Details of Forsyth events that have been happening in-store and beyond...

Chamber Music Festival performance featuring Jeremy Young and the Trio Havisham - Tuesday 12th June 2022

We were delighted to host the third day of the brand new Connect Chamber Music Festival, a week-long, student-run concert series, organised by Orla McGarrity. 

Audiences were treated to performances by two fantastic ensembles. Renowned pianist and chamber musician, Jeremy Young, was joined by RNCM students for a performance of the Schumann Piano Quintet in E flat major, Opus 44. This was followed by Beethoven's 'Ghost' Trio, Opus 70, performed by the up-and-coming ensemble, Trio Havisham. 

This concert series certainly marks the start of a festival that is destined to continue for many years to come; a worthy successor to the highly acclaimed RNCM Chamber Music Festival. 

Jeremy Young

A founder member of the Manchester Piano Trio, Jeremy has also partnered with many of the world's most distinguished musicians including Olivier Charlier, Mark Padmore, Julian Bliss, Liwei Qin, Peter Cropper, Roderick Williams, Thomas Riebl and Karine Georgian in venues such as the Lincoln Center (New York), Herbst Theater (San Fransisco), National Concert Hall (Dublin), Esplanade Hall (Singapore), Almaty Concert Hall (Kazakhstan) and Wigmore Hall. Festival appearances include Mecklenburg –Vorpommern, Graz, Lake District, Harrogate, Endellion, Brighton, City of London, and Dartington. He has also appeared as a solo recitalist at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, The Arts House (Singapore), Hsinchu Concert Hall (Taiwan), Bridgewater Hall (Manchester), and the Southbank Centre and has performed concerti under the baton of Sir Richard Hickox and Marcus Stenz. Jeremy has broadcast for BBC Radio 3, Classic FM, RTÉ Lyric FM, BBCTV, Channel 4, and radio in the USA, China, Russia, and much of Europe. His recordings are available on EMI Asia, Decca, Sony, Meridian, Signum, Champs Hill, and Somm. He recently recorded a disc of chamber music by William Sterndale – Bennett with the Villiers Quartet due for release by Naxos in September 2018.

Trio Havisham

Trio Havisham is an award-winning ensemble founded by Zany Denyer and Magdalena Riedl at the RNCM in June 2018, with their cellist, Fangning Dong, joining in September 2021. In March 2022 they won the RNCM's Hirsch Prize and later went on to win the first prize at the CAVATINA Intercollegiate Chamber Music Competition at the Wigmore Hall in May 2022. They have been invited to perform recitals at concert series' including the Tattenhall Music Society and Buxton Opera House Coffee Concerts. They now look forward to concerts in London at Conway Hall, and in Ambleside as part of the New Generation Artist Series next season. The trio has benefitted from masterclasses and mentoring from distinguished chamber musicians, including Fanny Robilliard, Louis Rodde, and Paloma Kouider (Trio Karenine), Petr Prause, Donald Grant (Elias String Quartet), Henk Guittart, Jeremy Young, Jonathan Fisher, and the Gould Piano Trio.

The concert can be rewatched by clicking here.

Benjamin Frith and Heidi Rolfe: Two Piano Duo - Friday 10th June 2022

Benjamin Frith embarked on his career by winning the Dudley National Concerto Competition, aged fourteen, performing Saint-Saens 2nd Piano Concerto. He studied with Dame Fanny Waterman and they were lifelong friends. His many awards culminated in top prize at the Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano, and the Gold Medal at the Artur Rubinstein Piano Master’s Competition, also receiving the special prize for chamber music. Many engagements with world-renowned orchestras followed, such as IPO, Warsaw Philharmonic, Halle, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Manchester Camerata plus recital tours from the far East to North America. A debut recording of the Diabelli Variations (ASV) led to an ongoing Naxos collaboration for whom he made a best-selling John Field Concerto Cycle with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, recently reissued with the complete Nocturnes and Sonatas. His solo recording of Schumann’s highly personal Davidsbündler op. 6 received the top recommendation on Radio Three’s programme, “CD Review”. In more recent years there has been a concentration on the chamber repertoire, principally as the pianist in the Gould Piano Trio. He has also formed the enterprising Frith Piano Quartet and has been the guest pianist in the Nash Ensemble. Benjamin’s recording of CV Stanford’s 2nd Piano Concerto with BBC National Orchestra of Wales was chosen by Gramophone as a ‘Disc of the Year’. 

In this concert, which was part of the Bösendorfer Salon Recital Series, Benjamin was joined by his partner and fellow pianist, Heidi Rolfe, with whom he regularly performs. You can watch the concert here. This Autumn sees them giving a Piano Duo Day at the Wigmore Hall.

Programme

B. Britten:  Mazurka Elegiaca
E. Chabrier: 3 Romantic Waltzes
R. Schumann: 6 Canonic Etudes
G. Holst:  ‘ Mercury ‘ and ‘Jupiter’ from ‘The Planets’. 

Benjamn Frith + Heidi Rolfe

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Let's Play the Piano! Mini meetups! - Saturday 4th June 2022 

Another great day of Let's Play the Piano! 

We have been hosting Let's Play the Piano! meet up groups for several years now. Since September 2021 we have hosted sessions on the first Saturday of every month as 'mini-meetups', enabling good social distancing and a less intimidating environment for participants to play.

Ben Richards has built a vibrant community of over 2,000 pianists who come together to play to one another. If you are interested in participating you need to book via the 'Meetup' website. https://www.meetup.com/Lets-Play-The-Piano-Manchester/ 

Let's Play the Piano!

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James Pearson Trio (Ronnie Scott's): Remembering Oscar Peterson - 27th May 2022 (part of manchester jazz festival)

We were delighted to be a host venue for Manchester Jazz Festival 2022, presenting this exclusive, intimate, sold-out gig in our iconic piano showroom. 

The Canadian pianist Oscar Peterson was arguably the most successful Jazz pianist of all time, coming from humble roots and going on to achieve international stardom with countless accolades to his name. His notorious prowess at the keyboard to this day can astound, with rapid octave passages and almost impossible sequences of block chords making the piano sound more like a big band.

Ronnie Scott’s Artistic Director, James Pearson, had the great fortune of meeting Peterson. Indeed, James’ own style of playing has been compared to Peterson's by numerous journalists. Needless to say, expectations were high, but the Trio did not dissapoint. In this musical ‘Portrait’, audiences heard Oscar’s compositions and jazz standards, fused with anecdotes and historical facts, performed with expertise and flair. The awe-struck spectators gave the ensemble a well deserved standing ovation. What an event! You can rewatch it on the Forsyth YouTube channel here.

James Pearson Trip

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Piano Recital by Rose McLachlan - 20th May 2022

This piano recital, performed by Rose McLachlan, raised funds in support of the victims of the war in Ukraine (Disaster Emergency Committee). You can rewatch here.

Rose comes from a family of musicians and was born in Cheshire in 2002. She began piano lessons with her father and entered Chetham's School of Music in 2010, where she studied with Helen Krizos.

Rose has already had considerable successes in national and international competitions: she was the overall winner of the 2016 Scottish International Youth Prize at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland; and as a result of winning the Yamaha Prize in the 2017 EPTA UK competition, Rose performed at St Martin-in-the-Fields. In 2018, as an overall winner of the Chetham's concerto competition, Rose was selected to perform the Ravel G major concerto with the Chetham's symphony orchestra. In 2018 Rose also won the Chopin and Beethoven prizes at Chetham's and in 2019 she was the overall winner of the junior intercollegiate Beethoven Piano Society of Europe competition. Rose was the overall winner of the 11th Dora Pejačević competition organised by EPTA Croatia in 2019.

Rose is fortunate to have performed with orchestras on multiple occasions, including the Clara Schumann concerto with the New Tyneside Orchestra in Newcastle conducted by Monica Buckland in 2019 and Shostakovich's second concerto with the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Barry Wordsworth in the Malcolm Arnold Festival which was broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Rose is now at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, continuing her studies with Helen Krizos. In 2021, Rose was a finalist in both the RNCM concerto competition and the Gold Medal competition and was also highly commended in the Mark Ray Recital Prize. She is extremely grateful to receive financial support from the Dobie Charitable Trust, the Muriel Berry Scholarship, the Waverley Fund and the Pendle Young Musicians' Bursary.

Programme

Beethoven - Sonata No. 30 Op. 109

Debussy - Preuludes (Book 2)

Rose McLachlan

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Piano Safari Friends Meets: Ready to Play - Saturday 7th May 2022

The authors of Piano Safari and the Ready to Play Series, Katherine Fisher and Sally Cathcart, joined us at Forsyths to run a series of afternoon workshops to demonstrate the methods.  

Combining decades of experience with the latest pedagogical research, Katherine Fisher and Dr. Julie Knerr created Piano Safari, a method that incorporates the best elements of a range of techniques for teaching children and older students. Written by Sally Cathcart, the Ready to Play series was written with children in mind. The series built on sound pedagogical principles both from music education and education more generally. The workshops provided participants with an overview of both methods, presented the pedagogical features of the series, and demonstrated how both methods can be used in conjunction.
Piano Safari

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Virtuoso Voice, Recorder and Piano Recital - Friday 6th May 2022

Recorder Virtuoso John Turner joined Lesley-Jane Rogers (Soprano) and Stephen Bettaney (Piano) to explore the music of Forsyth Publishing House, including pieces by Robin Stevens, William Alwyn, and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor amongst others.

Lesley-Jane Rogers is heralded as one of the most versatile soloists of today, and is renowned for her captivating and evocative performances.  An established concert soloist, she specialises in oratorio, “vocal concertos”, solo cantatas, recitals and contemporary music, and has a vast repertoire of several hundred works.  She studied singing and piano at the Royal Academy of Music where she won several prizes, and has since been made an ‘Associate’ in recognition of her eminence in the profession.  A keen exponent of contemporary music, Lesley-Jane has given very nearly 200 premières and is honoured to be the dedicatee of various songs and song cycles. Her discography numbers some 40 CDs, including several new-music releases for the specialist label Metier, as well as discs for the Divine Art, Toccata Classics, Campion/Cameo, Hyperion, Prima Facie and Carma labels.

John Turner is one of the leading recorder players of today. Born in Stockport, he was Senior Scholar in Law at Fitzwilliam College Cambridge before pursuing a legal career, acting for many distinguished musicians and musical organisations (including the Halle Orchestra, the Royal Northern College of Music and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain), alongside his many musical activities. These included numerous appearances and recordings with David Munrow's Early Music Consort of London, the Academy of Ancient Music, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields and the English Baroque Soloists. He now devotes his time to playing, writing, reviewing, publishing, composing and generally energising. He has played as recorder soloist with the Hallé Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Manchester Camerata, the English Baroque Soloists, the English Chamber Orchestra, and many other leading orchestras and ensembles. Concertos and works with orchestra have been written for him by Gordon Crosse, Anthony Gilbert, Peter Hope, Kenneth Leighton, Elis Pehkonen, Alan Bullard, John Casken, and many other distinguished composers.

Stephen Bettaney has been playing the piano since the age of 6. He gained a scholarship to the Royal Manchester College of Music, studying with Deryck Wyndham and graduating with distinction in performance. Subsequently, he studied in London with Maria Curcio going on to broadcast on BBC radio and give many concerts in the UK and abroad. As a violinist he was also a member of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House for 37 years.

