A series of special events take place through April, May and June to mark a rather significant anniversary in the history of piano making and piano literature.

In the summer of the year 1817, London-based piano maker Thomas Broadwood visited Vienna, where he met the 47-year-old Beethoven, who was suffering from ill health and near total deafness. Broadwood was invited to the composer’s apartment and heard him play, but was shocked to discover that Beethoven was too poor to own his own piano and relied on loans from obliging local Viennese piano makers.

On his return to London, Broadwood decided to surprise Beethoven with the gift of a new grand piano. The instrument (serial number 7,632) was chosen by a group of leading professors of music and was delivered to London Docks in a wooden packing case. From there, on 27th December 1817, it was taken on a sailing boat into the Mediterranean, as far as Trieste in northern Italy. It had to wait there for some weeks, until the Alpine passes to Vienna were clear of snow and in early May 1818, it completed the final stage of its arduous journey by horse and cart along 360 miles of rough cart tracks until it reached Vienna.

Beethoven was thrilled with the gift. It inspired him to a fresh burst of musical creativity, leading to the composition of his late piano sonatas (opp.106, 109 and 110). The piano was noticeably louder and more powerful than the Viennese equivalents, which helped him as he struggled with his deafness.

Above the Broadwood label on the piano are the words ‘Hoc Instrumentum est Thomae Broadwood (Londrini) donum propter ingenium illustrissime Beethoven.’ (This instrument is Thomas Broadwood of London’s gift to you, most illustrious Beethoven, because of/on account of [your] genius). It is signed by Friedrich Kalkbrenner, Ferdinand Ries, Johann Baptist Cramer, Jacques-Godefroi Ferrari and Charles Knyvett. The piano was later owned by Liszt, who gave it to the Hungarian National Museum, where it will be on public display.

I shall look upon it as an altar upon which I shall place the most beautiful offerings of my spirit to the divine Apollo… As soon as I receive your excellent instrument, I shall immediately send you the fruits of the first moments of inspiration I spend on it, as a souvenir for you from me.

(Quote from a letter written by Beethoven to Thomas Broadwood in 1818)

To commemorate this significant event, the Broadwood company is sponsoring several events across Europe. UK concerts include recitals and lectures in venues including the Royal Academy of Music’s Keyboards Museum, Richard Burnett Heritage Collection, Clarke Clavier Collection and Finchcocks in Kent, which has recently reopened as a piano school. There will also be a series of concerts in Mödling, near Vienna, which was Beethoven’s summer residence and where the Broadwood was delivered. The piano itself will be on display in Hungary’s National Museum and there will be a display of related ephemera at Beethoven’s birthplace in Bonn, at the museum Beethoven House.

John Broadwood & Sons Ltd is the world’s oldest surviving piano firm, founded in 1728. The company has held a Warrant for supply and maintenance of pianos to the various Royal Households since the reign of George II and can name among its illustrious customers the composers Haydn, Chopin, Brahms, Liszt, Elgar, Holst and Vaughan Williams. The company continues to make, tune and repair pianos at its workshop in Lythe, near Whitby, north Yorkshire. The present-day directors of the company, which is an independent enterprise, include three members of the Laurence family, whose ancestors had worked for many generations in a technical capacity in John Broadwood & Sons’ Soho factory from 1787 until 1922.

Dr Alastair Laurence’s great-great-great grandfather, Alexander Finlayson, was active in the Broadwood workshops as a ‘grand action finisher’ during the time that Beethoven’s piano was being constructed there and is likely to have participated in the creation of Beethoven’s instrument.


