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Piano Festival 2019


We’re  inviting audience members attending  all concerts and recitals during the piano festival to pay what they think the event was worth. We’re hoping  welcome a new audience; in particular people who think classical music isn’t for them or have  never been to a concert.

Paul Taylor

Friday 18th October, 7.30pm

Paul Taylor will play our Daneman Grand Piano in the glorious and sumptuous acoustic of St Cuthbert’s Chapel. Paul is an accomplished pianist and keyboard player specialising in improvisation. The music is evocative, alluring and unique; combining unusual harmonies and sonorities with an original and fluid technique.

He is emerging as one of the most consistently interesting and innovative solo pianists in recent years, eschewing the conventional cliches associated with jazz improvisation in favour of an unorthodox, harmonically complex and often compellingly beautiful musical language that is often inspired by the classical tradition. Nonetheless, his playing also encapsulates the restless capacity for invention that is a cornerstone of jazz.

Paul Taylor is a northern line R6 ambassador artist supported by Jazz North using public funding from Arts Council England. 

"A rare phenomenon": International Piano Magazine, Nov/Dec 2016 edition

"A solo improviser of outstanding scope and originality": Paul Bream's Jazz Alert

"Now firmly established as the most original improvising pianist in the North East": 

"Gorgeous": The Guardian

Come and Play

Saturday 19th October 11am - 5pm

Come and play on one many pianos of all shapes and sizes around Ushaw A great place to practice performing whole pieces, parts of pieces, or ‘works-in-progress’, improvisations, own compositions - anything piano related!  We promise a friendly, supportive and encouraging welcome as everyone appreciates the unique challenges of playing in front of others. 

Organ Recital: Michael Grave

Saturday 19th October, 12pm

Michael Grave, Organist of St. Mary the Virgin Parish Church at Whickhamwith songs interspersed in the programme sung by his wife, Jean.

Michael has been a Past President of the Newcastle and District Society of Organists and he jointly led the organisation of the Great North Organ Day in 2014. He was a part-time lay clerk in St Nicholas Cathedral Choir for about 25 years. He and his Whickham choir have made a number of appearances on radio and TV, the highlight being the broadcast of the Morning Service on BBC Radio 4 during the Gateshead Garden Festival.

Programme to include:

 1. Toccata & Fugue in D minor BWV 565: J. S. Bach

2. Adagio in G minor; on themes by Tomaso Albinoni

3. Menuetto - Impromptu: John Ireland

4. Two songs - Jean Grave, Mezzo Sopranoa) When daisies pied: Thomas Arneb) Have you seen but a white lily grow; Anon

5. Hornpipe Humoresque; Noel Rawsthorne

6. Sortie in E flat major: Louis James Alfred Lefebure-Wely

7. Adagio (arrangement of Consolation No. 4) Franz Liszt

8. Ave Maria; attrib Guilio Caccini (Vavilov)

9. Paraphrase (Chorus Judas Maccabaeus - Handel); Alexandre Guilmant

10 Prelude in G major BWV541; J.S.Bach

11 From 5th Symphony; Charles Marie Widora) Adagiob) Toccata

Alex Chisholm-Loxley - Beethoven

Saturday 19th October, 2.30pm

Alex Chisholm-Loxley is a pianist, teacher and choral director.  After graduating from the University of Leeds with a BA in music, Alex went on to teach piano briefly at Westonbirt School before moving on to tutoring with Your Space Music Lessons. Also a passionate choral singer, Alex has sung tenor with the Durham Cathedral Consort of Singers, and has performed with Gabrieli as part of the 2011 Proms, and was part of a performance of Sir Karl Jenkins's The Armed Man in Berlin to commemorate the centenary of the 1918 armistice.

Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13, commonly known as Sonata Pathétique, was written in 1798 when the composer was 27 years old, and was published in 1799. It has remained one of his most celebrated compositions. Beethoven dedicated the work to his friend Prince Karl von Lichnowsky. Although commonly thought to be one of the few works to be named by the composer himself, it was actually named Grande sonate pathétique (to Beethoven's liking) by the publisher, who was impressed by the sonata's tragic sonorities.

The Piano Sonata No. 14 in C♯ minor "Quasi una fantasia", Op. 27, No. 2, popularly known as the Moonlight Sonata, is a piano sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven. It was completed in 1801 and dedicated in 1802 to his pupil, Countess Giulietta Guicciardi

The piece is one of Beethoven's most popular compositions for the piano, and it was a popular favorite even in his own day. Beethoven wrote the Moonlight Sonata in his early thirties, after he had finished with some commissioned work; there is no evidence that he was commissioned to write this sonata.[3]

Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 (colloquially known as the Appassionata, meaning "passionate" in Italian) is among the three famous piano sonatas of his middle period (the others being the Waldstein, Op. 53 and Les Adieux, Op. 81a); it was composed during 1804 and 1805, and perhaps 1806, and was dedicated to Count Franz von Brunswick. The first edition was published in February 1807 in Vienna. 1803 was the year Beethoven came to grips with the irreversibility of his progressively deteriorating hearing.

Annie Ball - On The Theme of Fantasy

Sunday 20th October  - 12pm

Annie Ball presents a programme on the theme of fantasy (think myths, legends magic and dreams) including:

Ravel “Juex D’eux”

John Ireland “Island Spell”

R. Sinding “The Rustle of Spring”

Grieg “March of the Trolls”

Saints Seans “The Aquarium”

Liszt “Liebestraum no. 3”

North East based concert pianist and master of Piano, Annie Ball, studied in London at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance under the tutelage of Mikhail Kazakevich and Christine Croshaw. Studying both solo piano performance and accompaniment for bachelors and masters degrees. 

Annie has performed and taught in London and the South East for various music societies, festivals and specialist music schools. Currently she lives in Newcastle Upon Tyne where she performs regularly as a soloist and accompanist.  

Annie has collaborated with artists from a range of mediums and performance spaces. Managing and organising many of her own events and festivals has shaped Annie's professional career and is a well rounded musician and innovator in today's ever changing world of classical music.

Bill Hilton and Alex Chisholm-Loxley Masterclass 

Sunday 20th October, 2.30pm

Bill Hilton and Alex Chisholm-Loxley explore the ways pianists improvise, looking into how improvisation works and the theory, psychology and history behind it. Their talk will be light-hearted but informative, and include demonstrations, experiments and audience participation, with plenty of time for questions. Suitable for musicians and non-musicians alike!

Bill was born in Boston, Lincolnshire, in 1974, and educated at Boston Grammar School  and the University of Wales, Bangor. Having worked in education and in the advertising industry, In 2009 he published his first book on a musical subject — How To Really Play The Piano — and started his highly successful YouTube piano tutorial channel, which now has over 200,000 subscribers worldwide.

He has since published An Introduction to Cocktail Piano and Seven Studies in Pop Piano. His next book, provisionally titled 99 Ways To Become A Better Musician, is due for publication in mid-2020.

Bill lives in North Yorkshire with his wife and son.

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