Programme

Robin Stevens -  Balmoral Suite. (recorder and piano)

Nicholas Marshall - Carousel. In celebration of the composer's 80th birthday. (Soprano, recorder and piano)

William Alwyn - Seascapes. (Soprano, recorder and piano)

Songs by Douglas Steele, Thomas Pitfield, John Golland. (Soprano and piano)

Peter Hope - The Edgeley Tram  (recorder and piano)

Two Oriental Valses for piano by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

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Solo Cello Recital by Joseph Myer Dawson - Tuesday 28 April 2022

Featuring revered works by J. S. Bach and Zoltán Kodály, alongside new works by Manchester-based composers, this recital by cellist Joseph Myer Dawson was a showcase of technique and musicality at its finest.

Joseph was born in Birmingham and started taking cello lessons from the age of 7. Now over a decade and a half later, music has cemented itself as his calling in life. Joseph currently studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where he has been a finalist of their annual concerto competition and Barbirolli competition. Joseph considers the cello the best medium for him to project his personality- his sound is consistently praised for its intensity and strength of tone. 

The concert was organised to raise funds for the Depal Ukraine Charity. Since 2007, Depaul Ukraine has supported some of Ukraine's most vulnerable residents - the homeless community. As a result of the recent invasion, this work has taken on a new danger and significance, as they continue to offer shelter to homeless and displaced people in some of the most heavily-effected areas of the country. For information on their emergency campaign in Ukraine, follow this link: https://int.depaulcharity.org/fundraising-for-depaul-ukraine/.


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Free Piano Workshop with Susan Bettaney - Sunday 24 April 2022

Pre-pandemic, the wonderful Susan Bettaney hosted regular sessions at Forsyth which were always popular thanks to her wide-ranging attention to all aspects of piano playing; from technique and interpretation to mental health and audience interaction. On the 24th of April, Susan returned to host her latest free workshop. It was a brilliant opportunity for pianists of ranging levels to gain experience performing in front of a supportive audience (on a super Schimmel concert grand piano!) and benefit from Susan's vast experience and helpful advice.

Susan was a core member of the piano faculty staff at Chetham's School of music for over 50 years. She has nurtured generations of talented pianists starting out on their pianistic journeys. You can read more in her biography on Chetham's website here.

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Piano Recital by Harry Bowden - Fri 22 April 2022

Up and coming pianist, Harry Bowden, delighted his audience with a wonderful programme including composers Debussy, Beethoven, Messiaen, Chopin, and Rachmaninov. 

Harry began piano and composition aged six. Now at 15, he is a passionate performer of many genres but holds a particular interest in 20th-century composers, including Alexander Scriabin, Olivier Messiaen, and Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji. As a student of Les Chisnall, Harry has won 1st prizes in both the XXVIII Chopin Festival in Mazovia and the 2021 International Piano Competition ‘Cittá di Arona’.

This excellent concert, which raised funds to support victims of the war in Ukraine, can be rewatched here

Harry Bowden

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Faure and Friends at Forsyth - Fri 25 March 2022

On Friday 25th March, Forsyth and guests were treated to a performance of works for piano duo by concert pianist Kathryn Stott and her RNCM class. The theme of the evening was Gabriel Fauré (1845 - 1924), one of the most influential French composers, and some of his successors. The recital was very well attended and chose to raise money for two causes: A Bed For Every Night (an initiative to end rough sleeping in Manchester) and Disaster's Emergency Committee's Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.

  

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Piano Recital by Iyad Sughayer - Fri 4 March 2022

On Friday 4th March we welcomed Iyad Sughayer (piano) for his performance as part of our Bosendorfer Manchester Salon Recital Series. He played a selection of pieces with works by Bonis, Haydn, Sibelius and Khachaturian.

Chosen as ‘One to Watch’ by International Piano Magazine, Iyad’s debut album - Khachaturian Piano Works for BIS Records was released in November 2019 to critical acclaim. The album was described by Gramophone as ‘exhilarating and delivered with perfect clarity’ and ‘an outstanding debut’ by BBC Music Magazine.

In 2021 Iyad was a prize-winner at the Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) International Auditions.  At the opening of the 2021/22 season, he recorded his second CD for BIS with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Andrew Litton including Khachaturian’s Piano Concerto and Masquerade.

As soloist Iyad has appeared with leading orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Manchester Camerata, BBC NOW, European Union Chamber Orchestra, the Cairo and Amman Symphony Orchestras.   

This season he gives recitals across the UK, at Dubai Opera House and in Jordan. Born in Amman, the Jordanian-Palestinian pianist, Iyad studied at Chetham’s School of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance where he won the College’s prestigious Gold Medal. He completed his International Artist Diploma at the RNCM in 2019 with Murray McLachlan, Martino Tirimo and Graham Scott and in the same year became a City Music Foundation Artist. In 2021 he was made an Associate of the Royal Northern College of Music (ARNCM). Iyad Sughayer is an inaugural YCAT Concordia Artist.

More about the new Bösendorfer Salon Recital Series:

We are honoured that Bosendorfer, one of the oldest piano manufacturers in the world, is sponsoring Forsyths to host the Salon Recital Series 2022. The Salon Recital Series is a series of eight piano recitals, presenting a range of artists both established and up and coming. All fantastic recitals offer a unique opportunity to experience live music in the glorious acoustics of Forsyth’s historic piano showroom. Please click here to see our event listings for our upcoming events at Forsyths (not always just recitals!)

A musical tribute to the tragic events of 9/11

Adam Swayne (Piano)

Photo Copyright - Jason Lam

On 25th February, Adam Swayne took to the piano floor to deliver a performance of his "Musical Tribute to the tragic events of 9/11", as part of our Bosendorfer Manchester Salon Recital series (new for 2022).

Pianist and composer Adam Swayne studied at the University of Manchester and the RNCM before completing his doctorate as a Fulbright Scholar at Northwestern University in the USA. His principal teachers were Ursula Oppens, John Gough and John Casken.  He now combines performing and composing with his role as Deputy Head of Keyboard Studies at the RNCM. He has performed in festivals throughout the UK and abroad, including on BBC Radio and Television and at the BBC Proms. His “blistering” solo CD was selected as an Instrumental Monthly Choice by BBC Music Magazine, and it also received two nominations at the 2019 Opus Klassik awards in Germany. The Times described him as “a pianist of formidable technique and high intelligence” and the Evening Standard as “an ideal blend of panache and subtlety”.

The evening’s programme, a musical memorial to the tragic events of 9/11, included the Manchester premiere of Sudden Memorials by University of Manchester Professor Kevin Malone. Sudden Memorials is dedicated to Adam who gave the premiere at Wigmore Hall, London on 11 Sept 2021 at 1 pm, the exact hour in Britain 20 years on from the beginning of 9/11. The work was released on the Coviello label in September 2021.

'In 2006, I took a photo in of a makeshift wire fence near the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93 Shanksville, Pennsylvania. On the fence, visitors had been attaching objects of remembrance, loss, honour and thanks since the crash. The photo captured a sudden, transient moment of hundreds of items, some carefully designed and brought to the site, while others were spontaneously offered when visitors were moved upon seeing it. Sudden Memorials has an option for the pianist to improvise for two minutes while looking at the photo. During concert performances, the pianist is asked to seek invisible memorial objects from within the piano, the score and the air.' - Kevin Malone, Professor of Social and Autoethnographic Composition at Manchester University, on his piece Sudden Memorials (2021)

If you missed the recital you can view it here on YouTube

More about the new Bösendorfer Salon Recital Series:

We are honoured that Bosendorfer, one of the oldest piano manufacturers in the world, is sponsoring Forsyths to host the Salon Recital Series 2022. The Salon Recital Series is a series of eight piano recitals, presenting a range of artists both established and up and coming. All fantastic recitals offer a unique opportunity to experience live music in the glorious acoustics of Forsyth’s historic piano showroom. Please click here to see our event listings for our upcoming events at Forsyths (not always just recitals!)

'About Time' - Victor Lim (Piano Recital)

On the 18th of February, we welcomed Victor Lim to perform at one of our Bosendorfer Manchester Salon recitals.

Described as a pianist with ‘great possibilities of nuance and perfect flexibility’ (Revista Arta), South Korean-British pianist Victor Lim is establishing himself as one of the most versatile and creative musicians of his generation. Victor is a City Music Foundation Artist, Making Music UK’s Philip and Dorothy Green Young Artist and the winner of the 2021 RNCM Gold Medal.

As a musician with tireless curiosity for all genres of music, Victor’s repertoire ranges from Rameau to Kapustin and his interest in new music has led to recent collaborations with Graham Fitkin and Stephen Hough. Victor’s affinity with the music of Beethoven has been recognised by two awards from the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe, whilst he is known to have a great personal passion for the works of Robert Schumann.

An ardent advocate of community music, Victor works closely with Olympias Music Foundation in Manchester and is the Senior Creative Coordinator for Fingertips ASBL and has played a key role in the running of several projects including ‘Tune-in Nepal’, ‘Fingertips International Piano Competition’ and ‘Goldberg by 32 pianists’.

copyright 'Photography by Abhishek'

This recital  helped raise funds for the Olympias Music Foundation - a Manchester-based charity helping diverse communities engage with music https://www.olympiasmusicfoundation.com/

All proceeds from the concert went towards supporting 85 children to receive weekly music lessons through our #LearnToPlay programme.

To make a donation visit HTTPS://WWW.GOFUNDME.COM/F/HELP-OMF-PROVIDE-MUSIC-LESSONS-TO-85-CHILDREN

www.victorlimpianist.com

If you missed the recital, you can watch it here on YouTube

More about the new Bösendorfer Salon Recital Series:

We are honoured that Bosendorfer, one of the oldest piano manufacturers in the world, is sponsoring Forsyths to host the Salon Recital Series 2022. The Salon Recital Series is a series of eight piano recitals, presenting a range of artists both established and up and coming. All fantastic recitals offer a unique opportunity to experience live music in the glorious acoustics of Forsyth’s historic piano showroom. Please click here to see our event listings for our upcoming events at Forsyths (not always just recitals!)

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A night at the opera at Forsyths - Mozart in Vienna - Fri 28th Jan 2022

A musical exploration of Mozart's vocal compositions, written during his time in Vienna

On Friday 30th January, we were treated to a performance of a selection of Mozart's vocal compositions, written during his time in Vienna; including an excerpt of Mozart’s Opera The Marriage Of Figaro (considered one of the greatest operas) 

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Thank you to our performers Pasquale Orchard, Camilla Seale, David Woods, Samuel Snowden, and accompanist Jacob. It was particularly interesting to get a flavour of the musical scene in Vienna at the time (dubbed by Mozart as 'the land of the piano'). Indeed, Vienna was soon to be the founding home of esteemed piano manufacturer Bösendorfer in 1828.

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If you missed the evening's performance, do not worry! All of our Bösendorfer Salon Recital series are live-streamed via Facebook and will be available to rewatch on YouTube. See below for the recording of this recital:

More about the new Bösendorfer Salon Recital Series:

We are honoured that Bosendorfer, one of the oldest piano manufacturers in the world, is sponsoring Forsyths to host the Salon Recital Series 2022. The Salon Recital Series is a series of eight piano recitals, presenting a range of artists both established and up and coming. All fantastic recitals offer a unique opportunity to experience live music in the glorious acoustics of Forsyth’s historic piano showroom. Please click here to see our event listings for our upcoming events at Forsyths (not always just recitals!)

