I enclose these few lines for those that may have missed the live streaming ………



Did you get to see Alex on streaming ………this is how it went …………not available  on you tube  unfortunately although a recording might become available.


Ashkenazy was  presented with the RCM’S Honours – together with Kiri Te Kanawa – by Prince Charles on Thursday morning .


In the evening  and Friday 13 he conducted the RCM Orchestra with Alex Ullman – Berlioz Benvenuto Cellini/Chopin Concerto n.2/ Debussy Apres Midi and La Mer .



” What a great evening of music making .Sitting in front of the log fire in Italy enjoying all these wonderful young musicians loving every minute of Ashkenazy’s evident joy at the sounds they were able to find together.


Alex Ullman looks and plays like a young God I have said that before and never has it been more evident.( I mean of course the way he sits at the piano as though he were born with a keyboard in his lap).


Has the entry into the last movement ever been played so naturally? – Not since Ashkenazy himself I bet….and what an encore so effortless and with such poetic contrasts. (op 10 n.5 Black Keys Study  )- he played Chopin Nocturne op 55 n.2 the first night.


A young mans Chopin – a poet – with age he may take more time and savour the poetry even more like his great idol Artur Rubinstein .


Magnificent Debussy from the orchestra such sense of line and colour …………………..


Please oh please let us have more of this.”


Alex played Rachmaninoff n.1 last May and by great demand is invited to close our(Keyboard Charitable Trust) Rachmaninoff  Cycle (with the Orchestra Regionale Marchegiana in Pesaro-Teatro Rossini/Ancona/Fabriano 6/8/9 May ) with Tschaikowsky n 1 ! Jason Gillham will play Rackhmaninoff n. 4 ( Vitaly Pisarenko has played n.2/3 and Marcos Madrigal Paganini ). What a line up !


All best wishes Christopher


Alexander Ullman   Teatro Ghione  Sunday 18th January  The Keyboard Charitable Trust Annual Concert 


Nice important crowd even if we were expecting many more- had a good talk to the Rai 5 man – a great friend  and collegue of Norma Gentileschi ex correspondent for the Pope at the RAI.Tried to persuade Angelo (Bozzolino director of the new film about the S.Cecilia Orchestra and films on Liszt and Chopin) to release the hour and a half interview he recorded in the theatre of Charles Rosen …I don’t think  he realises the importance of that document – a very small and rather insignificant part, compared to what he actually said , was actually used in the film.  I told them both you should not play down to the public but get them to look up…..just what Alex did last night.Q.E.D.


As Sol Hurok said ” if they do not want to come you cannot stop them”


They will not know what they missed.From  the intoxicating sounds rarely heard on the Ghione stage these days to  the Pugliese delights prepared  just for us by Roberta,my wonderful theatre manager,  afterwards.


Remarkable concert and that was only a part of the evening.


A real Knight in armour coming to the rescue of a Damsel in distress ……..Alex ended up in Mac Donalds at 4.30 am much to the delight of the rif raff whose company he rather enjoyed ……he did not want to disturb me late at night and waited until 8am to come back home!I bet they were not used to seeing a young knight dressed in dinner jacket and all at any time of the day or night!


A real gentle    man.


His stallion was a taxi and his sword had no effect on a rather irate hotel manager …. hence he sought refuge in Mac Donalds as a lot of people do around train stations, I believe!


The best Chopin 4th ballade …….at least that’s what he made you believe ……amazingly subtle Beethoven …none of the Gould nonsense ………..and even Bill (Nabore director of the Piano Academy in Como) had to admit the phenomenal control of colour in the Debussy.


I had to clap very loudly to get him to get back to the order of programme that he had asked me to announce .  We almost had another Pablo- Osvald situation on our hands ………….


The ectatic performance of Chopin’s E flat nocturne op 55 reminded one of the ” star” in Scriabin and what subtle counter melodies ” old style” . The “Blackkey” study thrown off like a little tone poem and finally  everyone very moved not only by the dedication to “his friend Pluto” but by a Funeral March that must be without equal.Pluto was my dog that Alex helped me to nurse in these few days whilst he was a guest in my country home, giving recitals on the Radio RAI3 in Rome on Friday  and in Viterbo University on Saturday.


He looks and plays like a young God ……thats what I thought a year ago and I stick by it even if our other great talents a green with envy ……a talent like this is very rare indeed.Spent the day after the concert looking at the video that I made of his performance – a real lesson of his own making and then the Monseigeon Richter video that neither of us had seen for too long.In between Rubinsteins Chopin n.2 several times in preparation for his own performance in a few months time.Very interesting the link between Lechetitsky- Schnabel …………….Matthay to his present day teachers William Fong,Fleischer ,Mc Donald – they all taught in the same way ………to listen and as Dame Fanny would say ” to mould” something they don’t do any more …….she is right but here is one that still does.


