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Programme notes and pianist biographies
2.0 pm Cristian Sandrin : Sonata in C major K279
Allegro - Andante - Allegro
Mozart wrote this first real sonata when he was 19 years old during his concert tour to Italy, while he was working on the composition of the opera ‘La Finta Giardiniera'. The style of the sonata draws elements from different musical sources. The first movement is strongly rooted in the classical style with baroque elements, the slow movement has a singing Italianate character, and Haydn is peeping around the corner in the witty finale. All three moments are in sonata form. The piano writing is very ‘pianistic' and demands great dexterity and even virtuosity from the player. In the recapitulation of the first movement Mozart does not simply repeat the exposition but is constantly inventing surprising turns of melody and harmony in an almost improvisatory way. The second movement is unique with its aria-like melody and free flow of ideas, evoking a sweet ‘dolce' mood. The finale brims with vitality and good humour, spiced with almost burlesque elements.
Born to a family of musicians from Bucharest, Romania, Cristian Sandrin made his solo debut at prestigious Romanian Atheneum Hall at the age of 13. After graduating the “Dinu Lipatti” Art College in Bucharest, Cristian moved to London where he studied at the Royal Academy of Music. Having graduated with First Class Honours in 2016, he is currently pursuing a postgraduate degree at the same institution. He is currently a receiver of the Piano Fellowship of the Philharmonia Orchestra's Martin Musical Scholarship Fund 2017/2018, benefiting also from a scholarship of the Imogen Cooper Music Trust. Cristian Sandrin won numerous prizes and awards at international and national competitions. A Second Prize Winner of the Windsor International Piano Competition (2018) and Third Prize Winner of the Sheepdrove Intercollegiate Piano Competition (2018). He had his solo debut recital at the Wigmore Hall in London in September 2017. In Romania, Cristian Sandrin is a regular guest artist of the Filarmonica “Mihail Jora” Bacau, the Sibiu Sibiu Philharmonic, Ramnicu-Valcea National Philharmonic and Bucharest Symphony Orchestra. Other international engagements include performances at “La Fenice” Theatre in Venice, Theatre de la Montjoie, Salla Manuel de Falla in Madrid, Palazzo Ricci in Montepulciano, the Romanian Atheneum in Bucharest, and “Bulgaria Philharmonic Hall” in Sophia.
2.20 pm Sasha Grynyuk : Sonata in F major K280
Allegro - Adagio - Presto
This sonata is modelled on a sonata of Haydn in the same key, which had appeared some time earlier. Both slow movements of the sonatas are in F minor and are marked ‘Adagio', and both are in the Siciliano rhythm. The principal theme, consisting of several contrasting motives, is followed by a subject in triplets containing some interesting chromatic episodes. The movement abounds in playful scales and runs, giving the player ample opportunity to exhibit his virtuosity. The slow movement is a miracle of concentration and expression of feeling. The profundity, the expression of pain and anguish foreshadows the later Mozart in his great dramatic minor key works. The Finale clears all dark clouds and is a feast of surprises, jokes and joy.
Winner of over ten international competitions, prizes and awards, Sasha was chosen as a 'Rising Star' for BBC Music Magazine and International Piano Magazine . His successes also include First Prizes in the Grieg International Piano Competition and the BNDES International Piano Competition, in addition to winning the Guildhall School of Music's most prestigious award – the Gold Medal - previously won by such artists as Jacqueline Du Pré and Bryn Terfel.Sasha has performed in many major venues including Wigmore Hall, Barbican Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Bridgewater Hall (Manchester), Wiener Konzerthaus, Weil Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall, New York), Teatro Real (Rio de Janeiro) and Salle Cortot (Paris). He has performed with such orchestras as the Royal Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic and Orchestra Sinfonica Brasiliera. His recording of music by Glenn Gould and Friedrich Gulda for Piano Classics was chosen as the record of the month for the German magazine Piano News and shortlisted for the New York Classical Radio Award. Among Sa sha's ongoing projects are performances of Shostakovich's original piano score for the 1929 silent film The New Babylon , which he premièred at LSO St. Luke's and later performed at Leif Ove Andsnes' Rosendal Festival, Norway. Born in Ukraine, Sasha studied at the Guildhall School in London. Sasha is a Keyboard Trust artist and currently benefits from the artistic guidance of its founder Noretta Conci-Leech.
2.40 pm Edward Leung : Sonata in B flat K281
Allegro - Andante - Rondo
In the first movement Mozart fully explores the tonal resources of the instrument, letting it sound in rich chords and vibrating accompaniments. The movement abounds in free improvisatory development and rich variation of the lyrical main theme. The slow movement is a perfect example of the ‘gallant style'. The amoroso character of the music demands a graceful execution, never yielding to explicit sentimentality. The third movement is call Rondo and is based on a them in gavotte style. The music, although refined after the French style, also contains unexpected dramatic passages in minor keys.
