Big names performing at Conservatoire showcase.
Peter Donohoe, Paul Badura-Skoda and Natalia Trull are to make guest appearances and BBC Radio 3 will broadcast a showcase of Conservatoire prizewinners in the Birmingham International Piano Festival. The Festival runs from 11th-15th June at the new Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University.
Internationally-acclaimed pianist Peter Donohoe (front pic) concludes his Mozart sonatas cycle with a special 65th birthday concert on Wednesday 13th June. In the last of four concerts, the 1982 Tchaikovsky Competition silver medallist, who is also Vice President of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, plays his final selection of sonatas including the Hunt and the Turkish.
“Peter Donohoe somehow embodies what a concert pianist is all about,” says John Thwaites, Head of Keyboard at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. “He has breathtaking technique, complete command of the stage, an enormous repertoire and unique interpretative insights and musical wisdom. His contribution to the Conservatoire has been incomparable over many, many years.
“Recently, he’s played Messiaen in the middle of the night for our Piano All-Nighter, the complete Scriabin sonatas in a single evening, and now this Mozart cycle, timed to coincide with the SOMM recording, using our new Bechstein Concert Grand. We’re planning to help Peter celebrate his 65th birthday in style by filling our wonderful new hall.”
Born in Vienna in 1927, Paul Badura-Skoda is the torch-bearer of an era. Having performed for both Wilhelm Furtwängler and Herbert von Karajan in 1949, he found overnight fame in 1950 standing in at short notice for the legendary pianist Edwin Fischer at the Salzburg Festival. He cemented his reputation and became widely known through the then-new medium of the LP.
He now generously shares his time inspiring gifted young artists. In this rare recital on Tuesday 12th June, Paul Badura-Skoda plays Beethoven’s first and last sonatas – Op 2 No 1 and Op 111 – and Schubert’s last great sonata D960, all composers with whom he is especially identified.
A public masterclass on Monday 11th June (5.30pm) will see him share his insight into Beethoven and Schubert with prize-winning Conservatoire students Domonkos Csabay (Beethoven’s Eroica Variations) and Roman Kosyakov (Schubert Impromptus Op 90).
John Thwaites recalls, “I first heard Paul Badura-Skoda in 1986 and the experience has lived with me ever since, as have the dance rhythms, rhythmic inflections and accentuations he encouraged through his masterclass. To me, he represents everything I love about Vienna, including his breadth of vision in embracing fortepianos and 19th-century instruments of all sorts.
“We have a new Bechstein Concert Grand, a period 1850s instrument by Wilhelm Wieck (Clara’s cousin) and a range of new and older Steinways for him to choose from. His programme could not be more exciting and we’re greatly honoured that he has chosen to come to Birmingham at this time.”
Just one month after Conservatoire student Lauren Zhang won the hugely-coveted BBC Young Musician 2018, the Vice-Chancellor’s Recital: BBC Radio 3 Piano Showcase scouts further talent from the Conservatoire’s own rising stars and competition winners on Thursday 14 June. Four exceptional pianists – Domonkos Csabay, Roman Kosyakov, Pascal Pascalev and Daniel Lebhardt – play works by Schubert, Scriabin and Bartók plus Beethoven’s Eroica Variations and Liszt’s Dante Sonata.
1986 Tchaikovsky silver medallist, Natalia Trull, has been a familiar figure performing throughout the world and is currently Professor at the Moscow Conservatoire. Her recital on Friday 15 June includes Brahms, Mozart, Chopin and Debussy.
Other highlights include Julian Jacobson, President of the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe, who gives three lecture-recitals on Beethoven’s Tempest, Appassionata and Waldstein sonatas; and a selection of chamber music concerts featuring piano which also form part of the Conservatoire’s Chamber Music Festival.
John Thwaites says, “We are delighted the BBC is broadcasting a showcase of four young artists who are already established winners of international competitions and whose place on the international circuit is already beyond question. The Birmingham International Piano Festival also features guests from Germany, China, Belgium, Russia and Austria, all teaching extensively as well as giving concerts and lectures.”
Birmingham International Piano Festival runs from 11th-15th June at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. For further information and details of how to book, visit www.bcu.ac.uk/concerts or ring 0121 331 5909.