2nd July, 3pm
George Xiaoyuan Fu
The Friends' Recital Hall at Queen Elizabeth's School, EN5 4DQ
Germaine Tailleferre, Pastorale
Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Sonata No. 30, Op. 109
Cassandra Miller/Michael Finnissy, Sinner, Please Don't Let This Harvest Pass
Maurice Ravel, Miroirs
we chatted with George about his programme...
What’s your earliest memory of the piano?
When I was very young (maybe 3 or 4 years old), I remember there was a yard sale near where I lived (I think they are called jumble/rummage sales in the UK) and there was the electric toy piano there. I enjoyed making noises on it and I ended up "stealing" it (my parents of course paid for the instrument). I played a few tunes by ear, which got my parents thinking that I should start having lessons on a real piano!
Have you got a favourite piano? A make, or a specific one you’ve played?
I love Steinways – my favorite that I've played on so far is a Hamburg Steinway at the Rudolfinum chamber music hall in Prague, Czechia. No joke, I sometimes dream about playing that piano!
Tell us a bit about about your programme. It’s very varied: almost 200 years from the Beethoven to the Miller/Finnissy. Does anything draw it together?
Yes, it does. All of the works play with colour and resonance on the piano – specifically the piano's ability to deposit different kinds of sounds throughout space, which culminates in Ravel's five-movement suite Miroirs. The Miller/Finnissy and Beethoven also have an element of transcription/variation in them: the Beethoven ends with a magisterial Theme and Variations, while Cassandra Miller/Michael Finnissy write four variations on the American spiritual, Sinner Please Don't Let This Harvest Pass.
If our audience wanted to listen to some music related to your programme, what would you recommend?
And as a more light-hearted way to get to know you, if you were a pizza, what toppings would you have and why?
If I were a pizza, I would not want to be eaten so I'd put the most disgusting ingredients on myself. Pineapple for sure :)