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The Well-Tempered Clavier in Portugal (2005-10-25)

On Sunday afternoon, I gave my first complete public performance of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I since the year 2000. The venue was the newly-opened Casa da Musica in Porto, Portugal (pictured here), designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhas. An unusual effect is the huge window behind the stage which lets in tons of natural light (seen in centre of photo). Even a transparent curtain didn't stop many people in the audience from wearing sunglasses! In the second half of the marathon, however, the sun began to set and the light became quite beautiful. The sold-out audience was extremely quiet throughout the whole two hours of music.

Recital in Cambridge (2005-10-17)

Last Friday I was welcomed in Cambridge by King's College School--the "home" of the famous choristers from King's College Choir, Cambridge. I gave a masterclass for five of their students (four boys, one girl), and then a recital in the evening to help raise money for the school development fund. Both events were a pleasure. The day before, I performed a BBC Lunchtime concert at St. Luke's in London--a church near the Barbican Centre that is now a rehearsal venue and education centre for the London Symphony, as well as hosting this series of BBC recitals. It has been amazingly restored (for decades the church stood with no roof whatsoever), and has a lovely atmosphere.

New CD release of Couperin (2005-10-04)

My third and last CD devoted to the keyboard works of François Couperin is now available (at least in the U.K, and in Canada--other countries at a later date). Full details of the disc can be found on my discography page. It contains his beautiful 13th Ordre along with separate pieces (including The Nightingale in Love). My apologies to those of you who have sent guestbook entries and contact requests over the past month. Those functions were temporarily out of order, but are now working again and I will reply as soon as possible!

Chopin in Calgary (2005-09-25)

My concerts in Calgary were enlivened, not only by the excellent conducting of the young Canadian conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, but by something which happened in our first rehearsal. The piano owned by the concert hall and used for all the CPO concerts was not in good shape, and after a while several of the keys simply got stuck! So we quickly had to find a replacement as there was no alternative instrument. Fortunately I remembered that Mount Royal College in Calgary owned a Fazioli 308, so we contacted them right away and they graciously allowed me to use it for my Chopin Concerto. It sounded fabulous in the Jack Singer Concert Hall. A nice end to the story!

Recital in Ottawa (2005-09-21)

The concert last night in Ottawa was a big success, and we raised enough money to give clean water for life to 500 people in Africa. The Fazioli concert grand came up from New York for the occasion. The flowers were presented by WaterCan's Honorary President, Mrs. Margaret Trudeau, seen here in the photo with me at the post-concert reception.

Recital in Ottawa to benefit WaterCan (2005-09-17)

On Tuesday night September 20th in Ottawa I will give a Bach/Chopin recital to benefit WaterCan--a wonderful charity which helps provide clean drinking water to the world's poorest people. Since its creation in 1987, WaterCan has assisted more than one million people in 32 developing countries. Travelling throughout the world as I do, I realize how precious water is (I remember a few days in Armenia back in 1988 when we only had water for an hour in the morning and an hour at night--and it came out of the tap black). This concert will be held in Christ Church Cathedral where my father was organist for almost 50 years. I hope those of you in Ottawa will join us! For tickets please go to:

Recital in Bergamo (2005-09-14)

Sometimes you have the most amazing experiences when you don't expect them. Such was the case last week in Bergamo when I performed the Goldberg Variations. The church, which probably had around 400 seats, was crammed full with people all around me(probably about a hundred of them stood for the whole hour and a half without moving an inch), and their concentration never wavered--not even when a fireworks display nearby threatened to sabotage the quiet moments of Variations 13 and 15! The police had blocked off the streets outside as we had to have the doors open to let in some air (and for more people to stand in the doorways!). A night to remember for sure! My first solo Beethoven disc (comprising the Sonatas Op. 7, 10/3, and the Appassionata) is now "in the can". It was great to record something other than Bach! The photo shows me celebrating afterwards with my piano technician, Gerd Finkenstein.

Recital in Stuttgart (2005-09-04)

The lovely Weisses Saal in the Neues Schloss in Stuttgart was the venue for today's concert (photo). Last week it was a church on the beautiful island of Langeland in Denmark. People travelled many hours to come to that concert--mostly from Copenhagen and Aarhus. After another Goldberg tomorrow night in Bergamo, it's on to Dobbiaco/Toblach in the Italian Dolomites to record Beethoven Sonatas. It will be nice to arrive there and find my own piano which has travelled up from Umbria!

Recital in Schleswig-Holstein (2005-08-26)

After a lovely week in Umbria (where I was awarded the Umbria del Cuore prize from the Corciano Festival--given to people who have contributed to the artistic life of that part of Italy), I performed for the first time last night in the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, a seven-week event that takes place across that entire part of Germany (and into Denmark). My recital was in a Kuhstall (cow barn) transformed into a beautiful concert space. As I was staying in the city of Lübeck, I had to go and see the Marienkirche (photo) where Buxtehude was organist. That's the church that Bach walked to from Thuringia just to hear him play--and ended up staying three months. It was very moving to see it.

Oslo Chamber Music Festival (2005-08-17)

My performance of the Goldberg Variations last night in Oslo took place in the Aula of the University--a wonderful setting, complete with murals by Munch on the walls (see photo). It was a memorable evening. San Diego to Oslo was a long way (especially with stops in Ottawa and London en route), and a very big switch in cultures, but it was worth it. Now I have a week to get ready for everything coming up...another busy season lies ahead. I have updated my schedule for 2005-2006 with some omissions and late additions soon to be publicized. My next recording sessions for Hyperion take place this September and will comprise three Beethoven Sonatas. The disc will be available in the fall of 2006. Before that watch out for Couperin III and a Chabrier album.

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