Listen to the International Piano Series podcast with Mitsuko Uchida

Mitsuko Uchida talks about the strangeness of Schumann, her piano collection and her interval snack of choice.

You can hear Mitsuko Uchida perform a recital of Schumann, Schoenberg and Bach on Tuesday 15 January 2013, 7.30pm at Royal Festival Hall.

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Listen to the International Piano Series podcast with Alice Sara Ott

The young German pianist Alice Sara Ott talks from Japan (via Skype) about Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’, her sense of home, and the Rubix cube.

You can hear Alice Sara Ott in her Royal Festival Hall debut performance on Tuesday 12 February 2013, as part of the International Piano Series.

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Watch Alice Sara Ott perform Pictures at an Exhibition

You can see Alice Sara Ott perform Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ at Royal Festival Hall on Tuesday 12 February, 7.30pm.

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Watch Francesco Piemontesi performing at the BBC Music Magazine Awards

Pianist Francesco Piemontesi has garnered a string of accolades that mark him out as a rising star, including his recent BBC Music Magazine Award, presented to him by Alfred Brendel.

“It is most gratifying that in a time when some careers are made with the excessive help of promotion, there is a young pianist with real talent, a pianist of natural poise and grace, of wonderful technical equipment, and of the ability to remind us what beautiful playing means: cantabile playing that is colourful, luminous and harmonious, without in the least lacking tension and atmosphere. I congratulate Francesco Piemontesi very warmly and wish him a wonderful future, and I congratulate the producer for the lovely sound on the record.” Alfred Brendel, speaking at the award ceremony at Kings Place in April.

Watch the award ceremony in full, or jump to 10’29 to watch Francesco Piemontesi performing live at the event:

Francesco Piemontesi makes his International Piano Series debut on Wednesday 7 November, 7.30pm at Queen Elizabeth Hall.

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Listen to the International Piano Series podcast with pianist Christian Blackshaw

Christian Blackshaw talks in depth about his love of Schumann and Schubert, ahead of his Queen Elizabeth Hall recital next year as part of the International Piano Series.

 

You can hear Christian Blackshaw perform on 26 February 2013, 7.30pm at Queen Elizabeth Hall.

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Angela Hewitt talks to the Guardian about her battle with Bach

Pianist Angela Hewitt has played Bach everywhere from Beijing to Bogotá. But she always avoided his final work – thinking it was too tough.  On Tuesday 2 October she opens the International Piano Series 2012/13 with the first of two Royal Festival Hall recitals that focus on the composer’s final masterpiece, The Art of Fugue.

In an article in The Guardian on Wednesday 19 September, Angela relives how she overcame fear and major surgery to love The Art of Fugue:

“The first time I managed to play it through at home without stopping, I got goosebumps.  Its perfection is such that when I perform it, even the slightest cough feels like a stain on a beautiful canvas. The composer and critic Wilfrid Mellers put it perfectly when he said that, in The Art of Fugue, Bach “plays to God and himself in an empty church”. Few pieces have such simultaneous intimacy and grandeur. By performing and recording it over the next few years, I hope that music-lovers around the world will come to share my state of wonder.”

Read the full article

Listen to our International Piano Series podcast with Angela Hewitt

Angela Hewitt performs the Art of Fugue at the Royal Festival Hall on 2 October and 7 May as part of the International Piano Series 2012/13.

Pianist Lars Vogt reveals his love for cold weather, Captain Bluebear and Supertramp!

The German pianist Lars Vogt has been described by Simon Rattle as ‘one of the most extraordinary musicians of any age group that I have had the fortune to be associated with’.

On Tuesday 15 May, 7.30pm at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall you can hear him perform a recital of music by Haydn, Brahms & Chopin, alongside an entertaining work by the acclaimed Austrian composer Thomas Larcher.

Here he reveals a little more of what makes him tick….

What do you fear the most and why?
Inability to do what is important to me.

Which mobile number do you call the most?
My girlfriend Rachel.

What ­or where­ is perfection?

In a cold place.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) ­ and why?

To name two: Captain Bluebear (hero from a wonderfully witty children´s book by German author Walter Moers) and Papageno for his good-hearted direct link to nature and his instincts, not really caring much about the wisdom of the world. In films I like melancholic anti-heros, like in Cinema Paradiso for example.

What’s your favourite ritual?

Putting my daughter Isabelle to bed and reading her a bedtime story.

What other talent or skill would you like to possess?

Playing the violin, being a good tennis player and being able to ski.

Tell us about a special memory you have of Southbank Centre?
Playing Brahms 1st piano concerto with the Philharmonia during the time when I first met my girlfriend who was the principal viola then.

If you could programme your ideal Southbank Centre show, which artists (living or dead) would you bring together?

The re-united string quartet of Haydn and Dittersdorf (Violins), Mozart (Viola) and Vanhal (Cello).

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Sounds easy and cliché, but can cause major turbulence and is still the most important lesson: Listen to your heart.

What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?
To be honest, and I know this is embarrassing, but what can you do ?  Probably some pop song from my childhood, possibly by Billy Joel or Supertramp, as that kind of music is mostly on when I go for a run.