Event listings

UK

Beethoven recitals at the Clarke Clavier Collection

Japanese fortepianist Mariko Koide performs on an 1812 Broadwood grand

3pm, 28th and 29th April, 2018

Clarke Clavier Collection,Oxborough, Norfolk, PE33 9PS

Tickets: 01366 328317

Lunchtime recitals at Royal Academy of Music

Yehuda Inbar and Amiran Zenaishvili performing on early Broadwood grand pianos

2.30pm, 2nd and 9th May, 2018

Royal Academy of Music Keyboards Museum, Marylebone Road, London NW1 5HT

www.ram.ac.uk

Talk by Dr Alastair Laurence

‘A Most Remarkable Gift’: talk and demonstration by Dr Alastair Laurence, Chairman of John Broadwood & Sons Ltd

7pm, 8th May, 2018

Royal Academy of Music Keyboards Museum, Marylebone Road, London NW1 5HT

Concert at Finchcocks, Kent

International concert pianist Paul Roberts performs Beethoven and Debussy on a 1921 Broadwood steel barless grand

7.30pm, 27th May, 2018

Vaulted Concert Room, Finchcocks, Goudhurst, Kent TN17 1HH

Tickets: www.finchcocks.com

Concert at Richard Burnett Heritage Collection

First concert in the New Recital Room – young virtuoso Julian Trevelyan plays Beethoven on early Broadwood grands with commentaries from Dr Alastair Laurence

2.30pm and 6pm, 10th June, 2018

Richard Burnett Heritage Collection, Waterdown House, 51, Frant Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN2 5LE

Tickets: 01892 523203

Hungary – Budapest

Exhibition of Beethoven’s Broadwood Grand Piano

Hungarian National Museum, Budapest, Hungary

April–June 2018 www.mnm.hu/en

Austria – Mödling, Vienna

Commemorative concert and tours in Beethoven’s summer residence, where the piano arrived in 1818

5pm, 9th June

Georg Beckmann, piano

Hege Gustava Tjønn, soprano

Ismene Weiss, violin

Thönet Schlössl Museum

Josef Deutsch-Platz 2, A-2340

Mödling, near Vienna, Austria

Tickets: www.museum-moedling.at

Germany – Bonn

Exhibition in Beethoven’s birthplace

Ephemera surrounding the Broadwood gift will be exhibited, in association with

the display of an 1817 Broadwood grand, at Beethoven’s birthplace.

April–June 2018

Beethoven-Haus

Bonngasfe 24-26 53111, Bonn

www.beethoven.de

(source: press release)

3 – 7 October 2018
Kings Place, London
2018 promo video here

Katya Apekisheva | Alexandra Dariescu | Margaret Fingerhut | Ingrid Fliter | Stephen Kovacevich | Konstantin Lifschitz | Leszek Możdżer | Charles Owen | Paul Roberts

“A reminder of what a fabulous variety of sound can be conjured from two pianos”
5* The Telegraph

  • Third annual London Piano Festival at Kings Place with Co-Artistic Directors Charles Owen and Katya Apekisheva
     
  • Solo recitals by Konstantin Lifschitz and Ingrid Fliter, amplified jazz performance by Leszek Możdżer and lecture/recital on Debussy by Paul Roberts
  • Two-piano Marathon with Stephen Kovacevich, Margaret Fingerhut, Konstantin Lifschitz, Ingrid Fliter, Charles Owen and Katya Apekisheva which will be recorded by BBC Radio 3 for future broadcast in Radio 3 in Concert
  • Family concert of The Nutcracker and I by Alexandra Dariescu with piano soloist, ballerina and digital animation

img2171sim-canetty-clarkecurated

Charles Owen and Katya Apekisheva announce the programme of their third annual London Piano Festival, taking place from 3-7 October 2018 at Kings Place, London.  This year the Co-Artistic Directors bring together seven pianists in addition to themselves for a programme of solo recitals, jazz, a family concert, lecture/recital and the highly anticipated two-piano marathon.  The theme of this year’s Festival is the centenary of the death of Claude Debussy which is seen throughout the 5-day series.  This year the London Piano Festival are bringing in a student ticket scheme, offering £5 tickets to a number of events during the 5-day Festival.

