Surrey Mozart Players

Saturday 23 March 2019 -

The Menuhin Hall, Stoke D'Abernon : 7.30pm

James Brawn .................... Piano Soloist

Since his Mozart K.503 concerto debut in Australia aged twelve, pianist James Brawn has forged his own musical path of discovery, studying with great pianists who can trace their pedagogical lineage back to Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt and Clara Schumann.

Brawn was born in England but has lived around the world in New Zealand, Australia, China and the USA. Starting piano lessons at the age of seven, he performed on New Zealand television and won his first awards in Auckland in 1979. His family moved to Melbourne the following year where his musical studies blossomed through the 1980s with Margaret Schofield (a pupil of Solomon), Ronald Farren-Price (a pupil of Arrau) and Rita Reichman (a pupil of Serkin and Horszowski). He won major prizes at competitions and scholarships, including the Hephzibah Menuhin Award presented by Yehudi Menuhin. While still at school, James performed concerti by Mozart, Beethoven, Saint-Saens and Rachmaninoff. He also played in the concerto final of the ABC Young Performers Awards in 1987, leading to concerts with the Adelaide and Melbourne Symphony orchestras.

With a major overseas study grant from the Australia Arts Council, Brawn was able to continue work with his mentor, Rita Reichman, in Philadelphia. He won a full scholarship, aged 17, to the Royal Academy of Music London. There he studied with Frank Wibaut and Christopher Elton, winning many recital awards including the Beethoven, Romantic and 20th century prizes. He also performed in master classes with great pianists such as András Schiff, Tamás Vásáry, Stephen Kovacevich, Fou Ts’ong and Menahem Pressler. James studied chamber music with members of the Amadeus and Chilingirian Quartets and attended the Britten-Pears and Lake District summer schools. At the age of 19, Brawn won the Keyboard final of the Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition, performing at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London.

Recitals as soloist and in chamber music partnerships followed at music societies and festivals around the UK. At this point, James furthered his studies with the Armenian pianist, Nelly Akopian-Tamarina, and the Slovenian pianist, Marina Horak.

His London performances to date include, amongst others, the Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, St James's Piccadilly, St.Martin-in-the-Fields, the Foundling Museum, Blackheath Halls, Regent Hall and The Forge. Overseas recitals include the Berlioz Auditorium, Paris, Roussel Hall, New Orleans, Shanghai Symphony Hall, Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre, Shanghai Concert Hall, music societies in Brunei, Hong Kong and in Sicily. Other important British venues include Cheltenham Town Hall, Menuhin Hall, Chichester, Bristol and Birmingham Cathedrals. He has also given recitals for the Schubert Society of Britain, the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe and Helensburgh Music Society. Radio broadcasts include ABC Classic FM and 3MBS radio in Australia, RTHK Radio 4, Hong Kong, SMG radio Shanghai and NPR stations across the USA.

Forging links with the acclaimed producer Jeremy Hayes at Potton Hall, Suffolk, Brawn began recording the complete Beethoven piano sonatas in 2012. Six volumes of 'A Beethoven Odyssey' have since been released to exceptional reviews. The first 2 volumes of the James Brawn 'In Recital' series have also been greeted to similar acclaim. Each of these recordings is available on the MSR Classics label –

In 2016, Brawn was appointed to the piano faculty of the FaceArt Institute of Music, Shanghai. His recent concerto performances include the Beethoven 1, 3, 4 and 5 with the English Symphony Orchestra, Surrey Mozart Players, Capriol Chamber and Stroud Symphony Orchestras. James Brawn is a Steinway Artist.

Edward Farmer ................. Guest Conductor

Conductor and Composer Edward Farmer performs with world-class international orchestras, and writes music for television, film and theatre. His conducting appearances include with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra of the Podlaise Opera, London Symphony Orchestra, Lucerne Festival Strings, Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich, Gstaad Festival Orchestra, Surrey Mozart Players and with youth orchestras at Keele University, and the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

As a composer, Edward brings stories to life with evocative sound, fusing influences from the romantic greats with the modern era. His conducting career allows him to absorb a vast range of musical ideas and influences for his writing, whilst developing an intimate knowledge of the orchestra. Classically trained yet modern and experimental, Edward crosses the boundaries between musical genres.

Recent collaborators include Emmy award-winning writer/director William Bridges, writer/director Jade Winters, choreographer Jann Esterhuizen, TV productions for BBC Studios, National Geographic, Netflix, Wall to Wall Media, orchestrations for Andrew Skeet, Benjamin Wallfisch, Warner/Chappell and composer/pianist Alex Wilson, concert pieces for orchestras and soundtracks for theatre productions.

Edward graduated with a Masters Degree in Composition for Screen from the Royal College of Music.