Andrew Kay and Liza McLean by arrangement with Glynis Henderson Productions and Denis Blais present
Alessandro Marcello: Adagio from Oboe Concerto in D minor transc. Bach
Ludwig Van Beethoven: Piano Sonata in C, Op.53 (Waldstein)
Moritz Moskowski: Etude in F
Frederic Chopin: Romanza from Piano Concerto No.1 transc. Balakirev for solo piano
Johann Sebastian Bach: Chaconne from Partita No.2 in D minor, BWV.1004 transc. Busoni for piano
“James Rhodes is not your typical classical pianist.
Yet his passionate playing and rock-star aura could be just what the music needs.” – The Times
Often described as the “Jamie Oliver" of classical music, JAMES RHODES is "a classical pianist with a rock-star attitude”.
James makes it his mission to seek out new audiences for classical music through his choice of venues and performance style. In 2009 he was the first-ever classical soloist to perform at the Roundhouse in Camden and since then has performed in non-traditional classical music houses such as the 100 Club, Proud Galleries and the Tabernacle, Notting Hill. Rhodes has also played at Blenheim Palace and the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Hall. In Spring 2009 he was invited as a special guest performer for the Classical Brit Award nominations ceremony.
In March 2010, he became the first classical pianist to be signed to the predominantly rock-music label Warner Bros. Records. His first album with Warner, Bullets and Lullabies, was released in December 2010 and went straight to No 1 on iTunes' classical download chart.
James performed at the Holders Festival in Barbados, the E4 Udderbelly (Southbank), Cheltenham Music Festival and Latitude Festival where was the first solo classical musician to play core-classical piano repertoire at the festival.
In October 2010, James was featured in the BBC Four documentary Chopin: The Women Behind the Music and is currently presenting and performing in his very own television series James Rhodes: Piano Man on Sky Arts 2.
This year James has been invited back to the Cheltenham Music Festival and will also perform at the Lichfield Festival this summer.
Rhodes dispenses with the ‘straitjacket’ approach to classical music. On stage he interacts with his audience, sharing his thoughts on the music and composers. By using his trademark stand-up style, James brings a touch of rock n roll to each performance.
“His sound cannot be mistaken for that of any other pianist, alive or dead. It is confrontational, brittle, intermittently seductive.” Norman Lebrecht
"The joy of James Rhodes is the way he reaches out to young, unconverted audiences by throwing them into classical music’s deep end — Beethoven, Bach — with performances of such natural ease and brilliance that no one can resist." Geoff Brown, The Times
James Rhodes (born 6 March 1975 in London) is a British classical pianist.
Born into a middle-class Jewish family in St John’s Wood, North London.
Age 7, he borrowed the CD of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto from his father's collection, although he did not progress formally beyond Grade 3 piano tuition. After moving to a local boarding school, he then, from age 13 onwards, was educated at Harrow School, where he worked with piano teacher Colin Stone. It was during this period that he entered the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition, but failed to make it past the second round.
In 1993, he was offered a scholarship to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, but in part due to mental health issues and his father's insistence, Rhodes took a psychology degree at University College, London.
On graduation Rhodes took a job in the City, married an American writer and the couple had a son.
A fan of the Russian pianist Grigory Sokolov, Rhodes wrote to Sokolov’s agent Franco Panozzo in Italy, with the idea that Rhodes would become a music agent himself. Panozzo responded, and after Rhodes sent him a bottle of Champagne Krug, the pair arranged to meet in Italy. After hearing Rhodes play, Panozzo arranged for Rhodes to have a brief tutorage by the renowned piano teacher Edoardo Strabbioli in Verona Italy. However after a period Rhodes was sectioned, spending eight months in various hospitals in the United Kingdom and the United States, after which his marriage broke down.
Returning to London, he met Canadian entrepreneur Denis Blais while practising at the Steinway Hall, Marylebone in 2008. Encouraged to record his first CD, and uncomfortable with the austere and traditional 'white tie and tails' recital, Rhodes and Blais decided it was time for the performer to communicate directly with the audience. Rhodes introduced his own programme notes to share with the audience what it takes to perform these works of art, using anecdotes about the composers and his own life experience.
2008/2009 saw his profile go from complete unknown to rising star, attracting celebrity followers such as Stephen Fry and Sir David Tang. Having performed in non-traditional classical venues, Rhodes built on this new revolutionary performance approach.
In March 2010, Rhodes became the first core classical pianist to be signed to the world's largest rock label Warner Bros. Records.
Rhodes' first public recital was at Steinway Hall in London, on 7 November 2008. His second recital was at the Hinde Street Methodist Centre, London, on 4 December 2008. He performed his first full-scale concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, in London on 6 February 2009.
In May 2009, Rhodes performed a solo concert at The Roundhouse in Camden, the first classical musician to give a solo recital since the reopening. Rhodes has also played Proud Galleries in Camden; 100 Club in Soho; Tabernacle, Notting Hill and the nominations launch for the Classical BRIT Awards 2009 WITH NS&I.
In March 2010, Rhodes performed at the Holders Season 2010 in Barbados. 2010 also saw him play at the Cheltenham Music Festival, Hay Festival and the Latitude Festival, Suffolk.
In February 2011, Rhodes performed a sell-out show at the Elgar Room in the Royal Albert Hall and then at the Jazz Cafe in Camden as a part of the HMV Next Big Thing Festival. In March 2011, he performed two very successful concerts in London’s West End at the Ambassadors Theatre and is playing at Cheltenham Music Festival and Lichfield Festival in July 2011.
Rhodes completed filming a BBC Four music documentary celebrating Frédéric Chopin’s 200th anniversary in December 2009, ‘Chopin: The Woman Behind the Music’. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00v9qpb
He is the star presenter and performer in the 90 minute programme which is a discovery of Chopin’s life and his relationship with the opera singer Jenny Lind. This documentary broadcast in October 2010.
He also appeared on popular morning TV show in July 2010, BBC Breakfast =
James Rhodes filmed a seven episode series called ‘James Rhodes: Piano Man’, which aired on Sky Arts 2 in December 2010 and again in March 2011. In Piano Man, James plays the music of his favourite composers, including Bach, Beethoven and Chopin, many of whom have had, like James, troubled lives. In this highly personal collection, James explains how they’ve given him solace in his darkest moments, and why we should all be listening. With stunning solo piano performances and witty insight into the lives of James’s favourites, Piano Man is an exciting and radical new approach to classical music.
Rhodes has been interviewed and performed on both BBC Radio 3’s ‘In Tune’ and BBC Radio 4’s, ‘Front Row’.
See link to ‘Front Row’ here = http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00fk8h7
1/ Razor Blades, Little Pills and Big Pianos (Feb 2009), Signum Records
2/ Now Would All Freudians Please Stand Aside (Mar 2010), Signum Records
3/ Bullets and Lullabies (Dec 2010), Warner Music