Misha Kaploukhii plays Liszt at the RCM A Sea Symphony Concert…..Youth and music a joy to ‘behold’!

Adrian Partington – conductor Misha Kaploukhii – piano Madeleine Boreham – soprano Redmond Sanders – baritone RCM Symphony Orchestra and Chorus Mark Biggins – chorus director Liszt Piano Concerto no 2 in A major S 125 Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony Continuing our celebrations for Vaughan Williams’ 150th anniversary, renowned choral conductor and RCM alumnus Adrian Partington leads the monumental work that firmly put the composer on the map. Alongside, RCM Concerto Competition Winner Misha Kaploukhii performs Liszt’s second and final piano concerto – an unconventional work in one single, sweeping movement, where piano and orchestra are woven together in expansive symphonic textures.

A Sea Symphony and much more at the RCM last night
To see and hear all that youthful passion and energy in the Sea Symphony with a chorus and orchestra brought back such memories.All the concerts I had heard in this hall when as a schoolboy I discovered the wonders of music that were being offered to me by Sir Adrian Boult,Yehudi Menuhin,the debut of John Lill with Rachmaninov 3rd,George Barber,Dennis Lee ,Enloc Wu , Gwyneth Prior and many more.
All there for a schoolboy to enjoy and acquire a taste for music of great quality that together with my lessons with Sidney Harrison were to be the basis for a lifetime in music.

Misha Kaploukhii

Today there was to marvel again at the 19 year old Misha Kaploukhii who opened the concert,an hors d’oevre you might say,with Liszt’s 2nd Piano Concerto.
Another performance of authority and class just as I had heard a few weeks ago when he played Rachmaninov First Piano Concerto at Cadogan Hall.Today was the prizewinners concert of the Concerto competition which he had won.
Under the scrupulous eyes and ears of his mentor Ian Jones he is revealing a potential that seems to have no limits.


The second concerto is much less of a showpiece than the first and it takes not only a virtuoso technique to do it justice but also a sense of architecture and musicianship that rarely go hand in hand.

It was from the opening flourishes in Mischa hands that you could feel his chamber music approach as he listened so sensitively to the opening clarinet and wind solo.
They were of course much too slow but Misha accepted the challenge and turned every phrase into a golden thread of beauty and style.

First cello of the RCM Symphony Orchestra

He continued with the superb cello solo in duet with the piano reaching a passionate conversation of red hot eloquence as the concerto gradually built in intensity.It was in the final part where Misha’s virtuosity was quite breathtaking as he let leash a series of octaves and glissandi as the concerto grew in pomp and circumstance with it’s rather military style brass band ending.Misha now at one with the conductor Adrian Partington and orchestra gave great style to this rather bombastic ending and together they brought an architectural arch to rest without any vulgarity or demonstrative virtuosity.There was excitement,intensity but above all an aristocratic style that gave great cohesion and class to what can so often turn into a showman’s warhorse.

The informal discussions and introduction by David Owen Norris were absolutely fascinating and an added plus to this live stream that I could listen to in the comfort of my own home by the sea in Italy with the log fire ablaze!

The Sea Symphony brought back memories of ‘A’levels where it was the set work in 1967!
What an impressive opening especially with a youthful chorus of 200 voices !And all through the superb style and authority they brought to this extraordinary work was a true revelation.The youthful chorus director Mark Biggins certainly had been hard at work with passion and intelligence as he explained to David Owen Norris.

Redmond Sanders ,baritone

It was though the extraordinary stage presence and overwhelming intensity of the baritone Redmond Sanders that took ones breath away.

Madeleine Boreham,soprano

Madeleine Boreham was the superb soprano soloist but with a much smaller role.It was fascinating to see them so simply in conversation and then to see what presence they had on stage under the authoritative baton of Adrian Partington.

A superb evening of music making of the highest order what a wonder that the world can hear via the superb streaming and direction from the RCM.

Adrian Partington

Liszt wrote drafts for his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 in A major, S.125,during his virtuoso period, in 1839 to 1840. He then put away the manuscript for a decade. When he returned to the concerto, he revised and scrutinized it repeatedly. The fourth and final period of revision ended in 1861. Liszt dedicated the work to his student Hans von Bronsart , who gave the first performance, with Liszt conducting, in Weimar on January 7, 1857.Liszt called this work Concerto symphonique while in manuscript. This title was borrowed from the Concertos symphoniquesof Henry Litolff. Liszt liked not only Litolff’s title but also the idea for which it stood. This concept was one of thematic metamorphosis — drawing together highly diverse themes from a single melodic source .With his Second Piano Concerto, Liszt took the practice of creating a large-scale compositional structure from metamorphosis alone to an extreme level. Its opening lyrical melody becomes the march-theme of the finale. That theme, in turn, morphs into an impassioned theme near the end of the concerto. The theme which begins the scherzo reappears at that sections end disguised as a totally different melody in another key. This last transformation is so complete that it is easy to not recognize the connection. Key, mode, time signature, pace and tonal color have all been transformed. For Liszt to so radically alter the music’s notation while remaining true to the essential idea behind it shows a tremendous amount of ingenuity on his part.