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Les Chisnall and Iain Dixon - An Evening of Jazz (Friday 21st January 2022)

A piano and clarinet jazz recital

It was spectacular to kick off the inaugural Bösendorfer Salon Recital Series (new for 2022) with a jazz recital featuring Les Chisnall and Iain Dixon. They have made a name for themselves performing as soloists and as a duo for many years. Les and Iain are both passionate about music and teach performance and improvisation at institutions such as the RNCM and Chethams, as well as many festivals and youth initiatives around the country.  They have also performed at many jazz festivals worldwide including, of course, the Manchester Jazz Festival!

The evening's recital was incredibly popular with over 70 places reserved! 

If you weren't able to attend, don't worry, as the performance was lived streamed via Facebook, and is available to rewatch on YouTube below:

  

Above: A photograph from the evening's event

More about the new Bösendorfer Salon Recital Series:

We are honoured that Bosendorfer, one of the oldest piano manufacturers in the world, is sponsoring Forsyths to host the Salon Recital Series 2022. The Salon Recital Series is a series of eight piano recitals, presenting a range of artists both established and up and coming. All fantastic recitals offer a unique opportunity to experience live music in the glorious acoustics of Forsyth’s historic piano showroom. Please click here to see our event listings for our upcoming events at Forsyths (not always just recitals!)

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Cameron Liu and Lochlan McBride - Piano Recital (Friday 10th November 2021)

Forsyths were pleased to welcome talented pianists and students of Murray McLachlan - Cameron Liu and Lochlan McBride. Their recitals featured works from composers Chopin, Haydn, Liszt, Schubert and Debussy. Lochlan finished the recital with an improvisation on a theme chosen by an audience member, which went down a treat!

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Murray and Cameron posing for a photo after the concert!

Murray and Lochlan posing for a photo after the concert!

A snapshot of our gorgeous piano showroom, all dressed up for Christmas too!

Both pianists are prize-winners at various national and international competitions and are certainly attracting deserved attention for their talents at the piano. To catch up with the concert, watch the live stream on YouTube, at https://bit.ly/CameronandLochlanatForsyth

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'Beethoven and Youth': A Lecture-Recital featuring students of Murray McLachlan - Friday 26th November 2021

Forsyths played host to an educational and inspiring evening of Beethoven's piano sonatas, introduced by friend to Forsyths, Murray McLachlan. The piano sonatas were performed by two of Murray's students, Yulim Young and Minsung Park, and his daughter Rose McLachlan, (student of Helen Krizos). Rose, who kindly replaced Zany Denyer (who was sadly unavailable), played Beethoven's Sonata in E-Flat, op. 31, no. 3 'The Hunt'.

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Murray McLachlan paid tribute to esteemed Beethoven scholar Barry Cooper (Professor of Musicology at the University of Manchester), who edited the ABRSM Scholarly edition of Beethoven's 35 piano sonatas in three volumes (available here). Cooper also reconstructed the original slow movement of Beethoven's String Quartet op. 18, no. 2. You can read more about Barry Cooper's fantastic contribution to the study of Beethoven's works at his profile on the University of Manchester's website here.
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If you missed the lecture/recital, you can rewatch the live stream here. Please note there may be a short moment where the audio is silent (we are facing copyright claims from UMG, despite Beethoven's music being in the public domain! This should be resolved shortly)

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For more details of our upcoming events, please visit bit.ly/forsythevents

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Angelina Pavlou (Piano) plays Mozart, Scriabin, Demopoulos and Stravinsky - Friday 12th November 2021

It was wonderful to host talented pianist Angelina Pavlou for a piano recital last Friday. Angelina had our audience in control from the opening notes of Mozart's iconic 12 Variations in C major on the french folk song 'Ah vous dirais-je, maman' (Instantly recognisable to everyone as the melody for twinkle twinkle little star). 

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Angelina started lessons at the age of five with Giannoula Papazoglou and later with George-Julius Papadopoulos. During her studies, Angelina had lessons with the acclaimed pianists Nikolai Demidenko, Peter Donohoe, Stephen Hough, Leon McCawley, Hamish Milne, Pascal Roge and Martino Tirimo. We are fortunate to have Angelina as one of the in-house music teachers here at Forsyths. (If you are interested in music lessons at Forsyths, please click here)

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The live stream is available to rewatch on Facebook, click here

See our events page for details of upcoming concerts and other events to follow: bit.ly/forsythevents 

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Manchester Piano Hub Concert - Saturday 30th October 2021

The capacity audience was treated to 15 performers playing everything from contemporary Japanese compositions to Chopin! The Manchester Piano Hub is a community of piano teachers, their pupils and other piano enthusiasts from the Manchester and surrounding area. Further information can be found on the Facebook group page https://www.facebook.com/groups/399834724861251/ 

Manchester Piano Hub

Rose McLachlan (piano) Plays Scarlatti, Debussy and Ravel - Friday 15th October 2021

We are still in awe of the wonderful performance from Rose McLachlan on Friday 15th, as part of our series of evening concerts in the piano showroom! The range of colours and contrasts was stunning, especially the repeats in the Scarlatti sonatas, which were always imaginatively and creatively played. 

Rose comes from a family of musicians and was born in Cheshire in 2002. She began piano lessons with her father and entered Chetham's School of Music in 2010, where she studied with Helen Krizos. 

Rose was selected as the Tabor Piano Ambassador for the Leeds International Piano Competition and recently wrote about her experience in an article for Pianist Magazine. (Click here for the link)

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If you missed the performance, our live stream is available to rewatch on Facebook here

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Be sure to come along to our next performance:

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  • Angelina Pavlou will be performing works by Scriabin, Mozart, Demopolos and Stravinsky on Friday 12th November. (Click here for event details on Facebook).

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Matthew McLachlan (piano) Plays: Beethoven, Schumann, Debussy & Liszt - Friday 1st October

We were pleased to welcome back Matthew McLachlan for a recital last night as part of our series of evening concerts in our piano showroom. Thank you to Matthew for a wonderful, captivating performance. The programme featured: Beethoven - Six variations on an original theme in F major Op. 34,  Schumann - Sonata No. 2 in G minor Op. 22, Debussy - Pour le piano L. 95, and Liszt - 'Vallée d'Obermann', from Années de pèlerinage, Première année: Suisse. 

Matthew is currently studying at the Royal College of Music in London and is already a seasoned artist with numerous awards, solo recitals and concerto performances throughout Europe to his name.

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If you missed the performance, fear not, as our live stream is available to rewatch on Facebook here.

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Matthew's Recital - 1

 Matthew (1)

Be sure to come along to our next performance:

  • Rose McLachlan will be performing works by Scarlatti, Debussy and Ravel on Friday 15th October. (Click here for event details on Facebook).

Songs from the Shows: Rob Lines, Adam Vaughan, Courtney Gibbons, Evie Woodcock, Hannah McKee, Maisie Wild, Megan Makin, Molly Mae France, and Naomi Albans - Friday 17 September 2021

It was so lovely to hear a wonderful selection of Musical Theatre last night! Thank you to the nine talented performers and to Rob Lines (The Manchester Vocal Coach) for organising everything. The programme featured some well-known pieces, such as 'Somewhere over the Rainbow' (The Wizard of Oz), 'Stars' (Les Miserables) and 'Being Alive' (Company). As Rob mentioned, last night's performance also raised funds for Acting for Others, which provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need, through its 14 member charities. In total, we managed to raise over £280, which is just fantastic!.

***

If you missed the performance, fear not, as our live stream is available to rewatch on Facebook here.

    

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Be sure to come along to our next two performances:

  • Matthew McLachlan will be performing works by Beethoven, Schumann, Debussy & Liszt on Friday 1st October. (Click here for event details on Facebook)
  • Rose McLachlan will be performing works by Scarlatti, Debussy and Ravel on Friday 15th October. (Click here for event details on Facebook).

Let's Play the Piano! Mini-Meetups – Saturday 4 September 2021

It was lovely to welcome back the Meetup group Let's Play to Piano! for the first time since lockdown and for the first of a new series of 'Mini-Meetups' to be held at Forsyth on the first Saturday of every month. As organiser Ben Richards explained, these three sessions, at 10.30am, 12.45pm and 3pm, were "an ideal opportunity for people who'd like to build confidence performing within a smaller group" and "a good chance to try out longer pieces for those who'd like a bit more time." All three sessions were fully booked and featured as wide a range of music as ever!

Evening Recital: Amy Wakefield & Susan Bettaney (Piano Duet) – Saturday 28 August 2021

Amy and Susan regularly perform, write and give workshops and masterclasses throughout the UK and Europe. They're also specialists in the field of piano duets  works for two players on one piano  and have given workshops for pairs of pianists at Forsyth. So it was wonderful to be able to hear them join forces once again in person to present a glorious summer programme of audience favourites like Grieg's fabulous Wedding Day at Troldhaugen mixed in with lesser-known twentieth-century works, which went down just as well: you can watch the whole performance on our Facebook page!

Kuhlau, Sonatina in G Major

Chopin, Variations in D Major

Philip Lane, Badinages

Schubert, Rondo in A Major Op. 107 D 951

Thomas Pitfield, Kitchen Maid's Dance, from Maid of Hearts

Grieg, Wedding Day at Troldhaugen Op. 65 No. 6

Encore: Philip Buttall, Charleston Medley

Amy and Susan     Amy Wakefield and Susan Bettaney

Evening Recital: Edward Leung (Piano) – Friday 6 August 2021

American pianist Edward Leung is an international concert artist, a graduate of Princeton University and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, an avid chamber musician and educator, and has performed with orchestras worldwide.

He had already given a couple of fantastic live-streamed performances from Forsyth this year, one of which you can watch on Live Music Now's Facebook page, so we were excited for our customers to be able to hear him live in person!

If you couldn't make it, you can watch his enthralling performance here on our own Facebook page!

Christoph Willibald Gluck, arr. Giovanni Sgambati, Melodie, from Orfeo ed Euridice Wq 30

Joseph Haydn, Sonata No. 32 in B minor Hob. XVI:32

Enrique Granados, El Amor y la Muerte: Balada, from Goyescas Op. 11

Charles Ives, The Alcotts, from Piano Sonata No. 2 'Concord, Mass., 1840-60'

Rodion Shchedrin, Humoresque

Franz Liszt, Réminiscences de Norma S. 394

Edward Leung     Edward Leung Forsyth August 2021

Charity Evening Recital: Riccardo S. (Piano & Harp) – Friday 23 July 2021

A wonderful, inspiring evening of music enjoyed by over 60 people in our piano showroom and raising over £750 for AYM: Awards for Young Musicians!

A natural and already accomplished musician at just 13, Riccardo charmed the audience on both piano and harp, giving beautiful, compelling performances in a programme ranging from Alessandro Scarlatti to modern Peruvian harpist Alfredo Rolando Ortiz, and including such heavyweights as Beethoven's 'Pathétique' sonata and Chopin's 'Variations brillantes'.

We were delighted to be joined by representatives from Junior RNCM, where Riccardo studies harp, and by his piano teacher, Murray McLachlan, who spoke about the importance of music education and of improving access to it – which is exactly what the charity AYM does by funding music lessons and instruments for young musicians who otherwise could not afford them.

ON PIANO

Beethoven, Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor Op. 13 'Pathétique'

W. A. Mozart, Adagio in B minor K 540

Debussy, La plus que lente L 121

Chopin, Variations brillantes Op. 12

ON HARP

W. A. Mozart, Andante grazioso from Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major K 331, arr. Bouchaud

A. Scarlatti, Minuetto, arr. Bouchaud

A. R. Ortiz, Carnaval Brasileiro

Concone, Prélude from 30 études progressives Op. 26

Riccardo on piano     Riccardo on harp

Evening Recital: Daniel Ropota (piano) – Friday 2 July 2021

We were delighted to welcome back the brilliant Romanian pianist Daniel Ropota fresh from completing his Master's at RNCM. He gave another exhilarating performance of a truly kaleidoscopic programme, from the beautiful to the brutal, and everything in between. Catch up on the live stream on Facebook!

