Articles tagged with: Julian Jacobson

Booking open for Jackdaws 2018-19 Courses!

Booking open for Jackdaws 2018-19 Courses!

Every year, we announce the more Jackdaws residential Weekend and One Day Courses. We welcome a range of new and returning tutors to our programme to keep our teaching varied, current, and so we can encourage you to try something new and find a new challenge.

We have full weekend courses, running Friday evening until Sunday afternoon; longer Three Day Courses from Thursday to Sunday; and One Day Courses bite-sized introductions to essential topics for all musicians. Some of the wonderful new tutors we welcome this year are Joan Rodgers, Alisdair Hogarth, Isobel Buchanan, Robert Chevara, Madeleine Mitchell and Alison Wells. Follow their links to read their full biographies and course descriptions, booking is now open!

Jackdaws Tutor Jessica Walker

Jessica Walker helps you with “Understanding Your Voice”

One Day Courses
Understanding Your Voice
with Jessica Walker
Saturday 3 November 2018

Family Singing Afternoon
with Caroline Radcliffe
Sunday 4 November 2018

Singing for Health
with Penny Jenkins
Saturday 1 December 2018

Jackdaws Piano Tutor Stephen Marquiss

Stephen Marquiss runs “Play the Piano by Ear”

Play the Piano by Ear
with Stephen Marquiss
Sunday 2 December 2018

Heart Song
with Anne Bourne
Saturday 8 December 2018

From Panic to Pose One Day Course
with Wendy Skeen
Sunday 9 December 2018

Voice Courses
Singing in English
with Adrian Thompson
Fri 21 – Sun 23 September 2018

Jackdaws Tutor Isobel Buchanan

Learn the Art of Bel Canto with Isobel Buchanan

The Art of Bel Canto
with Isobel Buchanan
Fri 19 – Sun 21 October 2018

Audition Preparation Weekend
with Audrey Hyland and Saffron van Zwanenberg
Fri 9 – Sun 11 November 2018

Schubert, Schumann and Wolf
with Joan Rodgers
Fri 23 – Sun 25 November 2018

Jackdaws Tutor Joan Rodgers

Study German Lieder with Joan Rodgers

Art Songs by African-American and Black British Composers
with Michael Harper
Fri 25 – Sun 27 January 2019

Sing Sing Sing
with Evelyn Tubb and Michael Fields
Fri 8 – Sun 10 February 2019

The Singer as Artist
with Alison Wells
Fri 1 – Sun 3 March 2019

English Song Weekend
with Sarah Leonard and Stephen Varcoe
Fri 15 – Sun 17 March 2019

Jackdaws Tutor Richard Jackson

Richard Jackson returns with A Song by Any Other Name

A Song by Any Other Name
with Richard Jackson
Fri 29 – Fri 31 March 2019

The Vocal Technician
with Joy Mammen
Fri 12 – Sun 14 April 2019

Singing Handel
with Rosa Mannion
Fri 10 – Sun 12 May 2019

Jackdaws Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg

Live & Sing your Favourite Opera scenes with Saffron van Zwanenberg and Rosa Mannion

Discover Your Voice
with Penny Jenkins
Fri 21 – Sun 23 June 2019

Staged Opera Scenes
with Saffron van Zwanenberg and Rosa Mannion
Thurs 4 – Sun 7 July 2019
Three Day Course

Summer Singing Workshop
with Jessica Walker
Thurs 8 – Sun 11 August 2019
Three Day Course

Robert Chevara - credit Rikki Beadle-Blair

Robert Chevara and Mary Plazas run Opera Workshop

Opera Workshop
with Mary Plazas and Robert Chevara
Fri 23 – Sun 25 August 2019

Singing in French
with Robin Bowman
Fri 30 August – Sun 1 September 2019

Piano Courses
Finding Your Voice at the Piano
with Stephen Savage
Fri 28 – Sun 30 September 2018

