Christian Blackshaw is represented by Rayfield Allied worldwide.

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Christian Blackshaw

Piano

  • Blackshaw's playing simply defines class and classical.
    Baltimore Sun
  • ...one rarely hears every note struck cleanly and with fresh wonder.
    Financial Times
  • Blackshaw's performance was a revelation.
    The Independent
  • Now ‘firmly back in the limelight’ [Financial Times], Christian Blackshaw is recognised for the passion, range and sensitivity he brings to his extensive repertoire. His playing combines tremendous emotional depth with great understanding and, in the words of one London critic, ‘sheer musicality and humanity’.

    Following studies with Gordon Green, he was the first British pianist to study at the Leningrad Conservatoire, with Moisei Halfin. He later worked closely in London with Sir Clifford Curzon.

    He has appeared throughout the world in festivals and with leading orchestras, collaborating amongst others with Sir Simon Rattle, Yuri Temirkanov, Sir Neville Marriner, Gianandrea Noseda and Valery Gergiev. In 2009/10 he performed the complete Mozart sonata cycle in Bristol to great critical acclaim, BBC Music Magazine writing of the last as ‘one of the finest Mozart recitals I’ve heard in years’.

    During 2011/2012 he made his remarkable Berliner Philharmoniker debut “serving every note with nobility” as one critic stated and gave a debut recital in Tokyo. Other recitals include LSO St. Luke’s, Snape Maltings and the Wigmore Hall 110th Anniversary Season. Valery Gergiev invited him back to the Stars of the White Nights Festival, St. Petersburg, to perform the Mozart sonata cycle and he made returns to the White Nights and South Bank International Piano Series in 2013.

    His hugely acclaimed Wigmore Hall Mozart sonata series concluded in early 2013 and subsequently Wigmore Hall Live issued the first of four volumes of Christian Blackshaw’s complete Mozart sonatas recording. Critics have been unanimous in their praise, describing the “landmark” recording as “captivating” and “magical”.

    • Schubert & Schumann Recital
      Wigmore Hall (September 2013)

      Christian Blackshaw occupies a unique niche on the piano circuit. His brilliant early career was powered by the ability, which he had absorbed from his great mentor Clifford Curzon, to make every note sing. His wife’s illness then took him out of the game, which he has now re-entered. The connoisseurs whom his performances attract will have savoured his trademark hand-hovering over the keyboard, before he launched into Schubert’s “Piano Sonata in A minor D784” at the Wigmore, and with the first phrase they were taken somewhere special: it had a dreamy, silken calm, preparing the ground for its fortissimo restatement in stark octaves. Yet even those octaves had richness. In the first movement’s alternation of peaceful stretches and outbursts of ferocity, one had the impression of a panther poised then pouncing on its prey. The way the development section caught fire and roamed into remote keys was flawlessly done, as were the dramatic contrasts in the Andante. Alfred Brendel’s likening of the Scherzo to a dance of death was never better exemplified than here.
      Michael Church, The Independent ****
    • Mozart Piano Sonatas, Volume 1
      Wigmore Hall Live Recording (released September 2013)

      Not since Lili Kraus more than half a century ago has a pianist tackled Mozart’s 18 piano sonatas with such insight, panache and dedication. Blackshaw’s recent four-concert cycle at Wigmore Hall was a landmark in what remains an under-appreciated corner of Mozart’s oeuvre, and it is heartening to find these first CDs re-invoking and re-creating the sense of discovery those performances engendered. This is no dry exploration of classical form, least of all in the first two sonatas. The luminous tone Blackshaw draws from the keys is a wonder in itself, and such is the kaleidoscope of feeling he uncovers in the composer’s decorative forms – joy, sadness, contemplation, exhilaration – that one easily takes the pianist’s technique for granted, so unassumingly has he clothed it in his warm and deft musicianship. Already, in the andante middle movement of the first sonata, we hear Blackshaw adding the subtlest variations of tone and emphasis to the music’s repeated motifs, while the finale has laughter, wit, temperament – and fabulous fluency. To the adagio of the second sonata he brings a proto-Beethovenian blend of poise and depth, to the eighth’s con espressione reflections an unaffected elegance. The ninth and seventeenth sonatas profit no less from Blackshaw’s chaste exploration of the music’s expressive palette. What these performances convey above all is an intelligence that has lived long enough with Mozart’s solo piano music to illuminate it richly for 21st-century ears.
      Andrew Clark, Financial Times *****
      Blackshaw’s mindful yet spontaneous virtuosity, pinpointed sense of character and utterly alive music-making completely disarmed my scepticism. His light touch and unpredictable yet never contrived-sounding accents in the outer movements of the C major Sonata (K279) are akin to a master actor who knows how to throw away a good line. Listen to the Adagio of the F major (K280), and how Blackshaw balances imitative phrases between one hand and the other to ravishing, three-dimensional effect, or how Mozart’s witty, ingenious deployment of keyboard registers in the Presto hit home. And let’s not forget Blackshaw’s gorgeous tone and split-second timing of the embellishments in the Rondeau of the D major Sonata (K311)...Now to answer my earlier question: we need Vol. 2.
      Jed Distler, Gramophone Magazine
      The sound he extracts from the modern piano is subtle and astonishingly varied. In the slow movements, Blackshaw’s velvety tone and fluid control of rubato perfectly encapsulate the intimacy and longing of Mozart’s cantabile melodies. At the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, his articulation in the faster outer movements has razor-sharp clarity as well as great energy and exuberance. Although each work shares common stylistic fingerprints, Blackshaw never takes these gestures for granted, making us listen afresh to every nuance and sharing with us his delight at the composer’s unexpected twists and turns of harmony. Just as impressive is the British pianist’s superbly dramatic account of the A minor Sonata (K310). The outer movements are bold and fiery but without any harshness of tone, while Blackshaw is magical in the wistful melancholy of the central Andante cantabile movement.
      Erik Levi, BBC Music Magazine
      This is Mozart playing like you have never heard it before.
      Pianist Magazine
    • Schumann & Schubert, Southbank International Piano Series
      Queen Elizabeth Hall

