In the summer of 2016 I was surfing YouTube when I came across a recording of Beethoven’s Piano Concert No 5 played by the Mannheim Philharmonic Orchestra with a young soloist called Olga Zado.
I was very impressed by Olga’s playing. She seemed to play with such precision - it was obvious that she knew how important it was that every note was in the score for a reason. Also, something which is not always obvious with other pianists was that she was enjoying what she was doing with a smile regularly crossing her face.
I discovered that she was on Facebook and totally without any expectation of a reply I sent her a message to congratulate her on her playing. To my total surprise she replied and subsequently we have become good friends and I enjoy finding out all about the life of a professional pianist.
She had received her musical education in Bern in Switzerland. She played her first recital at age 7 and had played recitals and concerts all over mainland Europe but was not known in the UK.
In March 2017 she was obviously very excited when she told me that she had been invited to play at the brand new Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall in Hamburg in November.
It was then that I decided that after years of bringing up my family it was time to treat myself and take a trip abroad. I was very lucky to get a ticket because the 2500 seat capacity venue sold out in 8 hours. I suspect that Olga exerted some influence in this, but she has denied it.
So, in November I made the trip to Hamburg. The day of the concert was a beautiful sunny day although cold. The venue was an amazing building offering not just a concert venue but had spaces for musical workshops and educational facilities, restaurants and bars. It also had the longest escalator I had ever seen.
For the concert Olga had decided to play Schumann’s piano concerto. This was a truly inspiring performance and she received a standing ovation. In the solo of the clarinet she sought eye contact with the woodwinds and dimmed her solo to match their sound volume. She is a master at the art of slowing down at the right moment for a few more moments than might appear in the score. At this she excels. She then played a Schubert Impromptu as an encore. Her performance was so well received that she has been invited back again in 2018 to play a recital. I was very privileged to be invited by her along with a few of her friends to join her in the Green Room.
When I got back to my hotel room it occurred to me that it would be marvelous if we could persuade her to come and play in the UK. So, began my venture into the strange world of being a music impresario! I have to admit that I had absolutely no experience in this area.
Since then I have discovered lots about performance contracts, public indemnity insurance and a whole lot more. 2019 is going to be a fantastic year with a total of 8 performances secured throughout the North East. Most of us have many problems in our lives these days but if you open your mind you will see and hear some truly beautiful music which will, at least for a time, make all your problems disappear and leave you with memories of a talented artist who has happily shared her talent with us all.