London Music Foundation first concert to create funds for a proposed London International Piano Competition in 2020
With Ilya Kondratiev as artistic director presided over by Vanessa Latarche the first concert for the launch of this new project took place in the Russian Cultural Centre in Kensington.
London the undisputed capital for music strangely does not have an International Piano Competition of its own.
A few years ago there was the London Power Piano Competition the brain child of Sulamita Aronovsky .
The Honorary Patron was Prince Charles and the finals took place in the Royal Festival Hall with the London Philharmonic .
I well remember the year that the 19 year old Behozod Abduraimov won with a stunning performance of Prokofiev 3rd Piano Concerto – Alessandro Taverna gave a memorable performance of Chopin 1st Piano concerto in the final too.
A glittering audience including many renowned musicians including Dame Fanny Waterman founder of the Leeds Piano Competition which has been for many years one of the very best competitions in the world.
I well remember a party afterwards that went on late and Peter Frankl having his car locked up for the night in the RFH garage that like Cinderella at the midnight hour was nowhere to be seen!
Unfortunately like so many worthy cultural initiatives it has not continued as hoped it might.
Rome too was sadly lacking until the indomitable Marcella Crudeli came along with Carola Grindea from EPTA to found the Rome International Piano Competition now an established part of the International music scene
So Vanessa Latarche,head of Keyboard Studies at the Royal College of Music has taken on the burden of putting this matter right.
Martin James Bartlett Vanessa Latarche and husband Ilya Kondratiev
Tonight was the first of a series of fund raising events for the first competition that will take place in 2020.
Who better that Vanessa to lead London into victory.
Having studied from an early age with the indomitable Eileen Rowe in Ealing .
A shining example of what passion,resilience and intelligence could do in a West London suburb.
We all flocked to her home to help her cope with her very large teaching practice.
Pianos in every room we could help with her students and earn some money for our own studies as well as enjoy the roast lunch that was part of the deal too.
Danielle Salamon,Katherine Stott,Tessa Nicholson and me too were just a few that were happy to help this remarkable lady who had dedicated her life to her students with a rigour discipline and kindness that will not be forgotten.
She left all her worldly goods to a Trust to help young musicians in Ealing.
A Trust administered with great affection by Vanessa Latarche and that other remarkable benefactor in West London Dr Hugh Mather.
There must be something in the air in those parts that rings to the sound of music!
Tonight abetted by her own star students Ilya Kondratiev and Martin James Bartlett and with the kind help of the Russian Cultural Centre we were treated to the launch of this new project.
Milana Sarukhanyan, soprano was magnificently accompanied by Ilya Kondratiev Chappell Gold Medal Prize winner of the RCM.
Lid on full stick we were treated to some beautiful Russian Romances by Rimsky- Korsakov and Tchaikowsky.
I am so used to Russian songs in my theatre with Christoff,Ghiaurov or the much missed Hvorosovsky full of pessimism and doom that it was so refreshing to hear this beautiful young lady singing about love!
I had no idea of what the actual words were but the sentiment was just as compelling. Beautiful voice with such passion and feeling and rich velvet sound where the Russian language is so obviously expressive.
The moment Renate Sokolovska appeared with her flute I knew that I had heard her before at the Wigmore Hall.
The instrument is such a part of her it is something so rare that one does not easily forget
Lenski’s aria from Eugene Onegin was followed by a full blooded performance of Prokofiev Sonata op 94.
A real duo played with great technical assurance and passion very expertly shared with our artistic director .
Martin James Bartlett,winner of the BBC Young Musician of the year in 2014 when he was 17 now under the expert guidance of Vanessa Latarche he is standing on the threshold of a very important career.
Already noted for his superb performances at the Van Cliburn Competition.
Just last week he played Mozart C minor Concerto with the distinguished conductor Bernard Haitink in a performance streamed worldwide.
Three of the best known Preludes by Rachmaninov from op 32- n.10,5 and 12 superbly played and lead to a totally convincing account of Scriabin’s magical 4th Sonata .
Martin on the cover of the Lark Music magazine of the Lark Insurance Co Uk was very happy to turn pages for his colleague tonight demonstrating the simplicity that surrounds great talent very much on display tonight.