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This is a ‘must see’ interview with pianist Valentina Lisitsa and my former RCM classmate, Melanie Spanswick.

Melanie Spanswick

I am delighted to introduce my new series of interviews with established classical artists. They will appear on my YouTube channel as well as this blog and are informal conversations with some really fabulous musicians. The series starts with Ukrainian pianist, Valentina Lisitsa, who I interviewed earlier this week in Cardiff.

Valentina was born in Kiev and began playing the piano aged just three. Whilst studying at the Kiev Conservatory she met her husband, pianist Alexei Kuznetsoff,  and the couple performed regularly as a duo winning the Murray Dranoff Two Piano Competition in 1991.

As a soloist Valentina has performed in all the major concert venues around the world including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Musikverein and the Wigmore Hall, and she has performed with many of the world’s greatest orchestras. Recent collaborations include  partnering violinist, Hilary Hahn, most notably in a recording of the 4 Sonatas for violin and piano by Charles Ives…

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The Cross-Eyed Pianist

The first in an occasional series of interviews with piano teachers – and I am delighted to launch this new series with an interview with acclaimed pianist and teacher Philip Fowke.

What is your first memory of the piano?

My first memory of the piano was when my parents bought an upright for my sister Alison who was beginning to learn the piano. I can recall it coming into the house quite clearly and I must have been about 4 years old. I was fascinated by it from the start and its grinning mouth of keys. At my first school, Milford, in Gerrards Cross, the headmistress, Miss France, used to play the piano for hymns and music classes. I can remember watching her hands and the way the keys went down. It is a vivid memory and it was Miss France who first encouraged me to play and gave me…

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