Nina Stemme, John Ogdon Biography, Royal College of Organists at 150
Tom Service meets the Swedish soprano Nina Stemme, delves into the pages of a new biography of the brilliant but troubled pianist John Ogdon with author Charles Beauclerk and pianist Leslie Howard and celebrates 150 years of the Royal College of Organists.
PIANO MAN: A LIFE OF JOHN OGDON
From the start of his professional career John Ogdon was recognised as a pianist of rare understanding and phenomenal technical gifts. Able to play and memorize just about any score at sight, tales of his near-impossible exploits at the keyboard are legion. Yet Ogdon’s brilliance came at a cost - he also suffered from severe mental instability. Ogdon’s glory days, following his famed Tchaikovsky prize win in 1962, came to a sudden end a decade later when he suffered a series of mental breakdowns which led to him spending time in and out of psychiatric wards. But through all this suffering his commitment to his art remained undimmed and he continued to give performances of tremendous beauty and conviction right until his early death in 1989. Tom Service talks to Charles Beauclerk, the author of a new biography of Ogdon and the pianist Leslie Howard about the man who was arguably the greatest British pianist of all time.
More information: Piano Man: A Life of John Ogdon by Charles Beauclerk
Swedish soprano Nina Stemme is regarded as one of the foremost interpreters of Wagner performing today. Her perfomances as Brunnhilde in the Ring and Isolde in Tristan and Isolde have transfixed audiences around the world, just as they did at last year’s Proms Ring cycle. But it’s not just Wagner - she’s always sung Italian opera and has a particular passion for Puccini and she also finds time to indulge her passion for lieder. Tom met Stemme earlier this week while she was in London for a Wigmore Hall recital and spoke to her about her voice and how she has to adapt it depending on the repertoire she’s performing and whether she’s singing for 200 or 2000 people.
More information: Nina Stemme
ROYAL COLLEGE OF ORGANISTS AT 150
The Royal College of Organists was formed in 1864 by Richard Limpus whose aim was to set up a body for the purpose of elevating and advancing the professional status of organists. At first the College concentrated on the work of raising standards in the profession by developing and administering the College examinations, as well as steadily building up its Library collection. More recently these activities have been augmented with an education and outreach strand, which is known today as the RCO Academy programme.
As the RCO celebrates its 150 anniversary Tom asks Catherine Ennis, the College’s President and Simon Williams, director of the RCO Academy what challenges lie ahead and whether its stringent examinations are still relevant in today’s organ and choral world. We also hear from current students as they prepare for the Colleges exams and courses.
More information: Royal College of Organists
|Interviewed Guest||Nina Stemme|
|Interviewed Guest||Charles Beauclerk|