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International Piano (IP) incorporates International Piano (formally International Piano Quarterly) and Piano magazine. It is written for pianists and discerning fans of piano music.

Each bi-monthly issue includes interviews with top pianists and rising talent, performance tips, news, features, analysis and comment. You will find exclusive tutorials by concert artists, in-depth articles on piano recordings and repertoire, masterclasses on piano technique, and festival, concert and competition reports from around the globe.

Every edition includes a five-page Symposium, hosted by Jeremy Siepmann, which brings together leading experts and international pianists for a round-table debate.

Our comprehensive reviews section examines the latest recordings, books, DVDs, sheet music and concerts.

Plus, each issue includes free sheet music – often rare or newly released works – for readers to add to their collections.


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Keys and words collide as novel about piano prodigy is turned into a concert series

30 September 2013

Author Jessica Duchen reads from Alicia's Gift
Author Jessica Duchen reads from Alicia's Gift

Viv Mclean performs works from the novel
Viv Mclean performs works from the novel


IP contributor Jessica Duchen will embark on an unusual book tour this winter; her musically inspired novel, Alicia’s Gift, has been turned into a concert.

The story follows the piano prodigy Alicia Bradley and her embattled parents from the revelation of her talent aged three through to her adulthood and her participation in the Leeds International Piano Competition.

This is not the first time Duchen has dabbled with words and music. Her novel Hungarian Dances was turned into a narrated concert to great acclaim, and the featured music is available on a dedicated CD on the Onyx label. Duchen is the author of four novels, biographies of Gabriel Fauré and Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and writes for the Independent and many specialist magazines, including International Piano.

The Alicia’s Gift concert explores its heroine’s story with the help of some of the music in her life, alternating a narrative based on the book with a variety of engaging illustrative piano works, performed by Viv McLean (piano winner of the Royal Over-seas League Music Competition, First Prize at the 2002 Maria Canals International Piano Competition in Barcelona). Alicia’s passion for Chopin is reflected in selections ranging from the Third Ballade to the stormy Etude Op 25 No 12. Her emotional growth is mirrored in the atmospheric worlds of Granados and Ravel, among others. Her search for the perfect teacher carries her through a roller coaster of Czerny, Debussy and Gershwin.

‘The idea of my concerts-of-the-novel is that these performances should be more than just alternating words and music,’ explains Duchen. ‘The two must be so closely integrated in terms of appropriateness and emotional content that they effectively unite in a different form of storytelling that becomes a genre in its own right.

‘I’m not sure whose idea it was that we should end the concert with a piano duet. We’ve picked the final number of Ravel’s ‘Mother Goose’ Suite and I get to play the glissandi, which should be fun – at least, I hope so. Playing the piano in public terrifies me, so I’m not sure what I’m letting myself in for!’

Alicia’s Gift: The Concert of the Novel is premiered at the Musical Museum, Brentford, on 9 November

Performance dates
9 November 2013: Musical Museum, Brentford, near Kew Bridge
13 November 2013: Kensington & Chelsea Music Society, Leighton House, Holland Park, London W11
27 November 2013: Vernon Ellis Foundation, 49 Queen’s Gate Terrace, London SW7
8 December 2013, 3pm: St Mary’s, Perivale
15 December 2013: Burgh House, Hampstead, London NW3
18 January 2014: Soirées at Breinton, near Woking, Surrey

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