Mark Biggins chorus master
First cello and first violin in interval discussion
Redmond Saunders and Madeleine Boreham in interval discussion
Superb Redmond Sanders baritone
Magnificent presentation of David Owen Norris
The street where I live ….Monte Circeo 100km from Rome and Naples

Soirée Stravinsky opens S.Cecilia Chamber music season

Soirée Stravinsky opens the S.Cecilia Chamber Music Season in Rome with six graduates from Benedetto Lupo’s class

Leonardo Pierdomenico and Viviana Lasaracina

Leonardo Pierdomenico and Viviana Lasaracina moving with cat like virtuosity in Shostakovich’s youthful transcription of the much admired Symphony of Psalms.The pungent sounds played with such conviction as they weaved their way entwined through this transcendental transcription.
A mastery of clarity in which Piero Monti could allow his magnificent chorus to breathe and
allow every strand to be heard for the ‘glory of God’.

Costanza Principe- Federico Nicoletta -Gesualdo Coggi -Oxana Shevchenko

Costanza Principe,Gesualdo Coggi,Oxana Shevshenko and Federico Nicoletta were the four pianists in Le Noces.All graduates from the class of Benedetto Lupo at the Academy of S.Cecilia.They knew each other well having been together through Lupo’s musicianly rigorous training and as such played as one.
The moving story of a country wedding was vividly brought to life by the four solists .

The soloists + a soloist from the chorus

Anna Samuil (a magnificent evening gown -hardly a country wedding dress ) but what a magnificent voice of enormous proportions and equally imposing Anna Goryachova ,John Irvin and Alexander Teliga.A chorus of great precision under the magnificent guiding light of Piero Monti.Who was equally at home conducting the 13 percussionists on 38 different instruments in the still outlandish score from 1933 of Varese :’Ionisation’

Varese with 38 different percussion instruments in 13 magnificent hands
Les Noces
The percussionists
The pianists
Friends and relations of Leonardo Pierdomenico including his mentor William Naboré
with 17 year old piano genius Shunta Morimoto.
All ready to applaude and take Leonardo to catch the plane to Prague where he is recording Dvorak Piano Concerto.
Next week yet another illustrious graduate from the class of Benedetto Lupo https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.com/2019/06/19/benedetto-lupos-final-diploma-recitals-for-the-accademia-di-s-cecilia-in-rome/
Beatrice Rana is playing Clara Wieck Piano Concerto in Aminor with Pappano .She is playing it today at Carnegie Hall with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Yannick Nézet-Segui
The magnificent auditorium by Renzo Piano of the Shard fame in London

Marcella Crudeli -launches the 31st edition of Roma International Piano Competition


The launch of the 31st edition of the Roma International Piano Competition known affectionately as the Marcella Crudeli Competition took place in Rome’s town hall.
It is her force and determination that has seen not only the birth of a competition but with the same energy year after year she has placed it firmly on the circuit of International piano competitions.

A competition is only as good as its contestants said Dame Fanny Waterman and Marcella Crudeli’s competition can boast past winners such a Boris Giltburg and Dmitry Masleev who went on to win the prestigious Queen Elisabeth and Tchaikowsky International Competitions.Yuanfan Yang and Dmitri Choni have gone on recently to win Santander and Casagrande.

In the 31st edition from 4-16 November will we find a new Rubinstein or Horowitz I wonder? But as Marcella pointed out it is the voyage of discovery that is so stimulating and to discover how many young pianists are dedicating their youth to art and are just in need of a platform from which to share the thing they love with such dedication.

A concert by Marek Szlezer winner of the 1993 Youth Competition at the age of only 12!
Now a Professor of Cracow Conservatory he gave distinguished performances of some of Chopin’s best loved works.

Marek Szlezer with Signora Magda from the Polish Institute in Rome

The very resonant acoustic suited the more lyrical side of Chopin with his ‘Raindrop’prelude and Nocturnes op.62 n.1 and op 48 n.1.
I swear that with the arrival of the cavalry in the Polonaise Héroique I could see the shadow of Marcos Aurelius passing through the hall!

Marek Szlezer
Prof Franco Ricci author and musicologist founder of the Tuscia University Concert Series in Viterbo
The distinguished audience with Maria Murmura Folino left ex student of Guido Agosti
Marcella Crudeli with a representative of the Cuomo Foundation

Jose Andres Navarro at St James’s Piccadilly

Monday 24th October 2022 Lunchtime Recital Series – 1:10pm
Jose Andes Navarro (piano)


An unexpected but much welcome visitor to St James’s today . Jose Navarro standing in at the last minute for a Covid stricken friend Julian Trevelyan.
Making his London debut this young Bolivian pianist who made many waves in the final rounds of the Tbilisi Competition just ten days ago we could finally hear live in London.
A just tribute and thank you to his sick colleague in the form of a performance of a very suggestive piece which José had learnt over night ‘La Javelière ‘.
A piece which suddenly awakened all the subtle colours and unexpected shapes ready for the scintillating intensity of Villa Lobos.
What ravishing colours he brought to the red hot vibrant throbbing rhythms and the deeply felt murmurings that are obviously embedded in José ‘s DNA .
The sensitivity and shape he had brought to the opening Scarlatti K 208 was contrasted with the lightweight brilliance and infectious vitality of it’s twin K 209.
What nobility with improvised changes of colour and mood he brought to C.P.E. Bach’s Fantasy in F sharp minor that was a lesson in keyboard skill and real academic study that could allow him such freedom.
Liszt’s rather overlong Pesther Karneval Hungarian rhapsody must have surely been improvised too by Liszt and its was a scintillating display of piano playing of another era.

Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) – 2 Keyboard Sonatas in A major, K.208 & 209

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788) – Free Fantasy in F-sharp minor, Wq. 67

Franz Liszt (1811-1886) – Hungarian Rhapsody in E-Flat major “Pesther Karneval”, S. 244/9

Julian Trevelyan (*1998) – La javelière 

Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959)
1. Plantio do caboclo
2. Impressões seresteiras
3. Festa no sertão
4. Dança do índio branco

The young Bolivian pianist has performed in different countries in venues and festivals in Europe, USA, and South America. Halls include the Teatro Municipal “Alberto Saavedra Pérez” in his hometown La Paz till the Musikverein in Vienna. As a soloist, he has performed with the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra, Norddeutsche Philharmonie Rostock, Georgian Philarmonic Orchestra, La Paz Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta de Jóvenes Musicos Bolivianos and Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil de Santa Cruz de la Sierra under the baton of Timothy Redmond, Markus L. Frank, Wojciech Rajski, Andreas Penninger among others. He is a prize winner at the Anton Rubinstein Piano Competition in Düsseldorf, 5th International Competition “Young Academy Award” in Rome, Tbilisi International Piano Competition in Georgia and Claudio Arrau International Piano Competition in Chile. In Bolivia he gave masterclasses in La Paz Conservatory, Sucre Conservatory Santa Cruz Fine Arts College and Laredo School in Cochabamba. He served as a jury member in national music competitions. He was mentored by Paul Badura Skoda, from whom he became a particular interest for period instruments. He studied with Balasz Szokolay at the Franz Liszt University in Weimar and with Claudio Martínez Mehner at the University of Music and Dance in Cologne. At the moment he is at the Artist Diploma programme at the Royal College of Music in London under the guidance of Norma Fisher and Ian Jones. He recives scholarships from RCM, Theo and Petra Lieven Foundation of Hamburg and the Herrmann Foundaiton Liechtenstein-Bolivia.

Presented in association with Talent Unlimited

Hao Zi Yoh at St Mary’s -The simplicity and ravishing beauty of a great artist

Tuesday 25 October 3.00 pm


Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 15 in F major K. 533/494 (finished 3 January 1788)is in three movements :Allegro – Andante – Rondo: Allegretto.The Rondo was originally a stand-alone piece composed by Mozart in 1786 (Rondo No. 2, K. 494 ).In 1788, Mozart wrote the first two movements of K. 533 and incorporated a revised version of K. 494 as the finale, having lengthened it in order to provide a more substantial counterpart to the other two movements.There was clarity and a disarming simplicity to Hao Zi’s playing with crystal clear articulation and a rhythmic drive that was spellbinding from the first notes.Great elegance in the beautifully shaped Andante was played with an aristocratic sense of style.There was drama too but always within the confines of the overall shape of the movement that unlike Beethoven was just a passing cloud until returning to the serenity of the opening melodic line.The cascading arpeggios replying one to the other at the end were played with a refined delicacy that was absolutely ravishing.The purity of sound and child like simplicity gave such charm to her playing of the rondo.The ever more vivacious ornamentation just added to the rhythmic impetus with her sparkling jewel box full of kaleidoscopic colours.A coda deep in the bass in such reflective mood as the rondo theme just dissolved before our eyes with the magic that Hao Zi had recreated.

The Novelletten, op 21, is a set of eight pieces written by Schumann in 1838 and is dedicated to Adolf von Henselt.February 1838 was a period of great struggle for Schumann who originally intended the eight pieces to be performed together as a group, though they are often performed separately.The concluding piece of the set that Hao Zi played is actually two pieces in one. The first part is a passionate etude in 2/4, the second has the nature of a march ending in D major, the principal key of the cycle.There was a romantic outpouring of sumptuous beauty with some pungent harmonies within the alternating legato and staccato.She brought such clarity as she pin pointed the melodic line in the first episode made up of the dotted rhythms that Schumann was so fond of.She brought an equally infectious rhythmic drive to the second where the gradual diminuendo created a magical base on which floated one of Schumann’s most heavenly melodies.Nobility and passion marked the final episode of the best known of these eight novelettes.It was the one together with the fourth that I have never forgotten from the hands of Sviatoslav Richter on one of his first visits to London in the 70’s.If Hao Zi did not quite have the animal like rampage of Richter she made up for it with her sumptuous sounds and an architectural shape that makes one wonder why it is not more often played these days.

Miroirs has five movements, each dedicated to a member of Les Apaches.Around 1900, Maurice Ravel joined a group of innovative young artists, poets, critics, and musicians referred to as Les Apaches or “hooligans”, a term coined by Ricardo Vines to refer to his band of “artistic outcasts”.To pay tribute to his fellow artists, Ravel began composing Miroirs in 1904 and finished it the following year

“Noctuelles” (“Night Moths”). D♭ major. Dedicated to Léon-Paul Fargue and is a highly chromatic work, maintaining a dark, nocturnal mood throughout. The middle section is calm with rich, chordal melodies, and the recapitulation takes place a fifth below the first entry.”Une barque sur l’océan” (in English “A Boat on the Ocean”). F♯minor. Written for Paul Sordes , the piece recounts a boat as it sails upon the waves of the ocean. Arpeggiated sections and sweeping melodies imitate the flow of ocean currents. It is the longest piece of the set.There was a fluidity of sound together with the fleeting lightness of Noctuelles.A deeply brooding atmospheric middle section with a completely different sound colour from the Schumann that one could only describe as unmistakably French.These moths flittered around the keyboard with kaleidoscopic colours that just seemed to flow so naturally from Hao Zi’s hands.The final flourish as they disappeared into the night air was of quite ravishing beauty.One could almost see the waves splashing about in ‘Une barque’with an astonishing fluidity out of which emerged a gentle melody that gradually became ever more turbulent.Storm clouds of mysterious sounds were played with astonishing technical prowess with streams of wonderful sounds just cascading from her fingers with such ease.What beauty she brought to the left hand melodic line as the waves weaved their delicate way in the right and calm was restored as rays of sunlight seemed to appear between the clouds with such subtle radiance.

