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Gosh, I’ve been so slack! I forgot to post the most recent videos here. They’re not all that recent any more. I apologise to both of my regular readers. (If there are actually more than two people here, please leave some comments, and I might get inspired to update more regularly.) And tomorrow I must tell you about my upcoming concert…

Here are two quite different ends of the classical (?) piano repertoire:

Upcoming concerts: Sorabji and Brahms

Apologies for being so quiet over the last few months. I’ve been moving house, which took a lot more time and energy than I expected. But music is starting to happen again…

In brief:

  • Saturday 16th September, 2:30pm: Sorabji and song
  • Thursday 5th October, 1pm: Brahms violin sonata

Both in North Adelaide. And eventually I’ll put more stuff on the YouTube channel.

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Concert Saturday 22nd October

I’ve got a concert coming up soon! I’m excited to be giving the world premiere performance of John Polglase’s Five Pieces. I’m also throwing in Bach’s second partita. Details at Note the unusual time of day: it’s a morning tea concert. If you can’t get there in person, there will also be a live video stream: check the Recitals Australia home page a few minutes before the start time. Or catch the recording afterwards on their Vimeo channel.

Hope to see some of you there! Bookings essential: get your ticket at

Creating the electric distortion harpsichord

When Beethoven first published his sonata opus 27 number 1, the title page said (in Italian) “Sonata, almost a fantasia, for harpsichord or pianoforte”. The received wisdom is that it was always supposed to be a piano piece, and the harpsichord bit was just marketing to sell a few more copies. But I think it could have been a different story if the Electric Distortion Harpsichord had been around in Beethoven’s lifetime!

Every pianist should spend some time playing harpsichords. At first, it’s frustrating. On the piano, you’re used to two main tools for expression: dynamics (loud and soft) and sustain pedal. The harpsichord has neither. Playing the harpsichord expressively is a much more subtle affair. The instrument has a fantastically precise attack to each note, so that small variations in articulation and timing become far more meaningful. Good harpsichord performances have a wonderful intimacy to them — but in a large modern concert hall, they don’t have the same impact as a grand piano.

What if you could have the best of both worlds, combining the grace and precision of the harpsichord with the dynamic range and power of the piano? Now I know there will be some purists out there telling me I’ve actually got the worst of both worlds here. But I’m not relying on album sales for a living, so let’s have some fun creating a new instrument.

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