Artistic Practice

The focus of my practice is the solo and chamber music repertoire from the so-called common period tonality, ranging from Scarlatti to Debussy.  I am a passionate advocate of the relevance of this repertoire for our contemporary culture. I also perform contemporary works in the context of collaborations with composer colleagues. I am particularly interested in exploring the interpretative possibilities of canonic tonal works with the aim of widening their expressive boundaries. The artistic affordances of the contemporary (grand) piano are quite different from those of the early modern piano; today’s instruments support a much wider range of expressive opportunities than our pedagogical and performance traditions would make us believe.  I am fascinated by the capacity of the piano – technically a percussive instrument – to create the impression of vocality, and one of my pianistic passions is exploring the different artistic and technical means for realizing a long (cantabile) line in the context of slow pieces of music. I frequently combine my solo performances with lectures that comment on the aesthetic aspects and challenges of classical pianism, and the artistic affordances of the instrument of the piano.

A large part of my chamber music practice consists of working with my piano trio partners – violinist Mona Kodama and cellist Thomas Gregory. I founded the Marmara Piano Trio in 2009 for an AHRC-funded project (‘Alchemy in the Spotlight: Qualitative Transformations in Classical Chamber Music Performance’). Following a period of silence due to personnel change during the 2012-2013 season, the ensemble has been concertizing once again in the UK and in Europe. We also regularly give open rehearsals and workshops that involve reflecting on chamber music practice, and on integrating music analytical thought and music making.  Student ensembles can arrange private coaching sessions with the Marmara Piano Trio by sending a message through the ‘Contact’ page on this website.

One of my on-going artistic projects is called ‘Organ as orchestra, piano concerto as chamber music’. As the title suggests, this project involves performing piano concerti with organ accompaniment. There is a long and honourable tradition of transcribing orchestral music for the organ, including the accompaniments of large-scale choral works. Indeed, in the days before orchestral concerts were widespread, to say nothing of broadcasts and gramophone records, they were one of the chief means of popularising such music and bringing it to a wide audience. However, there are few precedents for using the organ for the accompaniment of piano concertos, perhaps because of the difficulty of coordinating the two instruments in performance. Nowadays, with electronic technology, problems of ensemble coordination largely disappear. I have to date performed several Mozart concerti, Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ concerto, and Rachmaninoff’s second concerto with organ accompaniment. I would be happy to hear from organists who would like to join me in piano concerto performances.

My artistic practice is thoroughly intertwined with my piano pedagogical interests, and I work with two different groups of students.  One group consists of advanced-level students who are about to embark on professional careers as soloists or chamber musicians, and my work with them focuses on developing a personal artistic voice to help them distinguish themselves in the profession. I also take on students whose artistic development has been hampered for various reasons, and who wish to advance their technical and expressive skills, and develop confidence in performing. To arrange a consultation lesson, please send me a message through the ‘Contact’ page.

 

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