Last week saw the performance of Sally Beamish‘s Winter Trees and Brett Dean‘s Berlin Music given by Lucy Baker and myself as part of the BBC Philharmonic’s Red Brick Sessions. Two challenging yet highly rewarding pieces of music. A very special concert for me as it involved the discovery of two great composers and most importantly the first appearance with Lucy Baker, a great violinist and amazing musician. Hopefully many more concerts will follow.
Currently I am preparing for an in no way less challenging programme of solo and chamber works by Tom Armstrong, John McCabe and Deborah Pritchard for a concert together with trumpeter Simon Desbruslais at Surrey University on December 5th. More details to follow.
My most recent CD released on Toccata Classics (The complete piano music of Adolf Busch, TOCC 0245) has been featured in the July/August issue of Fanfare Magazine and reviewed three times. Some soundbites:
Certainly Busch is fortunate to have found such an able champion in Jakob Fichert…this disc is unreservedly recommended. (James Altena).
…a fascinating release…in terms of offering a cornucopia of first recordings it is also an invaluable one. (Colin Clarke).
…Pianist Jakob Fichert…presents all of these works in a most admirable light, playing with expressivity (and passion where called for), and making the lighter pieces sparkle… (David DeBoor Canfield).
I had the privilege to represent University of York at the 5th Tianjin May Festival at Tianjin Conservatory last week. It was a true pleasure to collaborate with pianist Zhan Jia again performing the wonderful 1st Suite for 2 pianos by Anton Arensky. In addition I played the 1st volume of Liszt’s Années de Pèlerinage and Schönberg’s 6 little pieces op 19. It was also great to teach some very talented students in the master class.
The video of Peter Gellhorn’s Sonata for 2 Pianos performed by Eleanor Hodgkinson and myself has now been posted on YouTube and included in the website of the Peter Gellhorn project at the Royal College of Music. Eleanor and I made this recording in July 2016 at the RCM, and we had great fun playing the music of this exceptionally interesting émigré composer. A big thank you to Norbert Meyn, the project leader who invited us to give a workshop, perform the sonata in the gala concert and record it thereafter. We are also grateful to Nico de Villiers and Martin Phillips for producing and engineering.
My album of the complete music for solo piano by Adolf Busch has now been released on Toccata Classics. It has been a great journey playing all these pieces and learning about this extraordinary composer and performer. Thanks to Leeds College of Music for providing the beautiful Venue and the Steinway piano for this recording! Thanks also to Nico de Villiers and Chris Milnes for their support and of course to Martin Anderson for coming up with the idea initially and for publishing the recording.
Last week I was invited for the second time to give a piano master class at Birmingham Conservatoire. I thoroughly enjoyed working with three talented students on their Beethoven Sonatas in preparation for their participation in the Beethoven competition. Best of luck to them all!
On Monday I also met my new students at University of Hull, where I will be tutoring alongside my commitments in Leeds and York. A great institution to be associated with!
On Thursday, October 13th I had the privilege to be part of the first performance of Neal Farwell’s Gravity’s Horizon at the University of Bristol. Gravity’s Horizon is for flute, cello, piano and electronics and was performed by the Trio Sonore (Karin de Fleyt, Alfia Nakipbekova and myself) and the composer at the computer. The performance took place as part of the launch of Brigstow, a new interdisciplinary research project in Bristol, which I found to be highly inspirational. I look forward to many more performances of this wonderful piece!
Now in its 10th year, the ongoing musical partnership with clarinetist Janet Hilton is going from strength to strength. Last week we played a duo recital as part of the 2016 Xinghai Conservatory of Music Festival in Guangzhou, China. It has been a great privilege to perform in the beautiful chamber music hall of the conservatory on Wednesday, September 21st and to meet so many friendly and welcoming people. A proud alumnus of the Royal College of Music, I feel honored to be part of a duo representing this institution at the festival. I also enjoyed giving a chamber music master class on the day after the concert.
I very much look forward to performing and recording Peter Gellhorn’s sonata for 2 pianos together with Eleanor Hodgkinson. Our performance will take place this Sunday, July 3rd at 3 pm at the Royal College of Music in London. The event is part of the project “Singing a Song in a Foreign Land” initiated by the Norbert Meyn. A recording of the sonata will be produced next week and published on the RCM’s YouTube channel – watch this space.
I just had the most delightful week teaching master classes at the University of Michoacán in Morelia, Mexico. On June 9th and 10th I also gave solo recitals at the Teatro Ocampo in Morelia and at the Teatro Obrero in Zamora. Both concerts were very well attended and it was a true pleasure to perform for these welcoming and enthusiastic audiences. This tour was made possible by the kind invitation of the University of Michoacán and the Secretaria de Cultura. I am also most grateful to my friend and former student at Leeds College of Music Heriberto Cruz Cornejo, without whom nothing of this would have happened.