MALCOLM BINNS

A photograph of Malcolm Binns seated at his Steinway piano, overlooked by a bust of Franz Liszt

Photograph of Malcolm Binns by Peter Thompson

Piano

Malcolm Binns gives a recital of works by Chopin at Charlton Park, Canterbury, on Sunday the Twelfth of September 2010.

Malcolm Binns' distinguished career marks him as one of the finest British pianists of modern times.  He is renowned for his flawless technique, in which is found a joyous balance between virtuosity, power and musical finesse.  A veteran concerto soloist in many BBC Henry Wood Promenade Concerts (see also below), he has worked with many leading orchestras and conductors around the World (including Boulez, Boult, Dorati, Haitink and Rattle);  he broadcasts and records extensively.  Malcolm Binns is the professional pianist's pianist par excellence.

Malcolm Binns is a noted authority on British piano music.  He has performed the Britten and both Rawsthorne piano concerti at the BBC Henry Wood Promenade Concerts in the Royal Albert Hall, London (the latter as part of several "Last Night of the Proms" programmes, under the batons of Sargent and Davis).  Malcolm Binns was influential in the William Sterndale Bennett revival, performing the piano concerti with the London Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestras (recording numbers 1, 2, 3 and 5 for Lyrita plus number 4 for Unicorn-Kanchana, together with the Stanford concerti numbers 1 and 2).  The Lyrita recording of the Sterndale Bennett piano concerti numbers 1 and 3 was featured as David Mellor's "Connoisseurs Choice" on Classic FM radio on Saturday the 21st of October 2006.

Malcolm Binns' recording of Stanford's third concerto - a work orchestrated by the late Geoffrey Bush from the composer's two-piano score - is due to be released under a new licensing agreement between Lyrita Records and Nimbus Records (2006).  The much-acclaimed 1983 BBC recording of the Piano Concerto in G by Edmund Rubbra (with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Vernon Handley) was released on a Carlton Classics/BBC Sound Archive CD (15656 91932). His wide repertoire of British music also encompasses piano concerti by Gardner, Hamilton Harty, Ireland and Richard Rodney Bennett.

Malcolm Binns has a vast repertoire which spans the classics to new music, and is recognised as a major exponent of the works of Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, and Schumann.  He has recorded extensively, including the first-ever recording of the complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas to be performed on original instruments (Decca L'Oiseau-Lyre - 1977 - and to be re-issued progressively under licence from the 22nd of September 2006 by Explore Records), plus the complete Chopin Studies (Pearl SHE CD 9641).  Malcolm Binns has also recorded the Lyapunov Transcendental Studies and works by Medtner (Pearl SHE CD9624 & 9628).  A recording of solo piano works by Balakirev - including the Sonata and Oriental Fantasy: Islamey was released on the Pearl label (SHE CD 9644) in May 2001.

His wide range of piano concerti include those of Balakirev, Beethoven, Brahms, Falla (Nights in the gardens of Spain), Franck (Symphonic Variations), Gershwin (plus "Rhapsody in Blue" and Variations on "I Got Rhythm"), Grieg, Mozart, Andrzej Panufnik, Poulenc, Rachmaninov (1-3 & Variations on a theme of Paganini), Ravel, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rubbra and Schumann.  Malcolm Binns' first recording for the Hyperion label (CDA 66640) - of the Balakirev and Rimsky-Korsakov piano concerti - was made in 1992 with the English Northern Sinfonia, conducted by David Lloyd-Jones.

2006 marked Malcolm Binns' seventieth birthday and also his fiftieth anniversary as a performer.  Among recent and forthcoming activities are:

* a two-disc set of piano works by Bax, Bridge and Ireland for the British Music Society,
   recorded in 2007 at the superb Menuhin Hall at Stoke d'Abernon in Surrey;

* a recording of piano works by Patrick Piggott for the British Music Society (BMS430CD);

* biennial visits to Buenos Aires to adjudicate pianists in the renowned Festivales Musicales competition;

* a number of solo concerts across the United Kingdom:  one such, given in June 2007 in Cheshire, earned a standing            ovation and an invitation to return was extended during the interval!;

* A number of recitals at London's Wigmore Hall, the latest of which took place on Sunday, the Eighth of July, 2007.
   The programme included the World Premičre of John McCabe's "Homage to Mussorgsky - Study No.11:
   Epithalamium" (of which piece Malcolm Binns is a co-dedicatee) plus works by Haydn, Beethoven and Lyapunov;
   This concert was an artistic triumph for Malcolm Binns, whose pianistic prowess was acclaimed to the echo
   by a highly-appreciative audience.  The John McCabe première was received with huge enthusiasm and its placement
   after the interval was seen as part of a brilliant programming scheme, with the Lyapunov pieces forming an ideal
   follow-on.

