Tuesday, 19 August 2008

A Chetham's Diary: Saturday 18 August 2008

Sunday 19 August
Finally arrived at Manchester’s unprepossessing but fuss-free airport, and it’s a total breeze getting to Chetham’s by train (via Manchester Piccadilly) and tram (Manchester Victoria). Overcast skies with a spot of drizzle – a typical Manchester afternoon.

Harry Potter’s Hogwarts is completely modeled on Chetham’s, I think. All of UK’s and the world’s young keyboard wizards congregate at this school, which has a wing that dates back to the Middle Ages. We get a short tour to Baronial Hall and pass the famous Chetham’s Library. The chill down the spine one gets entering the cloistered wing is right out of J.K.Rowling, and did someone mention a ghost? Fortunately, my room is located on the New College Building, a 21st century construction which overlooks one of Manchester’s best vistas – lush greenery bordered by the glass-clad Urbis, the Triangle, Arndale Centre and the Wheel of Manchester. Just perfect.
A room with a view

The opening event of the Summer School is a talk on international piano competitions by the intrepid and inexhaustible fount of piano competition trivia that is Dr Gustav Alink. He collects piano competitions like Imelda Marcos collects shoes and his website (Alink-Argerich Foundation or AAF, for short) is the one I bookmark and dip into thrice a week whenever I get bored. Which pianists have taken part in the most piano competitions? Answer: Olivier Cazal and Igor Kamenz. Chu-Fang Huang does not even come close. Alink’s closing gambit: Pianists, if you don’t win, try again. There are always other piano competitions. Yeah, right… and keep AAF in the black.

There were two recitals tonight, by Martino Tirimo and Philippe Cassard, reviewed here, by yours truly. The Mozart-Stevenson Romance (from K.466) was premiered tonight in honour of Ronald and Marjorie Stevenson’s 55th wedding anniversary. In turn the composer pays tribute to the 3 Ms – Mozart, Marjorie and Martino.

I almost forgot, it’s my birthday too, but never mind how many years.

A portrait of love: Marjorie and Ronald Stevenson
on their 55th wedding anniversary

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