2019 in review

Remember when it was about to turn 2000? We all can recall where we were at that very moment. I was on top of Primrose Hill in London, looking at the fireworks all around the city. Here we are twenty years later, about to enter 2020.

When you’re a touring artist, you deal all the time with many years in advance because of your planning (I have concert dates in the diary already for 2023). It’s never easy to say what you would like to play in 2023 when it’s three years away. But that I have to do—somehow. At this point in my life, it’s more about wanting to programme the pieces that I must play before it’s too late; tying up loose ends; finishing cycles if they still appeal to me. Really playing the repertoire that lifts me (and others) up. So a lot of my “holiday” time is spent in serious thought, trying to make sense of all that.

Especially since my current project, the Bach Odyssey, will come to an end next June. It has given shape to the past four years of my life, and been the most wonderful experience. How to top Bach’s music? Well, you simply can’t. I can play other great music (and will—especially Beethoven, Mozart, and Scarlatti), but playing the complete solo works of Bach will always remain the high point of my life.

In 2019 I performed in 14 different countries: Canada, USA, UK, Italy, Colombia, Holland, France, China, Japan, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, Malta and Spain. Next year also includes Germany, Finland, and the Czech Republic. Other than finishing the Bach Odyssey, I am recording an album of Beethoven Variations in January, doing Schubert’s Winterreise for the first time with the wonderful Ian Bostridge; performing Matthew Whittall’s piano concerto “Nameless Seas” in Toronto (good to have a new piece performed beyond its premiere), conducting and playing Bach Concertos with the Orchestre Ensemble Kanazawa in Japan; and many exciting programmes at my annual Trasimeno Music Festival in Umbria which will take place from June 27 to July 4.

After the festival finishes in July 2020, I’m taking several months off to recharge my batteries and especially give my body a break (something I wrote in my calendar almost three years ago). I think people have no idea what a toll it takes on the muscles, performing and travelling around the world—let alone all the hours spent practising and doing business at the computer. I’ve been playing the piano for 58 years, so I hope my body will thank me for giving it a bit of a rest for a while. I’ll start again in November 2020 with an otherwise full 2020-2021 season.

Thank you all for your generous friendship and support, and hope to see you somewhere along the way in 2020!