Find your artistic identity, develop your technique and become a well-rounded 21st-century musician

The Academy’s innovative Piano Department is led by the internationally renowned pianist Joanna MacGregor.

'My aim is to encourage young pianists to think imaginatively, be daring, and create opportunities for themselves'
Professor Joanna MacGregor CBE, Dame Myra Hess Chair of Piano

We’re a very international department, with around 80 young solo pianists coming from over 30 countries. We focus on developing artistic and professional potential through four years of undergraduate study, Master’s programmes, Professional and Advanced Diplomas, all the way to doctoral programmes.

We offer a world-class piano training programme to develop the skills necessary for a contemporary career. We’ll help you develop performance skills; we’ll nurture your ability to curate festivals and concert series, and to create recording opportunities; we’ll build your confidence to compose, improvise and conduct, and to explore early keyboards; and we’ll help you determine your artistic personality by developing your digital profile and collaborating with artists of all kinds.

There’s individuality and excitement involved in being a pianist here at the Academy – by being a deeply creative, ambitious and proactive musician.

Read more about our teaching staff here or browse events taking place at the Academy here.

If you have any enquiries about studying the piano at the Academy, you can also get in touch here.

The Academy's flag on the front of the building

Introduction to the Piano Department with Joanna MacGregor

The Academy's flag on the front of the building

Piano Department Autumn Showreel 2023

Gabriela Montero

Gabriela Montero

Graduated 1995
Piano

Gabriela Montero

Graduated 1995

Piano

Gabriela Montero’s visionary interpretations and unique compositional gifts have garnered her critical acclaim and a devoted following on the world stage. Anthony Tommasini remarked in the New York Times that ‘Montero’s playing had everything: crackling rhythmic brio, subtle shadings, steely power … soulful lyricism … and, best of all, unsentimental expressivity’.

Recipient of the prestigious 2018 Heidelberger Frühling Music Prize, Montero’s recent highlights include debuts with the New World Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas; Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra with Aziz Shokhakimov; Orquesta de Valencia with Pablo Heras-Casado; and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra with Carlos Miguel Prieto, the latter of which saw her feature as Artist-in-Residence for the 2019/20 season. Montero also recently performed her own Latin Concerto with the Orchestra of the Americas at the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and Edinburgh International Festival, as well as at the New World Center with Carnegie Hall’s NYO2.

Additional highlights include a second tour with the cutting-edge Scottish Ensemble, this time with Montero’s latest composition, Babel, as the centrepiece of the programme; her long-awaited return to Warsaw in 2018 for the Chopin in Europe Festival, marking 23 years since her prize win at the International Chopin Piano Competition; and return invitations to work with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Jaime Martin and the Orquestra de Cadaqués, and Alexander Shelley and the National Arts Centre Orchestra.

Celebrated for her exceptional musicality and ability to improvise, Montero has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras to date, from the Dresdner Philharmonie and Vienna Symphony Orchestra to the Australian Chamber Orchestra and The Cleveland Orchestra. A graduate and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music, Montero is also a frequent recitalist and chamber musician, having given concerts at distinguished venues across the world, from Wigmore Hall to Vienna Konzerthaus and Sydney Opera House. She has appeared at many international festivals, including Edinburgh Festival, Salzburg and Lucerne, among others.

Photo by Shelley Mosman

Meet
our alunni

Benjamin Grosvenor

Benjamin Grosvenor

Graduated 2012
Piano

Benjamin Grosvenor

Graduated 2012

Piano

British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor is internationally recognised for his electrifying performances, distinctive sound and insightful interpretations. His virtuosic command over the most arduous technical complexities underpins the remarkable depth and understanding of his music making, with Süddeutsche Zeitung lauding his ‘astounding technical gifts, the freshness of his imagination, his intense concentration, the absence of any kind of show, and the unmistakable sense of poetic immersion directed solely at the realization of music’.

A pianist of widespread international acclaim, Grosvenor’s recent and forthcoming concerto highlights include engagements with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Gürzenich-Orchestra Cologne, Orchestre National de France, Hallé Orchestra, Orquesta Nacional de España, Filarmonica della Scala and the Philharmonia Orchestra with such esteemed conductors as Andrey Boreyko, Semyon Bychkov, Riccardo Chailly, Elim Chan, Sir Mark Elder, Edward Gardner, Manfred Honeck, Andrew Manze, Kent Nagano, Gianandrea Noseda, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, François-Xavier Roth, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Leonard Slatkin, Michael Tilson Thomas, Krzysztof Urbański and Kazuki Yamada.

