Photo: Rainer KoehlAt the age of five she was accepted at Moscow’s renowned Gnessin School of Music. In November the young Russian pianist Anna Zassimova will be playing at St Peter’s Church, Marlborough in the second series of Brilliant Young Pianists.
She will be one of the second series’ virtuoso pianists each of a different nationality and all from the new generation of international recital stars.
Made possible with renewed sponsorship by Oare businessman Robert Hiscox and Hiscox Insurance, the series will present four young pianists and a recital by Charles Owen who has worked with Dr Nick Maurice to secure these top-flight performers.
Like the first series – which ends on June 30 with a recital by twenty very young Suzuki piano students from London – the second series will be put on by Dr Maurice and David Du Cros of the St Peter’s Trust. The Marlborough Brandt Group and the Peter’s Trust will share the proceeds.
For these recitals St Peter’s holds about 180 people. And it has a Yamaha grand piano that draws praise from performers and audiences alike. It was reconditioned by Bath Pianos before the first Brilliant Young Pianists series.
The first series has proved very popular – for one concert extra chairs had to be put out, but no one was turned away. The audience has been drawn from as far away as Guildford.
Leading off the second series on Sunday, September 29 will be the outstanding young Chinese-American pianist Jessica Zhu. Born in Shanghai, she moved with her family to Texas when she was eleven.
She made her orchestral debut in 2006 playing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No 3 with the Houston Symphony Orchestra. In 2011 she won warm praise for her Wigmore Hall debut.
She is currently on a Fellowship at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama studying under Paul Roberts and Ronan O’Hora. Go to her website to hear Jessica playing.
The second recital in the new series (Sunday, November 10) will be by the young Russian virtuoso Anna Zassimova. She gave her first public recital aged fourteen and a year later gained the certificate of honour at the 1st Chopin Competition for Young Pianists in Moscow.
She has played with Moscow Philharmonic Society and given solo and chamber music concerts in Minsk, Prague, London and Warsaw.
In 2009 she released a CD of ‘Russian music at the turn of the twentieth century’ under the title ‘Forgotten Melodies’. In 2011 she followed it with her CD featuring a variety of Chopin’s piano music, and last year with a recording of Brahms sonatas for clarinet and piano.
For a preview of this virtuoso pianist you can hear – and watch – Anna playing Chopin’s Polonaise No 1 in C sharp minor Op. 26 in the Baroque splendour of the Kloster library at Bad Schussenreid.
The audience at St Peter’s Church on Sunday, January 26 will hear the young Azerbaijani pianist Gunel Mirzayeva (pictured left). Now aged twenty-six, Gunel was born in Baku, Azerbaijan. She is based in London. In 2006 she began her Bachelor of Music studies under Ronan O’Hora at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is now studying there for a Master’s degree.
Gunel is especially interested in Bach’s keyboard music. She has performed throughout Europe – including performances at the House of Commons and the Barbican Hall. On her website you can read her repertoire and hear her play.
The next concert (Sunday, March 9) will be a break from the Brilliant Young Pianists, featuring a slightly older brilliant pianist who started out as a young pianist in Marlborough: Charles Owen.Charles Owen
He was the founder of the St Peter’s Brilliant Young Pianists series and at some time has taught all the pianists in the second series except Anna Zassimova.
Charles first played in Marlborough when he was nineteen. He is now firmly established as one of Britain’s foremost concert pianists and is Professor of Piano at the Guildhall School.
He wants to give his most brilliant students the chance to perform before the kind of Marlborough audiences he relished when he was starting out as a solo recitalist.
The final recital of the second series (Sunday, May 11) will be given by the South African born pianist Ben Schoeman (pictured left) who is already regarded as one of his country’s foremost pianists. Ben received his Master of Music (cum laude) from the University of Pretoria.
He is now studying for his doctorate at London’s City University and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Christopher Wiley and Ronan O’Hora. He has played in many of the most prestigious concert halls from Lisbon to Berlin via the Wigmore and Barbican halls.
There is more about him on his website and hear him and cellist Anzél Gerber play Strauss’ Sonata for Cello and Piano in F Major Op 6.
That’s another outstanding musical festival for Marlborough – with five dates for the diary and all of them full of promise.
In our What’s On calendar Marlborough News Online will carry details of the programme for each recital and when tickets go on sale - as soon as they are known
(Click on photos to enlarge them.)
Graham Jones, author of Last Shop StandingThe rise, fall and rebirth of the independent record shop will be charted during a screening of the film Last Shop Standing next week.
There were 2200 independent record shops in the 1980s, by 2009 there were only 269 left.
Last Shop Standing features the likes of Johnny Marr, Paul Weller and Fatboy Slim as it attempts to find out why so many shops have closed – and how those last remaining stores are managing to survive in the age of the digital download.
The documentary – the official film of Record Store Day 2013 – will be shown at Marlborough Town Hall on Wednesday, April 17 as part of wider celebrations by record store Sound Knowledge to mark the occasion.
And meeting music fans to sign copies of the book and DVD, and to answer questions about the documentary, will be Graham Jones, the Chippenham-based Liverpudlian music fan who wrote the 2009 book that inspired the film.
Doors open at 7pm and tickets cost £5 from Sound Knowledge, which is located in Hughenden Yard, Marlborough.
Roger Mortimer, owner of Sound Knowledge in his shopSound Knowledge will be opening from 8am on Saturday, April 20 to sate the appetite of vinyl fans – a selection of limited edition records have been pressed to promote the day.
And on Sunday, April 21, from midday, a festival atmosphere will come to Hughenden Yard, with live performances from Nick Harper, Port Erin, Tallulah Rendall, The Suburbians, and Peter & the Mountain. Attendance is free.