The highlight of the London Piano Festival is its Two-Piano Marathon, referred to as “altogether exemplary” by The Times (2016). In various pairings, Stephen Kovacevich, Margaret Fingerhut, Katya Apekisheva, Charles Owen, Konstantin Lifschitz and Ingrid Fliter perform a range of works by Brahms, Bax, Debussy, Adès, Stravinsky, Rachmaninov and more.  The Two-Piano Marathon will be recorded by BBC Radio 3 for future broadcast in Radio 3 in Concert.

The Festival opens with a concert by Co-Artistic Directors Charles Owen and Katya Apekisheva performing both solo and duo repertoire.  Katya opens the concert performing Schubert’s Moments Musicaux 1-3, Granados’ The Maiden and The Nightingale and Ginastera’s Three Argentinian Dances before Charles performs Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit. The second half of the concert sees the duo perform Three Nocturnes by Debussy (arranged by Ravel), marking the composer’s centenary, and Milhaud’s Scaramouche.

“At the London Piano Festival we want to bring together a whole range of music appealing to piano lovers of all ages.  As 2018 marks the centenary of Debussy’s death, we felt it was important to mark this within our programming this year.  We also love to present contemporary music at the Festival and this year we’ll be performing an existing piece by Thomas Adès who is a great friend of Charles’.” Charles Owen and Katya Apekisheva

Both Owen and Apekisheva will be releasing solo albums to coincide with the opening concert of the London Piano Festival this year.  Katya is releasing an album of Scriabin, Chopin and Fauré impromptus on Champs Hill Records, a programme which she brought to the Festival in 2016.  Charles is releasing a double-disc of Brahms’ late piano works on Avie. This follows the recent release of their duo recording in January 2018, Rachmaninov: The two-piano suites; Six Morceaux, Op. 11 which Gramophone magazine called “a highly recommendable disc”.

The London Piano Festival features two solo recitals by pianists making their debuts at Kings Place. Russian pianist Konstantin Lifschitz performs a programme of works by Schubert, Janáček and Debussy, and Argentinian pianist Ingrid Fliter performs Beethoven Sonatas before they both join the Two-Piano Marathon.   Celebrated Polish jazz pianist Leszek Możdżer brings a night of amplified jazz to the Festival, following his sold-out show at Kings Place in 2017 which London Jazz News called “a great show that held the attention from start to finish”. 

Commemorating the centenary of Claude Debussy, concert pianist and writer Paul Roberts presents a lecture/recital in Kings Place’s Hall Two about Debussy’s Piano Music on Saturday 6 October, focussing on Debussy’s Images books I and II.  Paul Roberts is the leading authority on the music of Debussy and Ravel, having written Images: The Piano Music of Claude Debussy, Debussy: a biography and Reflections: The Piano Music of Maurice Ravel.

For this year’s family concert, Alexandra Dariescu brings her ground-breaking multi-media piece The Nutracker and I, by Alexandra Dariescu for piano soloist, ballerina and digital animation to Kings Place for the first time, following its critically-acclaimed world premiere last year.  Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet music features throughout and includes favourites such as Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Arabian Dance, Chinese Dance, Pas de Deux, and the Flower Waltz in 15 virtuosic arrangements by Mikhail Pletnev, Stepan Esipoff, Percy Grainger and three brand new variations by Gavin Sutherland.  Dariescu is releasing an album of The Nutcracker and I on Signum Classics on 27 April.

Full programme

Wednesday 3 October, 19:30pm | Hall One
OPENING NIGHT – Charles Owen and Katya Apekisheva
Schubert Moments Musicaux 1-3, D.780 (KA)
Granados Maiden and the Nightingale from Goyescas, Op. 11 (KA)
Ginastera Three Argentinian Dances, Op. 2 (KA)
Ravel Gaspard de la nuit (CO)
Debussy Three Nocturnes (arr. Ravel) (KA & CO)
Milhaud Scaramouche (KA & CO)