Jackdaws Tutor Elena Riu

Elena Riu returns with New Course “The Embodied Pianist”

The Embodied Pianist: Focus – Release – Tune In
with Elena Riu
Fri 12 – Sun 14 October 2018

Improvisation: An Art for Everyone
with Mark Polishook
Fri 26 – Sun 28 October 2018

Practising the Piano
with Graham Fitch
Fri 16 – Sun 18 November 2018

Polishing Your Piano Technique
with Melanie Spanswick
Fri 18 – Sun 20 January 2019

Jackdaws Tutor Alisdair Hogarth

New Tutor Alisdair Hogarth opens his Piano Toolbox

The Pianist’s Technical Toolbox
with Alisdair Hogarth
Fri 22 – Sun 24 March 2019

Knowing the Score
with Karl Lutchmayer
Fri 26 – Sun 28 April 2019

Becoming a Confident Pianist
with Timothy Barratt
Fri 17 – Sun 19 May 2019

Jackdaws Tutor Mark Tanner

Mark Tanner’s 2 part Piano Summer School

Improvisation: An Art for Everyone
with Mark Polishook
Fri 14 – Sun 16 June 2019

The Art of Pedalling
with Julian Jacobson
Fri 28 – Sun 30 June 2019

Intermediate Piano Summer School
with Mark Tanner
Tues 23 – Thurs 25 July 2019

Anna Stegmann Photo: Marco Borggreve

Anna Stegmann’s Recorder Weekend returns in October

Advanced Piano Summer School
with Mark Tanner
Thurs 25 – Sun 28 July 2019
Three Day Course

Piano Workshop: A New Departure
with Philip Fowke
Fri 13 – Sun 15 September 2019

Wind Courses
Recorder Weekend
with Anna Stegmann
Fri 5 – Sun 7 October 2018

Jackdaws Tutor William Lyons

Discover Renaissance Wind Music with William Lyons

The City Musick – Renaissance Wind Band Music for Court & City
with William Lyons and Richard Thomas
Fri 15 – Sun 17 February 2019

Clarinets
with David Campbell
Fri 8 – Sun 10 March 2019

Oboe Weekend
with Sarah Francis and Jean Marsden
Fri 31 May – Sun 2 June 2019

Jackdaws Tutor Madeleine Mitchell by Rama Knight

Workshop Viola and Violin music with Madeleine Mitchell

Bassoon Workshop – From Reed to Recital
with Robert Codd
Fri 7 – Sun 9 June 2019

Strings Courses
Winter Guitar Ensemble
with Eden Stell Guitar Duo
Thurs 31 January – Sun 3rd February 2019
Three Day Course

Violin and Viola Workshop
with Madeleine Mitchell
Fri 5 – Sun 7 April 2019

Eden Stell Guitar Duo

A long awaited Summer Guitar Course with the Eden Stell Duo

Summer Guitar Ensemble
with Eden Stell Guitar Duo
Thurs 11 – Sun 14 July 2019
Three Day Course

Strings & Things: Intermediate – Advanced
with Elizabeth Turnbull
Thurs 15 – Sun 18 August 2019
Three Day Course

Stylish Baroque
with Theresa Caudle and Alistair Ross
Fri 6 – Sun 8 September 2019

Jackdaws Tutor Wendy Skeen

Wendy Skeen’s successful One Day Course gets a full weekend!

