Charles Owen (1 February)Peter Avis

Charles Owen’s first piano lessons were from a pianist in the congregation of his father, a Church of England Clergyman - a good grounding for life at the Yehudi Menuhin School where, as a scholarship boy, he studied with Seta Tanyel. Two major influences followed during his years at the Royal College of Music: Irina Zaritskaya and Imogen Cooper, whose teaching Owen describes as shaping his own approach to the piano and music-making in general. He was a finalist in the Piano Section of the 1988 BBC Young Musician of the Year, and awards that followed included the Silver Medal at the Scottish International Piano Competition in 1995 and the Parkhouse Award in 1997. He has performed at major venues throughout the world including the Barbican Centre, the Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, King’s Place, Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall, Symphony Hall Birmingham, the Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Brahmsaal in the Vienna Musikverein and the Moscow Conservatoire. He is Professor of Piano at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

His discography includes piano music by Bach, Fauré, Janacek and Poulenc (Somm Records), but as his recordings show, he is equally at home in the duo and chamber music repertoire, with releases of the Rachmaninov and Chopin cello sonatas with Natalie Clein and the Janacek Violin Sonata with Augustin Hadelich. But his most well-known collaboration is probably with the pianist Katya Apekisheva, his colleague at tonight’s meeting, and with whom he has recorded Stravinsky’s duo arrangement of The Rite of Spring and the Rachmaninov Suites for two pianos (Quartz Records). Together with Katya, he is Artistic Director of the London Piano Festival, an annual celebration of the piano at London’s King’s Place. No doubt this immensely popular event in London’s musical calendar will be among the subjects they will be covering in tonight’s presentation.

Charles’s hobbies include fitness, art galleries, country walks, and exploring foreign cities, all shared with his long-time partner Jason Groves, with whom he entered into a Civil Partnership in 2011.

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