Thursday 4 October, 19:30pm | Hall One
ON AN OVERGROWN PATH – Konstantin Lifschitz
Schubert Sonata in A minor, D 784
Janáček ‘On an Overgrown Path’ 1st series
Janáček ‘On an Overgrown Path’ 2nd series
Debussy Preludes Book I

Friday 5 October, 19:30pm | Hall One
LESZEK MOŻDŻER IN CONCERT 

Saturday 6 October, 14:00pm | Hall Two 
IN THE MIND’S EYE – DEBUSSY’S IMAGES – Paul Roberts

Saturday 6 October, 16:00pm | Hall One
TEMPEST – Ingrid Fliter
Beethoven Sonata No. 18 in E-flat major, Op. 31, No.3
Beethoven Sonata No. 17 in D minor ‘Tempest’, Op. 31, No. 2
Beethoven Sonata No. 22 in F major, Op. 54

Saturday 6 October, 19:00pm | Hall One
TWO PIANO MARATHON – Stephen Kovacevich, Margaret Fingerhut, Katya Apekisheva, Charles Owen, Konstantin Lifschitz, Ingrid Fliter
Brahms Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56 (KL&IF)
Bax The Poisoned Fountain and Hardanger (MF &CO)
Poulenc Élégie (MF & KA)
Poulenc Capriccio (d’après Le Bal masque) (MF & KA)
Poulenc L’embarquement pour Cythère (MF & KA)
Debussy En blanc et noir (SK & CO)
Rachmaninov Russian Rhapsody (1891) (KL & KA)
Arensky Suite No. 1, Op. 15 (IF & KA)
Thomas Adès Concert Paraphrase on Powder Her Face (CO & KA)
Stravinsky Scherzo à la russe (CO & MF)

Sunday 7 October, 14:00pm | Hall One
THE NUTCRACKER & I BY ALEXANDRA DARIESCU

 


(source: Albion Media press release)

Harriet Harman launches ‘Venus Blazing’, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance’s campaign to celebrate music by ‘missing’ women composers

 

  • Trinity Laban pledges that music by women – past and present and across many genres – will make up more than half of its concert programmes in 2018/19 academic year
  • Trinity Laban will also create an online database of female composers and expand its library to ensure students have access to the wealth of musical scores by women that music history has overlooked

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance today announces Venus Blazing, an unprecedented commitment to the music of women composers throughout the next academic year, virtually abolishing concerts which feature only music by men.

Drawing on centuries of music past and present, Trinity Laban will ensure that at least half of the music it chooses for the multitude of varied public performances it mounts on its landmark Greenwich campus and in venues across London in 2018/19 will be by women composers. This encompasses the 60+ concerts and opera performances given each year by the conservatoire’s 12 large-scale student performing groups in all the musical genres for which Trinity Laban is known, including classical music, opera, and jazz. There will be a particular focus on 20th and 21st century British composers, including Trinity Laban students, alumni and staff.

Harriet Harman MP, Chair of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, launched Venus Blazing to coincide with a lunchtime concert by Trinity Laban’s Chamber Choir celebrating the 90th birthday of British composer Thea Musgrave, in Greenwich today [1pm, 8 March], also marking International Women’s Day.

Harriet Harman, Chair of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, says:

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance is strongly committed to diversity in all elements and it has a mission to constantly challenge the status quo. Venus Blazing is a great example of just how it can do this. It will encourage and inspire its students – many of whom will go on to shape the future of the performing arts to engage with the historic issue of gender imbalance in music by women, and ensure that it does not continue into the next generation. I welcome this bold initiative to raise awareness of the disparity that has long existed in music and shine a light on music that has so frequently been overlooked. I am also greatly looking forward to hearing some of the musical treasures by women I might not otherwise have had the chance to hear.”

