Another music-filled year, many hits, a few misses, some new discoveries – musicians, venues, repertoire and people – and a couple of memorable performances of my own, solo and with colleagues…..
Pavel Kolesnikov (Wigmore Hall) – What impressed me in Pavel Kolesnikov’s performance was his clarity, control, lightness of touch and musical understanding which revealed the hidden nuances and subtle embroideries in Debussy’s writing. His elegant, sensitive pianism created a concert which was highly engaging and deeply intimate. Review here
The Pink Singers (Cadogan Hall) – a gloriously uplifting evening of fine singing and the premiere of a piece for choir written by a colleague of mine.
Deyan Sudjic (Wigmore Hall) – This was the pianist who asked the Washington Post to remove what he felt was an unfavourable review, and I admit I was curious to hear this pianist after reading about this furore….. Review here
Warren Mailley-Smith (St John’s Smith Square) – A concert in Warren’s series exploring Chopin’s complete piano music.
Steven Osborne (St John’s Smith Square) – The first of two wonderful concerts by this exceptional pianist which I enjoyed in 2016. Review here
Piotr Anderszewski (Wigmore Hall) – Always a pleasure to hear this thoughtful and sensitive pianist – and an added pleasure was meeting him briefly after the concert. Review here
Nikolai Demidenko (Cadogan Hall) – Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1. Review here
Mark Swartzentruber (Kings Place) – music by Bach, Ravel and Schubert (D959- one of the may performances of this work which I have been studying)
Divine Fire – The Story of Chopin and Sand told in music and words, performed by Viv McLean (piano) and Susan Porrett (narrator). More about this 7 Star Arts mixed media concert here
Denis Kozhukin (Wigmore Hall) – “sweet sonorities and ravishingly spacious phrases, creating a sense of relaxed ecstasy” Review here
Akhenaten (ENO/Coliseum) – an enthralling new production of Philip Glass’s opera. Review here
Leif Ove Andsnes & Friends (Dulwich Picture Gallery) – an engaging and varied concert of music by Nordic composers to coincide with an exhibition of paintings by Nikolai Astrup. Review here
Francoise-Green Duo (St John’s Smith Square) – part of the FG Duo’s Viennese Salon residency, appropriately as I flew to Vienna the day after this concert. Review here
Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Vienna Konzerthaus) – I couldn’t go to Vienna and not go to a concert! A romantic and uplifting performance of Beethoven’s 5th Concerto by PLA.
Nazrin Rashidova (violin) & Daniel Grimwood (piano) (St James’s Piccadilly) – lovely mixed programme of music by Mozart and Poulenc, plus Daniel’s Nocturne, which was, for me, redolent of Liszt and Ravel. Beautiful colourful playing by Nazrin, sensitively accompanied by Daniel. I was lucky enough to hear this fine duo again in November in Wimbledon.
Peter Jablonski (Cadogan Square) – Ravel’s glorious G major Piano Concerto and Gershwin’s exuberant hommage to New York, Rhapsody in Blue, performed by a pianist whom I had the pleasure to meet and interview shortly before the concert.
Beethoven Choral Fantasy Op 80 & Brahms German Requiem – a wonderful performance of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy by my friend Elspeth Wyllie, followed by an absorbing German Requiem, at St Luke’s Balham
St John Passion/Bach (SJSS) -Polyphony and the OAE, conducted by Stephen Layton. A stunning and very moving performance of Bach’s greatest Passion, on Good Friday.
Andras Schiff, The Final Sonatas (Wigmore Hall) – the penultimate piano sonatas of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven & Schubert. My first encounter with Andras Schiff live in concert. Review here
Iphigénie en Tauride (Drayton Arms Theatre) – startling and immediate “opera in a pub”, by Euphonia Opera Co. Review here
St John Passion/Bach (SJSS) -Polyphony and the OAE, conducted by Stephen Layton. A stunning and very moving performance of Bach’s
Rolf Hind (Wigmore Hall) – unusual and sometimes challenging contemporary music for piano by the pianist with the deepest, most elegant bow in London 🙂
Pierre-Laurent Aimard/Vingt Regards (Milton Court) – my first visit to Milton Court at Guildhall. A remarkable concert in a fine acoustic. Review here
The Dark Mirror: Zender’s Winterreise with Ian Bostridge (Barbican Theatre) – a wonderfully quirky yet sensitive and highly atmospheric reworking of Schubert’s late great song cycle. Review here
Concert for North-West Music Trust (Altrincham) – me at the piano in this instance, playing music by Mendelssohn, Cheryl Frances-Hoad and Schubert (D959). My first “proper” concert of my fellowship diploma programme to a very friendly audience and lovely welcoming hosts.