Frédéric Chopin, Ballade No. 1 in G minor Op. 23 (1835)

Sofia Gubaidulina, Chaconne (1963)

Anatoly Lyadov, Prelude in B minor Op. 11 No. 1 (1885)

Sergei Prokofiev, Piano Sonata No. 7 in B flat major Op. 83 (1942)

Daniel Ropota     Daniel Ropota 02

Evening Recital: Matthew McLachlan (piano) – Friday 18 June 2021

We were thrilled to return to live in-store performances with a recital from concert pianist Matthew McLachlan! This was the first of our series of socially-distanced evening recitals in our newly-refurbished piano showroom, and an audience of over 70 people scattered among the pianos were treated to an enthralling performance of Chopin, Prokofiev and Scriabin.

One audience member, pianist, teacher and writer Rory Dowse, was quick off the mark and posted a glowing review the next day!

If you couldn't make it, you can watch portions of the concert on Facebook and Instagram!

Frédéric Chopin, Fantaisie in F minor Op. 49 (1841)

Sergei Prokofiev, Piano Sonata No. 5 in C Major Op. 38 (1923)

Alexander Scriabin, 24 Preludes Op. 11 (1888–96)

Matthew McLachlan     Matthew McLachlan at Forsyth

Lunchtime Concert: Jerome McGuinness (viola) – Saturday 7 March 2020

Jerome McGuinness, a final-year student at the Royal Northern College of Music, presented a selection of pieces from John Playford's influential The English Dancing Master (first published in 1651) in the popular versions for viola and piano by Richard Rodney Bennett and his own new arrangements for string duo and trio:

Jerome McGuinness (2020), Drive the Cold Winter Away, Parson's Farewell, Pool's Hole, Maiden Lane, and Kettledrum (for string trio), and The Whitehall Minuet (for violin and viola): click here for a video of The Whitehall Minuet!

– with Sabrina Ghadaouia, violin, and Joseph Harrison, cello

Richard Rodney Bennett (2003), All in a Garden Green, Buskin, and The Czar of Muscovy

with Fangbin Xia, piano

Jerome Sabrina Joseph     Jerome Fangbin

Manchester Song Festival – Sunday 1 March 2020

We were excited to be taking part in the second Manchester Song Festival, a day of workshops and performances at The Stoller Hall of English- and German-language repertoire on the theme of travel. Forsyth provided an on-site shop of vocal sheet music, accessories and gifts throughout the event, which featured students from the Royal Northern College of Music, Chetham's School of Music and Greater Manchester Music Hubs, and distinguished soloists Nicky Spence (tenor) and Roderick Williams OBE (baritone).

    

EPTA Piano Workshop with Susan Bettaney – Saturday 29 February 2020

At this month's packed workshop for the European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA), Susan worked with twenty pianists in front of their families and friends, covering everything from effective practice, through technique and interpretation, to presentation in performance. Here she is in action, working with Murray on passages from Grieg's Wedding Day at Troldhaugen:

EPTA Feb 2020 morning

Pianoforte Tuners' Association Training Day – Saturday 22 February 2020

It was wonderful to welcome members of the Pianoforte Tuners' Association (PTA) from all over the country to Forsyth for a training day on "The Interaction between Regulation and Voicing" with special guest speaker Karl Heinz Habermann, Head Technician of the Schimmel Grand Piano Department.

This was a fantastic opportunity for piano technicians to explore the theory and techniques of regulation and voicing under the guidance of Schimmel's Head Technician, and to gain hands-on experience of working on this prestigious maker's magnificent grand pianos. Forsyth are the only authorised Schimmel dealers in the North West of England and have the largest and most comprehensive selection of Schimmel instruments in the UK.

Lunchtime Concert: Fangbin Xia (piano) – Friday 21 February 2020

We were delighted to welcome back pianist Fangbin Xia, a student at the Royal Northern College of Music, who performed here at Forsyth last year. For her final-year creative project, she curated an extremely varied multimedia programme including a baroque trumpet sonata and music for piano and soundtrack, all painted live in front of the audience:

Giuseppe Torelli, Sonata in D Major (G1)
– with Zoë Kundu, natural trumpet

Roderik de Man, Wajang for Piano and Fixed Media

Caroline Bordignon: Live Painting

Fangbin Xia Zoe Kundu Caroline Bordignon

Let's Play the Piano! – Saturday 11 January 2020

The first meetup of the year with Let's Play the Piano! included music from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, J. S. Bach, W. A. Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Saint-Saëns, Sydney Smith, Grieg, MacDowell, Satie, Joplin, Glière, Prokofiev, Howard Blake, Philip Hammond, Ludovico Einaudi and Yann Tiersen, as well as new music by members of the group.

Let's Play the Piano Jan 2020

Small Business Saturday & Christmas Shopping Day – Saturday 7 December 2019

This year our Christmas Shopping Day coincided with Small Business Saturday, the national campaign supported by American Express to encourage all of us to get out on the high street and support the small businesses in our communities. As well as discounts throughout the store, and complimentary mulled wine and mince pies, we enjoyed live festive music courtesy of Michael Welton!

Small Business Saturday

Let's Play the Piano! – Saturday 9 November 2019

This month, 45 members of Let's Play the Piano! met in our performance space to share beautiful music by Byrd, J. S. Bach, Schubert, Chopin, Debussy, Granados, Kern, Arndt, Prokofiev, Waller, Templeton, Nikolai Kapustin and Mike Cornick. The previous weekend (2 November), 18 members had also performed in the group's Annual Concert at Emmanuel Church, Didsbury, raising £735 for Leonard Cheshire.

    

Above: the November meetup at Forsyth (left) and the Annual Concert at Emmanuel Church, Didsbury (right).

Ben Sneddon: Busking for Teenage Cancer Trust – Saturday 9 November 2019

Thank you to everyone who stopped to listen to and support Ben Sneddon, an A Level student at The Fallibroome Academy, who busked for a very cold hour on our street piano and raised £136.28 for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

This was one of several fundraising events organised by members of the school in memory of their fellow student Max Ambrose-Morrison, who passed away earlier this year.

Ben's set included songs like All of Me, Despacito, Hall of Fame, Say Something, See You Again and Wonderwall, plus music by Einaudi and Yiruma. Watch a clip from 'See You Again' here!

Ben Sneddon busking         

EPTA Piano Workshop with Susan Bettaney – Sunday 3 November 2019

Our final European Piano Teachers Association workshop of 2019 was a great success with 22 pianists of all ages gaining valuable experience of performing to each other, family and friends, and receiving invaluable feedback and guidance from Susan Bettaney, who helps players with all aspects of their development from effective warm-ups to try at home to dealing with issues that arise on stage.

EPTA November 2019 morning     EPTA November 2019 afternoon

Above: Susan Bettaney with participants from the morning (left) and afternoon (right) sessions of November's workshop

Let's Play the Piano! – Saturday 14 September 2019

At this month's session, members of Let's Play the Piano, the regular Meetup group for adult amateur pianists and music-lovers, gathered around one of our beautiful 9-foot Schimmel Konzert grand pianos to share beautiful music by Schumann, Liszt, Brahms, Joplin, Elliott, Scriabin, Rachmaninov, Messiaen, Bernstein, Kapustin and Wayne Hill, as well as new pieces composed by the musicians themselves.

Let's Play the Piano 01     Let's Play the Piano 02

Piano Workshop with Melanie Spanswick – Saturday 31 August 2019

It was wonderful to see Melanie Spanswick back at Forsyth! Following her inspiring workshop in January (see below), Melanie returned for a further free session on developing a fluent, flexible, tension-free piano technique and maintaining it in a variety of musical contexts – essential for accuracy, freedom of expression, avoiding injury and maximising enjoyment.

Spanswick Workshop 02     Spanswick Workshop 01

She began with a brief recap of the January workshop, which examined basic physical flexibility and ideal tone production, starting with posture and wrist exercises, followed by building finger agility alongside developing a relaxed hand and wrist.

This was then followed by two separate workshops: the first looked at tackling double notes, ornaments and cantabile, combined with a loose hand; and the second focused on octaves, chords, chordal balance and arm-weight.

Spanswick

She also talked about her brilliant piano course, Play it again: PIANO (Schott), the third book of which was published in March this year.

As ever it was great to have a full house of pianists and teachers taking part in discussions and trying out the exercises. So many of those who volunteered to play said they couldn't believe how much tension they'd had now that they were being shown how to relax!

Chetham's International Summer School and Festival for Pianists – Thursday 15 August - Tuesday 27 August 2019

Including Tours of Forsyth's Piano Workshops, Showrooms and Private Collection of Historical Keyboard Instruments – Wednesday 21 August & Tuesday 27 August 2019

For the 12th year, Forsyth was proud to sponsor the Chetham's International Summer School and Festival for Pianists. The annual Summer School is Europe's largest such event devoted exclusively to the piano and incorporates the International Piano Series of public concerts at the Stoller Hall, featuring solo recitals and concerto evenings with such luminaries as Benjamin Frith, Martin Roscoe, Eric Lu, winner of the Leeds International Piano Competition 2018, and Angela Hewitt, who performed Bach's Goldberg Variations.

Whiteley Hall     Atrium

Above: (left) one of our wonderful Schimmel K230T Konzert grand pianos ready for performers in the Whiteley Hall; and (right) our pop-up shop in the Oglesby Atrium.

We provided over 20 top-quality Schimmel, Yamaha and Kawai pianos – from uprights to concert grands! – for masterclasses, teaching and practice, as well as an extensive pop-up shop of sheet music and recordings within the school. This year we were delighted to represent leading international publisher G. Henle Verlag, whose beautiful, authoritative Urtext editions include their new series of the Beethoven sonatas prepared by pianist Murray Perahia and Henle's Head of Publishing Norbert Gertsch, who gave a talk during the Summer School.

Henle     Registration

Above: (left) one of our dedicated stands of Henle publications; and (right) lots of enthusiastic pianists registering in the Atrium at the start of the Summer School.

At our historic five-storey premises on Deansgate in the city centre – only a 10- to 15-minute walk from Chetham's – we also took participants and members of the public on behind-the-scenes tours of our piano workshops, offering a rare and fascinating insight into the inner workings of pianos, how they are serviced by our on-site team and the differences between makers. The tours also included exclusive access to Forsyth's private collection of historical keyboard instruments!

Polishing    Workshop

Above: (left) our French polisher Philippa working on the beautiful burl walnut case of an upright piano; and (right) our in-house piano technician Stuart explaining how we service upright pianos.

Showroom Steinway     Historical Instruments

Above: (left) in our showroom, pianist Benjamin Frith demonstrating the newly-restored rosewood Steinway model A; and (right) one of our Directors, Simon, offering a glimpse of some of the historical instruments in the Forsyth collection.

EPTA Piano Workshop with Susan Bettaney – Sunday 4 August 2019

As ever, it was a joy to welcome back Susan Bettaney for another inspiring workshop with the European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA). These regular sessions are always so popular thanks to Susan's wide-ranging attention to all aspects of piano playing: not only technique and interpretation, but everything from practising in a way that respects physical and mental health to walking on and off stage and interacting with the audience. Fifteen pianists took part, receiving Susan's expert individual guidance and gaining invaluable experience of performing in front of a friendly audience.

