Montecatini International Piano Competition 2021 | Online Edition

I am delighted to welcome pianist, artistic director and Steinway Artist Aisa Ijiri to the blog. She has written the following guest post highlighting this year’s Montecatini International Piano Competition, of which she is the founder and artistic director. The Montecatini Competition is open to pianists of all nationalities and age groups. There are a…

Chetham’s International Piano Summer School 2021

I can clearly recall the first time I was made aware of Chetham’s International Piano Summer School. A friend had participated as a student and had waxed lyrical about the bountiful facets she had encountered; the high calibre artists and teachers on the faculty, the opportunity to eavesdrop on lessons and forge new piano friendships,…

A Master Class with Zoltán Kocsis

Hungarian pianist Zoltán Kocsis was one of the finest pianists of his generation. He was a true representative of the Hungarian school and a great contemporary pianist (as well as a conductor and composer). His teaching serves to evoke the major figures of the great Hungarian piano tradition, from Franz Liszt, via Béla Bartók and Ernst…

Teaching Fast and Slow

Over the last few weeks I have been preparing for what will no doubt be the highlight of my year; directing the Piano Teachers’ Course at Chetham’s International Piano Summer School. This preparation has prompted a reflection on my own teaching, hence the subject of this blog post. There is often a general perception that…

Studying in Hong Kong and the USA: Rachel Cheung

Today’s post is a continuation of my series exploring advanced music study, and, more specifically, how studying at a music conservatoire or university plays a crucial, and often defining, role in a musician’s life. My guest post today has been penned by concert pianist Rachel Cheung, who is based in Hong Kong. In this fascinating…

Tricky Corners: Lateral Arm & Wrist Movement

My previous ‘Tricky Corners’ article focused on finger articulation, specifically relating to Chopin’s Étude in F major Op. 10 No. 8, a study on which I was working with a student. You can read it here. Today’s post examines this magnificent piece a little further, taking into consideration possibly one of the more challenging passages…

Go Compose North America Summer Festival 2021: Sonya Knussen

I first met today’s guest writer, Sonya Knussen, at the Barbican Centre when she was about 13; she was backstage with her father, the composer and conductor Oliver Knussen, whom I went to meet after he had conducted the London Sinfonietta in a concert featuring his music. At the time, I was recording and performing…

The Thumb

I’ve published articles in Piano Professional, which is the magazine published by EPTA UK (European Piano Teachers Association), for the past 8 years. My latest, which was published in Issue 54, focuses on the thumb. I hope you find it of interest. Thumbs. We know they form an important part of our hand, but how…

Studying at a Japanese Music Conservatoire: Yuki Negishi

Today’s article has been written by Japanese pianist Yuki Negishi. Following on from her very popular first post, in this second instalment, Yuki continues her piano journey, offering her thoughts and experiences on studying at the renowned Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo, Japan. You can read the first post in this series, which…

Exploring the Sostenuto Pedal

My bi-monthly article for Pianist Magazine’s newsletter is always a ‘5-tips’ affair. This month’s focuses on the oft-forgotten Sosenuto pedal, or the ‘middle’ pedal, on grand pianos. I hope you find it of interest. As a teacher, if you mention the Sostenuto pedal you tend to get a perplexed or puzzled look from a student….