Melanie Spanswick MMus (RCM) GRSM (Hons) DipRCM ARCM (PG)

Image: Sally Olson

Melanie is a British pianist, writer, teacher, and composer, who has authored best-selling books on many aspects of piano playing. Her music is increasingly performed and recorded worldwide, and she is one of the few female composers to be published in the renowned Edition Schott Composer Series.

A piano professor at Junior Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and an Honorary Master Piano Teacher at the Tom Lee Academy in Hong Kong, she is also artistic director of the Ars Nova Festival held in Singapore and Malaysia, and is a member of the academic advisory board for the International Performing and Visual Arts Examination Board also based in the Far East.

Melanie Spanswick studied the piano at the Royal College of Music in London, where she won many prizes, including the Arnold Ziff Prize for the most outstanding postgraduate pianist and a Leverhulme Trust Scholarship, graduating with a Master’s degree in Performance Studies. Her principal piano professors included Patricia Carroll, Tatiana Sarkissova, and John Lill.

As a pianist, Melanie has performed and broadcast widely, giving recitals as a soloist, chamber musician and accompanist at many music festivals and major concert halls, including solo performances at the South Bank Centre, CBSO Hall, and St. John’s Smith Square. She has made a solo recording at Wigmore Hall (for Opera Omnia), has performed for the Queen Mother and Queen of Denmark, and has also broadcast on Classic FM, BBC Radio, and Swedish and Spanish television.

As an author, she is published by major publishing houses: Schott, Faber and Alfred. Melanie selected the repertoire for the Faber Music Piano Anthology (Faber Music) and her piano guidebook, So You Want To Play The Piano? (Alfred Music) has received much acclaim. Melanie’s three-book piano series, Play it again: PIANO (Schott Music), an in-depth taught course containing 60 works, intended for piano returners, has been an international success, and Book 4 will be released in 2021.

Recent lecture and workshop destinations include Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and China, Italy, the USA, and Germany. Melanie particularly enjoys coaching piano teachers; in 2017 she presented at the UCSI University Piano Pedagogy Conference in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), gave a keynote presentation at the 2019 Frankfurt Music Messe (Germany), and is also a ‘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.

Melanie writes a regular ‘How-To-Play’ column in Pianist magazine, and has also contributed over 15 piano technique feature articles to Piano Professional, EPTA’s (European Piano Teachers Association) flagship publication. More recently, she has been a columnist for Music Teacher Magazine, penning a regular feature on composition for students. Further guest articles include: Piano Journal, Music Teacher Magazine, International Piano Magazine, Clavier Companion, Rhinegold Publications, Pianofforte (published by Faber), MUSIC:ED, Tom Lee Academy website, and the Daily Telegraph. She has co-written the ABRSM Piano Notes series, and the performance notes for the London College of Music piano examination syllabus 2018 – 2020.

As an educator, Melanie has examined for the ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) and she adjudicates for the British and International Federation of Festivals, for whom she is an adjudicator mentor and coach.

She regularly tutors courses at Jackdaws Music Education Trust, Finchcocks Music, and Piano Week. Workshops have included presentations for EPTA (European Piano Teachers Association), hosting a bilingual piano project near Düsseldorf (Germany) for teachers and students, as well as serving as a faculty member at the Overseas Masters Winter Piano Academy which is held biennially at the Yehudi Menuhin School.

Melanie will direct the Piano Teachers’ Course at the 2020 Chetham’s International Piano Summer School.

Melanie has adjudicated both nationally and internationally, and has been a jury member at the following competitions: 2016 Chicago Amateur Piano Competition,  65th and 70th Hong Kong Schools Association Music Festival, 2017 Singapore Performing Arts Festival, 2017 Beethoven Junior Intercollegiate Piano Competition in London, Stars of the Albion Grand Prix in London (for which she chaired the jury in 2018 and 2019), and the 2019 3rd Overseas Performers Festival in Singapore.

As a composer, Melanie’s music has featured in various piano festival syllabuses, it has been published by several leading publishing houses, and has frequently appeared in Pianist and International Piano publications.  During 2018 she made her debut as a Schott Music composer with a collection of educational pieces entitled No Words Necessary. And in 2019, a piano duet, A String of Pearls, was published in the Edition Schott Composer series. Simply Driven, a set of five virtuoso solo piano pieces, has also been released in this series.

Recent composition collaborations include the Solomon Piano Quintet, Samantha Ward, Maciej Raginia, Warren Mailley-Smith, Aisa Ijiri, Yuki Negishi, Fenella Humphreys, Harriet Mackenzie, and Tim Lowe. Her music has been performed at the Shiga Bank Piano Festival in Kyoto, and it was featured in the Chamber Music Series at Toppan Hall in Tokyo, Japan, as well as in Italy and the UK as part of Piano Week. The piano piece Aisa: Sand, Silk & Love from Simply Driven, is to be featured on the Steinway ‘Spirio’ piano; it has recently been broadcast live on Radio-Berograd and on RTS, Serbian National Television.

During 2019, Melanie gave a composition workshop at the Montecatini Piano Festival in Italy, and she will be returning to the festival in 2020 as composer-in-residence.

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 a period of three years and they are featured 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.’

Musical Opinion

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