Lauded as one of '16 Incredibly Impressive Students at Princeton University' by Business Insider , American pianist Edward Leung has performed in concert halls across North America, Europe, and Asia. Highlights of the current season include concerto performances with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra of the Swan; debuts at the Wigmore Hall and Laieszhalle in Hamburg; recitals in London, Winchester, Wiltshire, Ulverston, and Wye Valley, and a debut commercial recording with violinist Usha Kapoor for Resonus Classics. A 2019 – 2020 Live Music Now artist, he has swept all the major prizes at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, including the Piano Prize, Donohoe Gold Medal, Andrew Downes Performance Prize, Delia Hall Accompaniment Prize, Herbert Lumby Prize, and Sheila and Colina Hodge Memorial Prize. After receiving a Master of Music from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, he continues his studies in the Advanced Postgraduate Diploma programme with Pascal Nemirovski. He is gratefully supported by the Keyboard Charitable Trust.
2.55 pm Iyad Sughayer Sonata in E flat K282
Adagio - Minuet - Allegro
This sonata unexpectedly begins with a slow movement followed by a minuet, and ends with an allegro movement. The extraordinary Adagio is full of lyricism and quietly flowing cantilenas. The second movement consists of two minuets, both in simple folk-like language. The last movement is reminiscent of Haydn and concludes the sonata in a gay and carefree mood.
Chosen as ‘One to Watch' by International Piano Magazine, Iyad's debut album – Khachaturian Piano Works for BIS Records was released in November 2019 to critical acclaim. The album was described by Gramophone as ‘exhilarating and delivered with perfect clarity' and ‘an outstanding debut' by BBC Music Magazine. In 2021 Iyad was a prize-winner at the Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) International Auditions. This autumn he records his second CD for BIS with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Andrew Litton including Khachaturian's Piano Concerto and Masquerade. As soloist Iyad has appeared with leading orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Manchester Camerata, European Union Chamber Orchestra, the Cairo and Amman Symphony Orchestras. He has given recitals at Wigmore Hall, Bridgewater Hall & Stoller Hall in Manchester (broadcast by BBC Radio 3), the Laeiszhalle (Hamburg), Festival Musique D'Abord (France), Steinway Hall (New York), Castleton Festival (Virginia) and Kings Place in London, among many others. Recent highlights include an invitation to contribute to the BBC Arabic documentary ‘London Lockdown', in which he took part as a character and recorded the soundtrack for the music. Born in Amman, the Jordanian-Palestinian pianist, Iyad studied at Chetham's School of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance where he won the College's prestigious Gold Medal. He completed his International Artist Diploma at the RNCM in 2019 with Murray McLachlan, Martino Tirimo and Graham Scott and in 2019 became a City Music Foundation Artist.
3.15-3.25 pm interval
3.25 pm Mengyang Pan Sonata in G major K283
Allegro - Andante - Presto
This sonata in G (the only one in this key) is full of light, gaiety and song-like phrases, and reminds one of the sonatas of Johann Christian Bach, who was an important model for the young Mozart. The ‘Italian' character of the music is clearly shown already in the first movement, where even in the development section, usually of dramatic character, there is not a trace of struggle, all minor key feelings being avoided. The slow movement brings an innocent feeling of happiness, which is clouded over in the middle section where the theme appears in A minor. The recapitulation brings relief and flows on in radiant cantilenas. The last movement is a sparkling presto, bearing a close resemblance to the finale of the piano sonata no 2, also in 3/8 measure and breathing the spirit of the Opera Buffa.
Mengyang Pan was born in China and has been living in the UK since 2000. She began her piano study at the age of three before becoming a junior student at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. At the age of 14, she left China to study at the Purcell School in the UK with professor Tessa Nicholson. Upon graduating with high honours, she went on to complete her musical education at the Royal College of Music training under professor Gordon Fergus-Thompson and Professor Vanessa Latarche.The prize winner of many competitions including Rina Sala Gallo International Piano competition, Bromsgrove International Young Musician's Platform, Dudley International Piano Competition, Norah Sands Award, MBF Educational Award, Mengyang has performed in many prestigious venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, Bridgewater Hall and Birmingham Symphony Hall amongst many others. As soloist, Mengyang has appeared with many orchestras and her collaboration with conductors such as Maestro Vladimir Ashkenazy, John Wilson and Mikk Murdvee has gained the highest acclaim. Mengyang also finds much joy in teaching. In 2019, Mengyang was appointed piano professor at the Royal College of Music in London, she also teaches at Imperial College.
