Please refer to my COVID-19 page for the latest updates regarding lessons and exams. This has been updated to cover the current "Lockdown 2" period.
My main instrument has always been the piano, which I started learning at the age of 7.
I also play the violin and viola, and have played with various orchestras and also in string quartets,
playing for weddings, Birthday Parties, and other events. As a pianist, I particular enjoy accompanying
others, for exams, concert performances, and charity events. I also play in a successful folk band
that is available for ceilidhs, barn dances and other events.
I enjoy a broad range of musical styles and have a particular interest in early orchestral music.
It's far from easy to pick favourite composers, but Rachmaninov, Beethoven, Bach, and Grieg would all
be in the top three, if only there was room for them. Ah, but what about Rossini, Dvorak, and Rimsky-Korsakov?
As well as playing, I have interests in composing, arranging, conducting, education, and attending concerts.
Hobbies and other things that occupy me include IT, Science, Art (favourites: Renoir and Turner), railways,
tropical plants (especially moss and members of the Araceae family), and my treasured hammered dulcimer.
Desert Island Discs.
That would present some difficult decisions. Do the nine symphonies of Beethoven count as one? I hope so.
Anyway, some ideas, in no particular order:
Piano Concerto No. 2
Violin Sonata in A
The Brandenburg Concertos (especially No. 6)
The William Tell Overture
Violin Concerto in D
More difficult choices!
Lost in Translation
Dances with Wolves
Percy Scholes (1877-1958): Applause. The custom of showing one's pleasure at beautiful music by
immediately following it with an ugly noise.
Duke Ellington (1899-1974): Music is music and that's it. If it sounds good, it's good music.
Artur Schnabel (1882-1951), when asked the secret of playing the piano:
I always make sure that the lid over the keyboard is open before I start to play.
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), on "Bolero":
A piece for orchestra without music.
Sir Thomas Beecham (1879-1961):
The English may not like music but they absolutely love the noise it makes.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827):
To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable!
Robert Schumann (1810-1856), advice to young musicians:
Endeavour to play easy pieces well and with elegance; that is better than to play difficult pieces badly.
Pablo Casals (1876-1973):
The most perfect technique is that which is not noticed at all.
The art of not playing in tempo - one has to learn it. And the art of not playing what is written
on the printed paper.
Victor Borge (1909-2000):
Many people have asked me why there are three pedals on these grand pianos. Well the
pedal in the middle is there to separate the two other pedals.
When I found that even my accountant had a 'jokes' page on their website, I thought 'why not?'.
Apologies to anyone
that plays the instrument(s) ridiculed in any of the jokes, but we are all in the same boat. Some of the harshest
musician-related jokes are aimed at viola players, and I am one of them, so I know how you feel!
What's the difference between a clarinet and an onion?
Nobody cries when you chop up a clarinet.
How do you confuse a drummer?
Put a sheet of music in front of him.
What's the difference between an accordian and a used lawnmower?
You could always sell a used lawnmower.
What do you with a dead violist?
Move him back at desk.
How do you know if a synth player is at your door?
You can hear the knocking but you can't tell if it's real.