All best Chris P.S. did not mean to write so much now …..but the amazing talent of this real young artist is irresistable……………


Magnificent concert at Bocconi on Thursday – Alex already booked for next year –

Vitaly played as he always  does … would be hard to believe that during the third piece of the Fantasy pieces by Rachmaninoff at the beginning of the concert he saw the door of the green room open and then saw, via the glass windows at the side of this beautiful modern hall,someone walk off with what looked like – and was – his bag.At the end of the Rachmaninoff we saw Vitaly tear off stage and the hall tecnician came to tell me that Vitaly had run out of the hall …by the time I had got outside Vitaly was already playing the ” Moonlight”.

In the interval we heard from Vitaly that his bag with all his documents/computer/telephone and 800 euros had been stolen .We all tore outside in the hope that the bag would have been thrown away minus the money but at least we would find the precious  documents – that for a Russian are like gold dust.

No luck.

Vitaly insisted on playing the second half: Prokofiev 6  – Luckily one of the War Sonatas and he certainly let them have it – never has that sonata been played with such a vengeance- magnificent.

He even insisted on playing an encore whilst the police were waiting for him.

Bach Siloti – he played it for me – but then Vitaly is not only a wonderful pianist but a very special human being.

We spent the night in the questura – Roberto Cominati ( who was expecting to dine with us after- he won Busoni in 1993 and is a great pal of Mr Furcht)took us and there we stayed until 2.30 after which we went back to the Hotel to sleep  …at least thats what I did but Vitaly told me after that he returned to the University to look everywhere for his documents.

Having done everything possible – Vitaly wanted to wait until Monday to see if the documents would turn up before returning to Milan to the consulate where he must find two russian citizens who would testify  for him in order to get a document to return to Moscow on Wednesday.

Luckily  he was going on to Petrushansky in Imola – who is also a great friend of Robert Furcht- and he insisted that Vitaly go there as planned – which he did yesterday- I returned to Rome and am trying to obtain information that may be helpful to Vitaly on Monday/Tuesday to get back to Moscow and then the re activate his student visa for then UK without having to pay 300/400 gb and wait 3 months.

Vitaly rang after his four hour lesson with Petrushansky on Rachmaninoff op 39 that he already plays incredibly well.

I told him to eat something not touch any alcohol and go to bed.

He must have done that as both  Petrushansky and I  tried to ring to find out how he was ….no reply….good sign that he is getting ready for the real battle at the consulate on Monday/Tuesday.

Such a nice man Petrushansky he rang me early this morning for Vitalys new number ( we did that in Milan Station yesterday with my document because he has none!).He like us all  have come under  Vitalys spell.

The question now is how can we make this easier for him ………………..The Bocconi have activated their insurance ….which is fine as they are responsable …….but it is the burocracy that needs to be dealt with.

We are just hoping that the documents might turn up before Monday.

Anyone who has any ideas please contact Sarah ………….Vitalys new number is 0039 344 1796499Best to contact him on messenger or E mail …..a friend in Imola has already lent him a computer …but then he has so many friends – he is that sort of guy….very special.

TOM AND GERRY the man that never grew up LANG LANG IN ROME

Lang Lang tonight at S.Cecilia in Rome glad to be offered the chance to hear it live ….having heard the streaming from Torino of the Italian Concerto and 4 Scherzi.Quite liked the Bach clean, clear, crisp,beautiful slow movement……..then the Scherzi that left me rather cold………..actually I realise now that I must have fallen asleep!

Tonight was quite grotesque …….

The Mozart Ok.

Some beautiful moments mixed with some rather ordinary rather rhythmic playing.

Like his Bach- Mozart could just about take it .

Chopin is another thing ………..rubato reduced to dotted rhythms like the baroque French Overture Style …..the opening of the first Ballade!The opening of the fourth was so wayward as was the third it made you quite sea sick.

Then he throws his left hand onto the keyboard and the right way in the air and he is off………..fifth gear all the way…….like the clunk of a steam engine about to make a run.

The most awful moment was the last quiet chord before the coda of the fourth – fortissimo with an added octave in the bass!

And off we went full speed to the most grotesquely awful ending imaginable .

I could not get out fast enough –bumped into Giuliano Ferrara (,famous television political reporter and editor of Il Foglio) we were the only two seeking escape.

“Ghastly” I blurted out in English- “Absolutely” he replied and remembered I had last seen him at Barenboims Ring Cycle at the Proms-

Oh Danny boy what have you done!

To say the codas of the first second and fourth were like Czerny would be an insult to Beethovens pupil but I think you get the idea .

