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MUSICIAN REVIEWS

Respected Insights

 
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DR. JOE DAWSON, TOAD LANE CONCERTS

Occasionally a performer comes along who makes difficult look easy.

Lewis Kingsley Peart studied at Chethams School of Music and London's Trinity Laban Conservatoire. Now based in London and Manchester, he enjoys a busy life as a working musician and enthusiastic educator. His tastes embrace the traditional classical canon, through to jazz and the avant-garde. Lewis confesses to a strong background in theatre, and this was clear in his choices and approach.

This gifted pianist made effective use of the vintage Challen Grand piano of 1933 at St Mary in the Baum, which was previously housed in the former Rochdale Art Galleries.

Played entirely from memory and with clear, succinct and witty introductions, his programme on Wednesday 24 August explored the rich repertoire of pianist-composers and arrangers.

Bach/Gounod/Hough, Méditation (Ave Maria) and Chopin’s Nocturne in E Minor were beautifully played with elegant poise. Then Lewis burst into lively transcriptions of movements from famous piano concertos arranged for solo by Percy Grainger. The opening movements of Tchaikovsky and Grieg, combining dramatic power and virtuosic brilliance, and the emotional third movement of Rachmaninoff No. 2 made a stunning impression. Any single one of these would have been electrifying, but the accumulation of the three was breath-taking. 

Three charming pieces by Billy Mayerl, the British prince of syncopation in the twentieth century, Song of the Fir Tree, Railroad Rhythm and his signature tune, Marigold, allowed the audience to regain a degree of composure.

Finally, Grünfeld’s Soirée de Vienne Op. 56 provided a delightful pianistic ending incorporating well-known phrases by Johann Strauss with flashes of keyboard pyrotechnics.

Lewis gave us a hugely entertaining and highly skilful piano recital served up with panache and is certainly someone to watch out for.

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ELIA STAVROU, GASPARD MUSIC ACADEMY

As was said after the concert by an audience member, 'It was a blessing!'. We were treated to such a well-constructed programme that had the theme of pianist-composers at its heart and so cleverly the programme utilised famous melodies that we know and cherish, but in wonderfully new and virtuosic figurations that many of us were unfamiliar with. This combination of the well known and interestingly new made the programme an engaging one especially as the execution of both pyrotechnical brilliance, but also moments of intimacy were both so masterfully shared with us. We loved it! 

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LESLIE HOWARD, CONCERT PIANIST

"Exciting, enterprising and even daring!"

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STEPHEN MONTAGUE, COMPOSER

Lewis gave a brilliant performance of my After Ives... for piano set at St. John's, Smith Square (London) which was not only technically but theatrically a real tour de force! I was thrilled by his performance at every level.

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FRANCES WILSON, THE CROSS-EYED PIANIST

The piano works in this segment combined Lisztian virtuosity in tumultuous passages with moments of repose, delicate far-away melodies and fragments of hymn tunes. The concert closed with After Ives (1993) which ends with an outrageously rambunctious and “perverse homage” to J P Sousa, whom Ives apparently detested, quoting his famous The Stars and Stripes Forever on the piano with Chopinesque melodic interjections and Lisztian extravagance, all masterfully and very wittily handled by Lewis Kingsley Peart. (Full review at crosseyedpianist.com)

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RUBY NIGHTINGALE, SOPRANO

This July I had the joy of collaborating with Lewis Kingsley Peart on a recital of arias and songs at The Swiss Church, Covent Garden. The creative process with Lewis was a dream, and he is not only an incredibly skilled pianist but an open, aware, and gifted collaborator, too. The programme was heavy with quite challenging contemporary repertoire which he was able to learn under huge time constraints (he came to my rescue when I lost my pianist just a month before the recital!). He interpreted the Rorem and the Previn with as much ease and effortlessness as the Strauss and Weber. The Swiss Church is a very particular space to play in because of the immense reverberation, but Lewis took this in complete stride and adjusted each piece to fit the context of our performance space so sensitively. Lewis is professional, well prepared, calm, and efficient. He is an excellent communicator, musically and otherwise! He has a true gift, and though I did not know Lewis before this, I greatly look forward to working with him again in future! Ruby

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SARAH VEITCH, AUDIENCE MEMBER

I booked tickets for me and my friend at St. Martin-in-the-Fields as she is staying over from Aland. The church looked beautiful in candlelight and our seats were fantastic. We really enjoyed 75 minutes of splendour from Lewis. We were both thoroughly entranced by his playing and enjoyed every minute. Thank you so much - we talked about the performance all the way home.