I hope this message finds you all well and safe. The past few months since the first lockdowns began in the spring have been truly surreal, and it is sometimes difficult to come to terms with how much the world has changed since the beginning of the year. While all of our lives have been affected by this crisis, my thoughts continue to be with those on whom its impact has been most severe—people who have fallen prey to this virus or have lost loved ones.
The task of returning to “normal” seems daunting, especially for the performing arts world. While it is heartening to see many alternatives and adjustments to keep the music going—streamed concerts, special venue arrangements for socially distanced performances, and so forth—we can only hope it’ll soon be safe to return to live concerts as we knew them.
During what I’ve called my “enforced sabbatical” I’ve been busy as ever. When I joined my family in Berlin in March just as the lockdowns were starting, I had not yet begun writing my thesis for my doctorate at the CUNY Graduate Center. I’m very glad to share that I have now completed my dissertation titled “Macroharmony in Ligeti’s Etudes, Book 3” and successfully defended it, receiving a distinction for exceptional dissertations with a nomination for the Barry Brook Award. With this I conclude my formal education—but the learning never stops!
I’m also thrilled to announce that I have signed a publication contract with Muse Press. It is an honor to be working with this Japan-based publishing house renowned for its championing of the work of pianist-composers, from legends including Leopold Godowsky and Alexis Weissenberg to contemporary luminaries such as Marc-André Hamelin. My Etudes I-VI, Arabesque and “Moon, Refracted” will be released later this year. I hope you’ll consider getting a copy!
While I shall only be returning to a more regular performance schedule from the start of 2021, I’m very excited to share that you’ll be able to hear me in concert before then. Later this month I shall be joining the London Philharmonic Orchestra at Royal Festival Hall for a broadcast-only performance of Beethoven’s sublime Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, as part of Southbank Centre’s Inside Out Festival. The performance will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on October 23 at 7:30pm BST, which you can stream live. In addition, the performance will be filmed and premiered on Marquee TV on November 11, after which it will be free to watch for a week. I very much hope you’ll be able to tune in to this special event.
While I’m London I will also be at the BBC studios on October 21 for a live interview and performance on Radio 3’s primetime In Tune program, which I hope you’ll be able to catch. For more interviews make sure to check out this lovely piece in La Scena Musicale in French and English, this fun piano-geek chat with Jon Kimura Parker for Honens @ Home, and a deep dive into my compositional process for the new podcast series How Greats Create.
In my next newsletter I’ll update you on how my concert schedule for 2021 is shaping up, and hopefully you might be able to attend one of these upcoming performances. I hope you all stay healthy and well, and I look forward to our paths crossing in better times ahead!
Interview: “Still the best job in the world”
“It is difficult to believe that the concert pianist Nicolas Namoradze has not yet reached the age of 30. Mature, unapologetically cerebral, precisely spoken, his conversation entirely free of clichés and snappy sound-bites, nobody sounds less like a millennial. I am conscious during our conversation of feeling I am stepping back into a past of more composed and unhurried manners…”
Soundbite: Chopin-Godowsky “Double Thirds” Etude
In this infamous arrangement of Chopin’s Etude Op. 25 No. 6, Godowsky takes the virtuosity up a notch—moving the original’s fiendishly difficult right hand passagework into the left hand and adding layers of counterpoint.