Recording with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

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My 2015/16 season started on a high note this week -I recorded Emily Howard’s “Mesmerism” with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra & Andrew Gourlay for NMC Records, due for release in August next year. Emily wrote this concerto in 2011 and dedicated it to her mother, Stephanie and myself. I gave the world premiere that year and the concerto went to win the British Composer Award in 2012. Recording Mesmerism with the RLPO was a dream come true for both Emily and I and a perfect start of the season!

In Touch world premiere

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July had a very special event in store- I gave the world premiere of Danyal Dhondy’s new piano concerto commissioned by the Leeds International Piano Competition in front of 3000 people on the opening night of Teach First annual conference.

“In Touch” is everything about communication- from ringtones, modem sounds and morse codes to “twittering” in the last movement. Watch a little interview with Danyal Dhondy and I about the piece https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VueuAUWWJGk

It was a huge privilege to collaborate with the National Orchestra for All and Marianna Hay in this education project- NOFA champions “music without boundaries” and brings together hundreds of children between 11-18 regardless of their musical ability, ability to pay, specific need or disability. To watch the video of the live performance of In Touch please click on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWNaIXGQFwg. Hope you enjoy it!

Announcing new season!

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My suitcases are packed! Thrilled to announce a few highlights for the next few months: debut with Stavanger Symphony OrchestraJohn Storgårds in Norway (Nordic premiere of Ginastera’s Concerto Argentino), Philharmonisches Orchester Cottbus & Ivo Hentschel in Germany (Prokofiev 3), Mecklenburgisches Staatstheater Schwerin & Evan Christ in Germany (Grieg), The Hallé & Jamie Phillips (Tchaikovsky 1), Brandon Hill Chamber Orchestra Page & Maxime Tortelier (Shostakovich 2) as well as a UK tour with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra & Fabien Gabel (Rachmaninov Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini). I’m also giving the world premiere of Iris ter Schiphorst’s new piano concerto in Germany and Danyal Dhondy’s In Touch for piano and orchestra at the Leeds Arena. Very excited to go back to Wigmore Hall, as well as Royal Albert Hall (Beethoven 5) and George Enescu Festival in Bucharest with the Ad Libitum Quartet (Elgar Quintet). Back to practice…

Schumann’s birthday today!

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First ever piece by Schumann I learnt and recorded on my first Champs Hill Records CD was Abegg Variations. Today is Schumann’s birthday so thought it was fitting to upload this little video by brilliant Tall Wall Media. Hope you enjoy 🙂

New friendships, trick or treat & Beethoven live on BBC

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After the busiest week I’ve ever had, I made my home in Newcastle, at the Sage Gateshead for a whole week. One can simply not complain about this gorgeous hall…

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The first time when you collaborate with fellow musicians is a wonderful process but an emotional one also. You never know whether you’re going to get on with those people on a human level, never mind on a musical one. Well, this time I had nothing to worry about! Alexandra Soumm (violinist) and Jakob Koranyi (cellist) were some of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met. They exuded joy, optimism and we got on like a house on fire! We spent the entire week spreading the joy around the concert hall, having breakfast, lunch and dinner every day together, happily practicing, talking endless hours about music & life, going for walks and eating quite a huge amount…and the Beethoven Triple concerto rocked as a result!

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We also had masterclasses with children between 8-18 as part of the education work the Royal Northern Sinfonia does around their concerts. I love getting involved in these sort of projects so I was thrilled when I got asked to teach 6 pianists, all hungry to learn.

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The concert itself was part of the BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking Festival- more info here http://www.sagegateshead.com/event/rns/ and it was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. The programme of the evening was a beautiful celebration of some of most beloved works, which went down a storm with our audience:

MOZART Overture- The Marriage of Figaro
BEETHOVEN Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano
BRUCH Concerto for Viola and Clarinet
PROKOFIEV Symphony No.1

Before the concert I played a little Szymanowski prelude on the In Tune programme, live with Sean Rafferty in front of a little audience of 100 people. This took me by surprise, as when I normally go in the studio, there’s moi, a (beautiful) piano and Sean. Then ran to the rehearsal with the fabulous Royal Northern Sinfonia and we got ready for the concert.

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As it was Halloween, we decided to do something a bit unorthodox in a classical concert hall and we dressed up for the encore. Before we sat down to play the Haydn’s Gypsy Trio, we shouted Trick or Treat which got us a a big round of applause and a lot of smiles and giggles from the audience…and the orchestra 🙂

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BBC Radio 3 picked up on it also and Petroc Trelawny, who was commenting live was quite amused, shall we say…The concert was of course followed by dinner with our brilliant conductor Alexandre Bloch, Dionysis Grammenos (clarinetist) and Lise Berthaud (violist). All in all, one of the most spectacular weeks ever, with so much to learn from each other, great plans for the future and JOY!

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