EPTA August 2019     EPTA August 2019

Jazz Piano Workshop with Tim Richards – Sunday 21 July 2019

One of the questions we are asked most regularly by classically-trained pianists is "how can I get into jazz?" Someone uniquely qualified to answer that question is Tim Richards, who is not only a distinguished international jazz musician in his own right but one who, unusually, can explain his approach to the uninitiated. While many jazz musicians claim to have no idea how they do what they do, Tim runs regular jazz courses for classical pianists and piano teachers in London, examines and contributes to the syllabus for ABRSM jazz exams, and has written a number of popular and critically-acclaimed books on the subject, including Exploring Jazz Piano, winner of the prestigious Music Industries Association Award for Best Pop Publication.

Tim Richards opening     Tim Richards C Jam Blues

Above: Tim Richards opens the workshop (left) and participants improvise on Duke Ellington's "C Jam Blues" (right)

We were therefore very excited to welcome Tim to Forsyth for a workshop on "Getting into Jazz, Blues and Improvisation". In this inspiring, free, two-hour session, Tim covered some basic harmony and showed how it can be applied to constructing bass lines and jazz chords. He also gave tips to help with developing improv skills, using jazz standards and tunes from Improvising Blues Piano, Exploring Jazz Piano, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, and his more recent books such as the Blues, Boogie & Gospel Collection, all published by Schott. More than 35 pianists and teachers took advantage of this brilliant opportunity to learn from such an experienced and engaging musician and educator, and left both with signed copies of his books and with a feeling that proficiency in jazz was now within their grasp – some even daring to have a go at improvising in front of everybody else!

Tim Richards Modes     Tim Richards Funky Two-Five

Above: more participants improvise on the Mixolydian and Dorian modes (left) and on Tim's own "Funky Two-Five" (right)

Let's Play the Piano! – Saturday 13 July 2019

It was a pleasure to welcome back Let's Play the Piano! for their latest Meetup: fifty pianists and piano-lovers gathered around one of our beautiful 9-foot Schimmel Konzert grand pianos to share a wide range of music, including pieces by Bach, Gluck, Chopin, Schumann, Gurlitt, Borodin, Puccini, Ilyinsky, Joplin, Scriabin, Rachmaninov, Ravel, Bortkiewicz, Delcroix, Webern and Stanley Myers, plus a piano duet inspired by Walter Murphy's "A Fifth of Beethoven", arranged by Bob and performed with Adam:

Lets Play the Piano July 2019

Utopolis Manchester: Manchester International Festival Wednesday 10 July - Saturday 13 July 2019

We were proud to be invited to be part of MIF19 as one of the host locations for Rimini Protokoll's Utopolis Manchester. The project offered a fascinating insight into our city, a journey of discovery in which participants explored a variety of unique venues throughout Manchester, including Forsyth, from a new perspective:

Utopolis Manchester is a visionary site-specific work that uses intricate tapestries of sound and voices to transform our view of the city. Gathering in dozens of small groups at multiple locations, we'll head out to explore the people and places that shape Manchester's daily life – and discover the many ways in which citizens build communities, society and democracy.

As our assembly reaches critical mass, a question emerges. Can a group of disparate individuals come together to forge a utopian state? And how large can this system grow before it falls apart?

Created by Rimini Protokoll and inspired by Thomas More's 'Utopia', Utopolis Manchester asks whether another society might exist, if only for a utopian moment…

Utopolis     Utopolis 2019

Charity Lunchtime Concert: Alex Winkcup (piano) – Friday 14 June 2019

In preparation for his performance at Didsbury Arts Festival at the end of the month, pianist Alex Winkcup gave a preview of his jazz-inspired programme here at Forsyth, with a retiring collection for the Albert Kennedy Trust, which supports LGBTQ+ people who are at risk of homelessness.

Alex studied Music at Manchester University and piano performance at the Royal Northern College of Music under John Gough. Since graduating from the RNCM Master's programme 10 years ago, he has based himself in south Manchester and currently works as a piano teacher, accompanist and performer. Recently he has developed a taste for jazz and this joyful, exuberant programme explored music at the crossover of jazz and classical idioms:

Chick Corea, Children's Songs (a selection)

Nikolai Kapustin, Piano Sonata No. 2

Earl Wild, Seven Virtuoso Etudes on Gershwin Songs: Liza, Somebody Loves Me, The Man I Love, Embraceable You, Lady Be Good, I Got Rhythm, Fascinatin' Rhythm

Alex Winkcup

Charity Lunchtime Concert: Fiona Morganhauser (piano) – Tuesday 11 June 2019

Ahead of her ATCL (Associate of Trinity College London) music performance diploma examination later in August, Fiona Morganhauser performed the same programme here at Forsyth in memory of her mother Kathryn Whelpton, who died on 11 June 2011, with a retiring collection for Nordoff Robbins, the UK's leading independent music therapy charity.

All of the pieces in the programme had a personal meaning for Fiona: the Bach was included in honour of one of her first teachers, Hephzibah Menuhin; the Chopin and Brahms were pieces she studied under Alfred Kitchin at Trinity College London in the 1970s; and the Debussy was among her mother's favourite works:

Johann Sebastian Bach, Prelude and Fugue in D major BWV 850 (from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1)

Frédéric Chopin, Impromptu No. 3 in G flat major Op. 51

Johannes Brahms, Rhapsody in G minor Op. 79 No. 2

Claude Debussy, Pour le piano L. 95: I. Prélude; II. Sarabande

Fiona Morganhauser

Adult Piano Adventures: Teacher Workshop with Philippa Topham – Saturday 1 June 2019

It was a joy to welcome Philippa Topham to present our latest piano teacher workshop. Philippa is herself a teacher, formerly based in Manchester but lately settled in Dorset, where her busy schedule also includes accompanying, adjudicating, leading singing sessions with dementia patients, mentoring piano teachers for Diplomas, and presenting seminars such as this one.

Piano Adventures 01     Piano Adventures 03

It was a brilliant introduction to the fun, thorough and varied Adult Piano Adventures series, and full of insights into helping students become motivated and music-loving pianists. We were grateful to all the teachers who came and contributed to the friendly and productive discussions, and to Piano Adventures UK and their distributor Hal Leonard Europe for generously providing teacher packs for all participants.

Piano Adventures 04     Piano Adventures 02

The North West Guitar Show 2019 – Sunday 19 May 2019

Following our debut appearance at last year's biggest-ever North West Guitar Show, we were thrilled to return this year, once again curating our own dedicated space featuring some of the world's finest makers.

With our pop-up shop situated just inside the main entrance, we were perfectly placed to showcase highlights from our wide and eclectic range of instruments, including exclusives from Höfner Germany, Eastman, and Haydock favourites Auden and Gordon Smith.

It was great to see so many Forsyth regulars among the guitar-lovers who flocked once again to this fantastic event, which brings together musicians, collectors, retailers, distributors, manufacturers and luthiers, and features live music throughout the day.

North West Guitar Show

Charity Lunchtime Concert: Daniel Ropota (piano) – Friday 17 May 2019

Ahead of his final-year recital at the Royal Northern College of Music later in the month, Romanian pianist Daniel Ropota gave a brilliant performance of the same programme here at Forsyth, with a retiring collection on behalf of the Musicians' Union Benevolent Fund. An appreciative audience was treated to a beautiful selection of works from Bach, Mendelssohn, Franck and Liszt, each introduced by Daniel, and rounded off by a fabulous encore by fellow-countryman Paul Constantinescu:

Johann Sebastian Bach, Prelude and Fugue in G major BWV 860 (from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1)

Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Variations sérieuses Op. 54

César Franck, Prélude, choral et fugue FWV 21

Franz Liszt, Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12 in C-sharp minor S. 244/12

Encore: Paul Constantinescu, Toccata "Joc Dobrogean" (Dobrogean Dance)

Daniel Ropota 01     Daniel Ropota 2

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival 2019 – Saturday 11 - Sunday 12 May 2019

We were excited to return to the Grand Northern Ukulele Festival, Huddersfield, for the fourth time and we weren't disappointed! As ever, this award-winning, volunteer-run not-for-profit event – headlined this year by Jake Shimabukuro – attracted a large and enthusiastic crowd of ukulele-lovers.

Every day is a uke-fest at Forsyth, so our pop-up shop at GNUF showcased the huge variety of ukuleles we stock, including some unusual instruments and some very special offers. Among the instruments we sold at the event were resonator, travel, six-string, eight-string, moon-shaped, electric and bass models. Also popular were our ever-expanding ranges of ukulele-themed jewellery, badges and sheet music. We're already looking forward to returning in 2020!

GNUF 2019 01

EPTA Piano Workshop with Susan Bettaney – Sunday 12 May 2019

We had another brilliant, fully-booked all-day session with Susan Bettaney of the European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA) coaching 20 pianists of all ages on all aspects of their preparation and performance, including individually-tailored advice on warm-ups, practice, technique, interpretation and stage-presence.

EPTA Group     EPTA 01

Piano Safari: Teacher Workshop with the Authors – Saturday 27 April 2019

A wonderful workshop from the authors of the innovative Piano Safari series, Katherine Fisher and Julie Knerr Hague! In a crowded market, they've created something genuinely unique – a fresh, fun but absolutely thorough method that combines learning both by rote and by reading for maximum engagement and enjoyment, with online videos to help parents encourage learners at home. Browse the series for yourself here!

    

We were very grateful to Katherine and Julie for joining us all the way from the USA; to Andrew Higgins of Alfred Music UK, who distribute their publications in Europe, for the generous complimentary teacher packs; and to the piano teachers who braved the elements, contributed their thoughts and questions, and even volunteered during demonstrations!

    

Leeds Lieder Festival – Friday 26 & Saturday 27 April 2019

Only founded in 2005, the Leeds Lieder Festival has blossomed into "one of the most exuberant and far-reaching festivals of art-song in the UK" (The Times), attracting some of the finest singers and pianists of our time. This year's Festival featured performances and workshops with such luminaries as Guest of Honour Angelika Kirchschlager, acclaimed soprano Miah Persson and baritone Benjamin Appl, "that peerless song accompanist" (Daily Telegraph) Graham Johnson and Festival Director Joseph Middleton.

Following our appearance at the inaugural Manchester Vocal Weekend in February (see below), we were thrilled to have been invited to exhibit at the Leeds Festival with our pop-up shop of vocal and choral sheet music, CDs and gifts.

Charity Lunchtime Concert: Lu He, Li Liu, Fangbin Xia and Mengyuan Zhen – Friday 29 March 2019

For our latest lunchtime concert we were pleased to welcome four excellent pianists from the Royal Northern College of Music to perform a programme of beautiful music by Mozart, Chopin, Liszt and Prokofiev, with a retiring collection on behalf of the Dogs Trust:

Chopin, Andante spianato et grande polonaise brillante in E-flat major Op. 22
– Mengyuan Zhen, piano

Mozart, Piano Sonata No. 12 in F major K. 332
– Fangbin Xia, piano

Prokofiev, Piano Sonata No. 9 in C major Op. 103: I. Allegretto; II. Allegro strepitoso
– Li Liu, piano

Liszt, Après une lecture du Dante: Fantasia quasi Sonata (Dante Sonata)
– Lu He, piano

RNCM Dogs Trust

Learn to Play Day – Saturday 23 - Sunday 24 March 2019

This year we achieved our goal of giving 200 free taster lessons on more than 20 different instruments in just one weekend!

