2010 was a particularly busy year. The highlight was certainly my debut with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican in the first performance of Tolga Kashif’s “Genesis Suite” – a big ambitious work for piano, large orchestra and chorus.
However, the year began with a Wigmore Hall recital with Emma Johnson. We included a little-known work by Rodion Shchedrin called “Pastorale” and left the Sunday morning audience quite bemused as there was no obvious connection between what they heard and what they might have been expecting from the title. Obviously a composer with a quirky sense of humour – here he performs (with a few others you might recognise) one of his most popular pieces.
I have enjoyed improvising ever since I started to play the piano. Improvising for a silent film lasting almost two hours – and with another musician involved seemed too much of a challenge though and at first I turned the offer down. However, when Natalie Clein asked me again, I must have been feeling braver and agreed to take part in this dare-devil experience. I am very pleased that I did! Our performance alongside “The Temptress” starring Greta Garbo at Kings Place in London was listed as one of the highlights of 2010 in “Gramophone” magazine.
Arranging also featured in my year (as it usually does) and I enjoyed renewing my collaboration with Maksim (a Croatian crossover pianist with an amazing following in the Far East). For his new album (working with Dom Beeken) Saint-Saens Carnival of the Animals was transformed into something quite different! There are no clips on you tube yet – but here is an earlier effort – with apologies to Dvorak!
The artist I worked with most during 2010 was Tasmin Little. We performed our “Partners in Time” programme many times during the year and, thanks to her inspired playing, each performance was filled with spontaneity and joy in making music – thank you Tasmin.
To finish the year off Emma Johnson invited me to play with her in one of those all too rare events for classical musicians – a thirty minute television programme. The last in Sky Arts series “The Music Room” was aired in the week before Christmas.