Presentation of Award by Critics’ Circle to St Mary’s Perivale ‘Lockdown Star Venue’
‘Lockdown stars’ as Robert Fitness of the critics circle described the Mecca for young musicians that has been created by an extraordinary team of passionate ‘amateurs’ in a small redundant church on Ealing Golf Course.
But as Rosalyn Tureck once said to my wife:it is a great satisfaction to have one’s work recognised but it is the work that counts!
Damir Durmanovic was the living proof of that today giving a recital of such musicianship and artistry that I was reminded of the unique sounds that Moiseiwitch would coax out of the piano with his ravishing sense of balance and aristocratically natural musicianship. Sounds from the piano that Matthay had shared with Myra Hess and Moura Lympany where every note has an infinite variety of beautiful sounds that can as if by magic turn a box of hammers and strings into a wondrous world of fantasy and sumptuous delight. Damir has much in common with them too with his natural musicianship that has been nurtured from his youthful studies with Marcel Baudet and Robert Levin at that remarkable school that Menuhin has bequeathed to his adopted country. Programmes that are constructed with key relationships in mind. Repertoire chosen from a vast range of neglected masterpieces. A true musician who can improvise and modulate as was the norm in Bach’s day but has now become a rarity. I am not sure if the public were aware of the improvised link between the rare pieces by Lyadov and the Rachmaninov Preludes Dr Hugh Mather sounded perplexed as to why Damir should play the well known Rachmaninov preludes in a seemingly arbitrary order. Damir simply explained that the preludes had never been written by Rachmaninov with the idea to be played all together and so he had tried to link them by key relationships to make a more satisfying whole. Well Damir is part of the school of Andras Schiff,Paul Baudura Skoda and Robert Levin with their extraordinary curiosity that comes from deep research together with the natural musicianship like the ‘kapellmeisters’ of a bygone age.
An eclectic encore of a very moving performance with the sumptuously rich sounds of Brahms ‘Herzlich tut mich verlangen’op posth 122 in the richly embroidered version for piano by Busoni.The chorale preludes, not published until five years after his death, turned out to be Brahms’ last work. From one of the greatest composers of symphonies, chamber works, a requiem and more—a collection of short pieces that honour the past, reflect his own time, and continue to be re-interpreted today.Brahms wrote the 11 preludes in 1896 for organ,soon after the death of his dear friend, Clara Schumann. The short liturgical pieces, used to elaborate hymn tunes during a service, recall the music of J.S. Bach.
Damir is also an excellent cook and the magic he cooked up for his teacher Dmitri Alexeev and family the other day in my garden was the same magic that he cooked up today at the keyboard! Music is life and life is music,just as the dedicated people of St Mary’s are showing us at least three times a week. They say miracles do not happen twice in the same place ….well I know differently.
As an internationally sought-after performer, Damir Durmanovic has performed in venues and festivals including the Wigmore Hall, Champs Hill Studios, YPF Festival Amsterdam, Wimbledon Music Festival, Renia Sofia Audotorium Madrid, Gstaad Menuhin Festival, Derby Multifaith Center, Flusserei Flums, ‘Ballenlager’ Vaduz. He has won prizes in numerous international competitions including The Beethoven Intercollegiate Junior Competition in London, Adilia Alieva International Piano Competition in Geneva and Isidor Bajic International Piano Competition in Novi Sad. He has performed in masterclasses with Claudio Martinez-Mehner, Dmitri Bashkirov, Pascal Devoyon, Jacques Rouvier, Robert Levin, Jean-Bernard Pommier, Tatyana Sarkisova, and chamber ensembles such as the Emerson Quartet. Damir is also a scholar at the ‘Musikakademie Liechtestein’ and regularly participates in the courses organised by the academy. Damir began his studies at age of eight in his home country, Bosnia and Herzegovina, with Maja Azabagic before continuing his studies at the Yehudi Menuhin School where he studied with professor Marcel Baudet. He is an ABRSM scholar and is kindly supported by the Talent Unlimited Scheme. He is currently studying at the Royal College of Music in London with professor Dmitri Alexeev.