Ensemble Courses
From Panic to Poise: Strategies for Managing Performance Anxiety Weekend
with Wendy Skeen
Fri 3 – Sun 5 May 2019

Chamber Music Weekend
with Sarah Francis, Robert Codd, Ian Mitchell and Stephen Gutman
Fri 19 – Sun 21 July 2019

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Winners of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2016

Winners of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2016

Winners of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 216

L to R: Saffron van Zwanenberg, Leo Nicholson (Accomp Prize), Holly Marie Bingham (2nd Prize), Nardus Williams (1st & Audience Prizes), Rosemary Joshua, Sam Carl (3rd Prize), Joan Rodgers, Julian Jacobson

The winners of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2016:
First Prize
Nardus Williams, Soprano

Second Prize
Holly Marie Bingham, Mezzo-Soprano

Third Prize
Sam Carl, Bass

Accompanist Prize
Leo Nicholson

Audience Prize
Nardus Williams, Soprano

The judges, Rosemary Joshua, Joan Rodgers, Julian Jacobson and Saffron van Zwanenberg were delighted with the standard and commended all who took part.

All finalists were required to present a programme consisting of four items, two own choice items in addition to one song by each of the two set composers; Handel, of whose music Maureen Lehane was a renowned interpreter, and Peter Wishart, her late husband in whose memory the awards were started.

The 2016 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards are possible because of the generous support from The Mercers’ Company, The Rosemary Budgen Charitable Trust, Cooper Hall Emerging Artists, Frome Voices and the Jackdaws Trustees.

 


 

Winner of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Award 2016 - Nardus Williams, SopranoNardus Williams is a young soprano currently studying on the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Yvonne Kenny, having previously studied with Lillian Watson and David Thomas. She is also mentored by Matthew Rose.

Recent performances include Messiah with the OSJ under John Lubbock at King’s Place and St John’s Smith Sqaure, Nitocris in Handel’s Belshazzar under Nicholas Kraemer, Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder with the Kingfisher Sinfonia, and a number of recitals at St John’s Smith Square during their 2015/16 season. She was also a member of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera 2016.

A Park Lane Group Artist since 2015, Nardus will be giving a recital at the Wigmore Hall next year. She is also a Samling Artist, and performed in their showcase at The Sage, Gateshead earlier in 2016.

In 2017 Nardus will be performing the role of Donna Elvira at Opera Holland Park as a Christine Collins Young Artist.

She is generously supported by The Worshipful Company of Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers, and the Winship Foundation. Previous Scholarships include Countess of Munster Musical Trust, Help Musicians Maidment Scholarship and Helen Roll Charitable Trust.

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2016: Finalists Announced

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2016: Finalists Announced

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Following two days of auditions on the 8th and 9th October, we present, with great excitement, the singers competing in the iconic Wigmore Hall at the finals of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2016:

David Ireland, Bass-Baritone accompanied by Ed Whitehead

Claire Barnett Jones, Mezzo-Soprano accompanied by Dylan Perez

Sung Kyu Choi, Baritone accompanied by Seungwon Lee

Nardus Williams, Soprano accompanied by Dylan Perez

Sam Carl, Bass accompanied by Leo Nicholson

Catriona Hewitson, Soprano accompanied by Paul McKenzie

Malachy Frame, Baritone accompanied by Liam Crangle

Holly Marie Bingham, Mezzo-Soprano accompanied by Kaoru Wada

The winner will be decided by the panel of four judges:
Rosemary Joshua
Joan Rodgers
Julian Jacobson
chaired by Saffron van Zwanenberg

All finalists are required to present a programme consisting of four items. There are two set composers; Handel, of whose music Maureen Lehane was a renowned interpreter, and Peter Wishart, her late husband in whose memory the awards were started.

The 2016 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards are possible because of the generous support from The Mercers’ Company, The Rosemary Budgen Charitable Trust, Cooper Hall Emerging Artists, Frome Voices and the Jackdaws Trustees.

The final takes place on Friday 28 October at 1pm, Wigmore Hall. We hope to see you there.

2016-17 Music Courses

2016-17 Music Courses

We are delighted to announce booking is now open for our 2016-17 season weekend and one-day music courses for Voice, Piano, Wind and Strings at Jackdaws; full details are available below.

You can now book through our website, by phone, email and post. Scroll down to see our exciting new courses.

