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Priority Booking now open for the Trasimeno Music Festival 2014 (2013-12-06)

The booking is now open for Friends of the Trasimeno Music Festival! Next year's event will take place from July 5-11, 2014 in Assisi, Magione, Perugia, and Foligno. We look forward to welcoming you to Umbria for our tenth anniversary! At the moment Friends (those who have made a donation) can book for all events of the festival. Please see our website for details:

Four Mozart Concertos plus a Rondo.... (2013-12-01)

Oh dear! I'm so busy travelling and playing concerts I don't have time to update my website very often these days! Sorry about that. I've been trying to get to Rotterdam/Amsterdam since yesterday from Munich. Already had two flights cancelled on me (very strong winds there), so got on a plane to London instead and now am at Heathrow waiting for the AMS flight which seems to be going. A quick train to Rotterdam and I should be on stage at de Doelen by 8:15 tonight! I got 4-5 hours sleep in an airport hotel--for sure more than if I had stayed in Munich fretting about getting out of there with snow on its way. You can't say I don't make an effort to get to my concerts. Since I last wrote, I spent three days in Brazil where I made my debut in Rio playing Bach and Mozart (see photo). It was in the historic Teatro Municipal with the Brazilian Symphony and conductor Fabio Mechetti. That was very enjoyable and the audience welcomed me warmly. I didn't get out of my hotel room at all as I had too much practising to do (on a Clavinova....). Then it was back to Italy to play/conduct a concert in Vercelli with the Camerata Ducale: three Mozart Concertos (the K175 new for me; K449 and K450)) and a Rondo (K382) all in the one programme. Come to hear that in Prato and Pistoia next week if you can! Then....where did I go then? I can't remember. Oh yes, to Munich where I did a photo shoot and played a Bach/Beethoven recital in Gauting. And now here I am. On Sunday my recital from London's Wigmore Hall is live on BBC Radio 3 at 7:30 pm. Tune in if you like!

Stockholm, Rome, Leipzig, Bilbao.... (2013-11-13)

At the moment I have a concert every day in a different place—often a different country. Last night it was in the historic hall of the Sociedad Filarmonica de Bilbao where I gave them the whole Art of Fugue. The audience was not as silent as I would have liked, but they seemed to appreciate it in the end. I never understand why people just can’t sit still and listen. In any case, a lovely place to be and I am asked so rarely to play in Spain that it’s special to go there. Right now, having just landed at Heathrow, I’m on my way to Farnborough School where in just two hours I will give a concert for the students who are anxiously awaiting me, the Fazioli already having arrived! I will perform for the first time ever Beethoven’s wonderful Sonata in A major, Op. 2/2, and his Op. 78 which I haven’t played for 15 years or more. Also Bach’s 3rd English Suite which I haven’t played in a decade. It’s a programme I’ve been working very hard on, so fingers crossed that it goes OK! Stockholm was terrific. I love playing there. Then it was on to Rome where I played and conducted four Bach Piano Concertos with the RAI Torino orchestra, competing with a football match across the Tiber! That was a fun evening. After a few days editing the latest Mozart Concerto CD (the one with the NAC Orchestra and Hannu Lintu that I did last July), done in Detmold at my producer’s studio, it was up to Leipzig for a six-day masterclass session for the Bach-Archiv. At first I thought I would die teaching for 7-8 hours every day and adding on to that several hours of my own practice. And indeed I came out of it exhausted, but having made many new friends and fans. The kids were interesting, and the five who played in the final concert played beautifully. They came from all over: Prague, Argentina, Korea, Germany of course…..On my last night there I heard a performance of Bach’s B minor Mass in the Thomaskirche (see photo) where he was Cantor for so many years. That was extraordinarly moving and made me think that perhaps someday I could conduct it myself—if I ever find the time!

Sunday night in Stockholm! (2013-10-25)

I know I only just got back home where time is so precious, but yesterday I was asked to replace Grigory Sokolov in a recital in the beautiful Konserthuset in Stockholm on Sunday night, and I said yes. I have a programme ready, and I always love playing there. And it's great that they asked me! So if you're in Stockholm on Sunday, I hope to see you there!

Japan Tour (2013-10-20)

It has been good to be back in Japan after an absence of three years. Hopefully it won't be as long again before I return. There were many pianists in Tokyo last week, and I spoke with two of them in my hotel: Murray Perahia and Radu Lupu! It's always a joy to meet such distinguished colleagues because one so rarely has the chance--we are all so busy touring the world. Murray is President of the Jerusalem Music Centre and I will be going there to perform and teach just before Christmas--so we talked about that. My Art of Fugue recitals in Tokyo's Oji Hall (a small bijoux in the Ginza--where this photo was taken) were sold out months in advance. I played a Fazioli 278 brought in by Alec Weil and Pianoforti who also celebrated his 5th anniversary while I was there. Mr. Fazioli himself flew in, and I performed a short concert for about 100 invited guests. Yesterday I gave the first of two recitals in Nagoya in the very beautiful (looking and sounding) Shirakawa Hall. It was an afternoon recital followed by an hour-long post-concert talk and then of course a CD signing. A true marathon! Today, besides practising a lot for concerts coming up next month, I must go (in the company of my nice agent, Haruko) and buy a new suitcase--something which has to be done every two years, it seems, with the amount of travelling I do. It's always best to do it when you're away from home, because then you can leave the old one behind in a hotel room and not have the problem of disposing of it! On Wednesday it's back HOME after five weeks away. Unfortunately I only get to stay there for four days, and then it's two more months of constant travel and concerts.