In recital, Grosvenor regularly performs at major venues such as London’s Barbican and Wigmore Halls as well as the Southbank Centre, Théâtre des Champs Elysées Paris, Munich’s Herkulessaal, Cologne’s Philharmonie, Washington’s Kennedy Center, and New York’s Carnegie Hall and 92nd Street Y. A keen chamber musician, this season sees him embark on a North American tour with the Doric String Quartet, perform duo concerts with violinist Hyeyoon Park, join musicians from the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France for a chamber concert, and perform at the Verbier Festival at Schloss Elmau and at Internationales Musikfestival Koblenz.

Grosvenor signed to Decca Classics in 2011, becoming the youngest British musician ever, and the first British pianist in almost 60 years, to sign to the label. His most recent CD on the label features Frédéric Chopin’s piano concertos, recorded with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under the baton of Elim Chan. Named Recording of the Month by Gramophone, the disc was also awarded a Diapason d'Or, with Diapason's critic declaring that the recording is ‘a version to rank among the best, and confirmation of an extraordinary artist.’

Photo by Patrick Allen operaomnia.co.uk

Photo of pianist Isata Kanneh Mason
Photo of pianist Isata Kanneh Mason

Isata Kanneh-Mason

Photo of pianist Isata Kanneh Mason

Isata Kanneh-Mason

Graduated 2020
Piano

Isata Kanneh-Mason

Graduated 2020

Piano

Alim Beisembayev

Alim Beisembayev

Graduated 2020
Piano

Alim Beisembayev

Graduated 2020

Piano

Chloe Flower

Chloe Flower

Graduated 2006
Piano

Chloe Flower

Graduated 2006

Piano

Christian Blackshaw MBE

Christian Blackshaw MBE

Graduated 1974
Piano

Christian Blackshaw MBE

Graduated 1974

Piano

A deeply passionate and sensitive pianist, Christian Blackshaw is celebrated for the incomparable musicianship of his performances. His playing combines tremendous emotional depth with great understanding.

Following studies with Gordon Green at the Royal Manchester College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music, winning the gold medals at each, Blackshaw was the first British pianist to study at the Leningrad Conservatory with Moisei Halfin. He later worked closely with Sir Clifford Curzon in London.

Blackshaw has performed worldwide and in festivals as recitalist and soloist with many renowned conductors including Valery Gergiev, Sir Simon Rattle, Gianandrea Noseda, Yuri Temirkanov and Sir Neville Marriner. He was Founder Director of the Hellensmusic Festival, which was established in 2013.

His hugely acclaimed Wigmore Hall complete Mozart Piano Sonatas series was recorded for Wigmore Hall Live and released in four volumes. Critics have been unanimous in their praise, describing these ‘landmark’ recordings as ‘captivating’, ‘magical’ and ‘masterful’. Volume 4 was named as one of the Best Classical Recordings of 2015 in the New York Times in addition to Gramophone’s 50 Greatest Mozart Recordings.

Recent notable performances include the Mozart cycle in Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing, a return to the Stars of the White Nights Festival in St Petersburg and debuts at the Schwetzingen Festival and Edinburgh International Festival. He has also been an Artist in Residence at Wigmore Hall. Blackshaw was awarded an MBE in the New Year 2019 Honours List.

Photo by Herbie Knott

Find out more about the career paths of some of our former students

Meet our alumni

Gabriela Montero

Gabriela Montero

Graduated 1995
Piano

Gabriela Montero

Graduated 1995

Piano

Gabriela Montero’s visionary interpretations and unique compositional gifts have garnered her critical acclaim and a devoted following on the world stage. Anthony Tommasini remarked in the New York Times that ‘Montero’s playing had everything: crackling rhythmic brio, subtle shadings, steely power … soulful lyricism … and, best of all, unsentimental expressivity’.

Recipient of the prestigious 2018 Heidelberger Frühling Music Prize, Montero’s recent highlights include debuts with the New World Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas; Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra with Aziz Shokhakimov; Orquesta de Valencia with Pablo Heras-Casado; and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra with Carlos Miguel Prieto, the latter of which saw her feature as Artist-in-Residence for the 2019/20 season. Montero also recently performed her own Latin Concerto with the Orchestra of the Americas at the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and Edinburgh International Festival, as well as at the New World Center with Carnegie Hall’s NYO2.

Additional highlights include a second tour with the cutting-edge Scottish Ensemble, this time with Montero’s latest composition, Babel, as the centrepiece of the programme; her long-awaited return to Warsaw in 2018 for the Chopin in Europe Festival, marking 23 years since her prize win at the International Chopin Piano Competition; and return invitations to work with Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Jaime Martin and the Orquestra de Cadaqués, and Alexander Shelley and the National Arts Centre Orchestra.

Celebrated for her exceptional musicality and ability to improvise, Montero has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras to date, from the Dresdner Philharmonie and Vienna Symphony Orchestra to the Australian Chamber Orchestra and The Cleveland Orchestra. A graduate and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music, Montero is also a frequent recitalist and chamber musician, having given concerts at distinguished venues across the world, from Wigmore Hall to Vienna Konzerthaus and Sydney Opera House. She has appeared at many international festivals, including Edinburgh Festival, Salzburg and Lucerne, among others.

