28 July - 5 August 2018
Piano Festival Brochure 2018
The art of the piano remains one of boundless discovery and possibility. As I reflect on almost two decades since the founding of our festival in Oxford, each year never fails to bring fresh revelations to myself, our participant pianists, audiences and indeed the learned faculty of artists and speakers, each of whom never tire in their own personal journey with the instrument and its music.
The pianists invited to perform and engage in masterclasses represent an important stage in a young player’s musical life when they realise the many years of work gained through formal training and begin to make their way on the world stage. As this festival demonstrates, learning never stops and in an environment quite different from the scrutiny of competition, we offer an opportunity for all who attend to grow, whether as artists, educators or music-lovers.
We open with a towering personality of the piano world. Festival Patron, Alfred Brendel, will offer invaluable insights into the performance of Mozart’s works for keyboard ahead of an evening in the company of Piotr Anderszewski and Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations. A cornerstone of the Festival remains the representation of the many schools of playing. A programme of masterclasses and talks include Yoheved Kaplinsky, Chair of the Piano Department at Juilliard, Anne Queffélec, Niel Immelmann and our dear friend, Dame Fanny Waterman, all of whom offer a unique perspective formed from a lifetime dedicated to teaching and performance.
Recital highlights are many: Anne Queffélec spans the baroque and classical age from Bach, Vivaldi and Handel to Beethoven. The inimitable Menahem Pressler will once again offer audiences an unmissable evening in the company of Handel, Mozart, Debussy and Chopin. We include a focus on the art of accompaniment with a masterclass and concert featuring Julius Drake together with leading tenor, Nicky Spence. Richard Goode, a pianist of depth and refinement, returns following his scintillating performance last year. To close the festival our President, Sir András Schiff completes his survey of Bach’s monumental treatise with Book II of the Well-Tempered Clavier.
In addition to the wonderful campus of St. Hilda’s College and the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, we make good use of the many historic performance spaces around the city of Oxford. This year’s concerts take place at Christ Church Cathedral, Merton College Chapel, St John the Evangelist Church, the Holywell Music Room (Europe’s oldest dedicated concert space) and the Sheldonian Theatre, home to the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra who will accompany the brilliant young Korean, Seong-Jin Cho, in Chopin’s virtuosic first piano concerto.
In bringing together some of the most promising young talent for an intensive week of exploration through masterclass, lecture and performance, we have but one objective: to ask the right questions. Whether unlocking technical barriers, offering new perspectives on interpretation or simply passing on invaluable experience, the Oxford Piano Festival stands at a vital crossroads for aspiring talent who must all work to forge their own path with the instrument.
With the opportunity to learn from the greatest living exponents of the instrument, I hope you too will be a part of this journey.