Pianists in the Ballroom at
by Simon Callaghan - Director of Music at
The last 11 months of covid restrictions have led many
of us to reconsider our daily routines, work schedules and priorities,
myself included. The first lockdown reminded me just how important the
piano is to me (not having one in my small flat in London), and I am
so grateful to the people at Nimbus Records for inviting me to house
my Steinway in the wonderful ballroom at Wyastone Leys. I began my Patreon
channel last month, making piano music videos in this beautiful room
with an illustrious history. The ballroom was used from 1976 until 1995
(when Wyastone Concert Hall came into use) for all the recordings released
by Nimbus including those by the Medici Quartet, Paco Peña, Oscar
Shumsky and Anoushka Shankar.
My own connection with Wyastone comes from a little more recently.
My teacher at Chetham’s, the late, great Bernard Roberts recorded
his first analogue ‘direct to disc’ and his subsequent digital
Beethoven sonata and variation cycles in the ballroom. The 32 sonatas
boxset was the first collection of CDs I bought at the age of 14 when
I knew nothing about Wyastone, so it is very special to me that I now
have the opportunity to be a part of its history and to bring the ballroom
to life again with my videos.
Vlado Perlemuter practising at Wyastone
Shura Cherkassky and Vlado Perlemuter also made many recordings in
the ballroom, and I’ve been privileged to see a number of photos
– never seen outside Wyastone – capturing their creativity
and the inspiration they drew from this special place. It is really
quite humbling to sit and practise on the very spot that these wonderful
musicians made their magic!
Cherkassky recording at Wyastone
Later this year here on Patreon, I will delve a little more into the
work of Roberts, Cherkassky and Perlemuter at Wyastone, and will share
more photos of their sessions.
See Simon Callaghan Patreon