Reproducing Pianos
Friends of the Institute
Concerts and Recordings
Recent News
Contacts and Information
Site Map
Text Only Version

Barbirolli Lecture at the Royal Academy of Music, London

January 2008

The Barbirolli Lectures, named after Sir John Barbirolli of the Hallé Orchestra.

An early evening lecture entitled Interpreting Piano Rolls was expected to draw a maximum of thirty staff and students from the Royal Academy, but to be on the safe side, fifty chairs were laid out. But they were not enough! At the last moment another twenty chairs were quickly dragged into Room 114, and even then there were several who had to stand. It was a very gratifying sign that the player piano is again being taken seriously in colleges and other educational institutions.

The Lull before the Storm - Ray Holden, Denis Hall and Roy Howat.
(Photo: Robert Wilson)

Thanks to Ray Holden and our old friend, Roy Howat, both on the RAM staff, we had been invited to bring the Institute's Duo-Art push-up to give an idea of the romantic piano style to a number of Academy students some hundred or more years younger than the pianists on roll. Indeed, in the case of Carl Reinecke, born in 1824, who made an appearance on CD, the difference in age was more like 165 years! It would be fair to say that the atmosphere was warm and very enthusiastic, a wide range of ages and experiences contributing to the general good-humoured mêlée.

A Kaleidoscope of Colours and Nationalities for Josef Hofmann's Encore.
(Photo: Robert Wilson)

It was not lost on the organisers of the lecture that, some eighty years previously, another Duo-Art presentation had occurred three doors down the corridor, in the Royal Academy of Music boardroom, when a meeting of the Honorary Advisory Committee on the Educational Use of Piano-Player Rolls had been convened, to examine and approve the new World's Music series of AudioGraphic music rolls. Seen in the photograph here, from left to right, are Sir Henry Wood, Sir Hugh Allen, Sir Alexander Mackenzie, Percy Scholes, J. Aikman Forsyth, Professor J.C. Bridge, George W.F. Reed, of the Aeolian Company, and J.B. McEwen.

Three Rooms and Eighty Years Away!

back to top