The Masques op. 34 by Szymanowski was written from 1915 to 1916.In 1914, the composer took refuge in his home village in Ukraine and remained there until the Russian Revolution. He had returned from a long stay in Europe, Sicily and North Africa, where he drew his inspiration for these years’ works. Here his style approached the Impressionism of Debussy.The Masques were written in a different chronological order than that of their publication, with Scheherazade initially completing the cycle. Tantris is a corruption of Tristan, taken from the myth of Tristan and Iseult and retold in a piece by Ernst Hardt where Tristan masquerades as a jester to meet his sweetheart.A fascinating glimpse of this still elusive composer.There were the capricious sounds of the jester alternating with passionate outpourings and a spectacular final flourish.of transcendental difficulty.Hao Zi seemed to delight in bringing such character to this very evocative piece.

Scriabin’s Piano Sonata No. 2 in G-sharp minor op.19, also titled Sonata-Fantasy) took five years for him to write. “The first section represents the quiet of a southern night on the seashore; the development is the dark agitation of the deep, deep sea. The E major middle section shows caressing moonlight coming up after the first darkness of night. The second movement represents the vast expanse of ocean in stormy agitation.”There was sumptuous beauty of the opening statement with gentle meanderings of ravishing sounds and delicacy.A melodic line embroidered in Hao Zi’s hands with streams of gold and silver.The second movement with its cascades of notes was played with such ease as they slowly shape themselves into a sumptuous melody of romantic sweep.A tumultuous climax was allowed to die away to a mere whisper before the final triumphant chord.Bringing this extraordinary recital to an exciting conclusion.

Malaysian pianist Hao Zi Yoh was born in 1995 and began her music studies at the age of 3. By the age of 12, she already performed at Carnegie Hall as a gold medallist of the Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition. Most recently, Hao Zi is selected as participant in the Preliminary Round of Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw 2021. In Malaysia, Hao Zi studied under Chong Lim Ng, who showed her the path into the classical music world. She explored composing and her composition “Bustling City and Peaceful Suburb” was selected to represent Malaysia at the Yamaha APJOC concert 2007. At the age of 14, she moved to Germany to study with Prof. Elza Kolodin at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg. It was then she won top prizes in many international competitions including EPTA Belgium, Enschede, RNCM James Mottram (Manchester, 2012) and Concurso internacional de piano Rotary Club Palma Ramon LLull, Mallorca (Spain 2013). This led her to performing as soloist in festivals around Europe, USA, China, Japan and Malaysia. Besides, she also performed with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Nova Amadeus and Baleares Symphony Orchestra. In 2014, she came under the tutelage of Prof. Christopher Elton at the Royal Academy of Music, London, generously supported by Lynn Foundation, Leverhulme Trust, Countess of Munster and Craxton Memorial Trust. She received 3rdPrize at Roma International Piano Competition, the Phillip Crawshaw Memorial Prize for an Outstanding Musician from Overseas at the Royal Overseas League Competition. She was also recipient of prestigious Martin Musical Scholarship Trust Philharmonia Piano Fellowships on the Emerging Artists Programme 2017/18. During her studies, she explored her relationship with music and her interest in creating sound colours: her MMus Project 2016 involved collaborating with percussionist Daniel Gonzalez to create a version of Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit for Piano and Percussion. In her interpretation of “A Distant Voice of the Rainforest” by Chong Lim Ng, she included improvised extended piano techniques as well as improvised singing to draw the audience into the soundworld of a rainforest. Apart from this, Hao Zi also participated in creative outreach projects led by the Open Academy for children and elderly with Dementia, where she performed in Music for Moment Concerts at the Wigmore Hall. She collaborated with author-illustrator David Litchfield and improvised to his storytelling of award-winning book “The Bear and the Piano”. Hao Zi remains in close contact with the music scene in Malaysia. She has given talks, performances and masterclasses to the students of University of Malaya, Bentley Music and Persatuan Chopin in hope to share her experiences and help the younger generation. During the Covid-19 lockdown, Hao Zi held online livestream and fundraiser for St. Nicholas’ Home for the Blind, Penang, Malaysia. A Young Steinway Artist, Hao Zi is currently based in London and has performed in venues such as Wigmore Hall, Southbank Royal Festival Hall, Salle Cortot, Steinway Hall London, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (Malaysia) and Teatro Quirino (Italy). She is further developing her performing career being part of the Keyboard Trust London, Talent Unlimited. Hao Zi is also a piano tutor at King’s College London and gives masterclasses at Imperial College London. Currently she is studying with Martino Tirimo, after being awarded full scholarship to pursue an Artist Diploma at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, generously supported by the Bagri Foundation and Gladys Bratton Scholarship .


