18 January 2017
Pianist Christina McMaster at St John's Smith Square, London, this February and March
If January is all about the detox after Christmas, then surely February should be about feeding your mind and soul with creativity and discovery of knowledge?
Pianist Christina McMaster is presenting an adventurous duo of events open to all this Spring at St John's Smith Square (SJSS). The first is Explore and Create Study Day on 4 February between 10am-5pm, and the second concert, on 2 March at 7.30pm, is entitled Britten to America.
Christina was recently appointed Young Artist in Residence at SJSS – the only solo pianist selected since auditions for the prestigious programme began. However Christina is not a lone wolf and casts her net wide through her collaborative spirit and unique programming. The pianist's musical tastes are varied – last year she released her debut album Pinks & Blues which deftly places contemporary alongside jazz and blues influenced music. She is also an avid commissioner and performer of contemporary music and enthusiast of 20th Century French repertoire, regularly taking classes in France with Maestro Bernard Flavigny (student of Cortot and Gieseking).
The Explore and Create study day sessions are led by prominent female role models aimed to inspire anyone curious enough to dip into some or all of the sessions. These include composition, song writing, talks and even yoga with live music. The day happens in the stunning surroundings of SJSS in Westminster with their cafe in the crypt offering refreshments and newsworthy cakes! An impressive lineup comprises MOBO nominated cellist/singer songwriter Ayanna Witter-Johnson, harpist Olivia Jageurs aka 15 seconds harp global broadcast sensation, Opera Director/Yoga teacher Daisy Evans, plus talks by Sheila Hayman 3x great granddaughter of Fanny Mendelssohn on a newly uncovered work by Fanny and also Christina McMaster exploring extended techniques.
At the Britten to America concert Christina will premiere Ayanna's 'Playground' commissioned by Christina with support of St John's Smith Square and PRS. Ayanna and Christina were colleagues at Trinity Laban but this is the first time they come together on stage. The new work weaves together Ayanna's truly eclectic musical skill, also incorporating Jamaican Folk tunes written for a line up of piano, string quartet, young performers along with stunning vocals by Ayanna. Also on the programme are works by Britten, Crawford Seeger, Charles Ives, Meredith Monk, John Adams, Dowland arr. by J.MacGregor and a surprisingly jazzy sounding piece by Birtwistle written at 16years old. The Ligeti Quartet, committed exponents of contemporary music and virtuoso pianist Lena Napradean also perform with Christina.
Saturday 4th February
Explore and Create study day runs from 10.30am-5.30pm
Full details, from hour to hour, here.
Thursday 2nd March 7.30pm
Britten to America Concert
More about Christina McMaster
Christina is an avid fan of yoga which she uses to maintain her flexibility and posture at the piano. She also is a former gymnast, one of her early floor routines was set to Brahms' Hungarian Rhapsody. In rhythmic gymnastics the choreography of the routines is intricately developed and the selection of music very important in expressing the gymnasts personality and style. Opera Director Daisy Evans qualified as yoga instructor in India, 2015 and together with Christina they will be merging their skills in a unique opportunity to practise yoga in a concert hall with live music.
"When we practise yoga our minds are relaxed and focused therefore we can listen with more intensity. I am hoping that both classical music concert goers and novices will find themselves listening to music in an entirely different way... Possibly from a yoga mat!" Christina McMaster