A powerful and unexpected attraction to the piano at the age of six led Yuanfan Yang to embark on a prodigiously successful career as a pianist and composer, blending two cultural traditions.
Genius at a price
Jeremy Nicholas explores the complex relationship between musical creativity and mental health.
Jessica Duchen meets the French-Canadian pianist Louis Lortie, who has just launched a new festival on Lake Como in Italy. She discovers a musician who, despite being rooted in an illustrious tradition of great pianism, is full of the spirit of adventure and still experimenting with repertoire, old and new
Benjamin Ivry concludes his survey of pianism in early 20th-century Russia by exploring the consequences of the October Revolution of 1917, when the dialectic of Marxism permeated every aspect of Soviet culture
The wild landscapes, the unique light and the vast, empty silences of the regions that cluster around the Arctic Circle have inspired a very particular cultural and psychological identity. Andrew Mellor explores the idea of ‘The North’ and its wide-ranging influence on today’s music scene
The piano music of the Czech-French composer Antoine Reicha is largely unknown, despite its inventive playfulness, couched in the familiar language of classicism. Ivan Ilić, who has championed Reicha’s piano works on disc, explains some of the dilemmas facing performers of this music
Win some, lose some
As an aficionado of every major piano competition around the world, Stephen Wigler frequently finds himself bemused by the jury’s selection of winners. As he analyses some recent competition results in more depth, he discovers a pattern emerging based on national characteristics which favour certain types of pianism above others
Master of ceremonies
Andrew Mellor reports from this year’s Vinterfest in Sweden, where the Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson is working his charm to bring together a stimulating programme of music that grapples with big ideas
A true individual, Mike Nock has never cared for the conventions of the traditional jazz gig. His approach to musicmaking, both as a performer and a distinguished teacher, has always been more organic, exploring paths that open up some unusually spontaneous and stimulating musical journeys. By Andy Hamilton
Music of my life
Leon McCawley prizes unpretentious musicmaking with a strong sense of narrative – lessons he learnt from listening to great pianists on record in his youth