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 hailed as 'One to watch' by International Piano Magazine is presenting an adventurous duo of events open to all this Spring at St John's Smith Square. (SJSS) The first, Explore and Create Study day on February 4th 10-5pm which provides an insightful link to the second - unique concert entitled Britten to America on Thursday 2nd March at 7.30pm
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).
'Combining bold programming skills with her natural warmth introducing works and you've got a winning way to introduce an eclectic selection of repertoire' Journalist and Digital Editor at the BBC Jon Jacob.
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 15seconds harp global broadcast sensation, Opera Director/Yoga teacher Daisy Evans, plus talks by Sheila Hayman 3x greatgrandaughter of Fanny Mendelssohn on a newly uncovered work by Fanny and also Christina McMaster exploring extended techniques.
On March 2nd 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 TrinityLaban 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.
'We are delighted that Christina McMaster is bringing such an enriching and stimulating programme of music making to St John’s Smith Square as part of her Young Artists’ residency. Both the concert programme and the study day are thoroughly infused with an overwhelming sense or creativity, inquisition and discovery and what makes these events truly stand out is how Christina has ingeniously created a programme of activity which reaches out and engages with people who have widely divergent musical experiences. These events promise to be richly rewarding for all those who participate or simply come and listen.’ Richard Heason Director of St John's Smith Square.