Jackdaws New Courses 2016-17

Jump to section: Voice, Piano, One Day Courses, Strings, Wind

Voice

23 – 25 Sept 2016: Singing in Russian with Alexandre Naoumenko

7 – 9 Oct: Singing and Imagination with Ameral Gunson

4 – 6 Nov: The Healthy Voice with Russell Smythe

11 – 13 Nov: Bridge to Britten with Ian Partridge

18 – 20 Nov: Audition Preparation with Audrey Hyland & Saffron van Zwanenberg

27 – 29 Jan 2017: Sing Sing Sing with Evelyn Tubb & Michael Fields

10 – 12 Feb: Opera Workshop with Mary Plazas

24 – 26 Feb: Art Songs with Michael Harper

17 – 19 Mar: English Song with Sarah Leonard & Stephen Varcoe

31 Mar – 2nd Apr: A Song By Any Other Name with Richard Jackson

7 – 9 Apr: Singing Handel with Rosa Mannion

5 – 7 May: Singing in Spanish with Carlos Aransay

17 – 19 May: The Vocal Technician with Joy Mammen

9 – 11 June: Discover Your Voice with Penny Jenkins

23 – 25 June: The Golden Age of Broadway with Paul Knight

13 – 16 July: Staged Opera Scenes with Saffron van Zwanenberg & Rosa Mannion

21 – 23 July: 20th Century & Beyond with Linda Hirst

10 – 13 Aug: Unlocking Your Vocal Potential with Jessica Walker

24 – 27 Aug: Preparing a Role with Phillip Thomas

1 – 3 Sept: Singing in French with Robin Bowman

Click on Course Titles for more information

Jackdaws May 2016Piano

30 Sept – 2 Oct 2016: Performance Anxiety with Ruth Harte

14 – 16 Oct: Sight-Reading, Memorisation and Piano Technique with Melanie Spanswick

28 – 30 Oct: Finding Your Voice at the Piano with Stephen Savage

25 – 27 Nov: Practising the Piano with Graham Fitch

10 – 12 Mar 2017: Improvisation: An Art for Everyone with Mark Polishook

24 – 26 Mar: The Complete Pianist with Margaret Fingerhut

28 – 30 Apr: Piano Workshop – A New Departure! with Philip Fowke

12 – 14 May: The Pianist Within with Elena Riu

30 June – 2 July: Rachmaninov and other Russian Composers with Julian Jacobson

27 – 30 July: Piano Summer School with Mark Tanner

15 – 17 Sept: Piano Workshop – A New Departure! with Philip Fowke

 

One Day Courses

Sat 3 Dec: Singing for the over 50’s with Penny Jenkins

Sun 4 Dec: One Day Guitar Course with Chris Stell

Sat 10 Dec: Free to Perform with Ann Hetherington

Sun 11 Dec: Singing with Confidence with Jessica Walker

Fri 16 Dec: Jackdaws Christmas Concert at Great Elm Church (concert)

 

Strings

2 – 5 Feb 2017: Guitar Ensemble with Eden Stell Guitar Duo

16 – 18 June: Strings & Things Part One with Elizabeth Turnbull

17 – 20 Aug: Strings & Things Part Two with Elizabeth Turnbull

 

Wind

21 – 23 Oct 2016: Recorder Weekend with Anna Stegmann

17 – 19 Feb 2017: The City Musick: Renaissance Music for Court & City with William Lyons & Richard Thomas

3 – 5 Mar: Clarinets with David Campbell

21 – 23 Apr: Oboe Workshop with Sarah Francis & Jean Marsden

2 – 4 June: Bassoon Workshop – From Reed to Recital with Robert Codd

7 – 9 July: Chamber Music with Sarah Francis, Robert Codd, Ian Mitchell & Stephen Gutman

8 – 10 Sept: Stylish Baroque with Theresa Caudle & Alastair Ross

Summer at the Keys

Summer at the Keys

Summer is a wonderful time for music. What better time to enjoy a classical music retreat at Jackdaws, where you can focus entirely on your music.

