Eric Lu wins the 2018 Leeds Piano Competition

Just to say how overjoyed I am that Eric Lu has won the 2018 Leeds Piano Competition. Those of you who read this will know of course that he first came to my attention in Duszniki Zdroj in August 2015. This is what I wrote about his appearance in the 2015 International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw and at Duszniki:

Reflections on Stage II       9-12 October 2015

Eric Lu (United States)

Here at last we have a pianist who fulfills all the criteria I have outlined above - at last, at last - a true poet of the piano who managed to create an atmosphere of intense intimacy on a Steinway in this vast hall. 

As George Sand once said  of Chopin 'He lives in a different world to the rest of us.' Here we moved to a different level of musicianship altogether and far, far closer to the authentic intentions of Chopin at least as I conceive them from my own studies over almost a lifetime.

The Mazurka in A minor Op. 17 No: 4 contained the most intense nostalgia for a lost Poland in the heart …

1st International Chopin Competition on Period Instruments. Warsaw 2–14 September 2018

1st International Chopin Competition on Period Instruments  Warsaw  2–14 September 2018

I will be covering this competition on my website on this link:

A Visit to the Paderewski Piano Academy Bydgoszcz, Poland, during the weekend of August 11-12 2018

I was recently privileged to be invited to attend the final concert in the final week of the first course of the Paderewski Piano Academy in Bydgoszcz in Poland. Readers of my reviews will know in the past I have covered two Paderewski Piano Competitions in detail in this city. 
In short these academy courses train young pianists to play concertos with orchestra. In this case the indefatigable Toruńska Orkiestra Symfoniczna (Toruń Symphony Orchestra). Their dedication to this extraordinary task of work is second to none. 

It is a vital training for young pianists. Professional concert careers can now only be constructed with impressive concertos included in the repertoire of any young pianist. Competition is that strong. Solo recitals are no longer sufficient for building a concert career. 

These courses are the only ones in the world offering such a specific disciplined training with eminent professors of music.

I attended two final concerts in two different but superb Polish church venu…

14th Chopin and his Europe (Chopin i jego Europa) International Music Festival Warsaw 9-31 August 2018

From Chopin to Paderewski

31.08 FRIDAY 8.00 p.m. Moniuszko Auditorium at the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera Symphonic concert
[Photographs by W. Grzędziński and D. Golik/NIFC]

A chance to 'discover' another work by the once famous Polish composer, Aleksander Tansman (1897-1986), once considered as important as Szymanowski. The magnificent violin concerto we heard earlier in the festival cemented him in my mind as an outstanding composer inexplicably rather overlooked in the West at least by popular opinion. The cultural iron curtain perhaps operating as a psychological and prejudicial barrier once again. Tansman was a distinguished Polish composer born in Łódz and a virtuoso pianist. After further studies in Warsaw he moved to Paris where his less than conservative composing style was appreciated by Stravinsky and Ravel. He also had a highly successful concert career as a pi…