The most heart-warming piano stories of 2021

27 December 2021
By Ellie Palmer
We round up the stories that pulled on our heart strings this year!

Lang Lang and Gina Alice Redlinger welcome a baby boy

2021 kicked off with the wonderful news that superstar piano pairing, Lang Lang and Gina Alice Redlinger, had welcomed their first child together.

The pair were married in June 2019 before they announced their pregnancy in October 2020.

Read the full story here.



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Mitsuko Uchida receives Wigmore Medal

©Justin Pumfrey

The Japanese piano legend received her well-deserved Wigmore Medal in recognition of her outstanding contribution to classical music and to Wigmore Hall. The medal was presented to her by His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent following her Schubert Recital on 2 June.

Such a heart-warming moment for the pianist! Check out the pictures below.



Lang Lang International Music Foundation announces collaboration with Child Bereavement UK

Back in June, the Lang Lang International Music Foundation (LLIMF) announced a brand-new collaboration with UK-based charity Child Bereavement UK to bring music to bereaved children. 

The new content series will consist of well-established artists, musicians, songwriters, and music producers, doing exclusive performances and giving inspirational commentary about their music, what music means to them, and how they have been able to channel particular times in their life through their work and a creative outlet. 

"We are so happy to now be working in partnership with Child Bereavement UK; such an incredible, inspiring, and impactful organisation. We look forward to offering as much inspiration through music as we possibly can, to young people who are going through unimaginably hard times," said Oli Rose, Creative Director, Lang Lang International Music Foundation.

Read the full story here.



Queer arts hub set to open in London


LGBTQ+ led charity Queercircle announced back in June that they had crowdfunded for a brand new queer arts venue to open in London's Greenwich Peninsula's Design District by the end of 2021.

The venue is being opened in response to the loss of queer community spaces in London over the last few years. Over the past decade, more than half of London's queer venues have shut due, in part, to rising rents and urban development. More were closed due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

As of 1 December 2021, the hub is yet to officially open. However, the charity did post this update online last week:


A post shared by QUEERCIRCLE (@queercircle)


Not long to go!

Read the full story here.



Alim Beisembayev becomes the first ever Kazakh to win the Leeds International Piano Competition

Leeds Piano's triennial event in September felt like a special one. After months of worries over whether it would even be allowed to go ahead, it eventually got the all-clear and did not disappoint.

Kazakh pianist Alim Beisembayev majestically took home 1st Prize with stunning performances of Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Beethoven's No 4. He beat four other finalists from Israel, Japan, Ukraine and the UK.

"I never thought I would win," he tells Pianist inside issue 123. "I never allowed myself to expect anything. It came as a wonderful surprise. I kept my hopes down... even at the last second... even when the jury were knowingly smiling at me... I thought maybe they won't award a first prize! Even then I couldn't believe it."

Beisembayev is the first Kazakh winner in the competition's 58-year history. He was awarded a £25,000 cash prize and The Waterman Gold Medal, as well as a career-changing prize package which includes worldwide management with Askonas Holt, a recording contract with Warner Classics and a European tour organised with partners Steinway & Sons.

Read the full story here.



British pianist Brenda Lucas Ogdon donates royalties from latest album to UK homeless charity Shelter



In aid of World Homeless Day, which took place on 10 October, Brenda Lucas Ogdon announced she would be donating the royalties from her most recent album to UK homeless charity Shelter. The new album features works by Maurice Ravel.

Shelter works to house as many homeless people as they can. This act follows in the spirit of the artist’s previous charity work. In 1993, she established the John Ogdon Foundation – a foundation which completely funded three scholarships for gifted young musicians allowing them to pursue romantic and contemporary piano to a post graduate standing. The initiative was founded in honour of Brenda’s late husband the Virtuoso John Ogdon (Tchaikovsky Prize, Moscow, 1962).

Read the full story here.



Crying baby is hypnotised by the sound of dad playing Liszt's 'La Campanella'

This is a must-watch!

With his crying baby strapped to his chest, this father starts playing Liszt's famously tricky 'La Campanella'. The child, despite a few wails here and there, settles remarkably quickly seemingly mesmerised.

Read the full story here.