Night-ride - Barnes to Birmingham!

BIRMINGHAM CONSERVATOIRE - PIANO ALL-NIGHTER

Friday 3 March, 7.30pm - Saturday 4 March, 7.30am Town Hall Birmingham

Almost five years since my epic Land’s End to John O’Groats concert tour by bike, I am thrilled to announce the recycling of the Olympianist for a new challenge: London to Birmingham over-night. This is a un undertaking that is less grand in timescale, but no less bold in ambition - and perhaps even more daunting.

As soon as the first note of this unique all-night pianothon is sounded at the historic Town Hall in Birmingham, I’ll set off from my London home and cycle through the night to Town Hall in Birmingham, where on arrival and before the sun starts to creep over the horizon, I’ll plays Ravel’s ‘Gaspard de la Nuit'. Live pictures of the ride will screened in the foyer, and our progress will be tracked.

Playing Ravel’s nocturnal masterpiece poses pianistic challenges at the best of times, let alone at 7am after having cycled 125 miles through the winter night!! But it is one I am revelling, and with the right ‘cyclogical’ approach (and hopefully tail winds), is achievable

I am very grateful to be joined by a group of club mates who will assist me in this slightly mad - and insomniac - venture. See how long you can stay awake to follow our progress. A champagne breakfast awaits for those who can last the distance.

Comment and advice all appreciated.

I’ll be updating and posting Live videos in the days ahead.

Complete Beethoven Concerti

I'm thrilled to be embarking on a fascinating 9-month journey through arguably the greatest and most perfectly formed series of works for piano and orchestra. First port of call is no. 1 in C major (however he actually wrote this after the 2nd) and it's full of the typical early-classical joyous spirit, elegance and gallant style, with a particularly witty last movement, with a central section which even today sounds wild and almost 'groovy'. Beethoven was a good 100-years ahead of his time and here makes us smile at every turn. The slow movement is sublime, glowing lyricism. The Coriolan Overture and jubilant 1st Symphony make up the rest of the programme. I'm grateful to Ben Knowles for inviting me and to all the young players of the London Beethoven Orchestra for all the hard work they are putting in.

Shouldering Brahms

I'm happy to report that I'm back to full fitness after suffering a broken shoulder in May as a result of a nasty cycling accident. I was slated to play Brahms Concerto no. 1 in last June's Ulverston International Music Festival, and was devastated at the time not to be able to perform this most passionate of piano concertos. Any one who has a similar injury would be well advised to 'shoulder Brahms' and practice this piece; the tremelando octaves are the prefect medicine to aid movement in the joint. Swimming is very much on the agenda too - I'm contemplating swimming from Dover to Calais and performing a concert on each side of the channel!

Skryabin Preludes

I'm looking forward to my CD released for sale in the New Year. I'm currently preparing the liner notes and it's fascinating to delve into Skryabin's life and discover links between his perosnality and music. I've just produced a little 'blogumentary' about the marked change in style from the early Chopinesque period to hs later works which veer towards atonality. Watch this space.

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