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Nicholas McCarthy: Journey into Left-Hand Piano

The world’s only one-handed concert pianist showcases a wealth of great piano music for left hand, including a recent work inspired by Neil Armstrong’s moon landing.

 

Queen Elizabeth Hall
Sat 23 Mar5.00 pm
1 hours 0 minutes
Conductor(s):
Performer(s):
  • Nicholas McCarthy piano

Programme

Repertoire
  • Wagner: Isolde's Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde arr. Liszt for piano, S.447 arr. Wittgenstein for left hand
  • Schubert: Erlkönig, D.328 arr. Liszt for piano arr. Zichy for left hand
  • Julie Cooper: Galilean Moons for piano left hand
  • Scriabin: 2 Pieces for left hand, Op.9
  • Bach: Chaconne from Partita No.2 in D minor, BWV.1004 arr. Brahms for piano left hand
  • Bartók: Study for the left hand, Sz.22 No.1

About this event

Nicholas McCarthy was born without his right hand, but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming a celebrated pianist.

Exploring piano masterpieces for left-hand alone, he begins this concert in high romantic mode with arrangements of Wagner’s Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde, and Schubert’s poetically supernatural song, Erlkönig.

Next comes a work that McCarthy commissioned from Julie Cooper, Galilean Moons: ‘Fascinated by all things astronomical, I came across the beautiful four largest moons discovered in early 1610 by Galilei Galileo orbiting Jupiter,’ Cooper says.

It was jointly inspired by McCarthy’s playing and by the 50th anniversary in 2019 of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon.

Finally Brahms’ arrangement of Bach’s magnificent solo violin Chaconne in D minor, the dark magic of Scriabin and the folky earthiness of Bartók bring the performance to a close.

Nicholas McCarthy is a champion of the dynamic and brave world of left-hand alone repertoire. He is the only one-handed pianist to graduate from the Royal College of Music in its 130-year history.

He performed to around half a billion viewers at the closing ceremony of the London 2021 Paralympic Games, alongside Coldplay and the Paraorchestra.

‘An unlikely candidate for piano stardom overcomes a massive obstacle and fulfils his dream despite everything … an example and an inspiration’

BBC Music Magazine

Venue details

Queen Elizabeth Hall

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX

Location Map

Things to do before/after

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