Biography

 

CD Catalogue

 

Grainger Companion

 

Sample Programmes

 

Compositions

 

Contact

 


Penelope Thwaites

Pianist and Composer

a formidable pianist, always imbuing her playing with a colourful palette of mood and tone”

 Music on the Web

 

 

 

 
NEWS

Penelope Thwaites Australian tour (2013) of six concerts included a warmly received appearance  at the Melbourne Recital Centre.  
“A celebration of Percy Grainger's genius and Penelope Thwaites' mastery of the piano”
  Artshub,  March 2013
EVENT DETAIL

Forthcoming recordings include:

Percy Grainger

NEW - Music for 4 hands Vol 4 
plus re-issue of
Music for 4 hands Vols 1,2, and 3 (with John Lavender)
BOX SET  Release  2014,  Heritage Records

J S Bach

Original works and piano transcriptions
Release 2013 LIR Classics

“expressive, luxuriant playing and an intuitive sense of the music’s architecture....Thwaites’ approach is refreshingly unfashionable, eschewing period style in favour of a Romantically–inspired pianistic approach. She exploits the instrument’s natural resonance and colouristic potential throughout the recital…there are moments too of sheer serenity”    from BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE REVIEW OF A BACH RECITAL, MAY 2014

Upcoming concerts include:

Saturday 18 January 2014   
6.30pm,
Schott Music Room, Great Marlborough Street, London W1F7BB Tel.: 020 7534 0710

Grieg Piano Concerto (in the Grainger 2-piano edition)
Tickets: £10 on the door, to include reception
Plus launch of new CD on LIR Classics - A Bach Recital, original works and transcriptions

Saturday 8th February 2014 
7.30pm, Huddersfield Town Hall

Grieg Piano Concerto/ Huddersfield Philharmonic

Wednesday 8th October 2014 
7.30pm, Kings Place Concert Halls, 
90 York Way, London N1 9AG
Box office: 020 7520 1485

40th Anniversary Celebration of London debut
to include the Fitzwilliam String Quartet
Find out more here

 

BIOGRAPHY
London-based Australian pianist and composer Penelope Thwaites has performed and broadcast in over thirty countries on five continents. Since her Wigmore Hall debut in 1974, she has appeared regularly as recitalist in London ’s major concert halls, and has built a reputation as an intensely communicative artist in a wide repertoire. As concerto soloist she has appeared with the Philharmonia, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia and the BBC Concert Orchestra, as well as with leading orchestras in Australia , Europe and America .
Grainger and Australian composers:  Born in Chester of Australian parents, Penelope is recognised as a leading exponent of  the music of Percy Grainger, in whose native city, Melbourne , she grew up. Her many recordings - some 250 tracks- are unique in covering Grainger’s solo piano, chamber and orchestral works and she is a featured artist in the Chandos Grainger Edition, recently praised in The Penguin Guide’s 1000 finest classical recordings. Her work was recognised in 1991 with the award of the International Grainger Society’s Medallion. Penelope is a committed protagonist for Australian composers, often including Australian repertoire in her programmes. She founded and chaired the international Performing Australian Music Competition ( London 2001 and 2008) in which young chamber players from 20 countries presented compositions by 80 Australian composers. She was awarded the Order of Australia(AM) in 2001 in The Queen’s Birthday Honours.
The New Percy Grainger Companion:  She is editor of  The New Percy Grainger Companion (Boydell& Brewer 2010), widely praised for its new research and insights by established performers into performing Grainger’s music.  
Artistic Director:  She was  artistic director of a special four-day festival at London ’s Kings Place Concert Halls and The British Library in February 2011, marking the 50th anniversary of Grainger’s death with a wide-ranging programme of concerts and lectures from international Grainger experts and performers.
Recent Tours :  2011 also included appearances at the City of London Festival and the 10th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference in July as well as  October recitals in Melbourne and Perth . In November  she made her first tour in Japan with concerts in Tokyo , Kyoto and Sendai , winning critical acclaim. More recently she has performed at the Haddo House Festival in Scotland and toured in Denmark and again in Australia .
Composition:  As a composer, Penelope’s work, published by Bardic/Schott, includes songs, instrumental works and music for the theatre, including the Wesley musical Ride! Ride!  Since its West End production it has had 40 productions around the world. The German premiere on 16 June 2013 to an audience of  2000 in the Karlsruhe Schwarzwald Halle was received with great acclaim.  The CD on the Somm label was described by ‘Gramophone’ as “a compelling aural drama”.
Penelope Thwaites is on Wikipedia
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CD CATALOGUE

A Bach Recital

“expressive,luxuriant playing and an intuitive  sense of the music’s architecture.... Thwaites’approach is refreshingly unfashionable, eschewing period style in favour of a Romantically–inspired pianistic approach. She exploits the instrument’s natural resonance and colouristic potential throughout the recital…there are moments too of sheer serenity”
from BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE REVIEW OF A BACH RECITAL, MAY 2014
Read the full review here

