Piano

Pianist Clifford Curzon, composer Sir Arthur Bliss and musicologist Hans Keller at the very first Leeds International Piano Contest. Photo: Erich Auerbach / Getty Images

You vote for my pupil, I’ll vote for yours – the truth about music competitions

23 June 2018 9:00 am

A young Korean, 22 years old, won the Dublin International Piano Competition last month. Nothing unusual about that. Koreans and…

Remembering one of the best – and bitchiest – pianists who ever lived

3 March 2018 9:00 am

I’m unlucky with Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata. Twice in the past year I’ve bolted for the exit as soon the pianist…

The Chinese classical-music revolution up close

25 November 2017 9:00 am

On a bullet train out of Shanghai, a nuclear family catches my eye. The father, weather-beaten and wearing an ill-fitting…

I’d rather miss a season of Proms than the London Piano Festival

14 October 2017 9:00 am

If two concert pianists are performing a work written for two grand pianos, there are two ways you can position…

Meet the composer who licked Beethoven’s carpet

24 June 2017 9:00 am

Gerald Barry once licked Beethoven’s carpet. At least, that’s what he told me, and I’m as sure as any interviewer…

Time to retire: pianist Maurizio Pollini at the Royal Festival Hall in March 2016

Maurizio Pollini needs to retire

25 March 2017 9:00 am

There’s a moment in the finale of Beethoven’s Appassionata sonata when the frenzied piano writing turns unexpectedly jolly. The late…

Did Igor Levit’s latest Beethoven recital deserve to be booed?

4 March 2017 9:00 am

Nothing pleased Iannis Xenakis more than a great big rattling storm. The sound of a thunderclap would have him running…

Performing the Goldberg Variations on the piano involves too many compromises

1 October 2016 9:00 am

The churning, rheumatic mechanism of a harpsichord — notes needling your ears like drops of acid rain — doesn’t necessarily…

Prince William should stop lecturing us about African elephants

1 October 2016 9:00 am

Every threatened species of wildlife can count on the friendship of a member of the British royal family. There are…

‘We definitely do not live in an avant-garde era’: Pierre-Laurent Aimard interview

11 June 2016 9:00 am

A decade ago, the French pianist and poly-math Pierre-Laurent Aimard announced that he was ‘very bored to live in a…

Millepied’s final spring programme for the Paris Opera Ballet is brazenly American

9 April 2016 9:00 am

Paris Opera Ballet plays hard to get. It doesn’t deign to travel all the way over here, thanks to a…

Why I’m glad my piano teacher spent more time chatting than teaching

17 October 2015 8:00 am

At the entrance to Marylebone railway station is an old piano that anyone can play. Unfortunately, whoever had this sweet…

Is this 65-year-old British pianist the next big thing in classical music?

29 November 2014 9:00 am

Earlier this month the Wigmore Hall was sold out for a Schubert recital by a concert pianist whose only solo…

The drunk conductor who ruined Rachmaninov’s career

18 October 2014 9:00 am

Would musical history have turned out differently if Alexander Glazunov hadn’t been smashed out of his wits when he conducted…

Wedding music lives or dies at the hands of the organist

20 September 2014 9:00 am

A few weeks ago I was at the perfect wedding. My young friend Will Heaven, a comment editor at the…

‘Ashtray’ Annie Fischer was a piano giant. Why didn’t more people realise this?

23 August 2014 9:00 am

This year marks the centenary of a pianist whom London orchestral players nicknamed ‘Ashtray Annie’. Only at the keyboard did…

James Rhodes’s diary: Trying to catch out Stephen Fry, and the scandal of music education

8 June 2013 9:00 am

This was the best kind of week. It started with a three-hour road trip with my manager/surrogate father/shrink/bodyguard to Monmouth…