Sunday, 29 April 2012


"Initially I was working on an electric keyboard, but by the time I got to Grade V, I realised that I needed to work on an acoustic piano. Because we only had a few pianos in my secondary school, I remember the rush at lunchtime or after school to get to the music department first! And then when I got to college I began by working on a boxed piano, and soon after I began to work on a grand piano, which was great.  It was much more sensitive, and because of the room it was in, and the acoustics and the piano being really good, all of the things I had been practicing for years finally really came out, I didn’t have to worry about getting the sound out now I was on a good piano. I use the piano now for performing, coming up with ideas for composition and for having fun and messing about on as well. I think what partly draws me is the versatility in producing rich, dense, chordal textures, but also legato, singing melodies and you can use it more percussively (as you find in some more contemporary pieces). And of course it can act as a solo or ensemble based instrument too. I get classical piano lessons; I’m doing performance at Goldsmiths University. I started preparing for my end of year recital in October; I’m playing Beethoven and a Chopin Nocturne.  My teacher suggested some Ginastera, as I wanted something more contemporary and rhythmically challenging. Technically each one has its own difficulties.  For example in the Ginastera, getting the triplets in time to be correct by not mechanical, and with the right accentuation is my main focus and the left hand part is quite hard as well. I’m also doing one of his American Preludes, which has octaves in both hands the whole way through, so I’m trying to build my stamina up for that as well. The Beethoven is challenging because it’s quite a well known piece.  I’m trying to stay true to Beethoven’s instructions and also be passionate with it, it’s called the Pathetique!  Barenboim’s interpretation definitely inspires me the most as he seems to capture the essence of it so well. I hadn’t got my hands on Chopin until now, but as soon as you start learning it you realise how pianistic it is, perfect for piano players. Such a contrast with Beethoven, some of his markings are not pianistic.  Probably, Beethoven had his own way of playing.  My teacher guides me with interpretation but never dictates how I should play something and encourages me to be show individuality through playing. If I’m ever frustrated or feeling like the practice isn’t working, then I just stop because you’re not going to get anywhere.  The right mode of practice is when you’re feeling focused and content.  You’re kind of in the zone. I try to play for a few hours every day. I think after completing my studies I would like to do some performance but not become a Concert Pianist. I also compose; that’s one of my real passions.  I’d really like to teach piano too. " (Dilara Aydin-Corbett)


"I was playing on a cruise ship in Alaska and we were getting towards the end of the set.  The ocean was completely beautiful and very, very calm; the water was like marshmallow.  We were playing some nice quiet jazz ballads and all of the sudden, without any sort of warning the whole cruise ship tilted over by 10 to 15 degrees.   I was playing a pink baby grand piano and the whole stage, including the piano, started rolling down towards the end of the window and I thought I was going to fall out of it!  Basically the whole cruise ship was a complete wreck because everything started falling over.  It was quite bizarre.  There were no waves at all, completely tranquil ocean, you couldn’t imagine a flatter sea and then all of the sudden the piano started sliding over while I was playing it.  I thought, shock horror!  What’s going on?  We’re all going to die!  We’d all had a few cocktails by then as well, it was really late.  Most of the audience had already gone to bed, but there were a couple of people left and they started screaming.  It was tilting like this for fifteen minutes.  We didn’t find out til the next day what had happened.  As it turned out an engineer had had too much to drink and had pressed the wrong button.  He’d turned the stabilisers off. They’re meant to keep the ship horizontal, it was so ironic because it’s one of those moments you just couldn’t believe, we’d actually been commenting on how calm the sea was and then that happened!" (Craig Stallwood)


"My grandmother was born in 1898 and I remember her bottle green piano.  When she was sixty-two  years old she moved to the 26th floor of a tower block. The building was new; it was one of those towers put up in the 1960’s.  It was in Edmonton, I was a young boy at the time. The piano stayed there 'til 1980 when she moved to Norwich to live with us.  The piano came with her then as well.  When I used to visit my nan in the tower block I’d wonder how the piano had got all the way up there!  I’d tinkle away on it and she’d tell me  “learn your scales, learn your scales!” That was her phrase. She was worried about the noise so she didn’t play it that much.  She played more at the Salvation Army meetings, she’d play the hymns.  I don’t know much about how she learnt piano.  When she took the piano to Norwich she gave it to my brother who lived nearby.  It was on casters and he started wheeling it to his home but the piano never made it because it gradually started falling to bits in the street until there was nothing left!  I didn't really learn my scales but it’s never too late." (Karl Ferre)