A Tea Party for Alice

A few months ago I had the pleasure of writing a world-exclusive first review of Nikki Iles’ latest piano collection, Piano Tales for Alice, published by Elena Cobb’s EVC Music.

At the time of the review, I concluded:

“All in all, Piano Tales for Alice is an absolute delight – perhaps EVC Music’s most exciting publication and essential purchase to date. Hats off to publisher Elena Cobb, composer Nikki Iles, and all involved in bringing this exceptional publication to market.”

I receive dozens of publications for review each term, and cannot possibly cover them all in the detail I would like to, still less actually use all this music with my own students (even though I have more than 60, of all ages and abilities).

In the case of this outstanding collection, however, such was my enthusiasm that I have since used it with two of my own students, Imogen (aged 11) and Bella (12), both of whom had recently completed ABRSM Grade 1.

Both girls chose Piano Tales for Alice from a small selection of books I showed them, and both have absolutely fallen in love with Nikki’s pieces. Quite simply, it has been a joy to behold the extent to which they have each been inspired by this collection, their imaginations alight to an extent that they have risen quickly to the fresh musical challenges in each piece.

What a privilege, then, to have been invited to a very special launch event celebrating this publication, hosted by publisher Elena Cobb at Fortnum & Mason in London’s Piccadilly…

The Tea Party

Welcoming a select bunch of invitees to this beautiful and intimate launch event, Elena Cobb expressed her hopes that it heralds further special launches in future years.


As was widely commented by attendees, none of us had been to such a delicious book launch before! Elena’s commitment to quality, innovation and generous friendship truly shone through.

As one would expect at such a world-renowned establishment as Fortnum & Mason’s, we were treated to a gorgeous spread of food, wine – and of course, their famous teas:


Elena introduced us to composer Nikki Iles, who shared a few words outlining the story behind the publication, her educational interests, and giving a tantalising glimpse of the follow-up collection expected next year.

Here’s Elena and Nikki:


To close, here’s a picture of some of the attendees.

Pictured (from the left), David Duncan and Lizzie Moore (LCM Exams), Jonathan Lee (organist, pianist, audio producer, music editor), Nigel Scaife (piano expert, writer and educational consultant), Nikki Iles, myself, Claire Jackson (freelance journalist and acting editor, Music Teacher magazine), with Elena Cobb and her sister (standing behind):


If you have yet to discover the brilliant Piano Tales for Alice, do please  read my review here  and visit the  EVC Music website here  to purchase a copy or two forthwith!

Thank you again to Elena Cobb for this fabulous event, and for providing the photos.

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Published by

Andrew Eales

Andrew Eales is a widely respected piano educator, writer and composer based on Milton Keynes UK. His book HOW TO PRACTISE MUSIC is published by Hal Leonard.