Superstar line up for Southbank Centre’s 2011-12 International Piano Series
27 November 2011
Legendary pianists Mitsuko Uchida, Arcadi Volodos and Maurizio Pollini (pictured) will perform at London’s Southbank Centre as part of the venue’s 2011-12 International Piano series.
The series has already featured several stellar performances by Pierre-Laurent Aimard, who played music by Pierre Boulez in October and Franz Liszt earlier this month. Aimard’s second Liszt recital takes place on 7 December, and was discussed in the Nov/Dec edition of International Piano magazine (IP). The Liszt Forum that took place on 15 October will be reviewed in the Jan/Feb edition of IP.
Following the success of Alice Sara Ott’s recital in November, Alexei Volodin will perform on 13 June and Yuja Wang returns on 1 May. Continuing the legacy of this spring’s Lang Lang Inspires project that saw 100 young UK pianists playing alongside Lang Lang on the Royal Festival Hall stage, Southbank Centre has invited a number of young pianists to curate their own concerts at the Purcell Room (18 February 2012) – propagating the pianist’s personal mission to broaden the reach of classical music around the world and inspire the next generation of musicians.
The Royal Festival Hall will host some of the biggest names in the piano world in 2012: Maurizio Pollini (6 March); Mitsuko Uchida (23 April), playing the last three Schubert sonatas; and a rare London recital by the Russian super-virtuoso Arcadi Volodos (22 May). Richard Goode returns to Southbank Centre following his sabbatical with his Royal Festival Hall recital debut (12 February) playing Chopin and Schumann. The Series also welcomes the return of Leif Ove Andsnes (29 March), Lars Vogt (15 May), Peter Donohoe (28 February), Jonathan Biss (17 January), François-Frédéric Guy (20 March) and Peter Jablonski (31 January).
HJ Lim signs to EMI
10 October 2011
EMI Classics has announced that pianist HJ Lim has joined its roster. The South Korean’s first project under the new agreement will be a recording of the complete Beethoven piano sonatas. The sonatas, which Lim has divided into eight themes, will be released as four 2-CD sets in January, April, July and October 2012. A complete boxed set with a bonus DVD will also be available from October 2012.
Twenty-four year old HJ Lim (Hyun- Jung) first performed the complete cycle over eight days in Paris during August 2010. ‘A theoretical analysis of Beethoven’s sonatas has been done many times; my own emphasises rather the emotional, human, spiritual and psychological,’ she said. ‘This is why I view these sonatas by Beethoven as the most intense diary, in which [the] genius expresses, or even illustrates, all the facets of a life that is sometimes sublimated, and idealised, and often deeply moving by its realism.’
Chopin sculpture unveiled in Manchester, UK
1 October 2011
A bronze monument celebrating the life of Chopin has been unveiled on Deansgate, in the centre of Manchester, in the presence of the Polish ambassador Barbara Tuge-Erecinska.
Commissioned by a local committee and the Polish Consulate, and sponsored by property company Bruntwood, the statue is the culmination of local celebrations of the bicentenary of Chopin’s birth. Created by Polish sculptor Robert Sobocinski, it commemorates the one occasion when Chopin performed in Manchester. It depicts him at the piano, gazing at his muse, Baroness Aurore Lucile Dupon, with an eagle in flight and a battle scene symbolising the Polish fight for freedom. It is 4m high and 2.5m wide, set on a sandstone plinth.
Chopin performed at the Gentlemen’s Concert Hall in Manchester on 28 August 1848, having escaped the revolution in Paris, along with Berlioz, Thalberg, Kalkbrenner, Hallé, Pixis, Osborne and others. The hall held 1,200 and may have provided the largest audience he ever saw. The Musical World compared his playing unfavourably with that of Meyer, Herz, Thalberg and Sterndale Bennett. However, Chopin was unwell at the time (the Manchester Guardian noted ‘an almost painful air of feebleness in his appearance and gait’). He died the following year.
Dame Myra Hess day at London's National Gallery
14 September 2011
London’s National Gallery is to host a Dame Myra Hess event, a day of music to celebrate the inspirational Second World War pianist.
On 4 October the National Gallery will invite music lovers to attend a series of lunchtime, afternoon and evening recitals to commemorate Dame Myra Hess. The annual concert programme, started in 2006 and supported by The Ernest Hecht Charitable Foundation, takes its inspiration from Hess who initiated a series of concerts in the National Gallery to boost morale during the Second World War. The pianist introduced daily concerts held in the empty Gallery between October 1939 and April 1946. By the time the final performance came to a close, 1,698 concerts had been attended by a total of 824,152 people.
This year’s programme includes performances by 30-piece
chamber choir Ionian Singers, violinist Tasmin Little and pianist Piers Lane,
and features the world premiere of Benjamin Wallfisch’s An Eternal Window. Actress Patricia Routledge (Keeping up Appearances and Hetty
Wainthropp Investigates) and Lane will give a performance that includes excepts
from letters, books and interviews collated by Dame Myra’s great-nephew,
composer Nigel Hess.
A Royal Conservatoire for Scotland
1 September 2011
The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama has become the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS), a name change to mark the culmination of its expansion into new disciplines in recent years.
Since 2009, the conservatoire has been offering training in dance, screen and production arts as well as music and drama. ‘The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland was chosen as the new name because it reflects who we are and positions us as Scotland’s national conservatoire,’ said John Wallace, principal of the RCS.
The conservatoire’s keyboard department had its own name change in the run-up to the rebrand, and is now known as the keyboard and collaborative piano department to reflect the opportunities for pianists to work with artists across different disciplines. These include a Pianist for Dance postgraduate programme as well as courses in classical improvisation. The name change was implemented by Aaron Shorr, head of keyboard and collaborative piano.
The RCS also acquired a new fleet of Yamaha and Steinway pianos in 2009. ‘Many of the dance and musical theatre students also play the piano,’ said Wallace. ‘The number of pianos we have has gone through the roof.
‘Pianists commune with artists across the divide,’ he said. ‘The piano department is incredibly important in a conservatoire, and many conservatoires were set up by pianists. If you don’t have a fabulous piano department you can’t really say you are a conservatoire.
‘The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is a vibrant, multidisciplinary place. The name change is also about looking forwards to try and reinvent the concept of what a conservatoire is.’