 

Jackdaws Tutor Elena RiuThe Pianist Within
with Elena Riu

“Its lovely to have a weekend away, share music, make new friends and have lovely meals cooked..bliss.”

Elena Riu’s weekends in Great Elm are something a little different to your average piano course. Elena, who trained in El Sistema, the revolutionary music education system in Venezuela which also produced Gustavo Dudamel and the Simon Bólivar Symphony Orchestra, begins with a revised timetable and introduces simple stretches and relaxation exercises to help you calm those pre-performance nerves.

As Professor of Piano at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, her credentials are in no doubt, and her continued success as a specialist performer of South American and Spanish music gives an exciting twist to this unique weekend. In 2016, a significant anniversary for two of Spain’s most renowned composers – Manuel da Falla and Enrique Granados, there is no better time to explore this wonderful music and try a new approach to the piano.

The Pianist Within
Friday 17 – 19 June 2016
Deposit: £50
B&B: Available
Book Now

 

Jackdaws Tutor Julian JacobsonSharpen Up Your Chopin
with Julian Jacobson

“There is something fundamentally personal and at the same time so very masterly in his playing that he may be called a really perfect virtuoso.” – Felix Mendelssohn on Chopin

Julian Jacobson, whose own playing “reveals the known repertoire of sonatas by Haydn and Chopin in a clearer, penetrating and often revelatory light” (The Oxford Times), leads another composer focused weekend at Jackdaws. Previous weekends, highlighting composers such as Beethoven and Liszt, have been received enthusiastically by pianists wanting to explore the music of these composers who are so dominating in the central repertoire.

More than 260 years on, Chopin’s music still glitters, shining a light directly onto the deepest of human emotions with unrivaled power and delicacy. To understand Chopin’s music is to understand expression at the piano.

Sharpen Up Your Chopin
Friday 1 – Sunday 3 July 2016
Depost: £50
B&B: Available
Book now

Julian Jacobson sharpens up your Chopin

Julian Jacobson sharpens up your Chopin

The magic of Chopin’s music is still as potent as ever, even more than 260 years after his death. No notes feel so grateful under the pianist’s fingers yet require such great subtlety, delicacy, fire and virtuosity to make their full effect. Sharpen up your Chopin offers the opportunity for pianists to explore this unique composer through his music, under the expert guidance of Royal College of Music professor Julian Jacobson.

Frederic ChopinSimplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.

– Frederic Chopin

His is music has such immediacy, with the delicate interplay of melody and accompaniment so carefully arranged. The titles, descriptive rather than poetic, reveal nothing of the glorious music they contain. Jackdaws Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg, said “Chopin’s music is so powerful and worthy of further exploration that a weekend devoted to it is long over due“.

Choosing Your Repertoire

Julian has led courses at Jackdaws for a most of its history. He suggests each participant bring two of their favourite pieces from Chopin’s huge ouvre. Of course, he is happy to assist with selection of repertoire at a suitable level of difficulty, and has written a one page guide giving approximate difficulties of Chopin’s most popular pieces.

Regarding what “stage” the pieces should be at, Julian says, ‘it’s nice if one of them represents what the participant feels is a fairly finished performance; maybe something they will have already played in public or performed for friends, and the other is more “work in progress” that the participant feels I can help with.’

We understand that each participant is different and if your two pieces are both further along the road that’s also fine; it’s best if the music is reasonably well prepared and this is more significant than the overall difficulty of the piece. Julian adds ‘The main thing is not to stress about how “good” the pieces will be, while hopefully doing one’s best to get them into reasonable shape for working on in the class!’

Finally, consider the size and length of the pieces. If you bring short pieces, Preludes for instance, we might find time to work on three or even four. Compare this with the complexity of a major work such as the 4th Ballade; this piece alone would be enough for an entire course. Assuming they will be short, but not too short pieces, two is perfect.

