It’s All About Piano! French Institute Festival

I’m delighted to be part of a very exciting piano festival being held at the French Institute in South Kensington from 22nd – 24th March. The festival is a diverse and wonderfully eclectic mix of recitals, jazz concerts, film screenings, children’s activities, talks, and much more. You can find all details here.

One interesting feature is the juxtaposition of well-known artists with young performers. Pianist Nick van Bloss opens the proceedings on the 22nd with a performance of J.S.Bach’s Goldberg Variations swiftly followed by a four hand recital by young  pianists, Lidija and Sanja Bizjak.

On March 23rd, you can enjoy French pianist Guillaume Vincent who will perform works by Alkan, Rachmaninov and Liszt. Paul Roberts has selected a complete Ravel programme to be complimented by talks incorporating his new book Reflections, and Imogen Cooper will no doubt sparkle in an all Schubert programme. Jazz pianist, Laurent de Wilde offers some of his own compostions combined with some classics and the film, Pianomania, is definitely worth a view – this event is followed with a talk by celebrated Steinway piano technician Ulrich Gerhartz.

The festival is for all the family and there are plenty of events to interest little people; Films featuring cartoons like CineKids Musical Medley, The 5000 fingers of Dr T and Baby Tales: La Musique with Federick Chopin, as well as a family concert called Cavatina featuring the Lawson Piano Trio.

On the final day, 24th March, Ivan Ilić offers an interesting programme including works by Glass, Satie, John Cage and Arvo Pärt. Katya Apekisheva and Charles Owen give a four hand recital of works by Ravel, Poulenc and Stravinsky and Anne Queffélec will guide her audience through the wonders of Satie, and show through works created under his influence that he was an essential figurehead of freedom. Ferenc Vizi plays Mozart, Debussy, Du Falla, Piazzola and Gershwin, and Cyprien Katsaris performs Chopin, Liszt, Debussy and some of his own improvisations.  Baptiste Trotignon provides the second jazz concert which rounds off the whole festival.

Piano duo Worbey and Farrell give a family friendly concert, there will also be free piano lessons as well as piano yoga classes offered by GéNIA and workshops about the piano’s ‘Nuts and Bolts’ by technician Alain Chauvel. There are many other film options too.

I will be giving a talk all about my book, So you want to play the piano? It will be held at 2.00pm on Sunday March 24th so do please join me if you are free. I’ll be signing and selling the book afterwards which will in fact be a sneek preview as it isn’t being officially launched until April 1st.

This very interesting festival provides something for everyone and will no doubt be a fun weekend. You can book tickets via the box office:  box.office@institutfrancais.org.uk or 020 7871 3515. I look forward to meeting you!

Imogen Cooper who is performing on March 23rd (Photo: www.askonasholt.co.uk)

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