Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Murray Tunes Up; CLASSICAL Beautiful Scenery, Comfortable Surroundings, a Nice Meal and First-Class Music ... What's Not to like about the Northumberland Music Festival? David Whetstone Talks to Concert Pianist Murray McLachlan Who Helped to Make It Happen

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Murray Tunes Up; CLASSICAL Beautiful Scenery, Comfortable Surroundings, a Nice Meal and First-Class Music ... What's Not to like about the Northumberland Music Festival? David Whetstone Talks to Concert Pianist Murray McLachlan Who Helped to Make It Happen

Article excerpt

One of the people hoteliers Gina and Robert Parker turned to for advice when setting up the Northumberland Music Festival was Murray McLachlan, acclaimed concert pianist and head of keyboard at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester.

It must have been good advice because last year's inaugural festival across three Northumberland hotels - Eshott Hall, Guyzance Hall and Doxford Hall - was a great success.

It's back in November and so is Murray. He is to perform a piano recital at Guyzance Hall on November 13 in an evening concert which also features three talented Chetham's pupils.

That same morning he will hold a piano workshop for North East pianists aged eight to 18 who have achieved at least grade seven.

"I think it's wonderful to have a festival like this in such a beautiful setting," says the muchtravelled pianist. "It's not every day that you get live classical music on your doorstep.

"It's really good for the community although people might be tempted to come from further afield to stay amid such beautiful scenery."

The workshop proved as successful as the concert last year which is why it is being repeated too.

"There are a lot of very talented people in Northumberland and Newcastle, and at The Sage Gateshead," says Murray.

That's high praise from a man whose performances and recordings have had critics reaching for superlatives.

At Guyzance Hall he will play Beethoven's Sonata in E major Op. 109 and Chopin's Sonata in B minor Op. 58.

"They're two of the most beautiful masterpieces in the piano repertoire," he says.

"The Chopin sonata is an epic piece while the Beethoven is, in a sense, turning the piano into something else, a combination of harps and organ.

"It's very beautiful and spiritual, a real masterpiece. It lasts 19 minutes but it seems to say so much."

A concert pianist inevitably has to cover some miles but Murray's schedule does sound a little dizzying, given that he has a key role to play at Chetham's, the celebrated music school, and is a father of four.

There are talented Sage { "It goes in phases," he says. "Last summer I did a tour of New Zealand and Australia - eight concerts in nine days; quite tiring - and after the Northumberland concert I'm going to Poland to play Beethoven and Chopin."

Northumberland Newcastle, " Despite this, it seems he has managed to transmit his love of the piano to his children. One of the youngsters accompanying him to Guyzance Hall will be son Callum, a 13-year-ol Chetham's pupil who started playing the piano inspired, so he says, not by dad but by Amadeus, the film about Mozart.

lot of very But it was Murray who taught Callum up to grade eight before passing him over to the Russian concert pianist Dina Parakhina, a Chetham's colleague. …

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