Author Archives: David

Concert by Members and Friends: 14 May 2019

The 76th season ended with a concert by members and friends of the society, organised by our chairman, Kevin Walsh.  A good audience at the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens enjoyed a varied programme, with interval refreshments.  The pianists and the pieces they played were:

Alan Bowers

Schubert: Impromptu in A flat (op 90 no 4)

Alan England

Debussy: The Girl with the Flaxen Hair

Mark Tanner: Fishing Off Logan Rock

James Barker

Bach: Gigue from French Suite no 2

Chopin: Mazurka (op 59 no 2)

Sarah Robinson

Chopin: Preludes nos 1,2,5,6,7,8,9,10 (op 28)

Kevin Walsh

Chopin: Nocturne in G (op 37 no 2)

Ben Richards

Alexander Ilyinski: Étude (op 31 no 1)


Fabio Raciti

Chopin: Nocturne in C sharp minor (op posth.)

.             Polonaise in A flat (op 53)

Peter Hayes

Scott Joplin: The Ragtime Dance

.                     Elite Syncopations

Graeme Humphries

Brahms: Intermezzo (op 118 no 2)

John Welch

A selection of music from The Threepenny Opera by Bertold Brecht, Kurt Weill and Elisabeth Hauptmann: Overture – Mack the Knife – Pirate Jenny – Tango Ballade – What Keeps Mankind Alive -The Flick Knife Song (Mack Reprise)

David MacRae

Granados: Spanish Dance no 5 “Andalusia”

Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody no 2

Thanks to all the pianists for their contributions to what was a very pleasant and successful evening.


Review of Recital by Valentin Schiedermair 9 April 2019

The 76th season of the Society finished with a recital by the world famous pianist Valentin Schiedermair who entertained the audience with a popular programme of well loved music. The recital began with two Preludes and Fugues from Book Two of the Well Tempered Clavier by J. S. Bach which were played with clarity and great authority. These were followed by a delightful performance of the Mozart Sonata in B flat, K570 and the first half of the recital ended with the Impromptu in F sharp Op. 36 and the Barcarolle in F sharp Op. 60 by Chopin. After the interval we heard the most splendid performance of Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky which was a complete contrast to the first half of the recital.

Valentin Schiedermair certainly impressed the audience with his sheer stamina and brilliant technique, yet everything was played with musicality and detail. The audience demanded more, and the Mussorgsky was followed by a beautifully played Chopin Nocturne in F sharp op.15 no. 2.

From a musical family, Valentin has studied in many parts of the world with famous teachers and spends a very busy life both performing and teaching. Since his first radio recording aged 16 he has developed a large repertoire and is to be admired for his ability to involve the audience in his performance.

Lily Scott.

Recital 9 April: Valentin Schiedermair

Our next recital will be on Tuesday 9 April at 7.15 pm in the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.  The pianist is Valentin Schiedermair who will be playing

Bach:               Prelude & Fugue in B flat major WTC II
.                        Prelude & Fugue in B flat minor WTC II
Sonata in B flat major K.570
Impromptu in F sharp major Op.36
.                        Barcarolle in F sharp major Op.60
Pictures at an Exhibition

Tickets at the door are £12.50.  (Free for accompanied children 16 & under; £6.00 for full time students and those on unemployment benefit).

Review of Recital by Ashley Fripp 12 March 2019

On Tuesday, March 12th Ashley Fripp gave a piano recital of works by Schubert, Chopin and Schumann in the Pottery Room at Sunderland Museum. This was enjoyed by a good, enthusiastic audience. The recital began with Four Impromptus D899 by Schubert which were beautifully played with much thought and care, particularly the third one. Following this we heard Four Impromptus by Chopin, a complete contrast to the Schubert and brilliantly played, giving a good end to the first half of the recital. After the interval Ashley Fripp opened the second half with a performance of Fantasiestücke, op.12 by Schumann. This was played with great authority and good insight to the work which was obviously enjoyed by the audience. To end the recital we heard Scherzo no.4, op.54 by Chopin which was a good climax to the evening however, the audience wanted more and Ashley finished with an encore, a gentle Chopin Waltz op.70 no.2.

Ashley Fripp is a young British pianist who has earned a fine reputation, performing throughout the world and winning many prizes. This is his third visit to Sunderland Pianoforte Society where he always enjoys playing their priceless Steinway piano and anyone who missed last night’s recital missed a treat. The next recital will be on Tuesday 9th April at 7.15 and will be given by Valentin Schiedermair who will be playing works by Bach, Mozart, Chopin and Mussorgsky.

Lily Scott

Recital 12 March: Ashley Fripp

Our next recital will be on Tuesday 12 March at 7.15 pm in the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.  The pianist is Ashley Fripp who will be playing

Schubert:       Four Impromptus D.899
Chopin:           Impromptu No. 1 in A flat major Op. 29
.                         Impromptu No. 2 in F sharp major Op. 36
.                         Impromptu No. 3 in G flat major Op. 51
.                         Fantaisie-Impromptu in C sharp minor Op. 66
Schumann:    Fantasiestücke Op. 12
Chopin:           Scherzo No. 4 in E major, Op. 54

Tickets at the door are £12.50.  (Free for accompanied children 16 & under; £6.00 for full time students and those on unemployment benefit).


