It took a while, but I picked myself up. I met new people and moved to Palmers Green, north London. Summer came, and I took part in a series of piano workshops conducted by Kenneth Van Barthold at Edinburgh University, performing the first movement of Beethoven’s op 111 in the Reid Concert Hall.
September arrived. I’d been in London a year now. In the autumn, I spent three months at Hoxton Hall in Shoreditch, working on an adaptation of Captain Hook. I helped compose the background music and took part in a minor acting role, although I later pulled of the acting side due to conflicting demands on time. During the three months there, we all did a crash course in basic acting skills, trust exercises, some of which looked terrifying, and stage fighting (which most of the guys enjoyed).
At around this time, I gave my first recital at a Methodist church in Palmers Green, north London. The next day, I played Chopin at Hoxton Hall, for a Friday evening crowd. A performance of the entire Beethoven sonata opus 111 followed (from memory) at a soiree held in Vera Yelverton’s study; then more Beethoven at Sutton House, a small concert hall in Hackney.
A Recital In The City
Finally, Central London. I gave a lunchtime recital at St Lawrence Jewry, a Christopher Wren church, playing a programme of the Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven, Schubert’s Impromptu op 90 no 3, Chopin’s 2nd Ballade and Liszt’s 19th Hungarian Rhapsody. Very scary indeed, though successful. A couple of latecomer friends nodded to me just as I was beginning the Moonlight and I experienced a sudden urge to get up and run out – a common feeling amongst performers, I believe!
The Word Spreads
Following a chance meeting and various follow up calls, I contacted an older man who wanted to help promote my musical career. He gave me the number of a man in Essex who asked me to come and give a recital to a small group of people. More recitals followed. Some weeks, I gave two, three, or even four concerts, going from place to place, getting expenses but never a full fee. But I loved it.
In all, I did thirty-three piano recitals that year, performing at St Brides Fleet Street, St Magnus-the-Martyr, St Martin-within-Ludgate and St Annes and St Agnes.
In the summer, I returned to Edinburgh to give a concert at St Mary’s Cathedral as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I also performed a Mozart Concerto (two pianos) at one of the soirees, and occasionally taught a student or two, although the teaching never took off in the same way
In terms of performing, I felt content.