Rachmaninov Retrospective

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On 8 October Bath’s Holburne Museum launches its first evening concert series; a Rachmaninov Retrospective.

It is little known that the Steinway piano at the Holburne Museum was used by the great composer Sergei Rachmaninov for his British concerts between 1929 and 1938, including a performance in Bath in 1934. The new series of performances, in the Holburne’s recently refurbished Picture Gallery, involves national and internationally regarded artists including Leslie Howard, Tim Hugh and Peter Donohoe.

The series begins on 8 October with Peter Donohoe, CBE playing Rachmaninov’s Preludes, which he has recorded for EMI. Peter notes, ‘The Rachmaninov Preludes are some of the greatest works ever written for the piano, and to think that the keys I play were once pressed by the composer himself is pretty special.’

The series also involves artists with a close connection to Bath including the Spanish pianist Maria Angel Garcia, playing Rachmaninov and Chopin, and Baritone Gavin Carr who will be presenting a recital of songs by Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky.

When the Director of the Holburne Museum, Alexander Sturgis, approached Jason Thornton to programme a concert series for the Museum Jason said, ‘I jumped at the opportunity. I had heard rumours about the Museum’s piano and its connections to Rachmaninov and I enjoyed researching a programme that would celebrate the man, his music and the beautiful gallery setting. As a result we have arranged a series of concerts exploring the piano and chamber music of the great Russian composer. Indeed it is exciting to think that many of these works were played by the composer on this instrument.”

Tickets £22 / £20 available from the Holburne Museum tel and Bath Box Office tel

Doors open 6.45pm for 7.30pm concert. Garden Café open for pre-concert and interval drinks. The Holburne Museum, Great Pulteney Street, Bath, BA2 4DB

Complete Programme for the Rachmaninov Retrospective >>


For further information please contact
Katie Jenkins, the Holburne Museum,
k.jenkins@bath.ac.uk or tel


The Holburne Museum re-opened on 14 May 2011 following a three year development project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and including an extension designed by Eric Parry Architects. The Museum’s transformation has received universal acclaim. The Museum is set within the park of Sydney Gardens, an eighteenth-century Pleasure Garden. The building was originally designed as the Sydney Hotel, and was built by Charles Harcourt Masters in 1795–6. In 1913-16 it was converted by the architect Sir Reginald Blomfield to become the present home of the Holburne Museum. It has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building.

The Holburne Museum is one of Britain’s outstanding small museums. Located in the city of Bath, it houses an important art collection formed by Sir William Holburne in nineteenth-century Bath which includes paintings, silver, sculpture, furniture and porcelain of both national and international significance. Artists represented in the collection include Gainsborough, Guardi, Stubbs, Ramsay and Zoffany.

The Steinway piano was left to the Unversity of Bath by Mrs Valerie Hodges, wife of the late Eric Hodges, in 1977. The piano is on long term loan from the University to the Holburne Museum.

Current Exhibitions:
Gainsborough’s Landscapes: Themes and Variations
24 September 2011 to 22 January 2012
The View from Here: new landscape photographs by Mark Edwards
24 September 2011 to 8 January 2012

Jason Thornton
As Music Director of Bath’s resident professional orchestra, Bath Philharmonia, he is artistically responsible for one of the largest and most respected professional organisations of its type in the south west of England. With this orchestra he became the world’s youngest conductor to have performed all Mahler’s symphonic output.

He has also worked with many of Britain’s finest professional orchestras, youth orchestras and choral ensembles including the Royal Philharmonic, City of London Sinfonia, London Mozart Players, Halle Orchestra, English Northern Philharmonia, Royal Academy Symphony Orchestra, National Schools Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Choir, Philharmonia Chorus and Bournemouth Symphony Chorus.

Peter Donohoe CBE is one of Britain’s finest living pianists. He achieved worldwide acclaim after winning the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1982. His reputation for interpretative insight and thought provoking programming is internationally renowned.

Maria Angel Garcia is one of Spain’s finest talents. Having trained in London and the US, she is now resident in Bath and enjoys a hugely successful career as a recital artist.

Leslie Howard has appeared internationally with the world’s finest orchestras, including the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. As a recording artist he has recorded the complete piano music of Franz Liszt.

Tim Hugh is Principal Cellist with the London Symphony Orchestra. Following his success at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, Tim enjoys an international career as soloist. He has since worked and recorded with many of the greatest conductors including Gergiev, Previn, Haitink, Sir Colin Davis, and Sir Andrew Davis.

Gavin Carr is a baritone of international repute and has sung at many of the world’s opera houses and concert halls. He is also known as a chorus master and conductor and is music director of Bath Minerva Choir, Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and South West Festival Chorus.

David Quigley has performed as a recitalist and concerto soloist worldwide in many major illustrious venues including New York’s Carnegie Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and the Wigmore Hall. He combines his career as a solo pianist with teaching at Birmingham Conservatoire.

Published on: 26/09/2011