3.40 pm Domonkos Csabay Sonata in D major K284
Allegro - Andante - Theme and variations
Mozart wrote this sonata in 1775 when it was commissioned by Baron Thaddaus von Durnitz. The style of the first movement is bold, daring and spectacular, brilliantly written for the piano, using pianistic effects like hand crossing and tremolo. It contains influences from the Mannheim style, whereas the rich singing lines have an Italian character. The second movement is a Rondo en Polonaise, a wonderfully ‘orchestrated' dance-like piece, where Mozart gives his imagination and fancy full reign. The third movement is a set of variations on a theme with a gavotte character. The beautiful set of variations not merely offers an embellished version of the original them, but is constantly changing the character of the theme, from peacefully dreaming to joyfully galloping. Mozart skilfully explores all the pianistic resources of the time using passages in parallel thirds, octaves, hand-crossing and trills.
Domonkos Csabay is a Hungarian pianist who was born in Budapest and studied at the Liszt Academy. He has been based in the UK since 2015. He has given solo performances in many countries, while also performing widely as a chamber musician and accompanist. He has played at many important concert venues such as Town Hall and Symphony Hall in Birmingham or Queen Elizabeth Hall and Milton Court in London, and collaborated with renowned artists and companies such as the CBSO, Orchestra of the Swan or Longborough Festival Opera. He won the Birmingham International Piano Competition in 2016. After finishing his piano studies with Pascal Nemirovski and John Thwaites at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, he obtainedr an Advanced Postgraduate Diploma in répétiteurship, and was selected to become an accompanist at Samling Institute for Young Artists. He made his debut on BBC Radio 3 playing Beethoven. His debut CD is recorded and to be issued by the label Naxos in 2021. Domonkos is currently based in London, where he holds a position as accompanist fellow at the Royal College of Music.
4.10 pm Ke Ma Sonata in C major K309
Allegro - Andante - Rondo
Mozart composed this sonata for Rosa Cannabich, daughter of the well-known composer of that time, who was an admirable player. The first movement opens with a powerful unison theme, followed by a graceful melody, bringing immediate contrast in the first subject. The second theme appears further on, and provides a charming and delightful ease. The slow movement gives a musical picture of Rosa Cannabich, of whom Mozart had a high opinion – he describes her as highly intelligent, kind and amiable. The music is a series of variations on a theme of great intimacy, evoking a sense of simplicity and lightness. Noteworthy are the many detailed performance marks, which should be strictly observed, according to Mozart. In the final Rondo, Mozart introduces orchestral effects reminiscent of the Mannheim school. The writing is of virtuoso and brilliant standard. The piece ends surprisingly with a pianissimo coda.
Born in 1994 in China, Ke studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London, graduating with a Masters with distinction (DipRAM) in 2017. She is currently pursuing her Doctoral study at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She has won top prizes at international competitions including 1st Prize at the 2016 Concours International de la vie de Maisons-Laffitte and Karoly Mocsari Special Prize (France), 1st Prize at the 2014 Shenzhen Competition (China) and 3rd Prize at the 2012 Ettlingen Competition (Germany. In 2017 Ke made her debut at Wigmore Hall under the auspices of the Kirckman Concert Society. She has given concerts across the UK, in France, Germany, Poland, the US and Canada. Recent engagements include recitals at the Purcell Room, Kings Place, the Saintonge Festival, Maison Laffitte and Salle Molière Lyon in France and the Chopin Festival at the Fisher Center in Bard College, New York.A committed chamber musician, Ke has undertaken a Tunnell Trust Award tour of Scotland, given a recital at Wigmore Hall and recorded music by Vieuxtemps for Champs Hill Records with violist Timothy Ridout. Ke is grateful for support from the Ian Fleming Award from Help Musicians UK; prizes from the Worshipful Company of Musicians, the Maisie Lewis Young Artist Fund and the Prince's Award. She recently performed the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1 under the baton of Adrian Leaper at the Barbican Hall, as one of the finalists at the Gold Medal competition at Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
4.30 - 4.50 pm Tea interval
4.50 pm Amit Yahav Sonata in A minor K310
Allegro - Andante - Presto
The background to this tragic minor key sonata is the unexpected death of Mozart's mother, while he was giving concerts in Paris in 1778. The work is of an unusual dramatic character, and is the expression of deep personal feelings. The first movement's principal theme, marked Maestoso, begins with a dissonant appoggiatura. The dotted rhythm of the theme dominates the whole movement with an almost obsessive pressure. The second theme is in C major, but the underlying tension also casts a shadow on this episode, especially when it resolves into minor in the recapitulation. In the development section the dotted rhythm rages furiously in both fortissimo and pianissimo, and creates an almost unbearable tension. The second movement is an Andante, marked ‘Cantabile con espressione'. The many execution marks relating to phrasing, articulation and dynamics give a good insight in Mozart's performance practice. The aria-like first section is interrupted by a dramatic middle section in the minor key, where the bass is making bold gestures under a frantically leaping accompaniment in the right hand. The third movement brings no consolation or smiling faces. It is a restless Presto, in which the music breathlessly chases a phantom. The middle section in the character of a musette, gives a glimpse of a better world, but immediately the first them takes its course again, and comes to a violent end in the minor key.