Flavio Tozzi in Viterbo technical command at the service of the music



A seventeen year old pianist who can play the Appassionata with such intelligence and control followed by Liszt’s Paganini Studies is a pianist to be reckoned with.Especially when Flavio Tozzi also plays Liszt’s Mazeppa as an encore!
Long spindly fingers play with great clarity but in Beethoven you need also intelligence and to know how to delve into the score and find all Beethoven’s very precise indications of fingering,pedalling and phrasing.
There was no rearranging of the rapid arpeggiandi passages in the first movement of the Appassionata where he played them as written by the master himself.It is there to imply the struggle that is so much part of this first movement.Flavio Tozzi is a good actor as he understood the struggle even though there were no technical fears for his well oiled fingers.There was beauty too in the Andante con moto where he allowed the variations to evolve so naturally leading to the shock of the two chords that herald the last movement.Many pianists do not heed Beethoven’s Allegro ma non troppo marking as they tear away at breakneck speed.Flavio took it at a very even pace which gave him time to allow the more melodic episodes to evolve without any tempo changes.The only tempo change he allowed himself was that indicated by the composer where the sempre piu allegro to the presto coda created great excitement as did the long final pedal where Beethoven builds the sonority to the final two calamitous chords.

Liszt’s Paganini Studies held no fear for our young virtuoso which allowed him to concentrate on the musical values of these six miniature tone poems.
There was great beauty in the first study that after the opening flourishes entered the baritone with a beautiful melody played with the left hand which Flavio shaped with real artistry.A great Neapolitan song that gradually builds up to a demonic climax with both hands greatly involved in the continuous tremolando accompaniment before the return of the opening flourishes that close this first picture postcard.What charm he brought to the second study before the entry of the transcendental octaves that Liszt adds as contrast.The famous La Campanella was played with great delicacy and refined artistry as he shaped the technically difficult phrases with such beauty.There was great power and passion too in the triumphant final pages of these very well known ‘bells’.His long fingers brought remarkable clarity to the violinistic writing of the fourth study.Even here amongst all the difficulties he could shape the phrases with such delicacy and subtle rubato.There was great beauty in La Chasse with the delicate flute being answered by the horn.The strident middle episode with its demonic technical surprises of agility and ability with glissandi thrown off with lightness and ease.The famous variations of the last study in A minor were played with great character and style.From the teasing first variation to the energetic second.The nobility of the third and fleeting lightness of the fourth.The flow of the fifth over the entire keyboard and the ‘con brio’ of both hands almost on a collision course.Etherial beauty of the seventh was contrasted with the driving rhythms of the eighth and ninth.A momentary release of tension with the music box of the tenth led to the grandiloquence of the eleventh and final variation.All played with extraordinary control and musicality.
One would have thought that an encore of a nocturne or consolation might have been on the cards but not for our young virtuoso.
Nicely warmed up on the Paganini studies he jumped in with the fourth and most athletic of the set of twelve transcendental studies by Liszt.
Mazeppa was played with great rhythmic energy and control and the beauty he brought to the mellifluous central section demonstrated once again that his quite considerable technical prowess was at the service of the music.
As Flavio matures he will find more weight and solidity thinking up from the bass always which will give much more architectural shape to all that he does.However as he demonstrated today he has a remarkable technique allied to a musical intelligence that will be his guiding light for a successful future.

Flavio Domenico Tozzi nasce a Taranto nel 2005.Si avvicina alle discipline musicali e al pianoforte all’età di otto anni. Nel 2015 è ammesso all’I.M.G. Paisiello ove completa con votazione massima il percorso pre-accademico già nel 2021, sotto la guida della professoressa Alba Noti. Ha partecipato a concorsi importanti quali, nel 2015, Concorso Nazionale G. Paisiello, Primo premio, poi al “First International Musical Competition” D. Savino (primo premio 2017 e 2018) ed al “Pietro Argento Competition” (2017).È vincitore del Primo premio assoluto sia al Concorso internazionale “Musica Mundi” sia alConcorso internazionale “Mediterraneo” nelle edizioni del 2018 e 2019.Nel 2019 è Primo premio al “19° Concorso Internazionale per giovani musicisti – LAMS Matera” ed è Primo premio all’“11° Concorso musicale internazionale A.GI.MUS – Francavilla Fontana” nel 2019 e nel 2020. Nel 2021 consegue il 1° Premio nel concorso internazionale SilkWay di Artnet Russia (Russia-Cina-Italia). Dal 2021 è pianista in organico della “Orchestra giovanile della Magna Grecia” a Taranto. Ha partecipato con profitto a Masterclass di alto livello coi maestri R. Cappello (2018) e O.Sciortino (2019), K. Lifschitz (2020) e F. Libetta (2021) ottenendo ottimi apprezzamenti da parte dei maestri come promessa nell’ambito concertistico. Flavio Tozzi nell’attività concertistica propone gli autori preferiti: Chopin, Listz, Beethoven, Rachmaninov.Ha partecipato a Pianolab 2018 (Martina Franca), al Francavilla Classica Lab 2018, alla 4° edizione “Sinfonie d’autunno” (Laterza 2018), al concerto premio “Mediterraneo” (Teatro Petruzzelli Bari 2019), al concerto “Orchestra Giovanile Magna Grecia” (Teatro Fusco – Taranto 2021), alla stagione concertistica Amici della Musica – Arcangelo Speranza (concerto solisti sezione Young – Teatro Fusco – Taranto 2021).

