Llyr Williams scoops South Bank Sky Arts Award
2 May 2012
Welsh pianist Llyr Williams has won a South Bank Sky Arts
Awards for his Beethoven sonata series.
In 2011, Williams performed all 32 of Beethoven’s sonatas across 14 days at Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh. He was featured as ‘One to watch’ in the March/April edition of International Piano this year and told the magazine that although he feels closest to Beethoven’s music he finds some of the sonatas ‘difficult to make sense of’. ‘I don’t feel I’ve reached the top of the mountain with them yet,’ he commented, ‘But you never do with that music’.
The award was announced at the 16th South Bank
Sky Arts Awards ceremony on 1 May. The event is the only one of its kind to
represent a broad spectrum of British arts, including visual arts, opera,
television drama, dance, film and literature.
The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Roald Dahl’s
Matilda, created by Dennis Kelly and comedian-pianist Tim Minchin, won the
theatre category. Elsewhere, Grayson Perry was handed the Visual Arts award by
Tracey Emin for his hit exhibition, The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman, at the
Piano highlights at this year's BBC Proms
23 April 2012
Benjamin Grosvenor, who made his Proms debut in 2011, is set to perform Saint-Saens Concerto No 2© Chris Christodoulou/Proms
The line-up for this year’s BBC Proms – which takes place 13 July – 8 September – will include pianists Murray Perahia, Imogen Cooper, Steven Osborne, Katia and Marielle Labèque, Benjamin Grosvenor and Joanna MacGregor, among others.
The festival will draw on themes inspired by the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, and on the opening night of the Proms, four British conductors – Martyn Brabbins, Sir Mark Elder, Edward Gardner and Sir Roger Norrington – will ‘pass the baton’ on stage.
The 118th season includes 17 new commissions, with a further five world premieres and 14 other UK and London premieres, including that of Richard Dubugnon’s Battlefield concerto, written for and performed by Katia and Marielle Labèque.
British composers celebrating significant birthdays include Oliver
Knussen and Simon Bainbridge at 60, and Hugh Wood and Alexander Goehr at 80. There
are also 150th-birthday tributes to Debussy and Delius. Joanna MacGregor will
perform Wood’s piano concerto and Pierre-Laurent Aimard gives a solo recital of
Daniel Barenboim and his celebrated West Eastern Divan Orchestra
make Proms history by performing all nine Beethoven symphonies and the festival
hosts six major opera performances. Other headline-grabbing concerts include
the Children’s Prom, which will feature a concerto penned by none other than
animated inventor Wallace (of ‘& Gromit), and a complete performance of My
Promming tickets remain at £5 and for the first time ever, seats are half-price for under-18s. Every Prom is broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and many are televised on BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Four.
The Musical Brain prepares for upcoming Beethoven conference
16 April 2012
Thinking organisation The Musical Brain has announced details of its upcoming conference ‘The Beethoven Question: Can Art Make Life Worth Living?’, which will be held in the Purcell Room at the Southbank Centre on 27 and 28 October.
Speakers include Barry Cooper, world authority on Beethoven and Professor of Music at the University of Manchester, and writer Stephen Johnson Writer, regular presenter of BBC Radio 3’s Discovering Music, among other notable participants.
The Musical Brain examines the effects of music and other art forms upon the human mind, brain and body, and creates opportunities for intellectuals and artists to debate issues before an audience of enthusiasts. Delegates include individuals with an amateur interest in the subject and participants from within the music industry.
Tickets are priced £95 for a single day and £160 for the weekend (with limited student tickets on offer for £45 and £75 respectively) and are available online here or via the box office on 0844 847 9910.
Norway's Lofoten Piano Festival postponed
12 March 2012
Pianist Christian Ihle Hadland, who was due to perform at the now-postponed Lofoten Piano Festival© Nikolaj Lund
International Piano was saddened to learn that the Lofoten Piano Festival, scheduled to take place 4-8 April this year, has been postponed.
The festival, of which IP’s current cover artist, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet is artistic director, was due to be held in the Lofoten Islands in Norway. Bavouzet told IP that he was keen for people to have ‘an enriching experience not only musically but from a human point of view’ in a place that is ‘like no other, something very special in terms of the landscape and the light’.
The festival has revealed that the delay is due to
‘economical insecurity’. Originally, the board received promising assurances of
financial support that allowed detailed plans to go ahead. Very recently,
however, promised funding has not materialised, suddenly endangering the
The event organisers note that ‘after all the preparation undertaken it is very frustrating as well as most embarrassing to have to postpone the Piano Festival’s first edition. The board are doing its utmost to shake up all the public and private institutions to deliver on their promises on time in the future.
‘We profoundly regret to see Jean-Efflam Bavouzet´s devoted work as artistic director not being crowned as it should have been with the greatest success.’
The festival hopes that it will be able to renew its invitation to Bavouzet, and to all the artists who intended to perform during the first instalment. Those who bought tickets will be entitled to a full refund, and are advised to call +47 91398640 or to email email@example.com.
Free piano servicing for Kemble customers
7 March 2012
Kemble Pianos have unveiled a free servicing programme for customers who purchase a new instrument throughout 2012.
The Free Piano Servicing programme offers 12 months of complimentary servicing with every new Kemble piano purchased this year. This includes two comprehensive tunings, two technical inspections, and regulation and voicing checks.
Every Kemble piano is individually voiced and adjusted in the company’s UK workshops to ensure the characteristic warmth and familiar response for which Kemble pianos are well known. In 2011 the piano makers celebrated its centenary, a milestone that International Piano marked with a series of specially commissioned illustrations (July/Aug edition, issue 8).
For further information on the Kemble servicing programme, click here.