The Mid-Twentieth-Century Concert Pianist : An English Experience book cover
1st Edition

The Mid-Twentieth-Century Concert Pianist
An English Experience

ISBN 9780367590239
Published June 30, 2020 by Routledge
282 Pages

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Book Description

In this book, Julian Hellaby presents a detailed study of English piano playing and career management as it was in the middle years of the twentieth century. Making regular comparisons with early twenty-first-century practice, the author examines career-launching mechanisms, such as auditions and competitions, and investigates available means of career sustenance, including artist management, publicity outlets, recital and concerto work, broadcasts, recordings and media reviews. Additionally, Hellaby considers whether a mid-twentieth-century school of English piano playing may be identified and, if so, whether it has lasted into the early decades of the twenty-first century. The author concludes with an appraisal of the state of English pianism in recent years and raises questions about its future. Drawing on extensive research from a wide variety of primary and secondary sources, this book is structured around case-studies of six pianists who were commencing and then developing their careers between approximately 1935 and 1970. The professional lives and playing styles of Malcolm Binns, Peter Katin, Moura Lympany, Denis Matthews, Valerie Tryon and David Wilde are examined, and telling comparisons are made between the state of affairs then and that of more recent times.

Engagingly written, the book is likely to appeal to professional and amateur pianists, piano teachers, undergraduate and postgraduate music students, academics and anyone with an interest in the history of pianists, piano performance and music performance history in general.

Table of Contents

Part One – Introduction And Background 1. Introduction 2. Musical Life In Mid-Twentieth-Century England Part Two – Career Development And Sustenance 3. Getting Started In The Profession 4. Sustaining A Career (1) – Management And Promotion 5. Sustaining A Career (2) – The Working Pianist Part Three – Performance Practice 6. Pedagogical Influences 7. In Search Of An English School Of Pianism 8. Closing Thoughts

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Julian Hellaby, PhD, MMus, BMus, LRAM, ARAM, studied piano with the distinguished pianist Denis Matthews and later at London’s Royal Academy of Music. He has performed as a solo pianist, concerto soloist, accompanist and chamber musician in continental Europe, the Middle East, South Africa and throughout the UK, including recitals in the Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room. More recent two-piano work with pianist Peter Noke has featured performances in the UK, Hong Kong and China. Julian is an examiner, moderator and public presenter for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) as well as a former mentor for the ABRSM’s Certificate of Teaching course. He has taught academic music at Coventry University and London College of Music, and has extensive experience of piano teaching and adjudicating, including work for the European Piano Teachers’ Association (EPTA). He has released several CDs, written journal articles and contributed to ABRSM’s Piano Teaching Notes. His first book, Reading Musical Interpretation, was published by Ashgate in 2009.


"The Mid-Twentieth-Century Concert Pianist is a very informative, well-written book, accessible and engaging to anyone interested in music and piano, as well as an excellent guide to someone wanting to become a concert pianist or looking to sustain a successful career as such."

Margarida Mota-Bull, MusicWeb

"This book is a detailed study of English piano playing in the mid-twentieth century based around six case studies of six English pianists at the beginning and development of their performing careers...I would fully recommend this book to anyone with the curiosity to delve into the worlds of six very celebrated English pianists and the significant pianistic era in which they were active."

Melvyn Cooper, Piano Professional

"Julian Hellaby's book is a fascinating study which explores the period c19ll5-70 and the careers of six leading performers: Malcolm Binns, Peter Katin, Moura Lympany, Denis Matthews ValerieTyron and David Wilde. ln addition to examining the ways in which this magnificent half dozen developed their careers through recitals, concertos, broadcasts and commercial recordings, Hellaby does pioneering research that convincingly manages to find an authentic 'English voice', an approach to music-making that separates English players from their contemporaries in mainland Europe and America."

Murray McLachlan, International Piano