BBC Young Musician Final – an inspiring and uplifting final to the 2016 BBC Young Musician Competition. Review here
Richard Goode – Schubert’s Last Three Sonatas (Royal Festival Hall) – a perfect evening of beautiful piano playing. The finest reading of the D959 for me….. More here
Steven Osborne/The Music of Silence (Milton Court) – back to Milton Court for music by George Crumb and Morton Feldman. Review here
The Threepenny Opera (National Theatre) – a delightfully dirty, louche, foul-mouthed and witty production with fine performances by Roy Kinnear and Haydn Gwynne
Piano 4-hands at Conchord Festival (St Mary’s Twickenham) – a new local music festival in Twickenham. Review here
Daniel Grimwood/Markson Pianos Series – Sonatas by Schubert, including the great G major, D894, performed on a magnificent Bosendorfer piano by a pianist who really understands this repertoire
Louis Lortie/Chamber Prom (Cadogan Hall) – my first live encounter with this pianist whose programme spoke of Italian holidays and sunshine. Review here
Scenes from the End (Camden Peoples Theatre) – one-woman opera with Heloise Werner. Review here
The Makropoulos Case/Proms
Proms in the Car Park – a very unusual concert experience: music by Steve Reich performed in a disused multi-storey carpark in Peckham. Review here
Music Marathon (St John’s SMith Square) – I was delighted to have the chance to perform at SJSS, albeit for 15 minutes (!) as part of the music marathon for London Open House weekend. Great to hear and meet other pianists and I made new friends too!
Nick van Bloss (Wigmore Hall) – intense and athletic Beethoven, and lovely to meet Nick in person afterwards
Igor Levit/Beethoven (Wigmore Hall) – the launch of Levit’s Beethoven sonatas cycle. Review here
Steven Isserlis & Olli Mustonen (Wigmore Hall) – a chance to catch up with a friend who used to be my most regular concert companion (now resident in Spain).
Liszt’s B minor Sonata – lecture & concert (Kings Place). An insightful and revealing talk by Alfred Brendel followed by a performance of a sonata which I have never liked! Review here
Two-Piano Extravaganza (Kings Place) – Part of the inaugural London Piano Festival, this concert was a feast of high-class pianism. Review here
Don Giovanni (ENO/Coliseum) – a splendidly raunchy production, made even better by our Secret Seats in the front row of the Dress Circle, plus interval champagne!
Quartet for the End of Time (SJSS) – a privilege to turn the pages for my friend the pianist Daniel Grimwood, and to enjoy the pianist’s perspective of this extraordinary work. Profound and moving.
Dina Duisen and Friends (1901 Arts Club) – music for piano and clarinet at my favourite small venue
The Prince Concert with Stephen Hough (Wigmore Hall) – atmospheric and varied songs by Stephen Hough, including the premiere of his ‘Dappled Things’. Review here
Steve Reich (Barbican Hall) – Electric Counterpoint amongst other minimalist wonders
Lulu (ENO) – a visually stunning new production by William Kentridge
Winterreise in English (Wigmore Hall) – revelatory performance by Roderick Williams and Christopher Glynn, the English translation bringing a startling immediacy to the narrative of Schubert’s song cycle.
Concert for SPIN/Specialists in Pain International (St John’s Waterloo) – I performed in a fundraising concert with a pianist colleague and soprano Anna Cavaliero. A really wonderful evening of shared music making (www.spiners.org)
Melvyn Tan at Spitalfields Music (St Leonard’s Spitalfields) – fine pianism and three premieres. Review here
Helen Burford (St Nicholas, Brighton) – a typically eclectic and imaginative concert of “global exotica” including a Tarantella for Toy Piano by Stephen Montague. Atmospheric, quirky and elegantly presented
Russian Winter Weekend Concert (Dorich House, Kingston) – Russian music arranged for flute and harp with Alena Lugobvkina (flute) and Anne Denholm (harp) and a chance to explore the Art Deco home of artist Dora Gordine. A delightful evening
In addition, I have also enjoyed….
Discovering the organ at St John’s Smith Square (more here)
Some fine concerts at my local music society by performers including Ben Socrates, Joseph Tong, Peter Murdock Saint and Jennifer Heslop, Jelena Makarova, amongst many others
The Magic Flute (directed by Simon Burney) at ENO. Magical, quirky and beguiling.
Fine performances at London Piano Meetup Group events by people who are not professional musicians but for whom the piano is a passion, an obsession and more….
Brave (and occasionally tearful!) performances by adult amateur pianists at my workshop at the 1901 Arts Club on 3 December
Accompanying one of my students who played Massenet’s ‘Meditation’ from Thaïs in a special retirement mass for her headmistress, and accompanying a friend at her Grade 5 French Horn exam (which she passed with distinction!).
Making new friends via social media who are proving enjoyable and stimulating concert companions.
The launch of the Music into Words project which explores writing about classical music today – next event is on 12 February 2017 with a great line-up of speakers (book tickets)
And I am very much lo0king forward to 2017 when I will hear
Martha Argerich (for the first time)
Anna Tsybuleva (winner of the Leeds Piano Competition)
And no doubt much more besides…..