Trumpet     Clarinet

It was wonderful to welcome so many people to the shop and hear their stories. For some it was a dream come true to have a go on an instrument they'd always wanted to try. For others it helped them overcome the practical or psychological barriers associated with starting a new instrument or returning to one they used to play. And for many children and their parents it was the perfect way for them to try out several instruments before committing to a course of lessons at school.

Bass Guitar     Guitar

We have supported Learn to Play Day – organised by the charity Music for All to encourage participation in music – since it began in 2012 and this was our biggest one yet. We managed to find space and time to accommodate individual and joint lessons on piano, voice, guitar, ukulele, balalaika, and all the major woodwind, brass and string instruments, including harp, as well as our fully-booked group ukulele lesson for 30 beginners of all ages.

Violin     Cello

As ever, we couldn't have done it without the wonderful teachers who so generously volunteered their time and expertise: these included students from the Royal Northern College of Music and the University of Manchester, musicians and teachers from all over Manchester, as well as vocal and instrumental specialists from Forsyth:

Lou Armer and Mike Byrne (group ukulele) • Kathryn Burke (recorder, flute, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, trumpet, cornet, trombone, ukulele, balalaika) • Holly Calder (piano) • Lauren Collings (trumpet, cornet, tenor horn, French horn) • Lottie Gleadall (voice) • Malcolm Goodare (cello) • Lucy-Rose Graham (voice, piano, cello) • Matthew Jones (flute) • Carl Leighton (piano) • Mark Leighton (classical, acoustic, electric and bass guitar) • Johanna ShuTing Leung (clarinet) • Emily McArthur (recorder, flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone) • Helen Milroy (violin, viola) • Joe Nickson (bass guitar, double bass) • Alice Dwyer Roberts (harp) • Joe Sharples (trombone) • Michael Welton (guitar, ukulele, violin) • Christine Zhou (piano)

Piano     Harp

We are also very grateful for the musical stationery and toys kindly donated by ABRSMBreitkopf & Härtel, Music Distribution Services GmbH, Oxford University Press and Schott Music Ltd. These were greatly appreciated by the learners who received them in their goody bags along with our own special discount vouchers.

Ukulele Group by Rachel Burt     Ukulele Group 2 by Rachel Burt

Above: Photos by Rachel Burt of the group ukulele lesson lead by Lou Armer of Lou and the Llamas and Mike Byrne of Levenshulme Uke Up

RNCM Chamber Music Festival – Friday 15 - Sunday 17 March 2019

It was lovely to be back at the Royal Northern College of Music for their annual festival celebrating chamber music in general and, this year, the innovations and ongoing influence of Joseph Haydn in particular. We took along our own pop-up shop of sheet music, instrumental accessories and gifts, and represented leading international publishers G. Henle Verlag and Edition Peters, offering special discounts on their beautiful Urtext editions of the Haydn string quartets, which were featured in different programmes throughout the Festival.

Forsyth Stall         

Let's Play the Piano! – Saturday 9 March 2019

Once again, a capacity crowd of 50 converged on our basement to share two hours of wonderful piano music. About half the members of this meetup group got up to perform on our 9-foot Schimmel grand piano, contributing to a typically eclectic programme of Bach, Handel, Scarlatti, Arne, Krebs, Beethoven, Chopin, Moszkowski, Satie, Scriabin, Rachmaninov, Confrey, Sondheim, John Williams, Elena Kats-Chernin, Miguel Astor, Catherine Rollin and Yann Tiersen.

Lets Play the Piano    Lets Play the Piano 2

Manchester Vocal Weekend – Saturday 23 - Sunday 24 February 2019

We were very excited to be involved in the very first Manchester Vocal Weekend at Chetham's School of Music: two days of workshops, masterclasses and recitals, led by award-winning baritone and former Chetham's student Marcus Farnsworth with soprano Ruby Hughes and pianist Joseph Middleton.

Participants enjoyed special discounts at our pop-up shop of solo vocal and choral music and accessories, including 15% off the scores used for the opening event, Come & Sing Haydn’s Nelson Mass.

Manchester Vocal Weekend 01     Manchester Vocal Weekend 02

Charity Lunchtime Concert: Xinnan Pu, Soph Taylor, Fangbin Xia and Yilan Zhou – Friday 15 February 2019

We were pleased to be able to help students from the Royal Northern College of Music – pianists Fangbin Xia, Xinnan Pu and Yilan Zhou, and singer Soph Taylor – raise money for Manchester South Central Foodbank by providing venue, piano and marketing support for a wonderful charity concert, which was particularly memorable for being live-painted by Caroline Bordignon!

Mozart, Piano Sonata No. 6 in D major K. 284: I. Allegro
Scarlatti, Keyboard Sonata in F minor K. 387
Rachmaninoff, Étude-Tableau Op. 39 No. 1 in C minor
– Xinnan Pu, piano

Fauré, Cinq mélodies "de Venise": I. Mandoline; II. En sourdine
– Soph Taylor, voice & Fangbin Xia, piano

Schumann, Faschingsschwank aus Wien Op. 26: I. Allegro
Chopin, Étude Op. 25 No. 5 in E minor
– Yilan Zhou, piano

RNCM MSCFB     RNCM MSCFB 2

EPTA Piano Duet & Duo Workshop – Sunday 10 February 2019

This wonderful workshop was a rare opportunity for pairs of pianists – playing either piano duets (four hands, one piano) or duos (two pianos) – to work on a piece with two specialists in the field, Susan Bettaney and Amy Wakefield of the European Piano Teachers Association. Players ranging from children as young as five to professional piano teachers offered four-hand pieces by Schubert, Grieg, Fauré, Moszkowski, Walton, Leroy Anderson and Christopher Norton, as well as a two-piano arrangement of Mendelssohn's Rondo Capriccioso.

Susan and Amy 1     Susan & Amy 2     Susan & Amy 3

Above: Susan Bettaney and Amy Wakefield play Kuhlau's Sonatina in G (left, centre) and Chopin's Variations sur un air national de Moore (right)

EPTA Photos 1     EPTA Photos 2

Above: Photos of participating pianists courtesy of EPTA UK

Craig Ogden's Guitar Weekend 2019 – Friday 25 - Sunday 27 January 2019

We were delighted to be invited back to the Bridgewater Hall for Australian guitar virtuoso Craig Ogden's Guitar Weekend – three days of fantastic concerts, masterclasses, workshops, talks and film screenings attracting hundreds of guitarists and music-lovers, as well as performers like Tom Doughty, Zoran Dukić, Sean Shibe, and the Manchester Camerata. We were there with our pop-up shop of beautiful guitars, accessories and sheet music for everyone to browse, try and discuss with our expert staff.

Bridgewater Hall 1     Bridgewater Hall 2

Piano Workshop with Melanie Spanswick – Saturday 26 January 2019

An inspiring workshop on the importance of a flexible and relaxed piano technique with Melanie Spanswick, acclaimed pianist, composer, educator, adjudicator and author. So many pianists who struggle with tension are simply told to relax but are rarely shown how, so it was eye-opening to see how a few simple yet fundamental exercises can transform not only a player's technique but also their musical expression and enjoyment. We were delighted that so many teachers, learners and parents were able to join us and contribute to the discussions and demonstrations.

Melanie also presented her new series of books, Play it again: PIANO, which, while primarily aimed at those who are returning to the piano after a break, is also a perfect course for intermediate and advanced pianists, who have had to make do without modern, structured method books until now. You can read more about the series on our blog!

Melanie     Melanie demo

RNCM Strings Festival 2019 – Saturday 12 - Sunday 13 January 2019

We had a great weekend at the Royal Northern College of Music's high-profile annual Strings Festival. This year we were also representing leading international publishers Henle and Edition Peters alongside our own pop-up shop with shelves full of solo and chamber sheet music, plus string instruments and accessories and musical gifts.

Forsyth Stall     Henle     Peters

Let's Play the Piano! – Saturday 12 January 2019

This month saw the biggest turn-out yet, with 50 pianists and music-lovers meeting to share an afternoon of live performances. The wide-ranging programme included the second movement of the Grieg piano concerto, performed on two beautiful 9-foot Schimmel Konzert grand pianos, a piano duet by Sidney Smith, solo works by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Brahms, Elgar, Scriabin and Rachmaninov, plus arrangements of songs by Gershwin, Errol Garner and Queen and music from The Godfather.

LPTP

ABRSM Guitar Roadshow – Saturday 17 November 2018

We were delighted to host the final leg of the ABRSM Guitar Roadshow, presented by Helen Sanderson, Head of Guitar Performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, who gave a wonderful introduction to the music on the new syllabus, complete with brilliant live performances. It was great too to have such an engaged audience joining in with the discussion and asking lots of questions!

ABRSM Roadshow

Let's Play the Piano! – Saturday 10 November 2018

This month the Meetup group Let's Play the Piano! packed out our performance space with a programme as diverse as ever: classic piano repertoire by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, Chaminade and Rachmaninov, songs by Gershwin, Ray Noble and the Sherman Brothers, folk songs from the former Yugoslavia, and arrangements from Final Fantasy, Game of Thrones and The Greatest Showman.

EPTA Piano Workshop for Young Pianists – Sunday 4 November 2018

Our third European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA) workshop of the year was our busiest ever! This time, 25 young pianists were able to perform in front of each other, their friends and family, and to benefit from the invaluable insight and encouragement of Susan Bettaney, seen below putting players and audience alike through a thorough warm-up...

EPTA May 02

Tea and Jam Concert Series: Session 2 – Saturday 3 November 2018

The Tea and Jam Collective were back for the second in their series of informal concerts for musicians of all abilities and styles: amateur players in the first half, and the professional Tea and Jam house band in the second, with copious amounts of tea throughout!

Freshers' Fairs – Wednesday 19, Thursday 20 & Friday 28 September 2018

We had a brilliant few days at the Royal Northern College of Music, the University of Salford and BIMM meeting new and returning students and introducing them to our comprehensive range of products and services, not least our 10% student discounts on sheet music and accessories!

RNCM Freshers Fair    

Above: Emily taking care of our stalls at RNCM (left) and Salford University (right)

Let's Play the Piano! – Saturday 8 & Saturday 15 September 2018

This month's Meetups featured classics from Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, Rachmaninov and Cole Porter, lesser-known works from Henryk Pachulski and Alexander Illinsky, original works and improvisations by members of the group, plus a special performance of Linda Ronstadt's 1986 hit 'Somewhere Out There' with sign language.

Let's Play the Piano

Tea and Jam Relaunch – Saturday 1 September 2018

In September we welcomed the Tea and Jam Collective to Forsyth for the first in their new series of events bringing together adult amateur and professional musicians for a friendly session of music-making, with plenty of time to chat over tea!

Check out the videos on their Facebook group page and join them at Forsyth (in our cabaret-style basement!) on the first Saturday of every other month!

Chetham's International Summer School and Festival for Pianists – Friday 17 - Wednesday 29 August 2018

Including Tours of Forsyth's Piano Workshops, Showrooms and Private Collection of Historical Keyboard Instruments – Thursday 23 & Wednesday 29 August 2018

For the 11th year, Forsyth is proud to have sponsored the Chetham's International Summer School and Festival for Pianists. The prestigious annual Summer School is Europe's largest such event devoted exclusively to the piano and incorporates the International Piano Series of public concerts at the Stoller Hall, which this year featured solo recitals and concerto evenings with such luminaries as Einar-Steen Nøkleberg, Leon McCawley, Ronald Brautigam and Martin Roscoe.