* performances of the Beethoven "Emperor" concerto, the Liszt Concerto No.1, the Rachmaninov Concerto No.1,
   the Ravel Concerto in G, and the Tchaikovsky Concerto No.1;

* a live BBC Radio Three broadcast of the Rawsthorne Concerto No.2.

Malcolm Binns' broadcasts produced for BBC Radio Three by Cavendish Productions included a three-programme series on Clementi and Beethoven, a programme in a Radio Three Haydn and Bartok series plus a recital of works by Chopin, given at Hatchlands Park near Guildford and played on the Broadwood instrument used by Chopin for his UK tour.  Two concerts - both including the Liszt 1st Piano Concerto (recorded with the Ulster Orchestra) were broadcast (respectively) by BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Radio Three, while there has been also a series of solo broadcasts, commencing with works by Beethoven and Clementi.

1978 saw the 250th Anniversary of John Broadwood & Sons marked with a concert on the South Bank (at which Malcolm Binns played five Broadwood pianos made between 1787 to 1978) and a dinner at The Savoy, where a congratulatory message from HM the Queen was read.

"... his pianism and musicianship are magisterial, matched by few and surpassed by none ... Binns makes all this music his own…. (Editor's choice in the 2009 Penguin Guide to Classical CDs).

"No praise can be too high for the playing of Binns, whose fleetness of finger and poetic sensibility are a constant source of delight". (The Gramophone)

"This Artist's phrasing is so full of grace". (The Gramophone)

"Binns' unaffected artistry.  This set (the Chopin Études, on the Pearl label - SHE CD9641) compares with the best". (Jeremy Nicholas, Classic CD)

"A generously packed and brilliant Rawsthorne collection". - Rob Barnett - (MusicWeb International)

"The music leaps off the page in these enlightened and brilliant performances. These Lyrita tapings have a pioneering spirit which continues to compel". (Colin Anderson, International Record Review, April 2007)

"No one coming to either work for the first time through these personable, thoughtful (No.2 particularly so) and truthfully engineered Lyrita versions would be left in any doubt as to their resourcefulness, impeccable craft and strong character." Andrew Achenbach - (Classicalsource.com)

"Malcolm Binns:  his landmark Beethoven is reissued... for fortepiano fans Christmas has come early...  I hope Explore will release the rest of the cycle". (Andrew McGregor, BBC Music magazine, September 2006).

“Pioneering accounts of Beethoven’s last five piano sonatas from the acclaimed complete cycle of Beethoven sonatas recorded by Malcolm Binns on fortepianos from Beethoven’s time. “…I found it enthralling … I much look forward to the next set…” (The Gramophone)

"Malcolm Binns plays these pieces with scintillating virtuosity and a wonderful identification with the style.  His commanding technique makes them seem effortless but does not cease there.  At his disposal is a marvellous range of dynamic shadings which he uses unerringly for elegant, evocative sonorities and sheer expressivity.  His performances are sensuous and captivating.  An outstanding release".
(American Record Guide, of the Lyapunov Transcendental Studies, recorded on Pearl SHE CD 9624).

"...the (Balakirev) B Flat Minor Sonata receives a strong performance..."
"...a solid and unfailingly musical interpreter..." (Tim Parry: The Gramophone).

"...this brilliant and exciting long-awaited recording by Malcolm Binns..." (Colin Scott-Sutherland - Musicweb-International.com on the recording of piano works by Patrick Piggott on BMS430CD).

"A most welcome and, in its own way, important disc -
admirers of British twentieth-century music should certainly acquire it".
(Robert Matthew-Walker, International Record Review)

"Malcolm Binns's lyrical freshness and technical brilliance - the flair of his performances, too - make an excellent case for the composer". (Stephen Plaistow, Gramophone)

"Malcolm Binns...meets the fearsome challenge of Piggott's piano writing head-on and emerges triumphant".
(Martin Anderson, International Piano Quarterly)

"This is all fascinating music by a highly individual musician... It is played persuasively and expertly by an artist who really understands its ruminative intricacies, and very naturally recorded". (Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)

"Binns's performances seem exemplary...these are cogent and passionate readings, beautifully recorded".
(Calum MacDonald, Tempo)

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