Tag Archives: pianist

No one can take it away

The “Lady in Number 6” is a short but truly inspirational film about 109-year old Alice Hertz-Sommer, a concert pianist and the oldest holocaust survivor until her death earlier this year. After a remarkable and long life, this irrepressible lady … Continue reading

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Interview with… Gordon Ogilvie (pianist)

Please tell me a little about yourself (profession, musical activities, etc). As a scientist at the University of Cambridge, I am involved in both research in theoretical astrophysics and teaching in mathematics. Music is also a very important part of … Continue reading

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Interview with… Charlotte Tomlinson (pianist)

I have worked as a chamber musician and duo partner for my entire career to date and therefore I have not needed to play from memory in a concert. Music has been given to me anything from months before the … Continue reading

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Mental practice and a holiday from playing

Many musicians worry about how to keep repertoire fresh and accurate when practising simply isn’t possible. I haven ‘t touched the piano for a week, and although my recent holiday in the mountains was undoubtedly restorative for the mind and … Continue reading

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Interview with… GéNIA (pianist)

Please tell me a little about yourself (profession, musical activities, etc). I am a pianist, composer, educator and founder of the Piano-Yoga® method. Do you actively memorise music and perform without a score? If not, why not? If so, why? When … Continue reading

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Pianists on Playing (book review)

Compiled by Linda Noyle, “Pianists on Playing” is a collection of interviews from the 1980’s with twelve international concert pianists. The pianists, who are all giants of the classical piano world, include household names like Vladimir Ashkenazy and Jorge Bolet. Each pianist … Continue reading

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Keeping repertoire alive

If playing music is a big part of your life, it’s likely that at some point you’ll be asked to play in front of people – friends, family, colleagues. While some people relish the opportunity, and ultimately make a career … Continue reading

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Interview with… Hayley Hind (music therapist)

Please tell me a little about yourself (profession, musical activities, etc). I am a music therapist working with adults with learning disabilities, a piano teacher, pianist, accompanist and, as of recently, part-time PhD student. I study the piano with Heli … Continue reading

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Interview with… Graham Fitch (pianist)

Please tell me a little about yourself (profession, musical activities, etc). I am a pianist and teacher, also an adjudicator and writer. I teach privately in London, my studio comprising gifted youngsters, tertiary level piano students and adult amateurs. I … Continue reading

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Interview with… Paul Roberts (pianist)

Please tell me a little about yourself (profession, musical activities, etc). I am a concert pianist, writer and teacher, and I have made a speciality of the lecture-recital. This means I have had to learn to switch to different parts … Continue reading

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Different pieces, different challenges

I’ve been learning two new piano pieces so far this year – Chopin’s epic first ballade in G minor Op23 (which I’ve already written about) and Rachmaninoff’s beautiful Prelude in D major Op23 No4. Although both pieces are on the … Continue reading

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Can you write out a score from memory?

I’ve recently read several contradictory statements about whether a musician can or should be able to write out the score of a piece they are playing from memory. On the one hand, neuroscientist Ray Dolan asserts in Alan Rusbridger’s book ‘Play it Again’ … Continue reading

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Interview with… Madelaine Jones (pianist)

Please tell me a little about yourself (profession, musical activities, etc). My name is Madelaine Jones, and I am a pianist and writer based in London. I am currently studying piano and improvisation at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and … Continue reading

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Anxiety and Musical Performance (book review)

There’s a big difference between playing from memory and performing from memory. I’ve previously compared playing from memory with a high-wire act, but just how high is the tight-rope? The Cross-Eyed Pianist has an excellent blog post on this topic. When playing … Continue reading

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Performing your own work is nerve-racking

This weekend I performed in a small concert for adult amateur pianists. Despite the shared terror of performing in front of our peers, more than half the group played from memory and there were some fabulous performances. Being in the musical … Continue reading

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Interview with… Melanie Spanswick (pianist)

Please tell me a little about yourself (profession, musical activities, etc). I have been a concert pianist for many years giving recitals and chamber music concerts everywhere and anywhere. I have taught extensively, examined for the ABRSM and I also … Continue reading

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Analysis of Chopin’s Ballade in G minor

This year, I’ve finally decided to learn Chopin’s mighty first ballade in G minor. I played his (slightly easier) third ballade in A-flat major a few years ago, and have wanted to take on this iconic beast for quite some … Continue reading

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Practicing Perfection (book review)

Last year, in search of clues to help me memorise 40 minutes of solo piano music for a recital, I read “Practicing Perfection – Memory and Piano Performance”. This detailed academic text describes a joint project between concert pianist Gabriela … Continue reading

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Improving your musical memory

Although playing from memory is commonplace on the concert stage, many students are never taught how to memorise, and many amateurs believe they can’t play from memory but would dearly like to. How do we learn to memorise music? If … Continue reading

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Interview with… Frances Wilson (pianist)

I’m delighted to have follow blogger Frances Wilson (aka The Cross-Eyed Pianist) as my second interviewee, whose wonderful blog helped inspire me to start my own. Please tell me a little about yourself (profession, musical activities, etc). I am a … Continue reading

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Play it Again (book review)

As one might expect for a book written by the Editor of a major national newspaper, Alan Rusbridger’s new book “Play it Again” has received quite a bit of media attention. The book is a compelling personal account of an … Continue reading

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Interview with… Heli Ignatious-Fleet (pianist)

I’m very grateful to Heli not only for being my first interviewee for this blog, but also for nurturing my interest in musical memory and being an inspirational piano teacher. Please tell me a little about yourself (profession, musical activities, … Continue reading

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How to Memorise Music (book review)

Whilst trawling through a bookshop recently, I came across this little gem – “How to Memorise Music” by Charles Frederick Kenyon, written circa 1905. What the book lacks in detail, it more than makes up for in style! The short … Continue reading

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Memorising Debussy

I recently learnt Debussy’s wonderful Hommage à Rameau, in Images Book 1 Number 2, as part of my LTCL programme. It is a yearningly nostalgic piece written in 1904-5 which draws its inspiration from French baroque composer and music theorist … Continue reading

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Interview with… Caroline Wright

I thought it would be a good idea to test my interview questions thoroughly before inflicting them on the unsuspecting musical public. So in addition to asking friends for their thoughts, I decided to try answering the questions myself to … Continue reading

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