concept since certain things that are considered to be good for the ‘career’ nowadays can kill true creativity. We are living in an era where most things are expected or forced to happen instantly while the truth is ars longa, vita brevis.

Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?

I don’t have one that I am totally happy with – but when it happens that the music directs me, draws out unexpected things in concerts or in the recording studio, it feels quite good!

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in?

As long as there is an audience who wants  to listen, am in it.

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?

I love to play many things (not always from the solo repertoire) but performing the ‘Andante’ from Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto brings a deep sense of wonder. It feels very special to be a living part of such an ethereal sound world, breathing and creating it on spot with other musicians.

I listen all the time so on top of a very long list, can I have more Lully and Medtner’s songs?

Who are your favourite musicians?

There are so many musicians that I admire: Edwin Fischer, Clara Haskil, Henrich Neuhaus, Carlos Kleiber, Kathleen Ferrier are the first ones that came to mind. When you listen to these performers, music is what you hear first, not the “performance” nor “interpretation”.

What is your most memorable concert experience?

There are two: the first one is listening to Richter playing a Bach recital by candlelight in Moscow when I was a child. Time simply stopped. I hadn’t known until then that  such beauty existed.

Second is witnessing Sir Colin Davis conducting Sibelius Fifth Symphony in London:- in the finale, just a few seconds before the famous climax reached its height, he stepped back, stopped conducting altogether and let the musicians continue by themselves. That was a great gesture of trust and the result was that as if the music was set to be free, it  flew up and exploded into a firework of sounds and emotions – very moving.

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

For learning as well as performing: listen with your mind but see with your heart.

If you are a pianist, go out and make music with your fellow musicians: learning Schubert’s Winterreise is as important as learning Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier!

What are you working on at the moment?

A selection of piano sonatas for my upcoming recital at the Wigmore Hall:

Clementi Sonata in f sharp minor op.25 no.5

Schubert Sonata D664

Scriabin Sonata no.6 op.62

Chopin b minor sonata op.58

What is your most treasured possession?

My windows. I live in a small place but it is quite high so the far-reaching view keeps things in different prospective. The ever-changing sky accompanied by London’s diverse rhythm is the most valuable live painting that I could ever own.

Tra Nguyen is making her Wigmore debut on 16th December 2012.  For more information and tickets please visit the Wigmore Hall website

Tra plays Annäherung (Reconciliation) from ‘Frühlingsboten’ (Spring Harbinger) op.55, by Joachim Raff

British-Vietnamese Tra Nguyen gave her first concert when she was ten, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto, K488 with the Hanoi Conservatory Orchestra. Since then she has continued to engage audiences worldwide. Past and future performances include Queen Elizabeth Hall, Tokyo Opera City, Hong Kong City Recital Hall and Wigmore Hall amongst others. Her imaginative programming balances core repertoire and lesser-known music, winning critical praises. Her discography introduces many world première recordings of neglected music. Her most recent recordings of the piano music of Joachim Raff were chosen as Album of the Week by the Independent in March 2010 and in April 2012.

Tra studied with Lev Naumov at the Moscow Conservatory and with Christopher Elton at the Royal Academy of Music.


Interview date: December 2012