At the piano with Phyllis Sellick, by Clara Rodriguez

My guest writer today is Venezuelan pianist and teacher Clara Rodriguez. Clara came to the UK as a young student on a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music in London. At the RCM, she studied with eminent professor Phyllis Sellick, who had a profound influence on her development as a pianist and…

A student’s memories: Patricia Carroll (1932 – 2017)

Last Friday I attended the funeral (probably the most beautiful and moving I have ever witnessed) of one of my piano professors, and I felt compelled to write this short, personal reflection. Teachers have a huge impact on our lives, particularly when we worked with them as youngsters; they influence everything from repertoire choices and…

A Year At A British Music Conservatoire by Lewis Kesterton

Music conservatoires. Opinions are rife as to whether they are an ideal way to study music; some find them inspiring, others wish they had studied elsewhere. My own experience at the Royal College of Music was amazing and a really steep learning curve; it was a privilege to study at such a great institution. I…

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

I 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! Sir András Schiff visited the Royal College of Music in London (pictured above) last month for a series of master classes which will no…

The Piano at the BBC Proms 2015

The BBC Promenade concerts are upon us once more. This Spectacular Summer festival is celebrating its 120th anniversary, and it’s enjoyed by music lovers around the world. I’ve written about this inspiring concert series here on my blog for the past few years, and each year the variety, diversity and selection of music, concerts and artists expands significantly. Many question the idea of…

Nicholas McCarthy in conversation with Melanie Spanswick

My Classical Conversations Series continues today and features British left-handed concert pianist Nicholas McCarthy, who is my thirty-seventh guest. He met with me earlier this month at Steinway Hall in London. Nicholas was born in 1989 without his right hand and only began to play the piano at the late age of 14 after seeing…

Martin James Bartlett in conversation with Melanie Spanswick

The thirty fourth interview guest in my Classical Conversations Series is BBC Young Musician 2014, Martin James Bartlett. Martin is a student at the Royal College of Music Junior Department and is about to start an undergraduate degree at the RCM Senior Department in September, where he will study with Professor Vanessa Latarche. We met up…

Vanessa Latarche in conversation with Melanie Spanswick

My Classical Conversations Series is celebrating its first birthday today! I started this series with Ukrainian concert pianist Valentina Lisitsa, whom I met in Cardiff on a very cold and wet day, before she performed Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto for Radio 3’s Children in Need concert; you can enjoy our interview here. My twenty-fifth interview…

Ruth Nye in conversation with Melanie Spanswick

The twenty-fourth interview in my Classical Conversations Series features Australian pianist and esteemed teacher, Ruth Nye. I caught up with Ruth a few weeks ago and we chatted at Jaques Samuel Pianos in London. Ruth was invited to study in New York with Claudio Arrau after the Maestro heard her perform in Melbourne, Australia.  A…

Clara Rodriguez in conversation with Melanie Spanswick

The twenty second interview in my Classical Conversations Series features Venezuelan pianist Clara Rodriguez and I was delighted to chat to her earlier in the week at Steinway Hall in London. Clara is one of the most distinguished of the present generation of international artists and has often been described as an Ambassador of her homeland music….