Sam Richards on Pianarama Festival 8th-11th September


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Improviser, composer, writer and educator Sam Richards discusses a piano festival he and Totnes School of Piano partners Lona Kozik and Elie Fruchter have planned for September, at a variety of venues, including Totnes Cinema:



Anyone who can play a short piece of piano music, from beginners to more advanced, is invited to take part in an unusual event to be promoted by the Totnes School of Piano. The music will be by the Hungarian composer Bela Bartok whose six volumes of Mikrokosmos are classics for students at all levels from Volume 1 for beginners to Volume 6 which is full of challenging pieces for advanced players. This wide range of levels means that anyone with some background in piano playing can find something they can play.

The Bartok concert is one of a series of events in a piano music festival entitled Pianarama to be held over four days from Thursday 8th to Sunday 11th of September. Other events include a concert of French music, a music-and-words presentation of the French composer Erik Satie, an outdoor performance of music by Philip Glass, a concert of music by Ludovico Einaudi, plus jazz, discussions and taster sessions.

Totnes School of Piano will also be joining forces with the new Totnes Cinema for a Saturday evening presentation of silent film and live music. Charlie Chaplin’s 1916 comedy The Floorwalker and the original 1922 vampire film Nosferatu will be shown with music played by Elie Fruchter, Lona Kozik and Sam Richards.

An hour of music by Einaudi will feature students of the Totnes School of Piano. A special feature on the Sunday afternoon will be a performance of the Concerto for Two Pianos by Poulenc, the highlight of a programme of French piano music. On the Sunday evening, jazz at the Bay Horse pub, Cistern Street, will be provided by the Jazzlab, a four-piece outfit led by pianist Sam Richards.

Other venues will be St. Mary’s Church – which has an excellent grand piano, Birdwood House, Bogan House, Dartington Studio 3, and the Bay Horse. Full details will soon be available on the Totnes School of Piano website.

Totnes School of Piano is the creation of Lona Kozik and Sam Richards, both of whom are known locally, nationally and internationally as pianists, composers and improvisers. Both also lecture part-time at Plymouth University and both teach piano to a range of students from young children to retired adults.

Lona comments on the festival: “The Pianarama Festival is very much designed as a community event. Most of it will take place in the town although there are a couple of events at Dartington too. The Bartok and Einaudi concerts are inclusive of people at all levels. We aim for a high standard, and believe we have an exciting programme featuring the piano in many of its moods.”

Any pianists who would like to play in the Bartok event are invited to contact Lona or Sam via the Totnes School of Piano website:

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