Julian was Head of Keyboard Studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and is now a professor at the Royal College of Music and Birmingham Conservatoire, and a Guest Professor at Xiamen University China. He gives masterclasses internationally and is a Diploma Examiner for ABRSM.

Sharpen Up Your Chopin
with Julian Jacobson
Friday 1 – Sunday 3 July 2016
Level: Advanced
Fee: £200
B&B: Available
Book now

Jackdaws voted Second in UK Piano Course Rankings

Popular piano blogger Frances Wilson – the Cross-Eyed Pianist – asked her readers to rate their favourite Piano courses and Jackdaws came second place on the competitive list.

We were delighted to read this news as Jackdaws courses are a unique resource for musicians of abilities.

Philip Fowke at JackdawsThe survey also revealed the reasons people come on courses like ours. At the top of the list was the the opportunity to work with leading teachers, something Jackdaws offers at every weekend course, and to gain “useful, critical feedback”.

Survey answers concluded that people enjoyed the social element of meeting other pianists, as well as the opportunity to play in front of others in a non-competitive environment. A further bonus was the chance to focus on their piano playing “without having to deal with cooking or family matters”.

Jackdaws piano courses run on weekends throughout the year and are taught by leading pianists such as Mark Tanner, Philip Fowke, Graham Fitch, Margaret Fingerhut and Melanie Spanswick. Courses are limited to ten participants to ensure all musicians get a fair share of the tutor’s time, with all meals provided on site by our renowned cooks Alex and Loo.

Read the full article on The Cross-Eyed Pianist.

Jackdaws Tutor Julian Jacobson

Interview with the Jacobson-Brown Piano Duo

Interview with the Jacobson-Brown Piano Duo

Julian Jacobson and Mariko Brown, photo by Roger HarrisIt’s not a Jackdaws-first, but this Summer will certainly be the first time in many years that we welcome a renowned Piano Duo to lead one of our weekend music courses. We managed to get five minutes with Julian Jacobson and Mariko Brown, in between performing together at such prestigious venues as London’s Purcell Rooms and across Europe (not to mention their solo performances!)

How did you come to start playing together?

Julian: Around 1999 I was doing a two-piano recording for the BBC in the Maida Vale studios. My page turner was replaced at the last moment by a friendly girl who did it so well that I asked her – Mariko – if she would be interested in turning for further concerts and recordings. This continued for several years until one day – knowing that Mariko was an excellent pianist and that we shared many similar musical tastes – I suggested that it might be nice to play some duets together and, in particular, that she could join me for a performance of Rhapsody in Blue. It was so much fun preparing and playing this that we decided to form our duo and work on it as a significant part of both of our musical lives. And it has now become a passion, from which we both get great satisfaction – and, still, fun!

You are two exceptional musicians but have extremely different experience and backgrounds. How does this influence the way you play together?

Any duo has to operate by give-and-take. At the beginning I was inevitably the more experienced partner, and this may have been a factor in our first concerts, but now it feels very much like an equal partnership. I think we each have different strengths and qualities that complement each other. My early experience as a jazz pianist probably influenced our Gershwin and tango playing! Fundamentally, though, our approach to music-making is the same, and also we have a similar touch, possibly because Mariko’s teacher Joan Havill was a pupil of my last teacher Louis Kentner. It’s difficult to be, literally, together with a duo partner whose touch is too dissimilar to yours – the attack is so direct and you really have to feel it in the same way.

What are the benefits of playing duet repertoire?

One learns humility! If things in your own playing are not coming across as you think then your partner won’t find it easy to play with you, and he or she may hear this better than you do yourself. But really there are benefits on so many fronts: rhythmic control and stability, learning to focus on the other person’s part as much as your own (which benefits any other duo and ensemble playing one is doing), tonal balance, the importance of sticking to what you have rehearsed and capturing it in performance, super-accurate pedalling which requires close listening as it has to work for the whole texture, not just your own part. In a nutshell, concentration, flexibility, discipline and reliability.