The public loved it like lambs to the slaughter …………

Rondo alla Turca as an encore – heard on the car radio escaping as fast as possible- made you realise this is Tom and Gerry ……..the boy has never grown up and was having a ball at Chopin’s expense

Lang Lang murdering Chopin ‘s 4 Ballades to 3000 people and who knows how many with TV live and streaming.

Standing ovation they told us over the radio.

Behzod Abduraimov’s not perfect but wonderful performance in comparison at the Filarmonica, the day before, to 30 people just shows what power the mass media has today.

Appearances are everything apparently …

Oh Krystian Zimerman- Murray Perahia where are you.Give us another chance!


By the way, lovely post at the website of Alink-Argerich foundation: Constance Channon-Douglass – Connie – was a well-known Canadian pianist who had been a prize winner in Terni (1968 and 1969), Monza (1972) and in Uruguay (1969). She was a finalist in other competitions and received distinctions, such as in Montreal, Lisbon, Bolzano, Barcelona and Rio de Janeiro. Between 1985 and 2008, she was frequently invited as a jury member at various international piano competitions in Italy, Ireland and the U.S.A.. Connie loved to travel and to meet other musicians. She always talked with great enthousiasm and every story was full of anecdotes from her experiences at competitions. With every story Connie was telling, there was always much laughter, not in the least by herself. Even when the topic become more serious, she could always add a lighter note and put everything in perspective, so that you could smile and laugh again. She could have written a book, and probably, she also wanted to do so. For sure, many people would have greatly enjoyed it. She had a wonderful gift not to stand still, but to see a bright side of everything. With Connie, even the saddest stories ended with laughter. If she could talk to somebody, she could even cheer up herself! What a wonderful person she was. At age 76, Connie passed away on November 14, 2014. With her passing, we have lost a totally unique person, a wonderful musician and a great friend for everyone who was lucky to have met her.


Non-CCR EventsIn memoriam: A historic member of the Canadian Women’s Association of Rome.

Constance Channon-Douglass. Pianist, Teacher, b Calgary 20 Dec 1937; d Rome November 14, 2014.

A long-time resident of Rome, Connie passed away on November 14th after a lengthy illness. She was predeceased by her husband of thirty three years Cesare Marinsanti (2004). She is survived by her sons James Channon (Jane DeGama), Ross Douglass (Caterina), grandchildren Scott and Matthew Douglass, and her brother Roger Channon.

Connie was a child prodigy at the piano, showing a natural talent at the age of three. During her youth, she won numerous local competitions in and around her home town of Calgary, Alberta and throughout Canada. In 1955, Connie was a contestant in a CBC television program called “Pick the Stars,” a fifties precursor to American Idol. As part of her selection, her family proudly accompanied her to Toronto where she performed live on national television at the age of 18. Her first music teacher was her mother Lily who recognised her abilities, followed by one of Calgary’s most acclaimed piano teachers, Gladys Egbert. After her studies with Mrs. Egbert, Connie went on to achieve the ARCT 1956 diplomas, and toured with Jeunesses Musicales of Canada in 1959. Connie attended the Juilliard School of Music in New York City from 1960-64 for training with Irwin Freundlich. In 1964, she won first prize in the CBC Talent Festival.

Connie made her New York debut in 1965 at Town Hall, followed by an opportunity to study in Rome with Guido Agosti. Travelling to study with the Maestro on a six month scholarship, it was her intention to return to North America to pursue her musical career until she met the love of her life, Cesare. With the exception of a three-year assignment for Cesare with Alitalia Airlines in Amman Jordan, she remained a resident of Rome until her passing.

Connie made solo appearances with the Calgary Symphony Orchestra, the Calgary Philharmonic, CBC Winnipeg, Toronto Orchestras, the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and the Bayerischer Rundfunk in Munich. She performed frequently on CBC radio’s ‘Distinguished Artists’ and recorded works by Mozart, Prokofiev, Scriabin, and Schumann (1969, CBC SM 109). As well as her solo performances throughout the world, she also pursued teaching and accompanying other artists. She adjudicated many piano competitions, and in the 1990s and 2000s continued to give masterclasses and concerts as far afield as Australia and San Diego. In 2005, she gave a concert in Rome sponsored by the Canadian embassy.

Not only was Connie an accomplished musician, she was extremely artistic. She was an accomplished seamstress and clothing and quilt designer. Her patchwork velvet vests, cushions and quilts were in demand and cherished by all who received them. Connie and Cesare made friends throughout the world, and a party was much more fun when they were there.

In recent years her piano fell silent, as her health deteriorated. Although we are saddened by her loss, her family is glad her suffering has ended. In memory of her, tributes may be made to the charities of your choice.

