Richard Goode’s Master Class at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama

I recently discovered this master class given by American concert pianist Richard Goode. It was filmed in London at the Milton Court Concert Hall at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, in December 2016. As always, there’s much to absorb from classes such as these, and this one showcases Classical repertoire (Beethoven’s Sonata in E major Op. 109 and Sonata in C minor Op. 111, and Haydn’s Sonata in A flat Hob XVI / 46), for which Goode is synonymous. I hope you enjoy!

My Books:

For much more information about practising repertoire, take a look at my two-book piano course, Play it again: PIANO (Schott). Covering a huge array of styles and genres, 49 progressive pieces from approximately Grade 1 – 8 are featured, with at least two pages of practice tips for every piece.

If you’re thinking about learning to play the piano, my guide-book, So You Want To Play The Piano? (Alfred) is full of useful help and support.

The Faber Music Piano Anthology (Faber) is also a valuable resource for those who desire a collection of standard repertoire from Grades 2 – 8, featuring 78 pieces in total.

My Compositions:

I have written a selection of educational piano music (both solo and duet) and you can hear it and find out much more here: EVC Music Publications.


The Value of Lectures and Master classes

For many pianists, teachers and students, masterclasses, lectures and workshops can play a fascinating and beneficial part of ongoing musical development (when do we ever stop learning?).

Last Friday night I attended the first event of the new London Piano Festival (of which pianists Katya Apekisheva and Charles Owen are artistic directors) held at King’s Place. Legendary Austrian pianist Alfred Brendel (who has retired from the concert platform), gave a lecture entitled From Exuberance to Asceticism  focusing on Liszt’s monumental Sonata in B minor S. 178, a work which he has performed countless times during the course of his career.

Following on from the hour’s presentation, pianist Dénes Várjon treated the packed auditorium to a performance of the piece, after which Alan Rusbridger interviewed Brendel about his career and his relationship with Liszt’s music. Brendel’s many illuminating observations, during the lecture, threw light on the challenges when preparing and performing such a work, and he punctuated various musical episodes and thematic developments, with demonstrations. These ruminations were compelling both from a professional pianist or piano teacher’s perspective, as well as from a piano lover’s viewpoint.

Earlier last week, I was introduced to a series of video master classes (on Youtube) given in 1987 by the great Hungarian pianist and pedagogue György Sebők. Sebok died in 1999, however his legacy continues through those students who were fortunate enough to enjoy his teaching. A consummate teacher, he was amongst the glitterati of professors (at that time) teaching at the illustrious Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University in Bloomington, US.

The following video clips offer a wealth of interesting advice and suggestions, which centre around Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor Op. 35, played by Dutch pianist Ronald Brautigam. This is a piece I performed as a young student, and I found Sebok’s ideas engaging, witty, and extremely useful, especially his thoughts regarding sound and movement. I hope you enjoy them!

Master classes at the Royal College of Music with Sir Andras Schiff

rcmI recently posted a master class with celebrated pianist, Sir András Schiff, and judging by the stats (or number of views) on this blog that day, I think many enjoyed it! You can watch this master class here.

Sir András Schiff visited the Royal College of Music in London (pictured above) last month for a series of master classes which will no doubt be of interest to many readers. These classes were filmed on April 10th 2016 and feature several students, including Young Musician of the Year 2014 winner, Martin James Bartlett. I interviewed Martin shortly after his win and you can watch the interview here.

Public classes such as these provide fascinating insight and can be extremely helpful for those studying either the same or similar repertoire. Haydn, Schubert and Schumann are the selected composers. Enjoy!

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A masterclass with Sir Andras Schiff

I really enjoy attending masterclasses, and if I can’t go, the next best thing is to watch on YouTube! With so many fascinating classes given by celebrated pianists and teachers posted online, one could spend weeks just viewing them all.

The following workshop given by Hungarian concert pianist Sir András Schiff, was recorded last November and it focuses on the first movement of my favourite Beethoven piano concerto; No 3 in C minor Op. 37, which was written in 1800 and first performed by Beethoven on April 5th 1803.

This class was filmed at The Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel-Aviv, Israel. Shay Sluzki is the soloist and Tal Samnon is the accompanist. Hope you find this as interesting as I did!