Among the performance highlights of Venus Blazing is a new production of Thea Musgrave’s opera A Christmas Carol (December 2018), symphonies by Louise Farrenc and Grace Williams performed by the Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra, an exploration of the music of Trinity Laban alumna Avril Coleridge-Taylor and much more to be announced in due course. This will include music by current Trinity Laban composition students and staff, including Soosan Lolavar, Laura Jurd and Deirdre Gribbin – whose Violin Concerto Venus Blazing has given the name to this celebration.

Alongside these performances Trinity Laban will make available an online database of works by female composers, and will expand its library resources, including scores, books and recordings. This will encourage and inspire students to discover works that they might not previously have been able to access, and will and ensure that Trinity Laban, as a modern conservatoire with a key role to play in shaping the next generation of music makers, addresses the historical gender imbalance in music so that it does not continue.

Venus Blazing is being spearheaded by two key members of Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Music: Dr Sophie Fuller, Programme Leader of Trinity Laban’s Masters programmes and acclaimed author of The Pandora Guide to Women Composers: Britain and the United States, alongside conductor and Head of Orchestra Studies, Jonathan Tilbrook, Head of Orchestral Studies.

Dr Sophie Fuller, said:

It is widely recognised that music created by women – whatever the genre – is heard much less often than music created by men. In past centuries, it was difficult for women to find a meaningful musical education or get equal access to performance opportunities, but there have always been those who leapt over any obstacles placed in their way. We at Trinity Laban want our students and their audiences to hear their often powerful work. It is our duty to celebrate women’s music, not just for one year, but to provide the structures, support and encouragement to ensure that this is a lasting legacy for all future musicians and music lovers.”

trinitylaban.ac.uk/venusblazing

@TrinityLaban #VenusBlazing


(source: press release)

bipcmflogoresized-web-131605017660291830

Between 20th – 23rd November this year, the brand new building at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire will be alive with the sound of chamber music, all involving the piano. An array of leading international artists will share the platform with talented young musicians in a brand new event, directed by Daniel Tong (pianist and Head of Piano Chamber Music at the Conservatoire). Musical friends will be joining Daniel from across Europe for concerts, masterclasses and also a competition for young ensembles, more about which below. Given the wealth of such events for piano or string quartet, for instance, a celebration of chamber music with piano is overdue, especially given the keyboard’s place at the heart of so many great composers’ musical personality. Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Brahms and many more were all musicians with consummate mastery of the piano, speaking freely through their wonderful instrument.

The festival line-up is headlined by pianists Katya Apekisheva and John Thwaites, cellists Christoph Richter and Alice Neary, violinist Esther Hoppe and violist Robin Ireland, who are lined up to take part in concerts alongside the Gould Trio and London Bridge Trio. Together they will explore the chamber music of Brahms, Schumann, Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn, and present new works by Colin Matthews and James MacMillan. Concerts take place in two magnificent new performance spaces at the Conservatoire, opened this year: the larger Concert Hall for evening events and the more intimate Recital Hall for daytime performances. The same artists will work with students from Birmingham and beyond, as well as providing the jury for the competition.

Daniel Tong says: “Chamber music is a multi-layered medium, in the wealth and depth of its repertoire as well as the skills and characteristics required to realise it. It is music for sharing, both with one’s performing colleagues and the audience, and is therefore somewhat confessional. It is open to wide-ranging interpretation, despite often being put together by composers with great intellectual rigour. A competition in this discipline may therefore seem like a paradox, which is why our festival is as collegiate and inclusive as possible. We will make music together. Each competing ensemble will give a recital and take part in masterclasses. All jury members will also perform as part of the festival programme. The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire has put chamber music at its heart with inspiring results.

The competition is set up to offer maximum benefit to the young competitors. After preliminary audition (all applicants will be heard, either live or by video if entering from outside the UK), eight ensembles will be invited to join the festival in November. Each will present their recital as part of the festival programme, take part in masterclasses, and three groups will progress to the final concert. The winning ensemble will be offered mentorship and a commercial recording with Resonus Classics, as well as engagements including London’s Wigmore Hall.