Final concerts in Australia tour (2013-10-11)

The pace is pretty constant on this tour of Australia. A recital every second day, except for the past weekend when I had one day off (during which I practised new repertoire for six hours). And four masterclasses as well in which I enjoyed hearing the young people play. And of course the distances are not negligible. One needs stamina. The most tiring thing is all the packing and unpacking, and trying to adjust to a new bed every 48 hours. But I am grateful for the wonderful audiences I have had everywhere who have packed the halls. They have listened so well to these difficult recital programmes of late Beethoven and late Bach (Art of Fugue). They all seem to appreciate my commentary before playing the Bach. It certainly makes me feel better knowing that they have something to listen out for. And I am well looked after, for sure, by the Musica Viva staff (and was taken for 2 minutes to Nobbys Beach in Newcastle where the photo was taken). The Canadian High Commissioner in Canberra held a lovely reception at the residence. I can’t do dinners after all these concerts, otherwise I wouldn’t survive, but that was very much appreciated, and it’s always good to be with people from “home” when you’re so far away. The weather is warming up—actually rather alarmingly for springtime. If this is spring, what is summer going to be like here? Last night in Adelaide (for which I always have a fondness, since it was my first stop in Australia 22 years ago), the large crowd was especially appreciative at the end. The final concert is tomorrow afternoon in Sydney. Then on to Japan and more of the same!

First concerts in Australian tour (2013-09-28)

Already three concerts have come and gone in my almost month-long tour of Australia for Musica Viva. The jet-lag of course is terrible when you get here, and when you have to play the Art of Fugue on top of it, not to mention late Beethoven Sonatas, it's not an easy thing! Plus after giving one recital in Melbourne, I went back in time to Perth (another two-hour change), played there, and then returned to Melbourne--on a special packed-out Boeing Jumbo Jet 747 put on to carry football fans to a game today in Melbourne. I think I was the only person on this plane who couldn't have cared less about football (and who wasn't wearing the team colours!). But I enjoy being in Australia where I already know many people from my former tours--the first of which was back in 1991. The Melbourne Recital Hall is a lovely 1000-seat venue and the audiences were terrific. There I played Steinway; in Perth I played Fazioli (which was a surprise to me--I thought it wasn't going to be possible, but in the end an excellent one appeared on the stage the morning of my concert). That's also a great-sounding hall. I tend to sleep well every second night (almost 11 hours last night). After the concerts it's hard. Now it's off to Sydney--then Brisbane, Newcastle, Canberra, Adelaide, and finishing off again in Sydney. I also gave the first of three masterclasses here in Melbourne. Musica Viva is a great organization and everything is perfectly thought out. The only thing that didn't cross their mind was that football game.......

Recital in St. Gallen and "holiday"! (2013-09-11)

It is always a pleasure to play in the beautiful Laurenzenkirche in the old town of St. Gallen. Recently restored, it has a beautiful atmosphere and was a perfect place to play The Art of Fugue. From there I took a train to the home of some dear friends who live near Fribourg, and gave 2 house concerts in one day for a rapt audience in their home. Sometimes it's nice to play in such an intimate atmosphere. Then it was down to Umbria where I've been on a sort of "holiday". Mostly house-cleaning as it's the only chance I get to do it really thoroughly. You know the type: taking everything out of drawers and cupboards, cleaning the surfaces, then putting good stuff back in and throwing the rest out. Many trips to the recycling centre. I hate to think of all the garbage we threw out before the world began to recycle.

Soon I'm back into concerts--the first one on Saturday night in Varese--a town in the Lake District of northern Italy where I have been going for 33 years. It's a benefit concert for Alzheimer's. Soon after that I'm off to Australia.

In fifteen minutes I'm on Classic FM's web-chat, answering questions. If you have anything to ask me, now's your chance!

New Fauré CD now available (2013-09-11)

My latest CD is now available in the shops and online (and from my own online shop on this website). It's devoted to the solo piano music of Gabriel Fauré--who has always been one of my favourite composers, ever since I became familiar with his work when I was 15 years old. All of the pieces on the disc (his two biggest piano works--Thème et Variations and the Ballade, 2 Valses-Caprice and the Nocturnes Nos 5, 6, and 13) are wonderful pieces and show him at his best. If you don't know his music, then give it a try and I don't think you'll be disappointed. Even the critics seem to like it....!

Concerts in Ottawa and Montreal (2013-08-28)

The summer is winding down now, and I’ve had my first “free” days since, I suppose, last Christmas. Unfortunately there has been so much business to do that they haven’t felt much like free days. And now I have a recital in St. Gallen, Switzerland on the weekend, so must practise again. After that I can have another break from concerts for 10 days which will be the last until.....Christmas! The concert in Ottawa with The Art of Fugue was memorable (see photo) and I’m always happy to see so many friends there. Even friends from Atlanta, New York, and Vancouver came—also accompanying me to Montreal where I performed in the following days with Kent Nagano and the Montreal Symphony. That was in their La Virée festival that has thirty 45-minute concerts in a day and a half. Quite a production! It was fun to also play the Mozart Quintet with the woodwind players from the MSO. At least September holds a few more free days for me before the long tour of Australia and Japan coming up soon....

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