Master classes in Germany


Earlier this year I visited Gelsenkirchen (near Düsseldorf), in Germany, to give master classes and workshops, and last weekend I enjoyed a second visit. The classes form part of a community piano project, established and organised by Kery Felske and the wonderful organisation, IkM-Ge e. V (The Interest group of Cultural working Musicians). Kery (who is a singer), works tirelessly, arranging many cultural events in the region, promoting a whole variety of artistic projects. During the weekend, I asked Kery to write a little about this organisation, explaining its objectives and ideas:

‘Since 1997 the Interest group of Cultural working Musicians (IkM-Ge e. V.) in the Ruhr Area in Germany, regularly organises and manages practice rooms, venues, events and workshops for the free artistic and musical scene. The association has the aim to realise conceptions supporting cultural life and its growth with a special view to newcomers, transregional networking and keeping musical events and qualification achievable for everyone while engaging for fair payment of professional performance in the cultural field. Those aims already appear in the non-commercial background of this community whose members do most of their work as volunteers in their leisure time. The wide range of their projects runs from monthly local rock concerts in our own venue, crossover workshops and events of art and music of different styles and genres, a yearly three-days open air event with two stages and thirty bands up to international co-operations with the classical scene and all in between. Diversity is an important aspect of the work of the IkM-Ge. A lot of idealism and enthusiasm is needed to do this job successfully. Since 2005 they run a practice centre (Consol4) with 39 rooms; since 2013 they have their own venue in the same old mine building equipped with PA, stage lighting and an over 100-year-old Bechstein grand piano. But the IkM-Ge uses a lot of other venues around depending on the character of the event and cooperation. Since 2013 as organization structures of the practice rooms, the venue and external events are established, the association started to create more supportive projects around qualification for musicians. In 2014 international workshops especially the classical piano masterclasses with Melanie Spanswick enriched our programme.’

Consol4, the practice centre in Gelsenkirchen (image link)

I’m delighted to be a part of this programme, and will be visiting Gelsenkirchen more frequently in 2015. My classes are generally held at the Grillo Gymnasium in the city centre, and are intended to help those who may not be able to attend regular piano lessons. We work for a period of two days and all workshops are public. Each student receives one to one coaching (in English)  and also has the opportunity to use the practise facilities at the school. The lessons are followed by a concert at the end of the weekend, where we all perform (including me!) and introduce our pieces.

A variety of ages and abilities were invited to participate, and the improvement after a couple of days of intensive lessons was considerable. Students presented a wide range of works from Bach and Chopin, through to Denes Agay and Housman. An open class affords the opportunity to learn from others; whether a relative beginner or advanced player, there is always more to assimilate. It’s a pleasure to work with such attentive and dedicated pupils, and I look forward to many more German weekends.


With Kery Felske (in the middle) and some of the students.

International Piano Master Classes with Angela Hewitt

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The tenth Trasimeno Music Festival will be held from July 5th to July 11th 2014. It is set on Lake Trasimeno in the heart of Umbria, just twenty minutes from the beautiful historic city of Perugia. The Artistic Director,   renowned British Canadian concert pianist Angela Hewitt,  established the festival in 2005, and she participates in the majority of concerts presenting a varied programme of solo recitals, chamber music and concerto performances.

Angela Hewitt is offering a second series of master classes in Italy this year (the first series took place in 2010) which will no doubt prove to be both inspiring and hugely enjoyable. It’s the ideal opportunity for young players to work with one of the world’s leading pianists.

Taking place from July 14th to July 19th 2014, the master classes will be held at the Liceo Artistico “Leoncillo Leonardi” in Spoleto. All classes will be conducted in English. Selected participants must prepare a large programme to include a major work by J.S. Bach (or two Preludes and Fugues), a Beethoven Sonata, a work by either Chopin or Schumann, a French work, two own choice pieces (excluding Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Scriabin, or Medtner), a Bach Concerto and a Mozart Concerto (all but the Bach Concerto must be prepared from memory). Students may also be asked to learn a ‘quick study’ piece at short notice too, and they will all receive at least four 45 minute lessons with Angela Hewitt over the six day period. There will be a further opportunity during the week for a selection of students who applied as auditors to perform one piece from their repertoire.

This course is primarily for outstanding students, but it will also be a fascinating and beneficial  experience for all those interested in piano playing including both amateur and professional pianists. It’s possible to attend all the master classes as an auditor plus the final concert for just 150 Euros (75 Euros for students under 25), daily passes can  be obtained for 30 Euros (15 Euros for students under 25) or a three hour session can be enjoyed for 15 Euros (or 7.50 Euros for students under 25).

A week of sumptuous piano playing set in a stunning location is surely a welcome addition to any Summer holiday.  Find out more information about the course here. For booking details, please contact:

You can enjoy my interview with Angela, which was recorded last year at Jaques Samuel Pianos in London, here.