Iyad Sughayer coming of age at Cranleigh Arts Centre

Chosen as ‘One to Watch’ by International Piano Magazine, pianist Iyad Sughayer’s debut album, the Khachaturian Piano Works, on BIS Records received critical acclaim when it was released in November 2019. The album was described by Gramophone as ‘exhilarating and delivered with perfect clarity’ and ‘He captures the music’s essence with such a close sense of re-creative identity that it feels on occasion as though he could be composing it as he goes along. An outstanding debut’ BBC Music Magazine.Sughayer appeared as a soloist with many leading orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, the European Union Chamber Orchestra and the Manchester Camerata.Future engagements include a series of recitals in the UK, Europe and the Middle East and the recording of Khachaturian’s Piano and Orchestral works with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales for BIS Records.


Schubert Impromptus D.899. No.2 in Eb. No.3 in Gb. No.4 in Ab

Beethoven Sonata no.17 in D minor, Op.31 no.2 ‘The Tempest’. Largo-allegro; Adagio; Allegretto

Khachaturian Masquerade Suite. Waltz Nocturne Mazurka. Romance Galop



I have heard Iyad many times over the past few years and have followed his career with great interest.
Like many young pianists they want to run before they can walk.
It is quite understandable that when a young musician can at last approach the repertoire of his dreams there starts a great love affair.
It is a sudden awareness that all the years of training have led to the possibility of giving public performances with great success.
This lockdown with all the disadvantages it has downloaded on young musicians at the start of their career there have also been hidden advantages.
Where there was the promise of weekly concerts now they are lucky to have just a few concerts a year in these bleak times .An audience at the other end of a lense that records their every move without giving anything in return to the performer.
But for a real artist it has given them more time for profound study where every rare performance becomes an event to cherish.
I remember talking to Ruggiero Ricci about the fact that although the standard of performance has never been so high the performances seem too to have become standard.
Performances that seem to lack the personality and very personal sense of sound.
From just a few notes one could immediately tell if it was Rubinstein,Cortot,Horowitz or Serkin.
I remember Cherkassky telling me of a visit to Horowitz’s house to play duets and Horowitz telling him that after the death of Bolet they were the only two left.
Cherkassky often used to say to me that he thought many pianists no longer listened to themselves.
Ricci told me that to get to America by boat gave one all the time to contemplate and think about the programmes that they were to play on arrival.
Whereas today you play in London and the next day in New York or Tokyo.
The pandemic has taken away so much but has given us back time.
Time is the essence of true art.
This unexpected pandemic has given us back the time that seemed to have evaporated in a world that moves too fast for comfort.
Time to contemplate many things but above all time to appreciate the very fundamental things which are the very essence of existence.
All this to say that from the first note of Iyad’s recital to the last I was aware of the maturity and authority of a great artist.
No longer the young lion let loose on the world but a lion who is not only king of his kingdom but surveys all he sees with the wisdom of experience.

Schubert of such subtle beauty -Art that conceals art.
The E flat impromptu glistened like silver as it wove it’s way on its magic journey.Passionate outbursts were momentary intrusions on this stream of sounds.The G flat impromptu was played with such aristocratic good taste and the rippling accompaniment so unobtrusive as it supported the melodic line as in Schubert’s most mellifluous of lieder.The same gentle cascades of notes in the A flat impromptu led to the passionate outpourings of his soul.

A truly magical opening of Beethoven’s Tempest Sonata where the composers intimate use of the sustaining pedal was wonderfully interpreted as were so many other remarkable details.Never detracting from his overall architectural view through a rhythmic undercurrent that created a hypnotic hidden pulse.The beautiful embellishments of the Adagio both menacing and enchanting.And the sheer pastoral simplicity of the Allegretto as it made it’s inexorable way forward with a relentless lilt that was never allowed to rest until the final descending scale .

Entering another world with Khatchaturian where the well known opening waltz was thrown off with all the charm and colour of someone totally immersed in this almost cinematagraphic world .The beautiful fluid melodic line of the nocturne and the great character of the Mazurka and Romance were upstaged by the Galop that showed us the true ‘kitten on the keys’ as Iyad played with such unobtrusive elan and masterly control.
It brought the recital to a brilliant end.
Who knows when the next recital will be for Iyad but whenever it is I will be there to admire his artistry as much as he will enjoy sharing it with his awaiting audience.

A pre concert interview with Iyad and Clive Wouters


Iyad on tour for the Keyboard Trust in 2019 with Beth Glendenning in Philadelphia – former assistant to Eugene Ormandy and indefatigable organiser of young musicians concerts


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