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Dear friends,

Just to let you know of the beautiful evening organised by our dear friends the Ricci ‘s in their house in Rome.(Franco Ricci,Artistic Director of the Tuscia University concerts at Viterbo – author of many books including the only biography of Francesco Siciliani – artistic director of La Scala and Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in the 50/60’s- the man that discovered Maria Callas)

More than fifty people – yes it is quite a big house.

Of course the moment people found out everyone wanted to come even though I was trying to save the  big event for the 10th anniversary next year.

So all those that missed this occasion it will be an appointment at the Ghione Theatre on 3rd December 2015!

I enclose some fotos of the evening .

Marcos Madrigal the magnificent cuban pianist ,playing now for the Keyboard Trust, having been helped to leave Cuba by his mentor Claudio Abbado!Played music by Lecuona from his new CD just about to be published .

Milena Vukotic ,one of Ileanas most cherished friends ,and actors from our Compagnia dei Giovani:Riccardo Polizzy and Cristina Borgogni .Many others including Carlo Simoni,Bianca Galvan and Marina Lorenzi would have like to come  but were on stage that evening.

Walter Maestosi who was Ileana’s leading man in the opening season of the theatre in 1982 read a beautiful piece by our dear friend Guido Nahum ,the playright whose play was one of our first productions.( I will visit him in Milan on Thursday when I present the KT to the Bocconi University at Vitaly Pisarenkos first concert there – I would have loved to visit Lydia Agosti who unfortunately passed away only a month ago at 99- wish she had waited a little longer!)

Valeria Valeri who had not actually worked with Ileana but has played in the theatre many times .At the age of 93 ,moved by Cristina’s moving account of Ileanas last moments on stage spoke most eloquently with words that came straight from the heart.

A moving occasion and nice to remember  our extraordinary Ileana and, who as Milena told us was always ready, at the smallest excuse, to talk about her love for me ! “But there is always Chris” she remembered and Cristina  too  that Ileana’s last words were for  me and how lucky we had been to have so much time together and to have been able to do everything we wanted to do.Her actual last words were from the play that she loved so much ” La vita che ti diedi” by  Pirandello – the last line so poignant ” La vita e’ questa” …this is life.

With all that has happened since Ileana’s death it is nice to remember the real fortune that I have had, to have known the ” real love of our life”- to use Ileanas last words ……..How lucky we have been.

Milena and Cristina were in tears – it was indeed a moving occasion.

More so for me because in the car was the television that I had given to our dearest friend Constance Channon Douglass( Connie to all her friends)who passed away last week – lovely foto given to me by her two sons of her in our theatre with Shura Cherkassky – who adored her as we all did.

Christmas is a coming and the tree in Sabaudia is ready and waiting today for some old Academy friends who are going to battle the elements with me for a few days- we have 40 years to catch up on !



Just to let you know ….my opinion…. what more can I offer ? ………He is another one to add to our remarkable team who were all there  in the back row – Alex,Vitaly,Evelyne missing only Jason and Pablo….. what a line up – the best talent in town or anywhere else if it come to that ……most of them living in my house by the way …… doubt in line for a blue plaque before long!

Two star performances at the Steinway Hall last night for the first recital for the Keyboard Trust of Evgeny Genchev .Sure it will not be the last after last nights showing.

The other star performance from a witty little speech by Leslie Howard pleading the cause for the KT.”After such  poetic performances as we have heard tonight, a pound in the pot is really not enough!”

At this point we had heard Mozart’s F major Sonata  played with a rare sensibility and nuance that has become only a memory, unfortunately of other times.Two  Liszt pieces from the Annees de pelerinage played with a palate of colours that I have rarely heard in that small space .  And then the Liebestod restored to its rightful place as the masterpiece it is . Full sounds  but never harsh in the climaxes and such beautiful cantabile.A ong silence at the end of a totally enraptured audience .He had us in his hand – seduced by exquisite sounds .

Sturm and Drang.Lots of Drang but  not much sturm up to now.

But after Leslie’s little speech we got the main piece in the programme Scriabin’s 3rd Sonata.

Sturm and Drang in abundance here but also a rare intelligent sense of structure combined with the most beautiful intricate  melodic web  that only Scriabin can spin.Every line so clear and beautifully sung.He almost made us believe that this is a great work and not the usual vehicle for pianists that should know better.He had done the same with a remarkable Dante Sonata the other day at St Martins.

I was waiting for a little piece that he had been looking at the night before.The last notes that  Wagner had written …….unfortunately after his exquisite Scriabin Poem the applause stopped ……probably because the audience were  counting their pennies after Leslies speech and diving even deeper into their pockets after performances of this calibre.He is a poet ………thats all one can say.