Monday, March 17, 2014

Guest post: Frances Wilson introduces a special artist in a rather wonderful venue

Please welcome Frances Wilson of The Cross-Eyed Pianist blog, with news of a wonderful young artist playing in a very special place... Great to see the South London Concert Series having to upgrade to a bigger venue, too!

Emmanuel Vass at Brunswick House

Guest post by Frances Wilson

Hard to believe it’s six months since I introduced readers of JDCMB to the South London Concert Series (SLCS), an innovative concept which gives amateur pianists the chance to take to the stage alongside the professionals. The series was launched to a full-to-bursting house at the 1901 Arts Club in November 2013 with a programme of music ranging from Scarlatti to Corea – with some Mozart, Szymanowski and Feuchtwanger along the way – and much enjoyable piano chat at the noisy post-concert reception in the 1901’s elegant upstairs bar and sitting room.

Now the series is two concerts in, both of which sold out within a couple of weeks of being advertised, with a third on 21st March, also sold out way in advance. Buoyed up by the obvious success and popularity of the concept, my partner in piano adventures, Lorraine Liyanage, and I decided that perhaps we should find a larger venue for our events. It was Lorraine who discovered Brunswick House: just five minutes from London’s Vauxhall Station, this fine Georgian mansion is incongruously flanked by the brand new 5-star hotel and luxury apartments of One Nine Elms.

Part of the London Architectural Salvage and Supply Co (LASSCo), Brunswick House is a treasure trove of antiques and reclaimed curiosities – including, conveniently, a pretty little John Hopkinson baby grand piano in the first floor Saloon, a room festooned with colourful oriental rugs, salvaged stained glass windows, glittering chandeliers, and even a life-size cut out of the actor Tony Curtis.

It wasn’t difficult to find an artist to grace the space, someone who could create the stylish, retro atmosphere of a salon concert from a bygone era: Emmanuel Vass, BBC Music Magazine’s March “rising star”, had already wowed the SLCS audience with his suave showmanship and his ability to seamlessly merge mainstream classical piano repertoire with his own transcriptions.

Emmanuel’s concert at Brunswick House comes hot on the heels of his West End debut in a DEC/Philippines appeal benefit concert, and his successful ‘From Bach to Bond’ national tour and CD launch in 2013. Described as “one to watch” by The Independent, Emmanuel will perform music by Bach, Turina, Liszt and some of his own new transcriptions. And in keeping with the original ethos of the South London Concert Series, he will be supported by performances by talented amateur pianists from the London Piano Meetup Group, playing music by Bach, Mozart, and Chopin. Added to that, guests can enjoy a glass of Prosecco on arrival, and are invited to join performers and hosts in the stylish restaurant at Brunswick House for a post-concert dinner. This promises to be a very special event, an evening of music making and conviviality in a unique and eclectic London venue.

Date: Thursday 3rd April 2014
Time: 6.45pm for 7.15pm concert
Dress code: smart
Venue: LASSCo/Brunswick House, 30 Wandsworth Road, London SW8 2LG

‘Emmanuel Vass at Brunswick House’ is presented by the South London Concert Series. Endorsed by top international concert pianist Peter Donohoe as "a wonderfully creative idea", SLCS concerts recreate the atmosphere of the 19th-century musical salon with music and socialising amongst friends in some of London’s most beautiful and intimate small venues.

Twitter @SLConcerts