The Grainger Edition

“As for the three volumes of solo piano music, Penelope Thwaites  understands the idiom totally...One is captivated by the charm of the music...all the famous pieces, as well as all sorts of delightful surprises,  all beautifully played and recorded.” 
THE PENGUIN GUIDE TO THE FINEST 1000 CLASSICAL RECORDINGS, 2012 (Chandos Grainger Edition)

“Thwaites gives commanding performances of the piano works...she plays the Lisztian-style arrangements from Tchaikovsky’s Flower Waltz and Strauss’s Rosenkavalier with sensitivity and musical finesse”  THE AUSTRALIAN, 2011

Piano Volume 1 - In Dahomey

"a major contribution to the Grainger discography" 
Grainger Edition Volume 16: FANFARE

Piano Volume 2 Track 20 - Country Gardens

"A wonderful album of Grainger's solo piano music."
BBC RADIO 3, CD REVIEW

Piano Volume 3 Track 6 - Bridal Lullaby Ramble

"I cannot imagine a more beautiful piano sound” 
THE DELIAN, USA

Works for Chorus and Orchestra Track 14 - Handel in the Strand

"Handel in the Strand struts and carols its stuff most life-enchantingly in the hands of Penelope Thwaites and the CLS." MUSIC WEB INTERNATIONAL

 

Works for Pianos Track 11 - Random Round

“inspirited and radiantly polyphonic performances” 
THE TIMES

Piano Music for 4 Hands Volume 1 Track 3 - Pastoral

"A Pair of Aces . . .It would be hard to imagine more sympathetic performances than these . . . .  Thwaites and Lavender seem to breathe together."
BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE

Piano Music for 4 Hands Volume 2 Track 1 - Children's March

"Volume 2 of this highly accomplished series . . . excellent, zestful performances"   GRAMOPHONE, 1993

Not currently available

Piano Music for 4 Hands Volume 3 Track 1 - Symphonic Dance No.1

“These CDs set feet tapping and hearts bounding….buy and treasure them”
MUSICAL TIMES

Shepherd's Hey: Gems for Piano Track 17 - Paraphrase on Tchaikowsky's Flower Waltz

“The strange whimsy within his setting of The Power of Love, The Nightingale and Jutish Medley is complemented here by classics such as Country Gardens, Shepherds Hey and Handel in the Strand, all of them uniquely telling”  
GRAMOPHONE (Critic’s Choice)

Chosen Gems for Piano Track 16 - Nell

"Grainger's gems are poetry for Thwaites ... her own individual style is marked by a genuine clarity and beauty of tone."
THE MELBOURNE AGE

Songs for Mezzo Soprano Track 2 - Died for Love

"This is a glorious disc."
GRAMOPHONE (Quarterly Choice)

Songs for Tenor Track 19 A Reiver's Neck-Verse

"... Thwaites is on terrific form ..."
GRAMOPHONE  (Editor's Choice)

Songs for Baritone Track 8 - Hard-hearted Barb'ra

"Penelope Thwaites has received great acclaim as a Grainger specialist and deserves every bit of it.  She may be the best accompanist I've heard since Gerald Moore - a wide range of colour, dramatically suitable to the text, and so at one with the singer that you'd swear there was only a single performer.  This entire enterprise rises beyond the level of song recital to real chamber music."
Grainger Songs for Baritone - NET REVIEW

Travelling Between Worlds Track 2 - Chopin Nocturne in A flat Op.32 No.2

Penelope Thwaites’ deliciously poetic approach to Chopin’s imaginative pianism has been regularly on my CD player”
MUSICAL OPINION

Ride! Ride! Track 15 - He Knows my Name

"Wonderfully catchy tunes...splendid voices. Musicals on disc rarely succeed unless you have the stage presentation fresh in your mind, but here the strength of Thornhill's libretto and the sheer variety of Thwaites' music combine to create a compelling aural drama." GRAMOPHONE, 2000

 
Solo Piano
A Bach Recital - LIR Classics
Travelling Between Worlds - LIR Classics
Australian Piano Music (LP) - Discourses ABM30
Chosen Gems for PIano - Unicorn-Kanchana CD DKP 9127
Shepherd's Hey - Gems for Piano - REGIS RRC 1107  
The Grainger Edition Vol 16  Works for Solo Piano  CHAN 9895
The Grainger Edition Vol 17  Works for Solo Piano  CHAN 9919
The Grainger Edition Vol 19  Works for Solo Piano  CHAN 10205
Duo Recordings with John Lavender
Piano Music for 4 Hands Vol.1 - Pavilion Records(Pearl)SHE CD 9611
Piano Music for 4 Hands Vol.2 - Pavilion Records(Pearl)SHE CD 9623
Piano Music for 4 Hands Vol.3 - Pavilion Records(Pearl)SHE CD 9631
Multi-Piano with John Lavender, Wayne Marshall, et al
Grainger Edition Vol.10 - Chandos Records CD CHAN 9702