Review of Recital by Florian Mitrea 12 February 2019

The 76th season continued with a recital by the brilliant young British/Romanian pianist Florian Mitrea who was sponsored by Making Music’s Philip and Dorothy Green Award for Young Concert Artists Scheme. The recital, which was held in the Pottery Room at Sunderland Museum, was well supported by a good audience who heard a recital of well loved piano music and were reluctant to leave without an encore of Chopin’s Étude in C minor, op.25 no.12.

The recital began with a beautiful performance of Mozart’s Fantasia in C minor K475 which was followed by Beethoven’s Sonata in C major, op.53 [Waldstein]. Again, a powerful and exciting performance making a good end to the first half of the recital. The second half of the recital was all Chopin, beginning with a very exuberant performance of the Scherzo no.1 in B minor, op. 20 which was followed by two beautifully played Nocturnes,op.27 no.1 in C sharp minor and op.55 no.1 in F minor. Florian ended his recital with the Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise which was played with great authority and we all had the impression that he had enjoyed the evening as much as we had.

Florian Mitrea has a very busy schedule, performing all over the world, and members of the Society are most grateful to Making Music for giving us the chance to hear such a talented young pianist who we hope will visit us again in the future.

Lily Scott

Recital 12 February: Florian Mitrea

Our next recital will be on Tuesday 12 February at 7.15 pm in the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.  The pianist is Florian Mitrea who will be playing

Mozart:            Fantasia in C minor K 475 
Sonata in C major Op. 53 “Waldstein” 
Scherzo No. 1 in B minor
.                         Nocturnes Op. 27/1 and Op. 55/1
.                         Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante

This recital is kindly supported by Making Music’s Philip and Dorothy Green Award for Young Concert Artists scheme.

Tickets at the door are £12.50.  (Free for accompanied children 16 & under; £6.00 for full time students and those on unemployment benefit).

Review of ABRSM Concert 11th January, 2019

An audience of around fifty took in this special event, when Murray McLachlan, Head of Keyboard Studies at Chethams, Manchester, played a selection of pieces from the 2019-20 Piano Syllabus. As he was also a co -author of the Teacher Notes on these pieces produced by the ABRSM, and a prominent solo pianist in his own right, the evening was greatly anticipated. The audience were not disappointed, as he endeavoured to play and comment upon a vast selection from all the grades.

The first half consisted of the early grades. With Murray’s first-hand knowledge as a previous examiner, he was able to give us an insight into what an examiner was looking for (style and character), and many of the pieces, despite their simplicity, came across as beautiful and charming in their own right.  It was almost an impossible task to play all of the 48 programmed pieces in their entirety, and we had to be content to listen to extracts from some of the pieces in the later grades. However, his friendly style of delivery, and his insistence on the pieces being alive with characterisation and expression, rather than military precision, more than made up for this. He still managed to finish with the full version of Gershwin’s Prelude No 1 from Three Preludes. with aplomb.

Audience numbers were a little disappointing in that despite widespread publicity among senior schools in the area, there were not more pupils and their families attending, who may also have been interested in some of our future recitals. It is to be hoped that word will get around, ‘What a cracking evening you have missed’

Special Event: Friday 11th January 2019

Murray McLachlan (Head of Keyboard Studies, Chethams , Manchester & co-author of the Teacher Notes) will  play a selection from all the grades of the ABRSM Piano Syllabus, 2019-20, on our lovely Steinway Grand, on

Friday 11th January, 2019 @ 7.00 p.m.

at the Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens.

Tickets: Adults £10, Children £5 

 from: Museum, Sunderland, SR1 1PP

           Windows Music Shop, Central Arcade, Newcastle  0191 2321356

           N A Swallow 0191 2364864 or

Windows will also be selling the pieces before the performance and during the interval

Free nibbles available plus wine for sale

Tickets are limited – so book early (only unsold tickets will be available at the door)

Review of Recital by Jamie Bergin 20 November 2018

Despite a cold, wet evening a good audience attended a recital given in the Pottery Room at Sunderland Museum on Tuesday evening and they were not disappointed by the performance given by British born pianist Jamie Bergin, who impressed everyone with his thoughtful playing. The evening began with a beautiful and relaxed performance of the Moments Musicaux by Schubert which was followed by the Sonata No. 26 in E Flat, op. 81a [Les Adieux] by Beethoven and although both works came from around the same time there was a marked contrast in style. The more simple style of the Schubert [particularly in Nos. 3 and 6] was complemented by the middle period Beethoven which ended with an exciting third movement.

After the interval there was a rarely performed work by Debussy, Images Oubliées. This was a good introduction to Gaspard de la Nuit which ended the programme. Here, we were left in no doubt about Jamie Bergin’s virtuosity. The performance was given with great authority, with the technical problems presenting no difficulty. Scarbo was particularly stunning and made a good end to the evening during which we had heard a performance of great maturity, technique and dynamic range which went from ppp (without losing the quality of sound) to louder passages which were never too loud.

Jamie has now finished his tour of London and the North East and is returning to Germany but we hope that he will come back in the not too distant future.

Lily Scott