      If there is such a thing as robust refinement, Christian Blackshaw has it in spades. There is a rigour to his playing, tempered by some of the most eloquent and inward playing I’ve heard from the current IPS roll-call of (predominantly young) pianists. Like Clifford Curzon, with whom he studied, Blackshaw has a range of touches that can produce ever-quieter layers of tone and variety of colour. Blackshaw was acutely alive to the childlike but huge significance of each piece, and after the exquisitely balanced irresolution of ‘Träumerei’ and the lingering return to the real world in ‘The poet speaks’, you were left in no doubt that this is music for grown-ups.
      Peter Reed, Classical Source
    • Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto
      Royal Scottish National Orchestra - Edinburgh and Glasgow

      British Pianist Christian Blackshaw gave a crisp, unshowy reading, full of aristocratic elegance...a lively final Rondo that was full of mischief yet never lost its composure.
      David Kettle, The Scotsman
    • Mozart/Schubert/Schumann
      Musashino Recital Hall

      There are great talents who have never been to Japan. He is one of them. He has launched his career in 80’s brilliantly, though, for about 20 years long he was not performing on the stage, after his partner’s death. Maybe this is one reason he hadn’t been to Japan. He is now in his 60’s and finally came to Japan to make his Japan debut. His Mozart performances in 2009/10 season and early this year have being highly praised by critics. This evening he performed Mozart, Schumann Fantasy, and Schubert D960, and this was the only performance in Japan. More eloquent when he plays in piano or pianissimo, his performing of Mozart K457 was like a great and precise universe, as if his performance clarifies how the movement of inner brain neuron is. Mr. Blackshaw draws as if the composer himself is surprised by his own composition itself. In 2nd movement he really was involved with the music. And whenever the theme comes back, he played it with full of his heart. His performance, full of mercy, was all after his long life, everything was on his every single note.
      Ongaku no Tomo
    • Christian Blackshaw, Berlin Philharmonic
      Berlin (November 2011)

      Blackshaw, who chose for himself an autumnal program of Mozart, Liszt, Brahms and Schumann serves every note with nobility.
      READ FULL REVIEW HERE
  • Christian Blackshaw Concerto Repertoire

    BEETHOVEN
    • no. 1 in C major, Op. 15
    • no. 2 in B flat major, Op. 19
    • no. 3 in C minor, Op. 37
    • no. 4 in G major, Op. 58
    • no. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 ['Emperor']
    BRAHMS
    • no. 1 in D minor, Op. 1
    • no. 2 in B flat major, Op. 83
    BRITTEN
    • Piano Concerto
    CHOPIN
    • no. 2 in F minor, Op. 21
    MENDELSSOHN
    • no. 1 in G minor, Op. 25
    LISZT
    • no. 1 in E flat major
    • no. 2 in A major
    MOZART
    • no. 9 in E flat major, K. 271
    • no. 12 in A major, K. 414
    • no. 14 in E flat major, K. 449
    • no. 15 in B flat major, K. 450
    • no. 17 in G major, K. 453
    • no. 18 in B flat major, K. 456
    • no. 19 in F major, K. 459
    • no. 20 in D minor, K. 466
    • no. 21 in C major, K. 467
    • no. 22 in E flat major, K. 482
    • no. 23 in A major, K. 488
    • no. 24 in C minor, K. 491
    • no. 25 in D major, K. 537 ['Coronation']
    • no. 27 in B flat major, K. 595
    SCHUMANN
    • A minor, Op. 54
    GRIEG
    • A minor, Op. 16
    RAVEL
    • G major

    Christian Blackshaw Chamber Music Repertoire

    BEETHOVEN
    • Quintet for piano and winds in E flat major, Op. 16
    • Complete sonatas for violin and piano
    BRAHMS
    • Piano Quartet in G minor, Op. 25
    • Piano Quintet
    BRITTEN
    • Young Apollo
    DVORAK
    • Piano Quintet
    ELGAR
    • Piano Quintet
    FRANCK
    • Piano Quintet
    MOZART
    • The two piano quartets [ G minor and E flat major]
    • Quintet for piano and winds in E flat major, K. 452
    SCHUBERT
    • The two piano trios, B flat major and E flat major
    • Quintet for piano and strings in A major ['Trout']
    SCHUMANN
    • Piano Quintet
    SHOSTAKOVITCH
    • Piano Quintet
  • Photos