Jonathan Ferrucci KCT American Tour – Goldberg – A voyage of discovery

Jonathan Ferrucci in Decatur House Washington for the Keyboard Trust. whha.org
It’s one thirty here in the UK and how could one sleep after that.
Well it was written for an insomniac!
Quite extraordinary.
The simplicity and jewel like perfection was a continual prism of rays of light.
Such subtle ornamentation just made the notes even more poignant

Decatur House the concert
“Thanks to our friend Sarah Biggs we got to see a sublime concert in a beautiful location. Jonathan Ferrucci , a magical Italian pianist sponsored by UKs Keyboard Trust played the full sequence of Bach’s Goldberg variations (nearly 90 minutes straight by memory) in Decatur House home of White House Historical Society. And such a charming and modest person, the opposite of the stereotypical artistic diva.” David Atkins
With Burnett Thompson at Decatur House Washington
“Fresh off the heels of Afro-Cuban Jazz is the immersive piano artistry of Jonathan Ferrucci, whose interpretation of JS Bach’s The Goldberg Variations captivated the audience. Fascinating discussion ensued with Rusty Hassan and the pianist himself on the correlation between classical (in this case, late Baroque ) and jazz. Hats off to Burnett Thompson’s Piano: Bach to Bebop series. And huge thanks to The Keyboard Charitable Trust!”Darika Chanachote
“I was fortunate to meet Yisha Xue 薛忆沙, who not only hosted my London visit at her home, but has been of invaluable assistance to The Keyboard Charitable Trust. Left to right moi, Jonathan Ferrucci, Trust Exec. Dir. Sarah Biggs, Yi Yun Soo and Yi Sha Xue.” Burnett Thompson
Burnett Thompson ,standing,visits the Kew Academy in London
Jonathan Ferrucci centre,Peter Dimov right,Pablo Rossi and Rokas Valuntonis left

The Keyboard Trust is proud to present in its 30th anniversary year

Jonathan Ferrucci – Goldberg Variations: a Voyage of Discovery
New York debut of a remarkable young musician
Thursday 20th October at 7 pm
Klavierhaus,790 11th Avenue corner West 54th street

“A spiritual journey of awakening, an inquiry into humanity and the nature of time, a round-trip Odyssey. This masterpiece is a search for freedom that will lead us back to our true self, back home.” Jonathan Ferrucci

Klavierhaus New York

As Jonathan Ferrucci says a lifetime may not be enough to enter completely into the genial mind of J.S.Bach. One can but try and this is the start of a remarkable voyage of discovery. On his fifth public performance in Florence last winter I think that from the spell that he created it was evidence enough that he is on the right trail. Seventy-five minutes of total silence from an elite audience surrounded by the books of that remarkable aesthete Harold Acton. Jonathan like Acton was born in Florence both bringing back their experiences from abroad to the cradle of culture in what Rostropovich described as the Museum of the World. Jonathan is now being mentored by Angela Hewitt who has indeed inherited the mantle of Rosalyn Tureck as the High Priestess of Bach. Rosalyn Tureck came to Florence in the 1990s when she was 78 to play these very variations at La Pergola and she became immediately the ‘Diva’ of Florence’. This mantle has now passed to Angela Hewitt whose approach to Bach is more human and less monumental than Tureck’s but their total dedication allows them to get as close as is possible to the core of the genius of J.S.Bach. Jonathan is being mentored by Angela Hewitt and is fast on this trail too as the minutes of aching silence that greeted the end of the Goldbergs in Florence was proof enough. His performance has the authority of someone who is living with the music and it is gradually but surely entering his being as it directs his spirit to the glory of the soul of Bach which is of course To the Glory of God!

With Caroline von Reitzenstein and Dan Danieli

In celebration of the Keyboard Trust’s 30th Anniversary and the launch of a new history of the Trust written by co-founder John Leech and artistic director Christopher Axworthy,
We are proud to present Jonathan Ferrucci in a full performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. The concert will take place on Thursday, October 20th at 7pm at Klavierhaus, 790 11th Avenue at the corner of West 54th Street. Please note that the program will run approximately 75 minutes with no intermission.

Free entrance but reservations necessary from the Keyboard Trust – Caroline von Reitzensteinmailto:cvonnyc@gmail.com
donations to the trust are recommended




THE TOUR from 14 to 21st October 2022

Friday 14th October Dvorak American Heritage Associazione Bohemian National Hall 321E 73rd Street NY

Sunday 16th October Castletown Theatre House Maazel Estate Virginia

In rehearsal at the Maazel Estate Theatre in Castletown
Join us October 16 for a Jonathan Ferrucci piano recital, in collaboration with the Keyboard Charitable Trust, London. Ferrucci will perform and explain the complete J. S. Bach Goldberg Variations in “Bach Golderg Variations: A Voyage of Discovery” – an enormous undertaking and rarely experienced live!
Italian-Australian pianist Jonathan Ferrucci has given concerts throughout Europe, Australia, the US, and Japan. Multiple award-winner and rising star in the piano world he is also co-founder of Made in Music, a non-profit with the mission to unite people from different cultures and backgrounds through the universal language of music.
Tickets are available at https://www.simpletix.com/e/jonathan-ferrucci-piano-recital-tickets-107337
Dietlinde Maazel Wood
Jonathan with Tony Wood and grandchild
Feeding the animals on Castletown Farm

Monday 17th Decatur House Museum Washington

Tuesday 18th October Beaumont Bryn Mawr Philadelphia


Wednesday 19th Oaks Cloister Philadelphia

Sarah Biggs with our host Dr Russell Harris

Thursday 20th October Klavierhaus New York

With Caroline after the concert : Goldberg Variations
Full house in the Klavierhaus
In rehearsal

Friday 21st October Cokesbury Village Wilmington Delaware

Another standing ovation on last day of the tour
Phil Davies with JF
Friends of Cokesbury Village
Cokesbury Village theatre before the concert

Milda Daunoraite – youthful purity and musicianship triumph in Florence

Milda Daunoraite piano recital

20 October – 18:30

For her concert in the beautiful Harold Acton Library, she played Bach, Bartok and Schumann.

