23rd November 2019
Clara Schumann: Prodigy, Muse, Virtuoso
In words and music, Reiko presents a portrait of Clara Wieck Schumann who was, at once, a leading pianist of her day, the wife of one great composer and the intimate friend of another, mother of eight children, composer, and teacher. Her life was marked by tragedy and distinguished by a career which spanned more than sixty years. We see her now as a strikingly independent woman, a woman of her time yet one who worked tirelessly against the grain of assumption and prejudice.
Programme with narration
Brahms Intermezzo op.119 No.2
Clara Schumann Scherzo op.10 Romance op.21 No.3
Beethoven Adagio Cantabile from Sonata in C minor, op. 13 (Pathétique)
Chopin Impromptu No. 2 in F sharp major - Andantino
Impromptu No. 1 in A flat major – Allegro assai, quasi presto
Impromptu No. 4 in C sharp minor – Allegro agitato
Schumann arr. Liszt Frühlingsnacht from Liederkreis op.39
Schumann Faschingsschwank aus Wien op.26
Schumann arr. Liszt Widmung from Myrthen op.25
Reiko fuses the sensibilities of a musician raised in the Far East who trained in the West. Following study at the Musashino University of Music in Tokyo she spent time in San Francisco and the UK, where she trained at Trinity College, and with Martino Tirimo, Benjamin Kaplan and Yonty Solomon. She has been in London ever since.
With performances at London’s Southbank Centre, Wigmore Hall and King’s Place, and around the UK and abroad, Reiko has established herself as a formidable virtuoso performer. Recent concerts include appearances at the Stoller Hall in Manchester, Hebden Bridge Piano Festival, King’s Place (with the Carducci Quartet) and Southbank Centre’s newly-refurbished Purcell Room, as part of the hall’s reopening programme. Recent projects include performances of Bach’s Goldberg Variations in 2016/17 and a highly successful recital tour in Autumn 2017, featuring works by Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Takemitsu and Thomas Adès.
The 2018/19 season sees performances around the UK of a project that is particularly close to Reiko’s heart: Clara 2019, a celebration of the great pianist Clara Wieck Schumann.
Reiko was a featured artist at the Japan 2001 festival with the specially-formed Ensemble Tōzai, which combines western and classical Japanese musicians and repertoires. Her chamber music collaborations also include
Principals of Sound, a woodwind and piano ensemble formed by Reiko in 2006, comprising some of the UK’s top wind players and principals of major London orchestras. Following her highly successful concert with the Carducci Quartet at King’s Place, Reiko is also planning further collaborations with this renowned string quartet.
Reiko’s recordings include an acclaimed CD of music by Bach, Beethoven and Schubert, released on the Quartz Music label in 2012 and described by The Arts Desk as ‘irresistible’. Reiko’s latest recording, featuring Bach’s Goldberg Variations, was released in June 2018, also on Quartz.
The Guardian “A beautifully poised performance”
The Times “Her elegant playing… was a total joy”
Paul has been an actor for nearly thirty years, working in theatre, film and television.
He can be heard narrating numerous audio books, including The Woman in Black for Susan Hill, and the whole series of Paul Cleave crime novels. He has collaborated with the pianist Hugh Petter to give recitals of words and music, including Keats’ St Agnes’ Eve.
Concert narrations include Vaughan Williams’ An Oxford Elegy, with Robert Secret and the Oxford Harmonic Society; Peter and the Wolf and Alice in Wonderland for the Oxford Chamber Music Festival.