Launch of the Portsmouth Menuhin Room Concerts

Andrew McVittie writes:

After a successful campaign last year to re-open Portsmouth’s Menuhin Room and bring back its spectacular Steinway D Model Piano into operation, a new series of concerts will shortly be available for booking. These Saturday lunchtime events will offer a mix of performances featuring well-loved local musicians but also recitals given by a number of distinguished pianists more often seen in London concert halls.

The series starts gently on Saturday 11 February with a programme of carefully selected piano sounds designed to soothe the mind and body. This informal and friendly event – billed as “Piano Spectrum” – offers its audience an opportunity to escape for a while and find some musical space for reflection and relaxation. The programme will feature some well-known piano classics from Beethoven, Grieg, Rachmaninoff, and Debussy – but will also explore more contemporary and original material. Local pianists Andrew McVittie and Helen Morris will perform. Further information about the rest of the series will also be announced as part of this programme.

Other upcoming concerts

Saturday 11 March
Norse Fantasy
Karen Kingsley (Piano) and Robert Blanken (Clarinet) appear as the Monington Duo
This concert will explore the repertoire of the Norse tradition and fantasy – featuring items by Gade, Nielsen, Grieg, Winding.

Saturday 22 April
Lecture/Recital: Angela Zanders (Piano), Mikhail Lezdkan (Cello), Catherine Lawlor (Violin)
Shostakovich Piano Trio

Saturday 29 April
Piano Recital and Masterclass
Cordelia Williams – Pianist

Saturday 3 June
Piano Recital and Masterclass
James Lisney
Beethoven Diabelli Variations – complete

Saturday 1 July
Piano Recital and Masterclass
Danny Driver
JS Bach Goldberg Variations – complete

Saturday 9 September
Piano Recital and Masterclass
Valentina Seferinova

David Green writes:

One of the most memorable events of 2022 was the Steinway Concert in the Menuhin Room at Portsmouth Central Library in October featuring a tremendous cast of mainly local talent.

It is thus the first good news of 2023 that, as was the plan, Andrew McVittie and his friends have put together a fine programme to make use of the venue and its facilities which are the piano itself, a highly suitable space, an adjacent café and, most important of all, a glorious affluence of musicians to play in it.

After the 11 February concert, it’s more or less once a month until September, always Saturdays at 12.30 for an hour’s worth. It will be a rare treat to have the weekend enhanced by such things as real, live Goldberg Variations (Danny Driver, July 1), those that extend the possibilities of a waltz by Diabelli (James Lisney, June 3) and the Shostakovich Piano Trio (Angela Zanders, Mikhail Lezdkan, Catherine Lawlor, April 22) but it can often be something other than what one thinks that turns out to be the revelation and so one misses out any of the dates at one’s own risk.

Just when you might have thought, well, at least we are well served for excellent, affordable and well-organized music within an easy orbit of Portsmouth, there’s some more.

I don’t think they’ll need much advertising once word gets around. This is the word. We are lucky people.

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