Born in Lithuania and now based in London, Milda Daunoraite has won prizes at numerous international competitions in recent years, as well as performing was a soloist with the Lithuanian Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. She has also given recitals at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall and numerous other performances throughout Europe.



Milda Daunoraite is a remarkable Lithuania born pianist and one of three that I have met in London where they have come to perfect their studies.Milda,Gabrielé Sutkuté and Rokas Valutuonis all have one thing in common a fluidity of sound and an ease in performance that is very similar to the remarkable Hungarian school of Geza Anda.

Why should that be,I have no idea except all three have a very open easy going spontaneity that may be to do with their early upbringing and studies in their native country.Milda at the age of 16 was brought by her then Lithuanian teacher to the Purcell School in England where he had taken up a teaching post.It was there that she met that remarkable trainer of young musicians Tessa Nicholson with whom she continued her studies and continues with her at the Royal Academy of Music where she was awarded a full scholarship.Milda still only in her 2nd year of a 4 year programme has already been singled out by the Keyboard Trust to give concerts on their various tours worldwide offered to exceptionally talented young artists at the beginning of their careers.


Schoenberg the master of the Second Viennese School, called J.S.Bach the first 12-tone composer. It was his treatment of chromatic themes that prompted that statement. One of the works that prompted that label was his Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, BWV 903, which begins with not one but two ascents up different parts of the chromatic scale.

A contemporary manuscript copy by the hand of Johann Tobias Krebs

It was probably composed between 1717 and 1723 while Bach was in Köthen and it is its chromatic nature, which explores all keys, that causes scholars to link it with his experiments while in Köthen. Although Bach’s original manuscript is lost, the extraordinary nature of the work has caused it to survive in 16 different copies, five of which date from Bach’s lifetime. Not all of the versions are the same and it is assumed that Bach was the source of the various versions.The Fantasia is in three parts: the first is a prelude, filled with arpeggios; the second part is more recitative-like, and the third a combination of the two.The Fugue, on the other hand, is strict by its very nature but then relaxes, seemingly in response to the freedom of the Fantasy section.The work as a whole is remarkable – it has an harmonic boldness unexpected in the music at the time, but, on the other hand, may be very representative of what Bach normally achieved in free improvisation at the keyboard.The first biographer of Bach, Johann Nikolaus Forkel , wrote: “I have given much effort to find another piece of this type by Bach. But it was in vain. This fantasy is unique and has never been second to none.”

In rehearsal

Milda gave a performance of virtuosity and expression playing with clarity and fluidity but at the same time giving such shape and meaning to all she did.The ending of the fantasy was so poignant as it gradually lost its vital energy and with it’s dying breath emerged the new life of the fugue.The energy and architectural shape she gave to the fugue was remarkable for its clarity and control as it gradually built up to it’s final burst of glory.

The Piano Sonata No. 1 in F♯ minor, Op. 11, was composed by Schumann between 1833 to 1835 and he published it anonymously as “Pianoforte Sonata, dedicated to Clara by Florestan and Eusebius”.It has been described as ‘the most unconventional and the most intriguing’ of Schumann’s piano sonatas due to its unusual structure.The Aria is based on his earlier Lied setting, “An Anna” or “Nicht im Thale”.Schumann later told his wife, Clara, that the sonata was “a solitary out cry for you from my heart … in which your theme appears in every possible shape”.

It is in four movements the Scherzo having an intermezzo central episode of complete contrast before the return of the Scherzo allegrissimo.It is a very complicated work with its continual fleeting contrasts that need to be given an overall shape and form.Milda confided that this was the first time she had performed the work in public and it was the work that had brought her finally close to the world of Schumann with his dual personality of Floristan and Eusebius very much in conflict with each other.She brought great passion to the opening introduction with the theme that permeates the entire sonata.There was subtle virtuosity to the fleeting changes as she entered the Allegro vivace start of the first movement .The Aria was played with a ravishing sense of balance,fluidity and purity of sound that allowed this all too short lied to create a magic oasis before the rumbustuous rhythmic energy of the Scherzo and the rhetorical almost operatic Intermezzo that interrupts it’s mischievous journey.The last movement was played with great nobility and a quite remarkable control as this long movement unfolds with continuous changes of character and colour.Even Schumann seems to loose his way but finally takes an almost unexpected leap from what seemed a dead end but infact becomes a coda of great excitement and transcendental difficulty which Milda played with passionate commitment.

The Piano Sonata, BB 88, Sz. 80, is a by Bela Bartok was composed in June 1926. 1926 is known to musicologists as Bartók’s “piano year”, when he underwent a creative shift in part from Beethovenian intensity to a more Bachian craftsmanship.

In three movements :

  1. Allegro moderato
  2. Sostenuto e pesante
  3. Allegro molto

It is tonal but highly dissonant (and has no key signature ), using the piano in a percussive fashion with erratic time signatures Underneath clusters of repeated notes, the melody is folklike. Each movement has a classical structure overall, in character with Bartók’s frequent use of classical forms as vehicles for his most advanced thinking.Dedicated to his second wife. A performance generally lasts around 15 minutes although Bartók wrote the duration as around 12 minutes and 30 seconds on the score.He wrote it with an Imperial Bosendorfer in mind, which has extra keys in the bass (97 keys in total instead of the usual 88)The second movement calls for these keys to be used (to play G sharp and F)

Michele Padovano master piano technician and composer

It was Leslie Howard who had pointed this out to Milda in her recital for the KCT a few months ago.I was hoping that Michele Padovano the piano technician /composer might have the two extra notes in his pocket!Michele has performed miracles with this fine old Bechstein piano but I think this was expecting too much even from such a genial musician!The piano under his hands and ours is fast turning into the noble instrument that it was born to be .It is admired by all the young musicians who are now being invited by Simon Gammell to fill this extraordinary library with the sounds of music.Milda after the sumptuous sounds of Schumann let forth with a savage attack on the piano with its insistent Hungarian folk rhythms.The sostenuto e pesante second movement was just that, but it had a line where Milda was able to guide us through this maze of strangely oblique sounds.The energy and attack of the Allegro molto took even Milda by surprise but the driving rhythms and insistent virtuosistic octaves never let up in a fearless journey to the final tumultuous ending.

