Pianist Lucy Parham launches her Composer Portraits Series at St John’s Smith Square, London

17 July 2017
Screen-Shot-2017-07-17-at-20.44.37-40018.png Lucy Parham
The lives and loves of the great composers – Debussy, Chopin, Schumann, Rachmaninov, Liszt – in words and music


The lovely Westminster venue of St John’s Smith Square, a stone’s throw from the Houses of Parliament, plays host to a year-long concert series devised by Pianist regular Lucy Parham.


Lucy launches the Sheaffer Matinee Series at 3pm on 24 September with ‘Beloved Clara’, which dramatises the lives and love of Robert and Clara Schumann, and their complex relationship with their friend Brahms. Lucy will be joined by Harriet Walter and Tim McInnerny, reading from letters and diaries, before Sarah Walker from BBC Radio 3 leads a post-concert question-and-answer session.


Watch Lucy play Schumann Intermezzo in E flat, which features in 'Beloved Clara': 



‘What she has created is remarkable,’ says McInnerny. ‘There is an extraordinary dynamic between the acting and the music: they feed off each other. You can feel the audience’s sympathy swaying backwards and forwards between intense dislike and criticism of a composer’s behaviour and forgiving him, indeed loving him for the music he has created. It is so much more than just reading a selection of letters and diary entries. Lucy’s plays (that is how I think of them) require complete immersion in the character. The music and the words carry both actor and audience on a great journey.’


‘Beloved Clara’ is one of several Composer Portraits created by Lucy in recent years. The series continues on 29 October with ‘Nocturne’ which tells the story of Chopin and George Sand with the help of Patricia Hodge and Alex Jennings.


See the trailer: 

Content continues after advertisements


The remaining Composer Portraits focus on the lives of Debussy (with Simon Russell Beale, 30 January), Liszt (4 March, with Joanna David and Robert Glenister) and the series concludes on 15 April with her latest portrait, Elégie, subtitled ‘Rachmaninoff: A Heart in Exile’. Lucy is joined for this by the actor Henry Goodman, following their performances together in Cheltenham, Cambridge, Sheffield, Salisbury and Guildford. The St John's Smith Square performance of Elégie will be the official London premiere. 


Here she is with Simon Russell Beale in Debussy: 


A taster of Lucy's latest Rachmaninov show, with Henry Goodman as the Russian exile:


And finally, here is Lucy playing the spellbinding Sancta Dorothea from her Liszt show: 


A Q&A, with various Radio 3 presenters, will follow each performance. 

The series is supported by Sheaffer Pens and each ticket holder will receive a gorgeous pen.