Song Recordings 
with Stephen Varcoe, Martyn Hill and Della Jones
Grainger Edition Vol.2 - Songs for Baritone Chandos CHAN 9503
Grainger Edition Vol.7 - Songs for Tenor  Chandos CHAN 9610
Grainger Edition Vol.12 - Songs for Mezzo  Chandos CHAN 9730

Participation In
Debussy Volume 1 - Pagodes (arr. Grainger) - Cala CACD1001
Jungle-Book Cycle - Hyperion Records CDA66863
Grainger Edition Vol.3 Handel in the Strand - Chandos CHAN9499
An Introduction to Percy Grainger - Chandos
The Grainger Edition - Chandos
Composer and Performer
Ride! Ride! - SOMM Recordings
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THE NEW PERCY GRAINGER COMPANION
This is an invaluable book about one of music's least understood practitioners... British-born Australian pianist and composer Penelope Thwaites has done a terrific job piecing together the jigsaw that was Grainger.  THE AUSTRALIAN

Thwaites has already contributed substantially to a Grainger revival ... Here, as an editor, she manages the trick of finely balancing the various competing aspects of Grainger's energetic and highly productive life ... This New Companion succeeds in its aim to portray a complicated man in all his variety ... TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

You can find out more about The New Percy Grainger Companion, Edited by Penelope Thwaites, at Boydell and Brewer

In the thirty years since his Centenary in 1982 it has become even clearer that Percy Grainger [1882-1961] - composer, pianist and revolutionary - was a man born out of his time. Many of his ideas, both musical and social, sit far more easily in our contemporary world. Those thirty years have also seen a notable expansion of interest in Grainger's music.

Innumerable recordings have been made, including the first complete Grainger recording survey by Chandos in its monumental Grainger Edition. The growth of the internet has made it possible, as never before, for Grainger's music to be heard widely.
The central theme of The New Percy Grainger Companion is to give information and help from established musicians for performing and listening to this life-celebrating repertoire. The Companion's fully detailed, up-to-date Catalogue of Works - the most complete of any existing catalogue - gives invaluable assistance.
Authoritative contextual chapters in the Companion offer some surprising new background information, together with thoughtful evaluations which signal a new twenty-first century perspective in Grainger scholarship.
PENELOPE THWAITES, pianist, composer and broadcaster, has performed and researched Grainger's music for more than three decades and her recordings include an extensive Grainger discography.
Contributors: BRIAN ALLISON, TERESA BALOUGH, ROGER COVELL, KAY DREYFUS, LEWIS FOREMAN, PAUL JACKSON, JAMES JUDD, JAMES KOEHNE, ASTRID BRITT KRAUTSCHNEIDER, BARRY PETER OULD, STEWART MANVILLE, MURRAY MCLACHLAN, TIMOTHY REYNISH, BRUCE CLUNIES ROSS, DESMOND SCOTT, PETER SCULTHORPE, GEOFFREY SIMON, RONALD STEVENSON, STEPHEN VARCOE, DAVID WALKER
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SAMPLE PROGRAMMES
Solo Penelope has devised a solo piano programme, built around repertoire played by and influencing Percy Grainger, as well as a selection of less often played Grainger works, which show some of these influences. Penelope briefly introduces the music in an entertaining and informative style.  Audiences in Japan and Denmark as well as the UK have remarked on the vivid variety of this programme, the many pictures painted and emotions expressed in Grainger’s unique style.
Bach/Liszt  Fantasia and Fugue in G Minor, BWV 5
Grieg  Slatter from his Op 72
Debussy  Estampes
Grainger Danish Folk-Music Suite (complete)
Arrival Platform Humlet
Bridal Lullaby
Irish Tune from County Derry
Scotch Strathspey and Reel
 
Piano Trio (with Rohan de Saram and Jonathan Sparey)
A beautifully contrasted programme: (approx 1 hour)
Rachmaninov Trio Elegiaque  1892
Grainger My Robin is to the Greenwood Gone
Violin solo: Mock Morris
Cello solo:  The Sussex Mummers’ Christmas Carol
Piano solo: Scotch Strathspey and Reel
Mendelssohn  Trio No 1 in D minor
 
Cello and Piano (with Rohan de Saram) 
(approx 50 mins)
Grieg Cello Sonata in A minor Op 36
Grainger Suite: La Scandinavie
 
Two Pianos (Grainger;  various works incl. arrangements of Gershwin, Delius, Bach, Addinsell
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COMPOSITIONS

Penelope’s work is published by Bardic/Schott, and includes songs, instrumental works and music for the theatre, including the Wesley musical Ride! Ride!

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Contact Penelope Thwaites at:

Penelope Thwaites AM
23 Lyndale Avenue
London
NW2 2QB
UK
Tel/Fax: +44 (0)207 7945090

penelopethwaites44@gmail.com

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Penelope Thwaites  
is a Member of the Incorporated Society of Musicians

 a Steinway Artist

and a Member of the Australian Music Centre

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