For more details about this unique and inspiring event, visit the festival website

Or email keyboard@bcu.ac.uk

bcu-royal-birmingham-conservatoire-recital-hall
Recital Hall at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Investec Opera Holland Park (OHP) will mark one year since the tragic Grenfell fire with a special gala on Wednesday 13 June 2018, 8pm, raising money for the Rugby Portobello Trust (www.rpt.org.uk), which supports the North Kensington community. Based just a mile from the Grenfell Tower, OHP has a long association with its community and lost a much-loved member of its own staff, Debbie Lamprell, in the disaster.

The Hope for Grenfell Memorial Gala, in memory of Debbie Lamprell and all the victims, will feature popular arias, choruses, readings and more, with a cast to be announced soon. It is hoped that over £50k will be raised for the Rugby Portobello Trust (RPT), who worked closely with victims of the tragedy and with which OHP has a long association. In 2017, a performance of Verdi’s Requiem (read more here) just a few weeks after the Grenfell fire sold out in 36 hours and raised a total of £41k for the RPT to support victims.

Funds raised by this year’s memorial concert will enable over 100 children and young people from North Kensington to attend ‘residential’ trips, week-long trips, often to the coast and countryside, which allow them to try new activities and escape the pressures of everyday life. Often the residentials are the first time that these young people will have left their immediate concrete surroundings. The impact of these trips is proven to be especially long-lasting, boosting the confidence of young people by introducing them to new skills (raft-building, rock-climbing, team-building etc), as well as fostering a safe environment in which to address any emotional issues.

OHP is extremely grateful to Hamish and Sophie Forsyth for their generous support of this performance.

Tickets for the Grenfell memorial concert will be available from Monday 19 February via www.operahollandpark.com

Investec Opera Holland Park’s 2018 season will run from 29 May to 28 July. Full details of productions at www.operahollandpark.com.

14712_2
Verdi’s Requiem performed at Opera Holland Park in August 2017

 

 

(Source: Press release)

City Music Foundation (CMF) has announced the 5 musicians who are joining the CMF Artist programme as 2017 CMF Artists: Lotte Betts-Dean (mezzo-soprano), Eblana String Trio, Alex Hitchcock (jazz saxophone), Gwenllian Llyr (harp) and Rokas Valuntonis (piano).

These sensational musicians started CMF’s innovative two-year Artist Programme in October 2017 and will continue to work with the CMF as their career progresses.

Lithuanian pianist Rokas Valuntonis won First Prize at both the Nordic Piano Competition in Malmö, Sweden (2010) and the International Music Competition “Societa Umanitaria” in Milan, Italy (2013).

The mission of CMF is to turn exceptional musical talent into professional success by equipping outstanding musicians with the tools, skills, experience and networks they need to build and sustain rewarding and profitable careers.

Over the two years, CMF provides one to one business mentoring as well as tailored professional development workshops covering a range of topics including tax and financial management, networking, presentation skills, agents, PR, networking and much more. The mentoring continues with day to day access to the CMF team as well as artistic guidance from established players with international careers. On top of these professional development workshops, CMF Artists receive essential promotional tools such as websites, images and CD and video recordings, as well as help with new commissions and other projects to ensure each musician develops a unique niche and selling point.

CMF’s key position in the City means that we can use our experience, knowledge and connections within the music industry, as well as the City’s cultural network and business institutions, to provide unique and unrivalled support and education for our musicians.

A high proportion even of the most talented musicians fail to convert their great talent and extensive training into a career in music. We believe that by investing in these talented musicians early in their professional careers we can not only secure their employment, but help to ensure the future of quality music in the UK and beyond.

Previous CMF Artists have included the Foyle-Stsura Duo, pianists Cordelia Williams, and Samson Tsoy, clarinet player Joe Shiner, jazz clarinet and founding member of Kansas Smitty’s Giacomo Smith, jazz bass player Misha Mullov Abbado (now a BBC New Generation Artist) and percussionist Pedro Segundo.


(source: CMF press release)