Box Office 020 7520 1490 info@kingsplace.co.uk

French with Friends

Feature

Now in its third year, the London Piano Festival is bigger than ever. Artistic directors Katya Apekisheva and Charles Owen give an insight into the music and their guest artists.

‘Our five-day celebration starts with an opening recital when we have a chance to introduce ourselves to the audience as soloists, and as a duo,’ says Katya Apekisheva. ‘This formula has been so successful in the last two festivals – the audience enjoy getting to know us individually in the first half and then they see us both together.’ The enthusiasm of these two talented pianists is infectious, and their first recital sets the tone for the whole festival. Its French and Spanish-inflected works include the three Nocturnes by Debussy, whose centenary (he died in 1918) is being marked this year.


© Andy Tyler

‘Debussy’s music runs through the festival like a thread, though without overwhelming the programme,’ adds Owen. ‘Konstantin Lifschitz will perform his Preludes Bk 1, Stephen Kovacevich and I will play En blanc et noir, and our key Debussy event is a lecture-recital by Paul Roberts, whose writings on the composer are unparalleled.’

Most of the artists invited to perform have personal connections to the artistic directors: Owen came across Paul Roberts when he (Owen) was a young student; Lifschitz studied with Apekisheva at the Gnessin School in Moscow and Kovacevich has been a friend and mentor to them both.

‘Our aim is to make artists feel welcome, to feel this is a special event, not just another recital,’ notes Owen. ‘They are very much part of a team.’ The artists, including Margaret Fingerhut, come together on Saturday night (6 Oct) for the popular Two-Piano Marathon. ‘That’s when sparks really fly,’ says Apekisheva. ‘We mix and match pianists, bringing together some who have played as a duo and others who will be meeting for the first time. The programme this year is really exciting – fewer large-scale works but the variety is enormous.’ The festival aims to expand the two-piano repertoire with new commissions, but instead this year they are proud to present a rarely performed piece by Thomas Adès – a virtuoso reworking of music from his opera Powder Her Face.

‘Debussy’s music runs through the festival like a thread’

The brilliant Polish jazz pianist Leszek Możdżer brings his amplified piano to the party on Friday night (5 Oct), and the weekend closes with a unique multimedia show created by pianist Alexandra Dariescu, The Nutcracker and I. Owen highly recommends it. ‘It’s a wonderful show, visually and musically, with amazing digital graphics. It’s a relaxed, magical way to end our 2018 festival.’

Recommended articles

20 shows for 2020

Feature

Our Nature Unwrapped 2020 programme opened last week with a spectacular series of events and performances from Theatre of Voices, Brian Cox,…

Read the article

Beethoven, Our Contemporary

Feature

As part of Beethoven 250, the Brodsky Quartet pair a single late string quartet with a short work in each…

Read the article

Noh and the Natural World

Feature

As Noh Reimagined returns to Kings Place in June 2020, curator Akiko Yanagisawa reflects on the centrality of nature to…

Read the article

The Sinking of the Titanic, Fifty Years On

Feature

Gavin Bryars reveals the impetus behind composing the work and some of the most eventful performances as we approach the…

Read the article

An Opera on the Sexual Revolution

Feature

Composer Alex Mills reflects on his thought-provoking chamber opera Dear Marie Stopes which premiered at the Wellcome Collection in 2018.

Read the article

Happy Birthday Clara

Feature

Pianist Lucy Parham celebrates the remarkable composer Clara Schumann.

Read the article

And the Band Played on

Feature

A unique, 50th-anniversary performance of Gavin Bryars’ The Sinking of the Titanic

Read the article

19 Events For 2019

Feature

Our 2019 artistic programme started last week with a spectacular performance from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, launching…

Read the article

A Winter Welcome

Feature

You’ll find the lights blazing and the music playing for Christmas at Kings Place

Read the article

Macro/Micro

Feature

Emma Denton, cellist with the Carducci Quartet, tells Amanda Holloway about their Bartók quartet cycle

Read the article