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The Royal Academy of Music’s Summer Piano Festival is back with a free programme of ‘wit and diversity’

22 June, 2017 — By Sebastian Taylor

Summer Piano Festival: Three days, 20 performances, all free

A veritable saturnalia of piano-playing is taking place at the Royal Academy of Music in Marylebone Road next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (June 26-28). And all 20 performances and events are free, no tickets required.

RAM’s annual Piano Festival is being curated by Joanna MacGregor, its head of piano. “I wanted to create a series of concerts that reflect the wit, originality and diversity of the repertoire played by pianists today,” she says. “So we’ve put together a programme overflowing with ideas, unfolding over three days in different venues.

Joanna MacGregor, the Royal Academy of Music’s head of piano

“There are collaborative events as well as recitals – our pianists playing with string and wind players, esembles, composers, dancers and visual artists. This is emblematic of the way we see our pianists’ role as creative musicians.”

Festival highlights include:

• Performance of all of Beethoven’s 32 sonatas and talk by pianist Alfred Brendel about his early experiences playing the sonatas.

• Quartertonal Piano Project where contemporary classics and new pieces by RAM student composers are played on two uprights tuned a quartertone apart.

• Rolling programme of chamber music for trumpet and piano, flute and piano, viola and piano and wind quintets and piano.

• Cross-arts collaborations with dancers from the London Contemporary Dance School and artists/film-makers from Central St Martins and Royal College of Art.

• Mozart represented by performances of two of his piano concertos and in Hummel’s virtuosic transcriptions of one of Mozart’s piano concertos, a symphony and piano/wind quintet.

• Final concert given by Bukolika Trio playing pieces inspired by folk music by Roxanna Panufnik, Rachmaninov and Frank Martin.
Also being played by pianists Joseph Havlat and Thomas Ang are John Adams’s Hallelujah Junction and Percy Grainger’s Fantasy on Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.

• The Royal Academy of Music Piano Festival runs from June 26-28. 020 7873 7300. All events are free. Full festival programme at www.ram.ac.uk/departments/piano/summer-piano-festival

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