Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

How Rising Star Manny Takes His Art from Bach to Bond ; Classical Music

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

How Rising Star Manny Takes His Art from Bach to Bond ; Classical Music

Article excerpt

EMMANUEL Vass is a young Manchester-based pianist we'll probably be hearing more of.

He trained at the Royal Northern College of Music, after starting piano lessons at the age of seven and making his mark at the Yorkshire Young Musicians centre in Leeds.

His dad is a Tyke, but his mother's Filipino. In fact he was born in the Philippines, moving to Pocklington in East Yorkshire at the age of three.

It wasn't a specially musical family, though his parents set his ambitions alight by buying him a Fisher Price toy glockenspiel when he was six, and they've backed up his pianistic and compositional ambitions ever since - often (as mums and dads do) by being the taxi service for their talented young son.

And they were both into the pop music of the 1970s and 1980s. "My dad had a massive collection of hits of that time and mum loved it, too," he says.

Which perhaps explains why he's made a bit of a speciality of playing tunes from that era as solo piano pieces - and giving them the grand, piano-recital treatment. You can see how he does it on YouTube, where he plays his own arrangements of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody and themes from the Bond movies ... pretty much as you imagine Liszt might have done them.

Emmanuel ('Manny') is just 24, and a tech-savvy young artist. As soon as he'd graduated from the RNCM, where he was a Leverhulme Scholar with John Gough as his main teacher, he set up his own website to promote himself. That led to an invitation to play for the French ambassador at The Lowry.

He's also performed in a Leeds gala concert for the Prince and Princess of Monaco, alongside The Manfreds, Lulu and Blake; he's been named unsigned artist of the month by Yamaha and taken part in a masterclass with David Owen Norris for BBC Radio 3; and he's done a live BBC6 Music broadcast as part of an ensemble headed by Jimi Goodwin from the international award-winning band Doves. …

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