Going To Space: Classically Chilled Piano

Broadway Baby talks to Rich Batsford, the pianist behind the keys in Classically Chilled Piano.

After listening to and performing music for over thirty years, I’ve found a voice as a pianist composer, which embraces the classical tradition whilst taking important elements from contemporary music too. I think that’s pretty rare.

Tell us about your show

I’m presenting a performance of beautiful and relaxing contemporary solo piano with a classical influence. I’ll be playing mostly original music, some from my debut album Valentine Court, and more recent work, alongside three of the wonderfully melodic solo piano pieces which have made Ludovico Einaudi the most famous pianist composer in the world today. I’ll also be taking my life in my hands and performing a live improvisation, which I’ll be recording for members of the audience to keep.

Why did you decide to take your show to Space UK this year?

The show went really well in the Adelaide Fringe, getting good numbers, feedback and reviews, so I wanted to bring the same show to Edinburgh. One of the features of the show in Adelaide was the venue – a beautiful National Trust building called Ayers House, so I’m very pleased to have found a similarly stylish and architecturally significant venue in theSpace at Surgeons Hall. Being in aesthetically pleasing surroundings is an important part of the experience I’m trying to create.

What are you most looking forward to at this year’s festival?

I really relish the special atmosphere that’s created when people come together to give their attention to a performance, and their experience of that performance. Walking onstage and greeting the audience for the first time is always a pleasure, but its once I’ve finished the first piece and that special atmosphere and energy has begun to gel, that the experience really begins to uplift.

Have you brought a show to the festival before?

Yes, I did a show called Mindfulmess, which was a mixture of piano music and song. It went well, but I’ve decided to focus on solo piano going forward because it’s more my forte and I’ve come to believe that instrumental music can communicate something about the essence of human experience which language cannot.

What makes your show unique amongst the thousands of others at the festival?

After listening to and performing music for over thirty years, I’ve found a voice as a pianist composer, which embraces the classical tradition whilst taking important elements from contemporary music too. I think that’s pretty rare.

How did you create your show?

Most of the music I compose myself and although I have some musical training and enjoy thinking about music conceptually, my practice is to focus on intuition and to ‘get myself out of the way’ of the composition. The initial ideas always come from improvisation and then it’s a question of seeing where they lead in a process of organic growth. I think structure is very important, but it has to be a natural one. My aim is always to engage the attention of the audience and create a space which allows for awareness and contemplation, but which also embraces a strong sense of journey, purpose and resolution.

Production: Company Rich Batsford

Venue: theSpace at Surgeons Hall

Dates: 25 – 29 August

Times: 1.25pm

Twitter Handle @richbatsford

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