Andrew Eales: an interview

Interview by Frances Wilson

This interview includes material that originally appeared on Frances Wilson’s site The Cross-Eyed Pianist, and is reproduced here with her kind permission.

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Take a Bow! How, When and Why…

Advice for New Performers

As the pianist releases the final notes of the piece, the audience bursts into enthusiastic applause. The player stands and takes a bow…

It’s a code of conduct that we tend to take for granted – but one that should be taught and practised as part of performance preparation.

Because I try to cultivate a friendly, non-competitive, informal atmosphere at my student concerts, I have not always been careful to make sure that new performers understand the importance of “stagecraft”, and the essential place of taking a bow in order to receive and acknowledge audience applause.

I have been trying to address that by giving students a “mock performance” experience in their lesson, including teaching them how to bow. Here is a quick summary that supports that practice.

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Snow on Snow

Like many in the UK, I woke up to an early blast of freezing temperatures this morning. The frost is deep and crisp and even. The pond is starting to ice over. “The hose is froze”.

And while I live in a mild temperate climate, far from the extremes that many friends and colleagues around the world experience, there remains no doubt that winter is coming even here.

I always associate the different seasons and time of the year with different music. And like many composers that is also reflected in my writing.

With that in mind, here is something to listen to from the warmth of the indoors – a small composition of mine from a few seasons ago, called “Snow on Snow”. The words (which I read aloud) are from Christina Rosetti’s “In the Bleak Midwinter”.

If you enjoy this, do feel free to explore my other original music on SoundCloud.

Stay warm!

ABRSM Conference Report

ABRSM’s Teacher Conference has established itself as one of the leading events in the instrumental teacher’s calendar, providing an opportunity for colleagues to network, stay abreast of new developments in the music teaching world, and refresh teaching skills.

This year’s conference took place at London’s Grange Tower Bridge Hotel on Saturday 5th November, and took as its title and grand theme ”The Art and Craft of Performing. More than 500 teachers attended, including me for the first time.

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Andrew Eales 2016 Recital

I would like to say a HUGE Thank You! to all who supported my 2016 Recital performance at the Chrysalis Theatre, Milton Keynes on Saturday 8th October.

Each year I try to give at least one solo recital locally as an opportunity to share my own playing and enthusiasm with my students, families and friends in the area – as well as those who choose to travel from further afield.

One such is my friend Stephen Marquiss, himself a very highly respected pianist and teacher, who kindly wrote of the evening:

“Treated to a recital by Andrew Eales last night packed with exquisite musical detail, inspired programming and engaging and informative introductions.”

For those who are interested in the programme I played, and would like to explore the music and composers more, here’s the list:

  • Louis Couperin (1626-61): Chaconne in F major
  • Erik Satie (1866-1925): Sarabande No.1
  • Erik Satie:  Gymnopédies 1-3
  • W.A. Mozart (1756-1791):  Piano Sonata in F major K.332

And after the interval:

  • Elena Kats-Chernin (b1957):  Eliza Aria
  • Elena Kats-Chernin:  Butterflying
  • Robert Schumann (1810-1856):  Papillons Op.2
  • Erik Satie:  3 Gnossiennes

At the end I also performed my own composition “Prelude to a Better Year”, a version of which I recorded here:

The concert was held to benefit the Campbell Community Milton Keynes, a charity that all recent Keyquest Music concerts have supported.

Including the ticket sales and refreshments on Saturday, the total amount we have raised for this wonderful cause over the last three years has now risen to more than £5,000.

Thank you for such overwhelming generosity!

ABRSM Piano Star: Announcement

I am delighted to inform readers that ABRSM commissioned me to compose a number of pieces for their new Piano Star series of pre-Grade 1 books, which they formally unveil today. I feel honoured to have been involved with these fabulous new books…

As a direct contributor, of course I am unable to offer a full independent review of the publications here for ethical reasons. Instead, I have reproduced today’s Media Release from ABRSM, which gives full details of the publications below.

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