French pianist, Jean-Paul Gasparian studied at the Paris Conservatoire before finishing his performance diploma at the Royal College of Music in London. When he was 18, he participated in the Verbier Academy, and ever since he has performed with orchestras across Europe including France, Serbia, Montenegro, and Germany. In August 2017, he made his solo recital debut and released a debut album featuring Rachmaninoff Etudes, Scriabin, and Prokofiev. Here, Gasparian discusses his relationship with the ‘Russian School’ and the ‘French tradition’ of classical music, and the key influences behind his new album.
This is one of those rare occasions where I can’t let fandom win. Out of the many times I’ve seen Jonas Kaufmann perform on stage (be it at the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Opera, or Barbican), this was probably the most disappointing performance I had ever seen. The Barbican concert, to perform Strauss lieder with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under maestro Jochen Rieder, was first meant to happen on February 2017. But based on recommendations from Kaufmann’s vocal coach, he was advised to cancel the event altogether.
Review by Tony Watts
Not likely to be seen at your local Odeon on a Saturday evening, particularly as a silent film is not the most obvious medium for opera, this version of Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s masterpiece stands out as an oddity in the composer’s output. Presumably conceived as another way of ploughing an already fertile furrow or as a publicity tool for the opera it is broadly a dramatisation of the story of Der Rosenkavalier and boasts a score for orchestra especially written to accompany this one hundred minute version with Strauss drawing on music from the opera, as well as his Couperin Suite and a rather brash newly-composed march.
Review Written by Tony Watts
Even given the undeniable merits of the likes of Miklós Rózsa, Bernard Herrmann, Erich Korngold, Elmer Bernstein, Dimitri Tiomkin, Franz Waxman, Max Steiner and Henry Mancini in Hollywood’s golden age, in more recent times the undisputed master of film music has been the peerless John Williams, whose lengthy career has, to date, spanned more than six decades having begun in the early fifties. Showered with honours, including more than fifty Academy Award nominations (five awards), twenty-four Grammys, seven Baftas and five Golden Globes, his pre-eminence in his field is without question. The long partnership between Williams and director Steven Spielberg has lasted for more than thirty years proving enormously productive. All this coming from a man who, as a youngster, didn’t believe he could make a decent living from writing film music!
London-based composer and violinist Layale Chaker will be performing Inner Rhyme at St Marylebone Church with the Sarafand Ensemble. Here, Layale shares with us: what inspired her to compose Inner Rhyme, how her rich Lebanese heritage influenced her musical style, and her professional experience performing as member of the West-Divan Orchestra.
Sir Henry Wood founded the Proms back in 1895 and what a great idea it was seeing as this year celebrates the 124th Prom, which shall include an 8-week long schedule of first-class orchestras, musicians, artists and performances yet to be announced, this week [Thursday 19th April]. Many die-hard Prommers are waiting with bated breath to know who will be performing this summer. That said, and as promised by its founder, the BBC Proms was made for everyone, and not just classical music aficionados and expert Prommers who know their way around the Royal Albert Hall’s pit.
Extraordinary, unconventional, interactive and fun are the words I would use to describe the launch of crossover artist and classical music pianist AyseDeniz Gokcin’s new album, A Chopin Affair: Sonatas. On Friday night [March 9th] St James’s Sussex Gardens near Paddington was surprisingly packed – people had to find chairs and create their own space to sit down. The audience was a mix of savvy young artists, bright-eyed students, middle-aged professionals and family members keen to grab a glass of wine, relax and listen to some scintillating Chopin.
On a week that was considered to be the UK’s worst snow storm in 50 years, I managed to speak to crossover artist and innovative classical music pianist Aysedeniz Gokcin on the phone to discuss her new album ‘A Chopin Affair’ and her new series of concerts. This Friday [8pm, 9th March], she will be performing Chopin’s Piano Sonatas with the company of two painters Zabou and Tommy Ramsay. She also told me about her admiration for feminist writer George Sand, Hollywood actors like Meryl Streep and pianist Martha Argerich, and spoke about the short attention span of the new generation which she feels has changed the way people experience music.
Another outstanding show I can tick off the theatre list. It surpassed my expectations & was better than I thought it would be. I completely understand why it is difficult to get tix to @HamiltonMusical.I've never seen anything like it before. A rap, rnb & musical lovers delight.