We provided over £500,000's worth of pianos for concerts, masterclasses, teaching and practice – 20 top-quality instruments by Schimmel, Yamaha and Kawai, from uprights to concert grands! – as well as an extensive pop-up shop of sheet music, recordings, accessories and gifts in the school's Oglesby Atrium.

    

Back at our premises on Deansgate, we also took summer school participants and members of the public on behind-the-scenes tours of our piano workshops with exclusive access to our private collection of historical keyboard instruments. Our guests were treated to two-hour tours explaining the history of piano-making, the principles of modern piano design and construction as well as piano maintenance and repair.

    

Let's Play the Piano! – Saturday 14 July 2018

The latest session of the regular Meetup group for pianists included everything from Bach and Scarlatti, through Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Granados and Messiaen, to Thelonius Monk, Yann Tiersen and Queen.

Trinity College London Piano Workshop – Saturday 23 June 2018

In our latest free workshop for teachers, learners and parents, Trinity examiner, teacher and pianist John Human offered his insights into teaching and learning from Trinity College London's new Piano 2018-2020 syllabus, with demonstrations, performances and training on:

  • pieces, including the option for candidates to replace a listed piece with one of their own compositions;
  • technical work – scales, arpeggios and exercises; and
  • supporting tests – sight-reading, aural, musical knowledge and improvisation.

John largely focused on one piece per grade, discussing why each was chosen, what musical and technical skills it would help to develop and how examiners would approach their marking. In this relaxed and encouraging setting, members of the audience actively participated in the discussion and even volunteered to perform the featured pieces, often from sight.

They were also able to discuss any aspect of the Trinity exams with Peter Buckby, Trinity's Regional Consultant for the Midlands and North of England.

TCL workshop

Above: Peter Buckby (standing, left) and John Human (standing, right) of Trinity College London

EPTA Piano Workshop for Young Pianists and Adult Amateurs – Sunday 27 May 2018

Student and amateur pianists of all ages had another wonderful opportunity to gain invaluable performing experience and expert advice from the inspiring Susan Bettaney at our second European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA) workshop of the year.

EPTA May 01

The North West Guitar Show 2018, Haydock Park Racecourse Exhibition Centre – Sunday 20 May 2018

This was our debut appearance at the North West Guitar Show, one of the UK's largest gatherings of guitar enthusiasts, and we were thrilled to be curating the spacious Members Suite!

We showcased highlights from the eclectic range of instruments to be found in our newly-refurbished Guitar department at our historic Manchester store.

In particular, we brought exclusives from Höfner Germany, Furch Guitars, Kala Ukuleles and Haydock favourites Auden and Gordon Smith, plus a superb selection of guitar sheet music from the shop's award-winning Sheet Music department.

As well as viewing and trying these marvellous instruments, festival-goers had the perfect opportunity to discuss them with specialists from these makers as well as Forsyth's own experts:

  • James, Chris and Lloyd, guitar specialists at Forsyth
  • Clive Guthrie from Höfner
  • Bob Jobson from Furch
  • Doug Sparks and his custom build team from Gordon Smith
  • and Steve Marks, demonstrator for Auden, was performing live with his Gasoline & Matches bandmate Sally Rea Morris:

Gasoline and Matches

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival, Huddersfield – Saturday 12 - Sunday 13 May 2018

As you can tell from the photo below, we had a great time at the Grand Northern Ukulele Festival! It was our third year at the event, which was just as brilliant as last year when it won UKE Magazine's Best Ukulele Festival 2017 award. Our pop-up shop of ukuleles, sheet music and accessories included some unusual instruments and some very special offers, and was the perfect vantage point for meeting and catching up with fellow ukulele enthusiasts.

Let's Play the Piano! 'Non-Classical' Special – Saturday 28 April 2018

April's session of the Meetup group Let's Play the Piano! was the first in a new series of charitable events at which all attendance contributions are donated to a local children's or young persons' musical education project for them to spend as they wish on music books or equipment. In support of this excellent initiative, Forsyth has pledged to top up the group's donation by 10% in addition to providing the beneficiaries with a 10% educational discount.

In this session, a total of £200 was raised for the Stockport Recorder College, a volunteer-run charity in Hazel Grove providing individual and group tuition in recorder, theory and aural skills to young people aged between 7 and 18 every Saturday during term-time. The College enables access to music education for students who might otherwise be unable to afford it and, particularly through ensemble playing, students make friends and develop confidence, many of them going on to study music at institutions such as the Royal Northern College of Music and Birmingham Conservatoire.

Lets Play the Piano

Learn to Play Day – Saturday 17 - Sunday 18 March 2018

Clarinet     Piano

Despite the snow’s best efforts, our Learn to Play Day weekend was bigger than ever! In just two hugely enjoyable days, we gave 180 free individual musical instrument lessons to learners aged 2 to 82, and got about 50 people playing ukulele in two free group sessions.

Learners ranged from complete beginners of all ages, through those experimenting with second instruments, to others who were once at conservatoire standard but were returning to their instrument after a break.

Trombone     Violin

We are extremely grateful to the wonderful teachers who so generously volunteered their time and expertise: instrumental specialists from Forsyth were joined by students from the Royal Northern College of Music and the University of Manchester and teachers from schools and music services across Greater Manchester:

Lou Armer (group ukulele) • Pablo Estébanez Blanco (double bass) • Awen Blandford (cello) • Kathryn Burke (trumpet, cornet, trombone, recorder, flute, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, ukulele, balalaika, percussion) • Wyn Chan (piano) • Olivia Dance (piano) • Malcolm Goodare (cello) • Lucy-Rose Graham (cello, piano) • Mark Leighton (classical, acoustic, electric and bass guitar) • Johanna ShuTing Leung (clarinet) • Irene Jiménez Lizcano (flute) • Nastasia Loucaidou (piano) • Maria Luc (piano) • Ryan Mark (violin, piano, harp) • Emily McArthur (recorder, flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone) • Annabel Revell (violin, viola) • Lloyd Rhodes (acoustic and electric guitar) • Kathryn Rigby (violin, viola) • Michael Welton (ukulele, violin) • Charli Wild (violin, viola, trombone)

Bass     Lloyd

With more than twice as many bookings as last year, we were all kept on our toes and gave lessons in every available space throughout the store: offices, stock rooms, our third-floor piano workshop and the shop window, in addition to our dedicated teaching, practice and performance spaces in the basement.

We would also like to thank ABRSM, Faber Music, Music Sales Group and Oxford University Press for kindly donating the fantastic musical stationery that went into the gift bags handed out to learners along with our own special discount vouchers.

Check out our Facebook album for more photos!

Emily     Group Uke

RNCM Chamber Music Festival – Friday 9 - Sunday 11 March 2018

It's always a pleasure to take our pop-up shop to the Royal Northern College of Music! Their latest high-profile Chamber Music Festival, part of their French Connections season, featured performances by Quatuor Voce, Trio Apaches, folk trio Faustus and musicians from the Aronowitz Ensemble in addition to students from RNCM, Junior RNCM, Chetham's School of Music and St Mary's School.

As well as taking huge range of solo, chamber and educational publications, plus a selection of instruments, accessories and gifts, we represented leading international publishers Bärenreiter and Edition Peters with stands dedicated to their beautiful, authoritative publications.

Forsyth stall     Peters and Emily     Barenreiter

Let's Play the Piano! 'Non-Classical' Special – Sunday 18 February 2018

This session of the Meetup group Let's Play the Piano! was a little different to previous ones: the focus was on 'non-classical' genres – jazz, blues, show tunes, light music and pop – and all attendance contributions were donated to the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital Charity in support of their music therapy project.

Angela, a representative of RMCH as well as a regular member of Let's Play the Piano!, was on hand to discuss the charity's work and to take receipt of the group's fantastic donation of £276. A tremendously fun afternoon for local pianists doing what they love for a wonderful cause!

EPTA Piano Workshop for Young Pianists and Adult Amateurs – Sunday 4 February 2018

We were delighted to see Susan Bettaney back at Forsyth for our first European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA) workshop of the year. The all-day in-store event provided young and amateur pianists with invaluable insights and performance experience on one of our glorious Schimmel Konzert grands in front of a lovely audience!

EPTA Feb 2018

Above: the eight performers in the afternoon session, with Susan Bettaney (right)

Murray McLachlan performs Marcus Blunt & Rachmaninov at Forsyth: CD & Sheet Music Launch – Wednesday 31 January 2018

A wonderfully entertaining evening with Murray McLachlan and Marcus Blunt to celebrate the launch of their latest CD, Marcus Blunt: Orchestral Works, on the Divine Art label. The disc features Murray's recording of Marcus's Piano Concerto with Manchester Camerata as well as other orchestral works by Marcus, including his Concertino for Bassoon, with soloist Lesley Wilson and conducted by Stephen Threlfall, both of whom were among the capacity audience.

Murray, a great champion of Marcus's work, spoke with passion about Marcus's beautiful, distinctive and 'celestial' harmonic language, illustrated with masterful performances of two solo piano pieces from their earlier collaboration, Aspirations. Conductor Stephen Threlfall also spoke about how Marcus managed to convey original musical ideas in concise, comprehensible forms with such idiomatic writing for each instrument that his music was a joy for him and the orchestra to prepare and perform.

Marcus worked in our Instrument Department back in the early 70s before going on to a successful career as both composer and woodwind teacher. He joined us for the evening from Scotland with his family. Murray, on the other hand, came from just down the road at Chetham's School of Music, where he is Head of Keyboard in addition to his world-renowned activities as pianist, adjudicator and writer. 

Above (left to right): Marcus Blunt and Murray McLachlan

The second half of the evening was concerned with the art of transcription: Murray played two of his own compositions based on works by Rachmaninov, newly published by Spartan Press, and Busoni, a two-piano work performed with his wife, Kathryn Page. He discussed how he considered that such works, while drawing on music of the past, ought also to be forward-looking. As such, these two pieces are dedicated to several of his students, the next generation of pianists, and are rich in unusual technical and timbral details requiring special study.

Blending music and speech in a way that is interesting and accessible to both the specialists and the non-specialists among the audience is something that few musicians do well but Murray does with apparent ease. Many of the audience stayed afterwards to show their appreciation, have CDs and publications signed and take photos.

Above (left to right): Murray McLachlan, Kathryn Page, Marcus Blunt, Maureen Blunt and Lesley Wilson.

Programme:

Marcus Blunt, Fantasy on the Name 'Murray McLachlan'

Marcus Blunt, Sonata No. 3, 'The Life Force'

Rachmaninov, Piano Concerto No. 1, second movement, arranged for solo piano by Murray McLachlan

Busoni, Fantasy after J. S. Bach, arranged for two pianos* by Murray McLachlan

Murray McLachlan (piano)

* with Kathryn Page

RNCM Strings Festival – Saturday 13 - Sunday 14 January 2018

The RNCM’s prestigious annual event dedicated to bowed strings, guitar and harp was focused this year on British and French music. We collaborated with leading international publishers Bärenreiter and Edition Peters to offer a wide range of solo, chamber and educational publications as well as a selection of string instruments, accessories and gifts, all available for sale as part of the exhibition on the RNCM concourses. For further information about the festival, see the official website here!

Christmas Shopping Weekend & Small Business Saturday – Saturday 2 - Sunday 3 December 2017

For some time now we have been the oldest independent business in Manchester and this was our 160th Christmas in the city! As part of our anniversary celebrations, we combined our annual Christmas Shopping Weekend with Small Business Saturday, the nationwide campaign to encourage all of us to get out on the high street and support the small businesses in our communities.