Photo by Shelley Mosman

Benjamin Grosvenor

Benjamin Grosvenor

Graduated 2012
Piano

Benjamin Grosvenor

Graduated 2012

Piano

British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor is internationally recognised for his electrifying performances, distinctive sound and insightful interpretations. His virtuosic command over the most arduous technical complexities underpins the remarkable depth and understanding of his music making, with Süddeutsche Zeitung lauding his ‘astounding technical gifts, the freshness of his imagination, his intense concentration, the absence of any kind of show, and the unmistakable sense of poetic immersion directed solely at the realization of music’.

A pianist of widespread international acclaim, Grosvenor’s recent and forthcoming concerto highlights include engagements with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Gürzenich-Orchestra Cologne, Orchestre National de France, Hallé Orchestra, Orquesta Nacional de España, Filarmonica della Scala and the Philharmonia Orchestra with such esteemed conductors as Andrey Boreyko, Semyon Bychkov, Riccardo Chailly, Elim Chan, Sir Mark Elder, Edward Gardner, Manfred Honeck, Andrew Manze, Kent Nagano, Gianandrea Noseda, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, François-Xavier Roth, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Leonard Slatkin, Michael Tilson Thomas, Krzysztof Urbański and Kazuki Yamada.

In recital, Grosvenor regularly performs at major venues such as London’s Barbican and Wigmore Halls as well as the Southbank Centre, Théâtre des Champs Elysées Paris, Munich’s Herkulessaal, Cologne’s Philharmonie, Washington’s Kennedy Center, and New York’s Carnegie Hall and 92nd Street Y. A keen chamber musician, this season sees him embark on a North American tour with the Doric String Quartet, perform duo concerts with violinist Hyeyoon Park, join musicians from the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France for a chamber concert, and perform at the Verbier Festival at Schloss Elmau and at Internationales Musikfestival Koblenz.

Grosvenor signed to Decca Classics in 2011, becoming the youngest British musician ever, and the first British pianist in almost 60 years, to sign to the label. His most recent CD on the label features Frédéric Chopin’s piano concertos, recorded with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under the baton of Elim Chan. Named Recording of the Month by Gramophone, the disc was also awarded a Diapason d'Or, with Diapason's critic declaring that the recording is ‘a version to rank among the best, and confirmation of an extraordinary artist.’

Photo by Patrick Allen operaomnia.co.uk

Photo of pianist Isata Kanneh Mason
Photo of pianist Isata Kanneh Mason

Isata Kanneh-Mason

Photo of pianist Isata Kanneh Mason

Isata Kanneh-Mason

Graduated 2020
Piano

Isata Kanneh-Mason

Graduated 2020

Piano

Alim Beisembayev

Alim Beisembayev

Graduated 2020
Piano

Alim Beisembayev

Graduated 2020

Piano

Chloe Flower

Chloe Flower

Graduated 2006
Piano

Chloe Flower

Graduated 2006

Piano

Christian Blackshaw MBE

Christian Blackshaw MBE

Graduated 1974
Piano

Christian Blackshaw MBE

Graduated 1974

Piano

A deeply passionate and sensitive pianist, Christian Blackshaw is celebrated for the incomparable musicianship of his performances. His playing combines tremendous emotional depth with great understanding.

Following studies with Gordon Green at the Royal Manchester College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music, winning the gold medals at each, Blackshaw was the first British pianist to study at the Leningrad Conservatory with Moisei Halfin. He later worked closely with Sir Clifford Curzon in London.

Blackshaw has performed worldwide and in festivals as recitalist and soloist with many renowned conductors including Valery Gergiev, Sir Simon Rattle, Gianandrea Noseda, Yuri Temirkanov and Sir Neville Marriner. He was Founder Director of the Hellensmusic Festival, which was established in 2013.

His hugely acclaimed Wigmore Hall complete Mozart Piano Sonatas series was recorded for Wigmore Hall Live and released in four volumes. Critics have been unanimous in their praise, describing these ‘landmark’ recordings as ‘captivating’, ‘magical’ and ‘masterful’. Volume 4 was named as one of the Best Classical Recordings of 2015 in the New York Times in addition to Gramophone’s 50 Greatest Mozart Recordings.

Recent notable performances include the Mozart cycle in Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing, a return to the Stars of the White Nights Festival in St Petersburg and debuts at the Schwetzingen Festival and Edinburgh International Festival. He has also been an Artist in Residence at Wigmore Hall. Blackshaw was awarded an MBE in the New Year 2019 Honours List.

Photo by Herbie Knott