Melanie Spanswick is an award-winning, best-selling piano writer, professor, and composer who has authored 19 books on many aspects of pianism.
A piano faculty member at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London (Junior/Pre-College Division), Eton College, Royal Holloway University of London, and an Honorary Master Piano Teacher at the Tom Lee Academy in Hong Kong and Director of the Teacher Training Programme at the Cristofori Music School in Singapore.
Melanie’s work has taken her to all five continents. She is currently the artistic director of the Ars Nova Festival held in Singapore and Malaysia, and a member of the academic advisory board and board of directors for the International Performing and Visual Arts Examination Board (IPVAEB), also based in the Far East.
Her music is increasingly performed and recorded worldwide. She is one of the few female composers to be published in the renowned Edition Schott Composer Series. Melanie’s popular blog has accrued well over a million hits.
Melanie studied the piano at the Royal College of Music in London where she won a collection of prizes and scholarships, including the Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Award for the most outstanding postgraduate pianist of the year, and a Leverhulme Trust Scholarship, graduating with a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance Studies. Her principal piano professors were Patricia Carroll, Tatiana Sarkissova, and John Lill.
Performances and broadcasts include recitals as a soloist, chamber musician, and accompanist at numerous music festivals and concert halls, touring over ten countries. Performance venues include the CBSO Centre and Symphony Hall (Birmingham), South Bank Centre, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, St. John’s Smith Square, the National Theatre (all in London), and St. George’s Chapel (Windsor, UK). Abroad, Melanie has toured Canada several times, most notably, at the Guelph Festival, and the Great Romantics Festival in Hamilton (held in conjunction with the American Liszt Society). She has also performed in Russia, at Tchaikovsky’s house in Klin (near Moscow), and at a series of recitals around the Netherlands for the Anglo-Dutch Piano Platform.
Recital performances have comprised a whole host of music clubs, societies, music festivals, and universities, totalling over 800 solo performances. Melanie has made a solo recording at Wigmore Hall (for Opera Omnia), has performed for the Queen Mother and Queen of Denmark, and has broadcast on Classic FM, BBC Radio, CBC Radio, and Swedish and Spanish television.
As an educational piano writer and author, Melanie’s work is published by many leading publishing houses: Schott Music, Willis Music Company, Faber Music, and Alfred U.K. She selected the repertoire for the Faber Music Piano Anthology (Faber) and her piano guidebook, So You Want To Play The Piano? (Alfred) has received much acclaim.
Play it again: PIANO (Schott), a three-book piano course, has become an international success and is now one of Schott’s best-selling series.
More recent publications include a two-book series for children, First Repertoire For Little Pianists for the U.S. publisher Willis Music Company. The three-book series Women Composers – A Graded Anthology For Piano (Schott) won a 2022 Presto Music Award for best New Series Of The Year.
Lecture and workshop destinations include Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China, Italy, the U.S.A., Dubai, Oman, and Germany. Melanie particularly enjoys coaching piano teachers and music conservatoire students, and she is especially committed to promoting a healthy piano technique free from injury.
In 2017 she presented piano technique workshops at the UCSI University Piano Pedagogy Conference in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). Melanie also gave lectures at the 2019 Frankfurt Music Messe (Germany), and was ‘Grand Mentor’ for the I-MEC and the Cantata Youth Music Scheme in Jakarta (Indonesia) during the 2019/2020 season, giving a series of workshops and master classes for piano teachers and students.
Melanie writes a regular ‘How-To-Play’ column in Pianist magazine for whom she has written over fifty articles, and she has also contributed over twenty piano technique feature articles to Piano Professional, the European Piano Teachers Association’s (EPTA) flagship publication. More recently, she has been a columnist for Music Teacher Magazine, penning a regular feature on composition. Further guest articles include Piano Journal, Music Teacher Magazine, International Piano Magazine, Clavier Companion, Rhinegold Publications, Pianofforte (published by Faber), Music ED UK, Tom Lee Academy website, and the Daily Telegraph. She has co-written the ABRSM Piano Notes series (Rhinegold) and the performance notes for the 2028 – 2020 and the 2021 – 2024 London College of Music piano examination syllabuses.
As an educator, she has examined for the ABRSM, is an adjudicator for the British and International Federation of Festivals, and a jury member at various national and international piano competitions. Melanie’s students have won prizes at both national and international competitions.
Piano course tutoring has included Jackdaws Music Education Trust, Finchcocks Music, Piano Week, The Thinking Pianist, and the Montecatini Piano Festival (Italy). Regular workshop presentations have encompassed the European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA), a bilingual piano project near Düsseldorf (Germany) for teachers and students, and serving as a faculty member at the Overseas Masters Winter Piano Academy held at the Yehudi Menuhin School.
Melanie directed The Piano Teachers’ Course at the 2021 Chetham’s International Piano Summer School and is a faculty member at the Tokyo International Piano Association (TIPA). She has hosted a series of online masterclasses for the First Education Group in Hong Kong and Macau and has tutored at the London Chinese Children’s Ensemble Virtual Piano Courses. Melanie was honoured to present a seminar at the U.S.-based Online Global Piano Summit II 2021, and, during 2022, an online workshop for teachers for the Music Teachers’ Association of South Australia.
As a composer, Melanie’s educational music regularly features in various piano festival programmes, and competitions, and has frequently appeared in Pianist and International Piano magazines, as well as in music exams and competition syllabuses. She compiled, composed, and annotated the 2021-2024 London College of Music Examinations Pre-Prep, Step 1, and Step 2 piano syllabuses.
Compositions have been performed at the Shiga Bank Piano Festival and a Livestream concert held at the Watsuki Hall, both in Kyoto, and in a Chamber Music Series at Toppan Hall in Tokyo, Japan. In Europe, Melanie’s music was showcased as part of the Montecatini Piano Festival in Italy, and in the UK as part of Piano Week. It has also been recorded for the Steinway ‘Spirio’ piano, and her piano piece Aisa: Sand, Silk & Love was broadcast live on Radio-Berograd and RTS (Serbian National Television) played by Japanese pianist Aisa Ijiri. Incantation: Rousing The Dead for Two Pianos, was recently performed at the Kolarac Hall in Belgrade, Serbia.
Melanie was one of ten featured female composers in Pianist Magazine’s 10 Women Composers You Have To Know.
Classical Conversations is a filmed interview series curated by Melanie. She interviewed forty well-known pianists and pedagogues over three years; the interviews feature on her YouTube channel.
‘The heroic drama of Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto, in a forthright, bold performance by the young English pianist Melanie Spanswick, formed the stirring centrepiece of an impressive orchestral concert given by the Sinfonia of Birmingham.’
‘A pianist of style and substance, Melanie Spanswick draws from the keyboard an unfailingly rich supply of colours.’
Dr Alan Walker – author of the definitive three-volume biography of Franz Liszt
Top Image: Sarah Barnes