One-handed pianist Nicholas McCarthy signs to Warner Classics
26 June 2015, London
Nicholas McCarthy(Photo: Paul Marc Mitchell)
The one-handed British pianist, Nicholas McCarthy, has been signed to Warner Classics and his first solo album for the label will be released in September 2015.
McCarthy’s signing follows his recent Rhinegold LIVE recital at Conway Hall, where he was talent-spotted by executives from Warner Classics.
McCarthy’s first Warner album, entitled Solo, will feature 17 pieces that run the gamut from Wittgenstein’s arrangement for left hand of Bach/Gounod’s Ave Maria to popular early 20th-century works such as ‘O mio babbino caro’ from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi (arranged by Frédéric Meinders) and ‘Summertime’ from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (arranged by McCarthy himself).
‘My fan base has always been half core classical and half lighter classical,’ explains McCarthy. ‘I didn't want to alienate anyone by putting longer pieces on my first commercial release, but I hope this album will offer a snapshot of the range of repertoire that exists for left hand. My selection also offers a portrait of me as an artist, including three of my own arrangements.’
The disc’s final track is a new commission by the British composer Nigel Hess – a Nocturne for left hand, written specially for McCarthy: ‘It has a really simple, beautiful theme and I've I love the way Nigel uses harmony. He does some unexpected things that I really like.’
Nicholas McCarthy’s Solo will be released by Warner Classics on 18 September 2015.
Alexander Soares wins ROSL Music Competition
17 June 2015, Katy Wright
Soares performing in Cantabria
Alexander Soares has won the gold medal at the Royal Over-Seas League (ROSL) Music Competition 2015, receiving a £15k cash prize.
The pianist performed a programme of d’Anglbert, Boulez and Dutilleux at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on 1 June. Gavin Henderson chaired the jury, which was mostly comprised of former ROSL prizewinners.
Soares is currently studying the memorisation of scores by Pierre Boulez for his doctorate under Julian Anderson and Ronan O’Hara at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (with additional support from Daniel Leech Wilkinson at King’s College London).
He won Making Music’s 2014 AYCA scheme, and has also won prizes in the Dudley International Piano Competition, Brant International Competition and Beethoven Society Europe Competition.
Soares said: ‘Winning the Royal Overseas League Gold medal was the most exhilarating experience. It was a delight to compete with so many talented musicians in such a fantastic venue as the Queen Elizabeth Hall, in the highly professional care of the ROSL team. This achievement is a major step forward in my developing a performance career.’
The ROSL is a non-profit Commonwealth private members organisation which promotes international relations through arts and welfare activities. Besides the annual music competition, ROSL offers commonwealth music scholarships which provide young performers with valuable exposure early in their careers.
Steinway to unveil its 600,000th piano in London
16 June 2015, Katy Wright
'The Fibonacci', the 600,000th piano made by Steinway & Sons, will be on show in London from 24 June.
Designed by Frank Pollard, the instrument features the Fibonacci spiral on the veneer and is made entirely from natural Macassar ebony. From design to finish, the Fibonacci took over 6,000 hours over a four-year period to make.
The instrument is a Steinway & Sons Model D, nine foot concert grand, priced at $2.4m. The company will create up to six Model B pianos inspired by the same design.
Darren Marshall, chief marketing officer of Steinway, said: 'The Fibonacci spiral is a representation of perfect proportions and natural beauty. Without a doubt, Frank captured those qualities in this piano, creating a work of art for the eyes and the ears.'
Steinway artist Lang Lang became the first artist to perform on the Fibonacci at Steinway & Sons' showroom in Beverly Hills.
The 100,000th Steinway & Sons piano is part of the permanent collection at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., while the 300,000th piano is currently in the East Room of the White House.
The Fibonacci will be on display at Steinway & Sons stand at the Masterpiece London art fair.
Barenboim launches new piano
26 May 2015, London, UK
Barenboim-Maene Concert Grand
(Photos: Chris Maene)
Report by Katy Wright
Daniel Barenboim has unveiled a new piano at the Royal Festival Hall, London. The Barenboim-Maene Concert Grand was conceived and commissioned by Barenboim, and built by the Belgian instrument maker Chris Maene with support from Steinway & Sons.
Barenboim explained that the model reconciles the quality of a Steinway with the varied colour registers of 19th-century instruments. The distinguishing features of the instrument are its straight strings, double bridge and horizontal soundboard veins.
The project began after Barenboim played Franz Liszt’s restored grand piano in Siena, and was struck by its transparency and clarity. Barenboim collaborated with Maene, using parts from Steinway, to realise his vision. Only two of the instruments currently exist, with the creation process taking 18 months and approximately 4,000 hours of labour.
Barenboim has already performed publicly on the instrument, having played complete Schubert cycles in Paris and Vienna. He performs the Schubert cycles in London between 27 May and 2 June 2015. Barenboim took pains to emphasise that the new model is not in any way better than any other, but merely an alternative. Barenboim said: ’It’s like falling in love – you want to go everywhere with that person!’
Barenboim will perform a complete cycle of Schubert’s piano sonatas over four concerts at the Southbank centre between 27 May and 2 June. He will perform both Brahms concertos on the instrument at Royal Festival Hall in January 2016.
Find fame and fortune with Yamaha’s ‘b in the Movies’ video competition
15 May 2015
2015 marks the 10th Anniversary of Yamaha’s award-winning b series pianos. To celebrate this milestone the company has launched ‘b in the movies’, a fun and entertaining video competition with ten prizes of £800 up for grabs.
To enter, just upload a short video of yourself enjoying and playing a b series piano. The clip can be shot anywhere: in a music shop, in a school, at home or at one of a number of locations up and down the country where Yamaha will be installing pianos during the competition. Upload your video, get your friends and family voting, and you could win £800 as well as gaining hundreds of new fans! There's even an extra £800 on offer for the video that receives the most public votes.
The top 20 most entertaining entries, selected by the public, will be whittled down to 10 winners by Yamaha's panel of judges. The panel includes Yamaha artist Jamie Cullum, who said: 'This is a brilliant competition that not only encourages people to play the piano but for others to interact by watching. The more fans and views people get playing their Yamaha b series, all the better for encouraging children, beginners or even accomplished players to share their performances.'
The competition closes on 1st October, so there's plenty of time to capture your video, upload it to YouTube or Vimeo and enter at www.facebook.com/YamahaPianosEurope.
4 EASY STEPS TO ENTER
1 | FIND a b Series
You'll most likely find one at your local piano store, or music school. You might have one at home and they've even been found at train stations! There are three models in the b Series range to choose from (b1, b2 and b3) and you can use any one of them to take part in this competition.
2 | SHOOT your video
It's your 'b' movie so film yourself or others having fun, giving a solo performance or with other musicians. It's entirely up to you – just remember to include a b Series piano and keep it under 5 minutes.
3| UPLOAD and ENTER
Once you've captured your video, upload it to YouTube or Vimeo and then find us at www.facebook.com/YamahaPianosEurope. At the top of our wall you'll see the competition entry post. Simply follow the link to enter, complete you details on our registration page and then paste the URL from your YouTube or Vimeo upload. Deadline for video entries is 1st October 2015 and the sooner you enter, the sooner you can be building up votes!
4 | SHARE with friends and family
Want to win? Ask your friends and family to vote for you by sharing your video entry online – we'll send you a link to give them.