In this spirit, we teamed up with Metrolink and our favourite local deli, Katsouris, to offer discounts and free Sunday lunches to those visiting town to purchase instruments in-store, in addition to our ever-popular annual rounds of complimentary mulled wine, mince pies and live music!

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Let's Play the Piano! – Sunday 17 September & Sunday 26 November 2017

The most recent sessions of the Meetup group featured excellent performances of works for one or two players on one or two pianos by such varied composers as Bartók, Blumenfeld, Chopin, Finzi, Bear McCreary, Mendelssohn, Scarlatti, Schulhoff and Nobuo Uematsu.

The November meeting culminated in the Grieg Piano Concerto brilliantly executed by regular member Vera with organiser Ben on two pianos, including a spectacular and newly-restored 7-foot 'Glass Grand' piano by Schimmel, which will shortly be returned to the Trafford Centre complete with the latest QRS automation system:

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EPTA Piano Workshop with Susan Chan – Sunday 3 September 2017

It's always a pleasure to welcome Susan Bettaney of the European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA) to Forsyths for one of her popular and inspiring workshops, providing young pianists and adult amateurs with the opportunity to perform to a supportive audience and to benefit from Susan's advice and encouragement.

This session also featured a short recital and talk on "Contemporary Chinese Piano Pieces for Teaching and Performing" by Susan Chan, on tour from Canada, where she gives regular workshops and masterclasses, including an adult performance group to support late starters such as herself.

Chetham’s International Summer School and Festival for Pianists – Thursday 17 - Tuesday 29 August 2017

For the 10th year, Forsyth is proud to have sponsored the Chetham’s International Summer School and Festival for Pianists. We provided 18 top-quality Schimmel, Yamaha and Kawai pianos for masterclasses, teaching and practice – including seven grand pianos! – as well as an extensive pop-up sheet music and recordings shop within the school.

At our permanent five-storey premises on Deansgate in the city centre – only a 10-minute walk from Chetham’s – we also took participants and members of EPTA (the European Piano Teachers Association) on behind-the-scenes tours of our piano workshops, offering a rare and fascinating insight into the inner workings of pianos, how they are serviced by our on-site team and the differences between makers.

Let's Play the Piano! – Sunday 16 July 2017 & Saturday 12 August 2017

The ever-expanding Meetup group Let's Play the Piano returned to Forsyth for two further sessions in July and August.

The July event featured extended performances by its more experienced members, including Chris, Bob, David and Vera (pictured below), on our very special 9-foot Schimmel K219 grand piano. Between them, they presented works by Chopin, Debussy, Grieg, Liszt, Rachmaninov and Schumann, and introduced many of us to the Armenian composers Abramian and Bagdasarian.

At the August event, all members were invited to play – regardless of ability, experience or musical style – or just to listen. The programme included everything from vintage Bach to current chart hits as well as original compositions by the performers, all shared with a friendly and enthusiastic audience of new and existing members.


The Versatile Classical Guitar (Workshops) – Sunday 9 July 2017

In these two taster sessions, experienced guitarist and teacher Will Halligan provided an introduction to playing the classical guitar and its enormously varied repertoire, which encompasses not only classical music, but also jazz, blues and even folk, rock and pop. Both sessions provided opportunities to participate using our fantastic range of instruments and included demonstration performances of selections from the wide range of music suitable for classical guitar by Will and two of his advanced students.

The first session was for those who had recently – or not yet! – started playing any type of guitar (classical, acoustic or electric). The second session was primarily for players with some experience of playing acoustic or electric guitar in non-classical styles and included invaluable advice on overcoming the barriers faced when taking up the classical instrument and its repertoire (reading staff notation, fingerpicking, melodic and polyphonic playing, etc.)

Learn To Play Day 2017 – Saturday 24 - Sunday 25 June 2017

Learn to Play Day is a nationwide event encouraging people all around the UK to take up an instrument, or to return to an instrument they used to play. It has been organised annually since 2012 by the charity Music for All and is supported by the likes of Aled Jones, Gareth Malone OBE, Gordon Giltrap and patron Jools Holland.

Here at Forsyth we were delighted to host another fun weekend open to everyone who wanted a free taster lesson on a musical instrument. We were fortunate to have a roster of inspiring volunteer teachers – Forsyth staff, local teachers and students from The Royal Northern College of Music among others – to give motivating introductory lessons on Piano, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Ukulele, Recorder, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Saxophone, Bassoon, French Horn, Trumpet, Cornet, Trombone, Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass and Harp.

We are already looking forward to hosting the event next year: we'll post the dates as soon as they are announced, but if you would like to register your interest in a lesson on a particular instrument, please get in touch with us via 0161 834 3281 (extension 204) or [email protected]

In the meantime, we're always happy to demonstrate and let you try instruments in our shop, and we hold a series of other introductory and more advanced workshops throughout the year: just keep an eye on our Events pages!

EPTA Piano Workshop - Saturday 13 May 2017

The wonderful Susan Bettaney returned to host her latest free workshop for the European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA). This workshop was for young pianists and adult amateurs to gain experience of performing in front of a supportive audience. The next EPTA event at Forsyth will be 'Contemporary Chinese Piano Pieces for Teaching and Performing' presented by Susan Chan on Sunday 3 September 2017.

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival, Huddersfield - Friday 5 - Sunday 7 May 2017

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival 2017 GNUF

We were delighted to be invited back to exhibit our extensive selection of ukuleles, sheet music and all things ukulele at this year's Grand Northern Ukulele Festival in Huddersfield. As ever, it was a brilliant weekend of fun and a great opportunity for ukulele enthusiasts to enjoy meeting each other.

Let's Play The Piano! - Saturday 29 April 2017

We were delighted to welcome Ben Richards and his Meetup group Let's Play The Piano! to Forsyth for their first session at Forsyth. It was the latest in their popular series of events, which provide invaluable opportunities for adult pianists to perform – and for music-lovers to hear – a wide variety of music in a friendly, supportive environment. They are set to be regular guests with events here every couple of months so keep an eye on our Events pages!

Free Workshop: Learn to Play the Ukulele in 40 Minutes with Mike Jackson - Sunday 19 March 2017

We were excited to welcome Mike Jackson - author of the Uke'n Play Ukulele series and one of the most popular Australian children’s entertainers and music educators - for a very special free ukulele workshop, in which he had an enthusiastic capacity crowd of all ages from 4 to 'mature' playing along with him in only 40 minutes!

Emily's Sponsered Head Shave - Saturday 18 March 2017

To raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) in memory of her mother Bernadette, who passed away last year after battling with MND, Emily announced she would be shaving her head. And having reached her £750 target, it took place right here in Forsyth's shop window! Her hair was donated to the Little Princess Trust, which makes wigs for children suffering with illnesses that cause hair loss.

You can read her story on her JustGiving page and watch the video here!

Free Workshop on Improvisation for pianists with Elena Cobb and Andrew Higgins - Sunday 5 March 2017

For many of us, improvisation is shrouded in mystery: either you can do it or you can’t. But like every other facet of music-making, it is simply a skill acquired and developed gradually over time with experience and guidance. Improvisation can be learned – and it can be taught. We invited our customers to come and find out how!

We are very grateful to Elena Cobb and Andrew Higgins for spending the day with us and inspiring so many people to shed their inhibitions and start improvising. Two of the UK’s finest practitioners in this field, Elena and Andrew are both pianists and teachers who believe that improvisation is not a specialist activity for a few advanced musicians but an essential part of everyone's musical development from the outset.

Craig Ogden Guitar Weekend at the Bridgewater Hall 20-22 January 17

We were delighted to be asked back to take part in the Craig Ogden Guitar Weekend at the Bridgwater Hall in Manchester. Hundreds of guitar enthusiasts gathered to listen and take part in a weekend of guitar concerts, workshops and talks.

Forsyth stall at Craig Ogden Guitar Weekend 2017

Small Business Saturday & Christmas shopping weekend 3rd & 4th December 16

This year our Christmas Shopping Weekend coincided with Small Business Saturday, the national campaign to encourage all of us to get out on the high street and support the small businesses in our communities. Many customers came ad enjoyed live music, complementary mulled wine and mince pies as well as in-store discounts. Watch out for a similar event in the run up to next Christmas!

EPTA Piano workshop - Saturday 19th November 11am-4pm

We hosted a free workshop at Forsyths by the European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA) on 19th November. This workshop was for 'Young Performers' to help with their performance in front of an audience and to gain friendly helpful advice on their performance from Susan Bettaney. Players had the opportunity to perform on a Schimmel grand piano as part of this participative workshop.

ABRSM Scales and sight reading workshop 16 October 2016, 11am – 12.30pm or 2pm – 3.30pm

ABRSM event

Our workshops with Anthony Williams discussed the musical awareness and skills a musician needs to support and enhance musical progress and independence. He explain the relevance of assessing aural, sight reading and scales and explore teaching strategies and technology that can be used to enhance an instrumental/vocal lesson or a student’s practice. The workshop was so popular with teachers and students alike we ended up running the session twice to capacity crowds. We hope to be doing something similar with the ABRSM in 2017 - watch out for details!

Chethams' Piano Summer School 12-24 August 2016

We were delighted to be supporting the Chethams' Piano Summer School for the 9th year by providing a dedicated sheet music and recordings shop at the School as well as sponsoring the school by providing 12 top quality Schimmel, Yamaha and Kawai pianos for master classes, teaching and practice rooms. We also provided behind the scenes tours of our piano workshops on the 18th and 24th of August for participants which were well attended and lasted much longer than we anticipated given the interest and enthusiasm of the participants.

Chethams' Piano Summer School has grown into an internationally recognised centre of excellence for teaching and performance. The enthusiasm of the participants and staff is infectious - so much so that many participants come back year after year. The star studded faculty of teachers speaks for itself. Take a look at the Summer School's website for further information Chethams' Piano Summer School 2016.

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival May 2016

We were delighted to have been invited to bring an all things 'Ukulele music shop' to the Grand Northern Ukulele Festival in Huddersfield again.  It was a fun, if exhausting weekend with lots of interest in our wide range of stock from books to vintage ukuleles! We'll be back again next year so keep your eyes open for further details on the event website.

To find out more about this 'totally immersive' Ukulele event visit the website http://northernuke.com/

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival

Learn to Play Day 2016 - 12 March 2016

Thank you to everyone who came to Learn to Play Day at Forsyths on Saturday. It was a great success with over 80 individual lessons given as well as two group ukulele sessions. We'd also like to thank all the University of Manchester students who came to help with the teaching - we couldn't have done it without you! It was really quite an inspirational event - marvellous to give the opportunity to such a wide range of enthusiastic people and hopefully inspire some to carry on with learning a new instrument.

Learn to Play Day is a national initiative encouraging everyone to take up a new instrument regardless of age and musical experience. Music shops throughout the UK are throwing open their doors to give everyone an opportunity to try a new instrument. Here at Forsyths this was our third year taking part. It is an exciting and busy day with lots going on throughout the store with lots of our offices and store rooms temporarily being co-opted as instrument teaching rooms.

Learn to Play Day 2016 at Forsyths

Piano Tuners Association Schimmel pianos training day - 6 March 2016

We were delighted to welcome 18 piano technicians from throughtout the UK to find out more about Schimmel pianos and learn in a hands on workshop about the practical challenges of fitting and regulating dampers in grand pianos.

Piano Tuners Association workshop at Forsyths 2016