32 Pianists perform 32 Beethoven Sonatas

Beethoven’s 32 Piano Sonatas represent the composer’s life journey, both as a composer and human being. From the early sonatas, which are stylistically akin to those of Mozart or Haydn, through to the final six, which are amongst the most sublime works ever written for the instrument. They are often performed as a complete cycle but rarely heard altogether, although pianist Julian Jacobson (one of the pianists taking part in this festival) achieved this extraordinary feat last year at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London.

St Barnabas church in Ealing is presenting a major piano festival celebrating Beethoven, programming all 32 Sonatas over a period of two days. This is the third Beethoven festival at the church and it takes place on  Saturday May 17th and Sunday May 18th (from 2.00 pm to 10.00 pm) and the works will be performed by a distinguished team of 32 pianists.  There are afternoon sessions from 2 to 6 pm and  evening sessions from 7 to 10 pm on each day, with regular intervals for refreshments (tea and supper are available).

The church houses a superb Bosendorfer concert grand, used by the BBC at Maida Vale studios for broadcasts.   Concerts are held ‘in the round’, with the piano and musicians in the centre of the nave, so everyone is reasonably close to the performers (see photo above).    A state-of-the-art projection system will be in operation allowing everyone in the audience to see the pianist – and their hands – at close quarters, transforming the whole experience.

All 32 pianists will contribute substantially to this immense musical journey, from the first work, Op 2 no 1, on Saturday afternoon, to the great Op 111 on Sunday evening.   They come from all over the world, and cover a wide age range. Many have won major piano awards and enjoyed distinguished careers; hearing them play in succession on the same piano will no doubt prove endlessly fascinating.

Admission for each session will be £12 (£6 for students/young people), or £40 for the entire festival.  No tickets will be issued beforehand, so you can just turn up on the day. The church is very large so admission is guaranteed.    There is ample free parking in nearby streets.  All proceeds will go towards St Barnabas church funds.   The Church wants to raise over £100,000 following the installation of a new organ, so you can enjoy some of the most profound piano music and support a very worthy cause.  

Here’s the programme:

Saturday Afternoon May 17th
2.00 Kathron Sturrock F minor Op 2 no 1
2.25 Colin Stone A major Op 2 no 2
2.50 interval
3.00 Seta Tanyel C major Op 2 no 3
3.25 Aristo Sham E flat major Op 7
3.55 Tea
4.25 Veronika Shoot C minor Op 10 no 1
4.45 Yoriko Wakabayashi F major Op 10 no 2
5.00 interval
5.10 Meng Yang Pan D major Op 10 no 3
5.35 Maria Setiadi C minor Op 13
6.00 SUPPER
Saturday Evening May 17th
7.00 Julian Jacobson E major Op 14 no 1
7.15 Mariko Brown G major Op 14 no 2
7.30 Nafis Umerkulova B flat major Op 22
7.55 interval
8.10 Danielle Salamon E flat major Op 27 no 1
8.25 Tadashi Imai C# minor Op 27 no 2
8.40 interval
8.55 Karim Said  D major Op 28
9.20 Olga Paliy G major Op 31 no 1
Sunday Afternoon May 18th 
2.00 Andrew Brownell A flat major Op 26
2.20 Reiko Fujisawa  D minor Op 31 no 2
2.45 Dina Diusen E flat major Op 31 no 3
3.05 interval
3.15 Alice Pinto G minor Op 49 no 1
3.25 Viv McLean G major Op 49 no 2
3.35 Simon Watterton  C major Op 53
4.00 Chinatsu Izumikawa F major Op 54
4.10 TEA
4.40 Angela Brownridge  F minor Op 57
5.05 Marcus Andrews F# major Op 78
5.15 Aleksandra Myslek G major Op 79
5.30 Alexander Soares E flat major Op 81a
5.45 Gamal Khamis E minor Op 90
6.00 SUPPER
Sunday Evening May 18th
7.00 Jayson Gillham A major Op 101
7.25 Hugh Mather  B flat major Op 106
8.10 interval
8.25 Mishka Rushdie Momen E major Op 109
8.45 interval
9.00 Pavel Timofejevsky A flat major Op 110
9.30 Mikhail Shilyaev C minor Op 111


My publications:

For much more information about how to practice piano repertoire, take a look at my piano course, Play it again: PIANO (published by Schott Music). Covering a huge array of styles and genres, the course features a large collection of progressive, graded piano repertoire from approximately Grade 1 to advanced diploma level, with copious practice tips for every piece. A convenient and beneficial course for students of any age, with or without a teacher, and it can also be used alongside piano examination syllabuses too.

You can find out more about my other piano publications and compositions here.


It’s All About Piano!

The It’s All About Piano! Festival 2014 looks as interesting, diverse and innovative as it did last year. I loved taking part in the 2013 festival, which was the first of its kind. I gave a talk about my book, So You Want To Play The Piano? and was fortunate to attract a large audience, as did most of the concerts and lectures at this unusual piano smogasbord.

Organised by Artistic Director Françoise Clerc, the festival is held at the Institut Franςais in South Kensington, London, and runs from the 4th-6th April. The event aims to highlight the ‘infinite possibilities offered by the black & white keys’ and there is indeed something for everyone from recitals to jazz, film screenings, children’s activities, workshops and much more.

Alexei Lubimov,  Jean-Marc Luisada, David Kadouch, Thierry Huillet, Pascal Amoyel, Geoffroy Couteau, and Pascal and Ami Rogé (piano duo) are all giving recitals during the two-day activities. There are twelve piano recital in all, including one given by six young pianists selected from the Royal College of Music and Paris Conservatoire performing works for four and six hands! Three jazz concerts provide a genre change; Bojan Z, Jacky Terrasson, and Arshid Azarine are featured.

You can enjoy a short documentary all about Steinway’s magical pianos, a film of Charlie Chaplin’s Shorts accompanied by Stephen Horne, a recorded master class with Daniel Barenboim and what promises to be a fascinating documentary about pianist Piotr Anderszewski’s life. Pascal Rogé will be giving a live master class (definitely a must for the keen pianist!) and pianist Lucy Parham will perform a words and music themed evening; Liszt, Odyssey of Love, with actors Henry Goodman and Joanna David.

A pre-concert talk by Nimrod Borenstein on his new piece Reminiscences of Childhood opus 54 with musical illustrations by the pianist Pascal Amoyel, also looks to be an engaging occasion. There are plenty of events to keep the children amused too, including Musical Storytelling and animations, The Magic Piano & The Out of Tune Piano. Free piano tuition will be available throughout the festival with Music’All providing the perfect opportunity for all those with a desire to learn.


My publications:

For much more information about how to practice piano repertoire, take a look at my piano course, Play it again: PIANO (published by Schott Music). Covering a huge array of styles and genres, the course features a large collection of progressive, graded piano repertoire from approximately Grade 1 to advanced diploma level, with copious practice tips for every piece. A convenient and beneficial course for students of any age, with or without a teacher, and it can also be used alongside piano examination syllabuses too.

You can find out more about my other piano publications and compositions here.