I cannot wait to perform the Ireland Piano Concerto in Melbourne as part of the Last Night of the Proms program. It used to be a staple at Proms concerts in London during the 1950s, often performed by Australian pianist Eileen Joyce, but is only rarely played these days.
My first performance of this work, quite a few years ago in Birmingham, was with Sir Andrew Davis and the BBC Symphony. It will be fabulous to revisit the work again with Sir Andrew and to do it in a Proms Last Night performance will feel like restoring it to its rightful place!
I last performed this work two years ago with the London Philharmonic in the Royal Festival Hall, but first came across it as a twelve-year-old boy in Brisbane, when my father introduced it to me. I loved trying out the double glissandi, sliding across the black notes with one hand, the white ones with the other at the same time! There are more important things I appreciate about it all these years later!
Melbourne audiences are wonderful. I first played here as a 17-year-old and have enjoyed coming back ever since. I really love working with the MSO and Sir Andrew Davis – and also really enjoy Hamer Hall since its refurbishment. You can use the acoustic so much better than in the old days.
I always assumed I would be a pianist, even as a child. It was only when I arrived in London and realized that thousands of others had the same dream as me, that my confidence wavered a little.
When I am not playing music I run the Australian Festival of Chamber Music (ACFM) and also the Sydney International Piano Competition, so my time is often not my own. I love reading every night in bed, often arty fiction and poetry, and I love to eat and drink with friends. I also love attending concerts. I was recently inspired by Marta Argerich who played Prokofiev 3 in London.
This year will be my final ACFM in Townsville and I shall leave Melbourne to launch the festival program before returning to London. I shall also be announcing a big new Australian event around the same time as the MSO’s Last Night of the Proms concert. I can’t say any more than that for now, so you will need to watch this space!
Piers Lane will perform the Ireland Piano Concerto as part of Last Night of the Proms on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 March.