Julian Jacobson and Mariko Brown lead their Piano Duets Weekend at Jackdaws from Friday 3 July – Sunday 5 July 2015.

What can people expect from your Jackdaws course? Will they need to sightread?

No sight-reading is expected. We are hoping to attract teams who already play together and so will bring their own, prepared repertoire. However pianists can also apply as “singles” and we will team you up with another single based on your experience, level and also location so that you can hopefully get together for a few rehearsals before the course. Or one of us will play the other part with you. We can recommend appropriate repertoire if this would be a help. In the course you will be coached as a duo by one or both of us, but there will also be the opportunity for help on your individual parts. It will be be a busy course and we hope it will be a lot of fun! There will as usual be a concert at the end with all the pieces that are ready for performance.

Julian Jacobson Mariko Brown Piano DuoIsn’t the four hand repertoire a bit limited – just some Mozart pieces and Schubert’s F minor Fantasie?

The Schubert Fantasie is a sublime masterpiece and one of our favourites – but the duet repertoire is enormous and contains every kind of music! The first known keyboard duet is by Thomas Tomkins, “Fancy For Two To Play” (c.1650), and very fine it is too. In addition to Schubert’s treasure trove, most of the major piano composers have written fine duets – Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Liszt, Rachmaninov – and the French composers have absolutely excelled in four-hands music: we can mention Fauré’s “Dolly” Suite, Debussy’s Petite Suite, Ravel’s “Mother Goose” and Poulenc’s Sonata for starters, fabulous pieces and not too difficult. In addition there is the whole world of arrangements, from György Kurtág’s beautiful Bach transcriptions to Henry Levine’s classic transcription of “Rhapsody in Blue”. And simpler pieces in jazz style such as Richard Rodney Bennett’s delightful “Suite for Skip and Sadie” (his two cats)… the list goes on and on. You can click on our repertoire page for some ideas.

What about the logistics of piano duets – do you fight over who gets the pedals? How do you decide who takes the treble and who takes the bass? And do you knock elbows?

No fighting, or rarely! Normally the Secondo takes the pedals, though exceptionally we will change over – there is no point in the Secondo pedalling for a lengthy solo passage in the Primo part. Some duos always keep the same position but we switch freely – usually we just instinctively feel what will work best. Having decided, we then of course stick with the same part, though occasionally we might change over in rehearsal to get to know the piece better. Yes one knocks elbows, brushes hands and constantly gets in the way of the other! But a significant part of rehearsing duets is working out “where to go”, whether one’s hand goes above or below the other’s when there is a clash, sometimes changing one’s fingering for one that gets less in the way. In other words – negotiating territorial claims!

Can you share one tip for rehearsing a piano duet?

Decide who’s going to turn the page in rehearsal! Every page turn will work better with one player or the other and this will help the continuity. We mark our copies with “T” for turn at the appropriate point.

Do you have plans to release any commercial recordings?

Our first recording has already been released on Naxos – this is a CD of music by Julian’s father Maurice Jacobson who many pianists of a certain age remember as a prominent festival adjudicator but who was also a serious composer. There are two duet pieces including “Theme and Variations”, by far the longest and most substantial work on the CD. But we are very keen to get on with recording some of our main repertoire, especially Mozart, Schubert, Ravel, Debussy, Gershwin and our contemporary pieces (some written especially for us – including by ourselves!), and we have a number of possible avenues for this. www.marikojulianpianoduo.com

Julian Jacobson and Mariko Brown come to Jackdaws to lead their Piano Duets Weekend from Friday 3 July – Sunday 5 July 2015.

BoathouseFlower KarolynPiano Duets Weekend
Julian Jacobson and Mariko Brown
Friday 3 – Sunday 5 July 2015
Level: Advanced
Fee: £200
B&B: Available on Request
Read more…

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