Multi-award-winning pianist Amit Yahav is much in demand as a recitalist, chamber musician and concerto soloist, having earned his reputation for interpretations that grip and move audiences with passion and intellectual insight. His interpretations of the music of Chopin and Schumann in particular have received high praise. In 2018, he earned a Doctor of Music degree from the Royal College of Music for his thesis investigating interpretation in the music of Chopin. Amongst Amit's success are the Anthony Lindsay Piano Prize and the György Solti Award for Professional Development. Amit also won the 1st International Israeli Music Competition in London and consequently performed Israeli composer Zvi Avni's On the Verge of Time in London's Southbank Centre in the presence of the composer. In 2014, Amit attracted much positive attention with his CD “Amit Yahav Plays Chopin“, containing the four Ballades. This release followed Amit's tour showcasing the four Ballades in an explained recital, which was also selected by the Royal College of Music as part of their Insight Series of soirees offered to their donors. Most recently, his newest disc featuring Romantic piano fantasies by Mendelssohn, Schumann and Chopin appeared on the GENUIN label.
5.15 pm Patrick Hemmerle Sonata in D major K311
Allegro - Andantino - Rondo
From 1777 to 1778 Mozart made a Mannheim-Paris journey, which played an important role in his career. During the journey three piano sonatas were composed, one of which is this sonata in D major. He wrote the sonata for Josepha, the pretty daughter of Court Councillor Freysinger, a former school friend of Mozart's father Leopold. The music is filled with a light and playful spirit, and still shows influences for the Mannheim School. One example of this is found in the closing rondo, where a cadenza is inserted before the main them appears again - a technique only used in a piano concerto. This proves that Mozart wanted to enlarge the structure of the ‘simple' piano sonata, introducing concerto-like elements. The first movement is an allegro con spirito. The gentle second subject is enriched by beautiful counterpoint in the left hand. The development makes clever use of the Mannheim ‘sigh' motive, a descending second, which was introduced as a little coda to the exposition. The song-like second movement contains some moving melodic episodes, and ends with a richly accompanied code, evoking a feeling of sweet nostalgia. The Rondo is a real concert piece with flourishing cascades of scales, its 6/8 time playfully dancing towards an effective end.
Acclaimed for the originality of his concert programmes and the depth of his interpretations, Patrick Hemmerlé is a French pianist living in England. He can often be heard performing such works as the 24 Chopin Etudes, the 48 Bach Prelude and Fugues, or lesser-known composers. Recent engagements have taken him to New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, Paris, Vienna, and Prague, as well as many festivals and music society in England. Patrick has published 3 CDs, which have been well received by the international press. His latest recording project, to be issued in 2020 is a pairing of Bach's Well Tempered Clavier and Fischer's Ariadne Musica. He is in demand as a lecturer. He has given talks for the Cambridge University, as well as a cycle of concert-lectures on French music, presenting composers little known to the general public,. This led to the recordings of the piano music of Jean Roger-Ducasse and Maurice Emmanuel. Patrick is laureate of the international competition of Valencia, Toledo, Epinal, Grossetto, and more recently the CFRPM, in Paris, where his interpretation of Villa-Lobos's Rudepoema, raised a great deal of interest. He was trained in Paris at the Conservatoire (CNR), under the tuition of Billy Eidi.
5.35 pm Hao Zi Yoh Sonata in C major K330
Allegro - Andante - Allegretto
The enchanting simplicity of the opening them is the starting point of a wonderful movement in which simple scales and broken chords turn into pure music of sublime beauty. In the development Mozart applies rich and manifold thematic material expressing emotion and unrest by using frequent syncopation and ‘sigh' motives. Mozart's marking ‘dolce' is significant in the execution of the slow movement, which is in ternary form. The gentle flowing atmosphere of the beginning is clouded over by the darker mood of the middle section in the minor key. The reappearance of the first melody comes then as a ray of sunlight. The joyful rondo is in rondo-sonata form. The music brims over the witty themes and brilliant virtuosity, reminding one of a gay scene from one of his operas.
Hao Zi Yoh was born in 1995 in Malaysia. By the age of 12, she already performed at Carnegie Hall as a gold medallist of the Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition. In Malaysia, Hao Zi studied under Chong Lim Ng, who showed her the path into the classical music world. At the age of 14, she moved to Germany to study at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg. 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). In 2014, she came to study with Christopher Elton at the Royal Academy of Music, London. 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. 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.
6.00 - 7.00 pm Supper interval