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Classical Brit Awards (2006-04-11)

It was announced this morning that I've been nominated for a Classical Brit Award in the category Instrumentalist of the Year! The other two nominees are pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and violinist Maxin Vengerov. Unfortunately I won't be able to attend the televised ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall in early May as I'll be in San Francisco performing with the Symphony. Still, it's exciting to be included!


Open University convocation (2006-04-07)

Last week I repeated my all-Bach recital in Marburg, Germany—a lovely university town (photo) where I had a large audience in the Stadthalle. From there, I went straight to the Barbican Centre (literally straight from Heathrow airport—almost not making it with flight delays and heavy traffic!) for the Open University convocation at which I was presented with an Honorary Doctorate by their Chancellor, Betty Boothroyd (the former Speaker of the House of Commons). Besides my acceptance speech, I played them the lovely arrangement of “Sheep May Safely Graze” that had enchanted everybody in both Marburg and Sacile. It was a lovely occasion, and wonderful to see so many graduates receiving their degrees. Photos coming soon!

I am happy to announce new management for Germany. My agent there is now Gabriele Schiller of PR2 classic (www.pr2classic.de) and I look forward to working with her on my future appearances in that country!


Concert at Fazioli Concert Hall (2006-03-30)

Last night in Sacile, Italy, I performed for the first time in front of a capacity audience in the Fazioli Concert Hall. This new auditorium is part of the Fazioli factory where the wonderful instruments are made. An audience who is perhaps not used to hearing a whole evening of Bach on the piano received it very enthusiastically. Before the concert, I gave a talk about Bach and my life--in Italian! I make mistakes, but I'm happy that I am at least able to communicate well enough in the language of one of my adopted countries.


On CBC Radio and Television (2006-03-21)

For my Canadian friends, there are two chances to hear and see me on both radio and television before the end of March. First of all, on CBC Television, the programme Opening Night will be showing two extracts from Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II that I filmed several years ago in the Wartburg Castle, Eisenach (Bach's birthplace) for BBC Television. They will be shown on March 30th from 8:00 to 10:00 pm, local time, across Canada. I believe my segment is on at approximately 9:30 pm.

On the French radio of the CBC, you can hear the concert I gave in Montreal on February 20th. This will be broadcast this Thursday evening at 8 p.m. on the programme Espace Musique. To listen live (remembering the time change!) you can logon to http://www.radio-canada.ca/radio2.


Concerts at The Sage (2006-03-15)

I have had particular pleasure this week working with the excellent Northern Sinfonia in Newcastle/Gateshead. Their new arts complex, The Sage, is a wonderful building with two lovely halls and I have now performed in both of them. Last night it was in the big hall where I played and conducted concertos by Bach and Mozart, and the previous night I was in their smaller space giving a solo recital. It is very satisfying to see that I have so many fans in the Northeast of England, and I hope to return often. We also played to a huge crowd last Saturday in Kendal (in the beautiful Lake District), and our tour continues this week in Alnwick and Huddersfield. Being here also gives me a chance to see relatives from Scotland who came down for the occasion, and cousins in Yorkshire (my mother’s family having come from The Borders of Scotland, and my father was born a Yorkshireman!). I was told tonight that I was dressed appropriately for the pre-concert talk in my black and white leather jacket because those are evidently the colours of the Newcastle football team!


Back in England (2006-03-06)

It is nice to be back home in London at least for a few days. My Wigmore Hall all-Mozart recital last Saturday night was packed out, and once more it was wonderful to have such an attentive audience—right from the first note. I think it was the first time I had ever given an all-Mozart solo recital, and for sure it is something I must repeat. The day before, I had appeared on Radio 3’s play/chat programme, In Tune, and in the photo can be seen with their wonderful host, Sean Rafferty. Another news item: the Open University here in the UK has announced that I am to be given an Honorary Doctorate at their convocation at the Barbican Centre, London on April 1st. I have several similar honours from my native country, Canada, but this is the first in my adopted home which makes me very happy.


In Sweden (2006-03-02)

Tonight I play in Helsingborg (pictured right)--my very favourite concerto, Mozart. K.466 in D minor. Yesterday I finally took an afternoon off and visited the lovely Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. It is across the water in Denmark, just a short ferry ride away. Tomorrow, back in London, I am playing "live" on BBC Radio 3 on In Tune after the 7 p.m. news. For those of you who can't get a ticket for my Wigmore Hall Mozart recital on Saturday night, it's a chance to hear two of the pieces from that programme, as well as the usual chat with host Sean Rafferty. On another subject, the booking for the 2006 Trasimeno Music Festival is now open to the general public for those who want to purchase either tickets to all six concerts or a tour package. Please go to the festival website for details http://www.trasimenomusicfestival.com


Concerts in New York (2006-02-26)

I have had a wonderful few days in New York—working hard, of course, and not being a tourist at all, but it was such a joy to work with the musicians of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Our two concerts in Alice Tully Hall were preceded by three full days of rehearsals. Making music with artists of that calibre is hugely satisfying, and the programme was a favourite, though very busy, one for me (I chose works by Debussy, Ravel, and Franck). Seen with me here in the photo (working hard at drinking a bottle of Montefalco wine in San Domenico’s restaurant after tonight’s concert!) are, from left to right, the young German cellist Daniel Müller-Schott, the violist Paul Neubauer, and violinist Ani Kafavian (our other violinist, Jennifer Frautschi, was absent from the dinner). Please see the Gallery/At Work page for a larger version of the photo. In between those two concerts, I also gave a private recital for an invited audience in the studio of painter Caio Fonseca, playing the all-Mozart programme that I am presenting at Wigmore Hall in London next Saturday night. But before then, it’s off back to Europe and directly to Sweden!


Re-release of Bach Concertos discs on Hyperion (2006-02-24)

It is not often that a recording is re-released less than a year after its initial appearance, but Hyperion has decided to do just that with my two Bach Concertos CDs. They are now available in one box as a slimline double-CD (cover photo right). These recordings which I made with the wonderful Australian Chamber Orchestra directed by its lead violinist, Richard Tognetti, hit the billboard charts in the USA only weeks after they were released in 2005, and stayed there for quite a while. They were also named Record of the Month by Gramophone magazine. Last week they were nominated for a Juno Award in Canada in the category for Best Orchestral Recording of 2005.


Chamber Music week (2006-02-22)

After my recital and Bach lecture at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, I went on to Montreal where I gave my first performance of the wonderful Piano Quintet by César Franck. It is a very intense and passionate work that I will be performing four times in the next few months. The concert in Montreal was with the Trio Inukshuk (three Canadians who live in Europe), along with Patricia Shih from Vancouver. Now I am in rehearsals in New York for two concerts this weekend for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. For those of you in London (UK), try to catch it at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on April 10th! The programme also includes the Debussy cello and piano Sonata and the fabulous Trio by Ravel.



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