So You Want To Organize A Piano Competition? Part II

Amateur pianist and competition planner, Sally Olson, lives in Chicago (US) and is on the committee of the Chicago Amateur Piano Competition 2016. This competition, which began in 2010, is steadily growing in popularity, with entrants hailing from many countries (the 2014 winner came from Glasgow). Few realise the tremendous amount of planning, fund-raising and…

Variations for Judith: And the Winner is…

Many thanks to all those who took part in my weekend competition. The prize is a signed copy of Variations for Judith; a wonderful collection of 11 piano pieces composed by eminent composers for students of around Grade 4-6 standard.  Variations were composed for Judith Serota as a leaving gift when she retired from her…

Piano Showcase presented by Pianist Magazine and Schott Music

I’ve written on many occasions about the positive practical and psychological benefits from regular performance practice. Nothing can prepare a pianist for the feeling of stepping out in public, having to think under pressure and play a piece from beginning to end with few errors, stumbles or hesitations. Feeling terrified is totally normal, but the elation of sweeping aside…

Variations for Judith: Contemporary Piano Music

This set of Contemporary pieces was a fascinating recent discovery.  Entitled Variations for Judith for Piano, 11 short reflections on “Bist du bei mir” by G H Stölzel arranged by J S Bach. The collection was the brainchild of British composer Diana Burrell, who wanted to present a very special leaving gift to Judith Serota…

How can amateur pianists become professional in their approach to performing?

I have been staying in Edinburgh with a friend who is an excellent amateur pianist. She has attended many piano courses and masterclasses recently both as a participant and observer, and she has subsequently made some interesting comments about the differences between amateur and professional players. So this got me thinking; how can amateurs learn to be more…