New BBC Four documentary on John Ogdon
22 May 2014
A documentary on the life of John Ogdon will be broadcast on BBC Four in June.
John Ogdon – Living with Genius examines the turbulent life of one of Britain’s greatest pianists.
The documentary, directed by Zoe Dobson and produced by back2back productions, features footage from the 1962 Tchaikovsky Competition which launched Ogdon on to the world stage. Ogdon’s wife, the pianist Brenda Lucas, and their children Richard and Annabel are also interviewed.
After his success in 1962 as the first British finalist to win the International Tchaikovsky Competition (where he was awarded joint first prize with Vladimir Ashkenazy), Ogdon toured and recorded widely, both as a soloist and as a duo with his wife. He had an enviable ability to sight-read and memorise complex scores, and gave many first performances of new works. He was also an accomplished composer.
Ogdon struggled with mental health issues throughout his life. He died 25 years ago in August. The article ‘Remembering John’ in the latest edition of IP (issue 25, May/June 14) explores his piano prowess, in conversation with his biographer Charles Beauclerk.
The documentary is followed by John Ogdon: A Musical Tribute at 8.30pm, a tribute concert performed by pianist Peter Donohoe, which was recorded earlier this year.
John Ogdon – Living with Genius is on BBC Four Friday 6 June 2014, 7.30pm
Martin James Bartlett wins BBC Young Musician 2014
19 May 2014
Martin James Bartlett, 17, has been named the winner of BBC Young Musician 2014.
The final of BBC Young Musician 2014 took place on 18 May at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh. The three finalists performed with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kirill Karabits in front of an audience.
Pianist Alice Sara Ott was on the judging panel, alongside composer James MacMillan, conductor Alice Farnham, percussionist Colin Currie and recorder-player Michala Petri.
Martin James Bartlett performed Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.
The runners up were percussionist Elliott Gaston-Ross (15) and recorder-player Sophie Westbrooke (15).
The finals are available to watch online here
Martin James Bartlett named BBC Young Musician keyboard finalist
13 May 2014
Martin James Bartlett, 17, has won the keyboard category final of BBC Young Musician.
Bartlett, from Hornchurch, Essex, impressed the judging panel – which included pianists Ashley Wass and Noriko Ogawa – with a varied recital. Bartlett gave a controlled performance of Bach’s Partita No 2, Capriccio, followed by the Petrarch Sonnet 104 by Liszt. He closed with a witty rendition of Moszkowski’s Etincelles and the fourth movement from Barber’s Piano Sonata Op 26. The judges praised his programming and Wass observed that Bartlett conveyed a ‘compelling level of musicianship’.
The other finals were Isata Kanneh-Mason (17), Hayley Parkes (18), Ning Hui See (18) and Julian Trevelyan (15).
Bartlett – who also competed in the 2012 instalment of the competition – will participate in the semi finals, broadcast on BBC Four on Saturday 17 May at 7pm. He joins strings category winner, William Dutton (19), percussionist Elliott Gaston-Ross (15), woodwind champion Sophie Westbrooke (15) and the as-yet unknown brass finalist (to be announced 16 May).
The BBC Young Musician 2014 final will take place at Usher Hall in Edinburgh on Sunday 18 May. It will be broadcast the same day on BBC Four at 7pm and on BBC Radio 3 at 7:30pm.
Over 450 entries were received for the contest from musicians aged between 8-18 years old. Former winners and finalists include Benjamin Grosvenor, Stephen Hough, Leon McCawley and Lucy Parham.
The keyboard finals are available to watch online here
RNCM students past and present collaborate on new single in support of concert hall campaign
2 May 2014
Daniel Parkinson and David Schofield pictured in the soon-to-be completed concert hall© Tom Gradwell
Daniel Parkinson conducts RNCM strings© Tom Gradwell
Stephen Hough arranged the music for piano and strings© Andrew Crowley
RNCM postgraduate conductor Daniel Parkinson and students from the School of Strings have teamed up with British pianist and Junior RNCM alumnus David Schofield to release a charity single in aid of Your RNCM.
A new version of the famous Londonderry Air, or 'Danny Boy' as it’s more commonly known, will be released through all major online stores on Monday 19 May with proceeds going towards Your RNCM, the College’s £3m campaign to transform its 40-year-old Concert Hall into a state-of-the-art venue.
Recorded at the Manchester-based college earlier this month, the single was arranged for piano and strings by RNCM alumnus Stephen Hough, with original orchestration by Ross Clarke.
Parkinson, who is currently studying for an MMus in Solo Performance (Conducting), said: ‘The refurbished Concert Hall will provide a platform for artistic excellence at the RNCM. This campaign single came about thanks to the RNCM's policy of encouraging and supporting students' creativity as well as its ability to think out of the box. It has been a pleasure bringing together such a talented group of people to produce the track and I hope that it is successful in creating awareness and raising money for such a vital campaign.’
Schofield, who studied at Junior RNCM before joining Chetham’s School of Music and the Chicago College of Performing Arts, added: ‘The RNCM played a major role in my early musical education and it is so nice to play a part in this single and give something back to both the College and Manchester. Stephen Hough and my good friend Ross Clarke have done an exceptional job on both the piano part and orchestration - it captures so well the meaning of the piece of music and is great to perform.
‘I was in the Concert Hall a few weeks ago and seeing the progress is amazing; it’s not only a great addition to the College but to musicians across the world. I have been so lucky to work with an amazing team of people on this project and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a classical number one on Sunday 25 May.’
Your RNCM officially launched in October 2013. To date, the College has raised almost half of its £3m target and work on the transformation, completed by Styles & Wood, is well underway. Incorporated in the plans is a complete redevelopment of the Concert Hall to include a new air-conditioning and heating system, new flooring and seating, advanced technical facilities and lighting, in addition to a balcony and raised floor area to considerably increase capacity. The backstage production areas of both the Concert Hall and RNCM Theatre will also be reconfigured to support increased student numbers and provide a professional learning environment at industry standard.
The RNCM Concert Hall closed to the public on 27 January. It will officially reopen later this year.
Joanna MacGregor to lead Dartington International Summer School from 2015
26 March 2014
Pianist Joanna MacGregor has been named as artistic director of the Dartington International Summer School from 2015, initially on a three-year contract.
MacGregor will take over from Nicholas Daniel after this year’s summer school, Daniel having been taken on with a one-year contract, as announced last year.
The 2014 summer school will last for three weeks, as opposed to the long-established five-week model, a change made ‘due to reduced demand for the 2013 summer school’ according to a Dartington spokesperson. With strong sales this year, however, the plan is to step up to four weeks in 2015.
MacGregor was artistic director of the Bath International Music Festival from 2006 to 2012 and is head of piano at the Royal Academy of Music. She was made a professor of the University of London in autumn 2013 ‘in recognition of her outstanding contribution both to the Academy and to international musical life’.
Dartington has a reputation for bringing amateurs and professional musicians together and is known for attracting artists of international calibre to work as tutors. Before Daniel, directors were the composer John Woolrich, Gavin Henderson, Peter Maxwell Davies and William Glock.
Tutors in 2014 include pianists Anna Tilbrook, Christian Blackshaw, Katya Apekisheva and Tom Poster, soprano Emma Kirkby, conductor Sian Edwards, viol consort Fretwork, violist Philip Dukes, and composers Colin Matthews and John Woolrich.
MacGregor said of her appointment: ‘Having been involved with the summer school for many years I am delighted to take on this exciting role and to have the opportunity to shape the future of this wonderful celebration of music and creativity.’
This year’s summer school runs 26 July – 15 August