The Victoria Premiere
June 14th, 2017, The Tallis Pavillion, Beleura House and Gardens, Mornington
Around 3 weeks ago, 11 tickets had been sold for the Victoria Introspection Premiere. As Beleura House’s maximum seating capacity is 100, I must admit I was nervous.
Their website was also down 2 weeks before the concert for 6 days’ maintenance. Bookings were slow, 9 people I knew said they couldn’t make it after all.
But I needn’t have worried.
Over 70 people attended yesterday’s concert with great enthusiasm. The Victoria Premiere was performed by internationally acclaimed concert pianist Nicholas Young on one of only six Stuart & Sons 102-key, 4 pedal, 2.9 metre Concert Grand pianos in existence. Veneered in rare Tasmanian Huon Pine, the Beleura House’s Tallis Pavilion features not one but two of these rare eye and ear catching Australian owned and made pianos.
Yesterday’s recital was a testament to the immense breadth of musical expression a good pianist can draw out from this piano. From thunderous loud deep chords below the register of any other piano, to the tiniest whisper of its highest notes, I think this performance left many people stunned.
As my debut album Introspection had its World Premiere in 2016 as part of last years’ Stuart & Sons Spring Concert Series, I took into consideration the Stuart’s extra 14 keys, by re-arranging the repertoire for this performance.
I also hired Sydney music producer and recording engineer Craig Field to record this performance on location at The Crispe Galleries in Yass, rural NSW. Incidentally, Craig went on to write a feature article about this recording project for Australia’s leading sound recording publication AudioTechnology Magazine. This was published in June 2017, a few days before the Victoria Introspection Premiere. Craig describes the challenges of this project:
Yesterday’s state premiere was the 2nd premiere to be performed on the same kind of Stuart. That’s two premieres performed on two out of six of these iconic and highly sought after pianos.
Nicholas’s performance was spellbinding. He held the audience enthralled, in the palm of his hand. This is the first time I have attended a recital where people were completely mesmerized, and there was no applause in between the pieces. Everyone stayed in the zone. As one audience member later remarked: ‘we were utterly transfixed, taken to a different place’.
Yesterday demonstrated how entrancing silence can be, and I am going to ask future audiences not to applaud between pieces.
The afternoon tea Beleura House provides is exceptional, as other establishments would market the standard of delicacies on offer as a High Tea. Yesterday was no exception, as it too left some of my friends amazed that it was included in the price of the ticket.
It was an immense honour to have Beleura House host my Victoria Premiere, and I am deeply thankful for their support. I gave Anthony a copy of my album last year when I attended one of Ashley Hribar’s astounding concerts, in the hope that Anthony would have Introspection performed there. As Anthony explained to an amused audience, he never got to hear the CD, as it got stuck in his car’s stereo system and stuffed it up.
It is a testimony to Beleura management to place Introspection in their performance program. I look forward to showcasing more of my art music at this exquisite locale to their open minded supporters, most of them retirees. Who said Australian audiences are conservative?
For all those who were unable to make my Victoria Premiere, Nicholas is performing Introspection in my 50th Birthday Concert on Sunday July 16th at 4pm. This concert will also feature additional award winning musicians, violinist Zoe Friesberg and cellist Gemma Tomlinson, who will perform the world premiere of three of my chamber pieces: duets for piano + violin, piano + cello and a trio for piano + violin + cello. Nicholas will perform an improvised encore to wow the audience at the end.
This 50th Birthday Concert will take place in the Wyselaskie Auditorium at Melbourne University, Parkville, and is accessible by 2 trams, bus, parking, and is very close to Melbourne CBD. We’ll go to a pub close by in Carlton after the concert to celebrate. RSVPing the concert is essential.
A few of the Introspection pieces BTW, were composed less than 500 metres from Wyselaskie Auditorium back in my halcyon days living at 449 Cardigan St, Carlton.
I hope some of you can make it to this one-off momentous event.
With best wishes,
The World Premiere
October 30th, 2017, Stuart & Sons Spring Concert Series, The Crispe Galleries, Bowning, NSW
Posted Dec 1st, 2016
Introspection was performed live by Evgeny Ukhanov on a very rare 102-key Stuart & Sons piano as part of the Stuart & Sons Spring Concert Series.
So rare is this 2.9 metre 4 pedal piano, veneered in rare Tasmanian Blackheart Sassafras, that only 6 pianos of this 102-key range exist in the world. Steinway has only 88 keys.
This concert took place in The Crisp Galleries surrounded by its stunning gardens in rural NSW, and was recorded live by the Canberra radio station Art Sound FM for future national broadcast.
I also commissioned Craig Field of Underwood Studio to individually record some tracks from the album; as the Stuart piano sounds better than the steinway I originally recorded the album on. Craig also recorded this concert.
We needed a page turner at the last minute, so we asked Craig, who himself is a professional musician. Here he is discussing the score with Evegeny.
This concert also saw Italian artist Principessa Nike Borghese launch her most recent exhibition (which is going on a world tour) as part of the concert.
She also had on display a reproduction of a triptych she was commissioned to paint by the Vatican, which had just been unveiled at St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney, a week before the concert.
The night before the concert I was disappointed to hear that there had been many cancellations. The next day however, more than double the number of people I was expecting attended. Other 90 people showed up for the concert and we lost count the number of CDs sold. I also recieved a standing ovation at the end of the concert, after Evgeny had played the 3 encores from my second album, which will be recorded in 2017.
44 people attended the after-concert 2-course dinner-party prepared by chef Dean Hodkinson.
It was trully a night to remember as the whole event was a great success.
I was able to celebrate this momentous achievement with dear friends and family who had travelled from Melbourne, Shepparton and Canberra to share this event with me.
My parents flew from Christchurch New Zealand to be there.
I’m deeply grateful to my partner Jackie Clements who supported me through this and gave me her kind permission in using her Dry Grass photo image for the album and with all associated marketing material.
I am truly grateful to the Crisp and Stuart families in having the opportunity in showcasing this premiere and for their support in the lead up to the concert including with the publicity, which was a huge undertaking.
Next year is promising to be very exciting as I reach new audiences both here, interstate and overseas. Multi-award winning pianist and winner of Australia’s 2 top scholarships for 2016, Nicholas Young, will be performing the Victorian debut of Introspection at Beleura House, Mornington, Melbourne, on June 14th at 1:30pm. Beleura House is a highly sought after venue that regularly showcases international classical/art composers and pianists. Beleura House incidentally has 2 more of these rare 102-key range Stuart pianos and Nicholas will be performing on one of these pianos.
What this project taught me is that ‘no man is an Island’. A good team of people is required to pull something like this off:
Album & tracks now on bandcamp.com
For those of you who have thrown out your old CD player you can download the album &/or individual tracks at: https://griffithscomposer.bandcamp.com/releases
CD Available from 6th June 2016
After picking up my first lot of 1000 Introspection CDs they are now available for purchase from this site.
Is she amused at my sartorial splendour, or is this my first happy customer?
My next album will also include additional piano tracks, plus duets for piano cello, erhu and the alto voice. My 3rd album will feature larger chamber work. I plan to produce 5 albums in total.