What exhilaration and fun she was having but it was the subtle beauty of Chopin’s mazurka in F minor op 63 n.2 that calmed the red hot atmosphere.A few notes of whispered beauty with subtle rubato reminded us of the poetry and singing qualities that can be found in this box of hammers and strings by a true artist. https://youtube.com/watch?v=W6poGmGiBQM&feature=share

Almost there for rehearsal
The British Institute on the left (with the turret on the rooftop)


Supported by the Keyboard Trust –www.keyboardtrust.org


P.S. Lovely to know that Milda sightseeing in Florence the day after the concert got talking the following lunchtime to the staff of a bistro who turned out to be Lithuanian .She explained that she was a pianist who was in town for a concert and they persuaded her to tickle the keys of the piano that was is the shop.She had such an overwhelming success that they offered her a roast lunch,a red rose and an enormous glass of limoncello!On the house ….cheering indeed !

Emanuil Ivanov at Steinway Hall for the Keyboard Trust

Recording a recital thanks the generosity of Steinway Hall for the Keyboard Trust today.It will be streamed in the near future with Emanuil Ivanov ,Premio Busoni 2019 playing and includes a fascinating interview with Christopher Axworthy in which he talks about his eclectic programme choices and his early training from the Russian school of Daskalova and Kurtev in Bulgaria to his advanced studies with Pascal Nevirowski and Anthony Hewitt at the Royal Birmingham Conservatory.

The only presence allowed was for the venerable founders of the Trust who in their 90’s had ventured out to greet the young twenty year old pianist who they had heard winning the Busoni competition in Bolzano in 2019.A prize which for some years also includes the Keyboard Trust Career Development Prize.
Some truly phenomenal playing not least of the Hamelin studies but also the rarely played ‘Il Lamento’ by Liszt-the poor relation of his set of Three concert studies of which La leggerezza and Un sospiro are it’s glittering companions.

A towering performance of the Norma Fantasy that I have not even heard so thrillingly played from Emanuil’s idol Marc André Hamelin.
Ornaments in Rameau on this magnificent Steinway D that were just as clearly articulated as only Sokolov has shown us in the past.
Arpeggiando chords in Beethoven?
Why play on historic instruments when the modern one’s have so much more to offer especially in the vast halls like La Scala?
Exciting future projects including Saint Saens 5th concerto and a monumental contemporary work lasting 75 minutes that he will perform in February.
In the meantime he is on his was to a tour of Puglia with this programme including also the Brahms Handel variations that we had admired in Bolzano.
All freely discussed with simplicity and humility from this young twenty three year old musician just happy to be sharing his music with others at last and playing for the KCT after many postponements due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control – better known as Pandemic COVID 19!

Jean-Philippe Rameau – From Suite in Sol (Nouvelles Suites de Pièces de Clavecin): “L’Enharmonique”, “L’Egyptienne”, “Les Sauvages”
Marc André Hamelin – Etude n. 11 “Minuetto”, etude n. 12 “Prelude and Fugue”
Franz Liszt – Trois études de concert, S. 144: Il lamento, La leggierezza, Un sospiro & Réminiscences de Norma, S. 394


Angela Hewitt at the RCM a light of radiance and simplicity

With Ian Jones

Wonderfully radiant Angela and the million dollar question at the end :what do you think of Rosalyn Tureck?Who could not have been influenced by the High Priestess …monumental I chipped in…..but Angela’s Bach as she so beautifully replied is based above all on the song and the dance.
Nice to know that at the final concert of the Leipzig Bach Competition which she was chairing it was a choir that sang and had the last word in the celestial world of JSB ………..with the human voice !Q.E.D. https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.com/2020/11/18/angela-hewitt-for-the-glory-of-bach-the-pinnacle-of-pianistic-perfection/

It was this the message that she shared with an enthusiastic audience at the RCM in three hours of masterclasses with performances of two Bach preludes and Fugues with Daniel Can playing with great seriousness …..Too much,complained Angela ,Bach can be joyful and fun too!

Reiko Makita with Une Barque and Alborada from Ravel’s Miroirs …pointing to me as a fellow student of Vlado Perlemuter at his home in Paris in Rue Ampere ,who could confirm that he was the prime example of the true French style …sentiment but no sentimentality …..the weight of a true legato where you must have fingers of steel and a wrist of rubber not only to play loudly but above all to be able to play quietly.
Angela had done her homework too as she had heard Reiko’s complete Miroirs on you tube (from a performance in 2018) before meeting her today.

Paul Mnatsakanov gave a brilliant performance of the Italian Concerto that Angela having lived with for a lifetime could show him some telling details of phrasing and dynamic that could turn a bauble into a gem.
What fun we had with question and answers and meeting of old friends before dashing off to her next port of call in a wonderfully frenetic life dedicated above all J.S Bach