2017 Summer Piano Festival to feature Beethoven, Brendel and cross-art collaborations
This year’s Royal Academy of Music Summer Piano Festival, curated by Head of Piano Joanna MacGregor, will offer twenty concerts and events over three days in June, all of them free and open to the public.
The festival, now in its third year, presents all 32 Beethoven Sonata, performed by students, three of them on the Academy’s Broadwood fortepiano. The legendary pianist Alfred Brendel will be in conversation with MacGregor about his experience studying and performing the composer’s works.
There will be a strong cross-arts strand and collaborations with other art institutions, with installations running in the museum’s Piano Gallery and York Gate. These include partnerships with dancers from London Contemporary Dance School and visual artists from Central Saint Martins and Royal College of Art, a radio play and interactive visuals. Pianists from Neil Brand’s course, Improvising to Film, will perform live to silent film excerpts.
The Quartertonal Piano Project (4pm, Tuesday 27th June), created and performed by Joseph Havlat and Thomas Ang, features works on two uprights tuned a quartertone apart, alongside contemporary classics by Ives, John Corigliano and Georg Friedrich Haas, and brand new commissions by Academy student composers.
Piano Rolls (1pm, Wednesday 28th June) will offer a rolling programme of chamber music for trumpet and piano, flute and piano, viola and piano, and piano and wind quintets.
Mozart will be represented both in performances of his concertos K415 and K595, directed from the keyboard by Costanza Principe and Cristian Sandrin with the Piano Festival Chamber Ensemble (5.30pm, Tuesday, 27th June), and in Hummel’s virtuosic transcriptions of Concerto in C minor K491, Symphony no.36 ‘Linz’, and Quintet for Piano and Winds K452 in the Piano Gallery (11am, Wednesday 28th June).
The final concert of the festival (6pm, Wednesday 28th June), will be given by the Bukolika Trio and the Joseph Havlat and Thomas Ang piano duo, with works inspired by folk music (by Roxanna Panufnik, Rachmaninoff and Frank Martin) and jazz (John Adams’s Hallelujah Junction and Grainger’s Fantasy on Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess), and recorded by BBC Radio 3.
Joanna MacGregor said of this year’s festival: ‘I wanted to create a series of concerts that reflect the wit, originality and diversity of the repertoire pianists play today; so we’ve put together a programme overflowing with ideas, unfolding simultaneously over three days in several different venues. Their collaborative as well as soloistic nature – involving our pianists with string and wind players, ensembles, composers, dancers and visual artists – is emblematic of the way we see our pianists’ role as creative musicians.’
Tickets for the festival will go on sale on Tuesday, 11th April, from our Box Office (020 7873 7373) and online.