Melanie Spanswick


Image: Fabrice Rizzato

Melanie is a pianist, writer, teacher, and composer, who has authored best-selling books on many aspects of piano performance and pedagogy.

A member of the piano faculty at Junior Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and an Honorary Master Piano Teacher at the Tom Lee Academy in Hong Kong, Melanie also teaches the piano at Eton College.

Melanie’s work has taken her to all five continents, and she is currently artistic director of the Ars Nova Festival held in Singapore and Malaysia, and is 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.

Melanie’s 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. Her popular website, The Classical Piano and Music Education Blog, has accrued well over a million hits.

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

Melanie has performed and broadcast widely, giving recitals as a soloist, chamber musician and accompanist at many music festivals and concert halls around the world, touring over ten countries, including solo performances in the U.K. at the South Bank Centre, CBSO Centre and Symphony Hall, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, St. John’s Smith Square, St. George’s Chapel, and the National Theatre. Abroad, she has toured Canada several times giving performances, most notably, at the Guelph Festival, and the Great Romantics Festival in Hamilton (held in conjunction with the American Liszt Society). She also performed in Russia, at Tchaikovsky’s house in Klin (near Moscow),  as well as giving a series of recitals around the Netherlands for the Anglo-Dutch Piano Platform.

Melanie has given recitals at a whole host of music clubs, music societies, music festivals, and universities, totalling more than 800 solo performances over a period of 10 years. 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, CBC Radio, and Swedish and Spanish television.

As an educational piano writer and author, she is published by major publishing houses: Schott Music, Faber Music and Alfred U.K. Melanie selected the repertoire for the Faber Music Piano Anthology (Faber Music) and her piano guidebook, So You Want To Play The Piano? (Alfred U.K.) has received much acclaim. And the three-book piano course, Play it again: PIANO (Schott Music), is an in-depth programme containing detailed practice  notes for sixty works, which has been an international success, becoming one of Schott’s best-selling series.

Recent lecture and workshop destinations include Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and China, Italy, the U.S.A., and Germany. Melanie particularly enjoys coaching piano teachers and music college students (pre-college, undergraduates, and graduates), and she is especially committed to promoting a healthy piano technique free from injury. In 2017 she presented piano technique workshops at the 2017 UCSI University Piano Pedagogy Conference in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), as well as at the 2019 Frankfurt Music Messe (Germany), and she was 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 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 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. And she has been a jury member at a variety of piano competitions, both nationally and internationally.

She regularly tutors piano courses at Jackdaws Music Education Trust, Finchcocks Music, Piano Week, and the Montecatini Piano Festival (Italy). Workshops have included presentations for the European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA), 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 recently directed the Chetham’s Piano Teachers’ Course at the 2021 Chetham’s International Piano Summer School. She has hosted a series of online masterclasses for the First Education Group in Hong Kong and Macau, and has also tutored at the London Chinese Children’s Ensemble 2021 Virtual Piano Courses.  Recent appointments include joining the faculty at the Tokyo International Piano Association (TIPA), and she is also looking forward to presenting at the 2021 Online Global Piano Summit, which is based in the US.

As a composer, Melanie’s educational music has featured in various piano festival programmes, competitions, and it has frequently appeared in Pianist and International Piano magazines, as well as in music exam 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.

Her music has recently been performed at the Shiga Bank Piano Festival, and at a ‘livestream’ concert held at the Watsuki Hall, both in Kyoto, and it was also featured in the Chamber Music Series at Toppan Hall in Tokyo, Japan. In Europe, Melanie’s music has been performed 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, during February 2020, piano piece Aisa: Sand, Silk & Love was broadcast live on Radio-Berograd and on RTS, Serbian National Television, played by Japanese pianist Aisa Ijiri.

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