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Britain’s most loved pianist comes to Cranleigh Arts – Stephen Dennison

On Friday 11 February Dame Imogen Cooper will lead a fundraising piano concert in Cranleigh.

In the words of Sir Simon Rattle: “Imogen is one of the greatest musicians England has produced. She’s utterly without show. There’s a poetic, reflective side to her which is always there in her playing”.

As well as playing Schubert, Ravel and Liszt, Imogen will talk about the Imogen Cooper Musical Trust, the main object of which is to provide scholarships to exceptional young musicians from the UK and overseas to enable them to attend a course of intensive one-to-one study under the guidance of Imogen herself.

She told the Financial Times in 2019 that her playing “has become less introverted. I’m no longer so risk averse”. “When it comes to repertoire choices, I like to put myself in discomfort. You are what you are and I’ve lived what I’ve lived and I’m grateful for all of it”.

She will introduce Ignas Maknickas; a young protégé who has already received “The Queen’s Commendation for Excellence” as the highest scoring graduate of the Royal Academy of Music. Ignas will play J.S.Bach and Chopin.

This concert marks a new high point in the remarkable international professional musicians who come to Cranleigh Arts to perform. Ariel Lanyi, bronze medal winner at the Leeds International Piano competition in 2021 performed last December; and violinist Coco Tomita, BBC Young Musician of the Year strings in 2020 is coming later in March this year.

Ignas Maknickas

Stephen Dennison, volunteer organiser of the concerts, says “We have built strong relationships with The Philharmonia Orchestra of London, the Godalming based Countess of Munster Musical Trust, and the Keyboard Trust who help us to identify the best talented young performers, usually up to the early 30’s, who are achieving recognition in the major concert halls around the world. They enjoy coming to Cranleigh Arts because of its intimate auditorium, engagement with the audience and the warm welcome of our local volunteers. Since 2020, they now have the opportunity to play our new hand crafted Shigeru Kawai grand piano and they enjoy the opportunity to compare with the best instruments in the world.”

In the last 18 months Cranleigh Arts has persevered in maintaining much of its concert programme, both lunchtime and evening, through the many changes of rules on performing arts. The charity invested in live streaming capability to offer those who would not attend the auditorium for any reason the opportunity to enjoy concerts in their own home.

On Tuesday February 1 Cranleigh Arts welcomes music ensembles from St Catherine’s school Bramley; and on February 25 we welcome back Ashley Fripp, much loved by the Cranleigh audience, who will play music by Mozart, Ravel, Thomas Ades and Liszt.

Cranleigh Arts box office is open Tuesday – Saturday 10:00-16:00; 01483 278000 and online 24/7 at www.cranleighartscentre.org

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