Piano Concerts, Master-Classes and Schubert

November 1, 2015 — 50 Comments

I had a very musical day on Friday 30th of October. At lunchtime I was able to grab a sandwich and listen to a concert held in the Jubilee Hall at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, where two of my close friends George Todica and Daniel Ciobanu performed.


George Todica                                                             Daniel Petrica Ciobanu

The exciting and very musical program involved works by Scriabin, Ravel, Liszt and Trofin. I particularly enjoyed George’s interpretation of Valses Nobles et Sentimales. Before playing he explained in his introduction that the climax takes place on the seventh piece of this cycle and that the eighth acts as an epilogue and compared it to the way an older person recollects memories of their past. The concert ended with a bang with two piano four hand pieces in which the two performers were practically dancing around the piano performing a wild duet of Romanian folk music.

After this I ran back to the Royal Conservatoire of  Scotland to observe some of the Opera school students receiving coaching from Kathryn Harries in the AGOS studio. Kathryn Harries is the Director of the National Opera Studio, which is based in London, after having a very successful performing career as an operatic soprano. She has an exuberant personality and successfully commanded the space for continuous four hour block.

Kathryn Harries

Kathryn Harries

It was interesting to carefully and attentively watch this event as I was able to receive a lot of information and ideas that I can put towards my own practise. The main idea I have taken away is that subconscious body movements performed whilst singing can sometimes give an insight into what is happening. For example some students would throw a shoulder forward (slightly) at the start of phrases. Demonstrating their eagerness to begin the phrase well however it made for an aggressive sound. And another student held their arm in tight against them with their hand forming in a fist which was linked to the tight vocal line. However gestures can also unlock and aid a singer’s ability to improve a weakness. She explained that because we can’t see our instrument when we play we must use the tools of imagination. An example of her technique was to involve swinging arm movements which would mirror the action of expanding ribs to reinforce the engagement of the support and to keep the ribs out wide whilst singing. This aided most of the singers on stage and definitely an exercise I will try. She gave us lots of tips and encouraged our practise to be specific rather than general.

However one thing that I think is a transferable piece of advice when learning, improving a skill or completing a task at work  is to treat yourself consistently like a little puppy, don’t ever kick it because it’s not doing it right or give up on it because it can’t do it the first, fifth or the tenth time. Instead be patient and loving.


The cherry on the cake was going to the Sunday coffee concert today at the Royal Conservatoire at 11:30. The programme was a great selection from German composers involving pupils and professors performing together. It was wonderful to see such a high standard of musical interpretation. A personal highlight were the Schubert pieces performed by Julia Daramy-Williams and Julian Tovey in which two rich voices superbly conveyed poems by Goethe.



Sadly I could not record the singers today but here is my performance of Schubert’s  “Gretchen am Spinnrade” from 2014.  I really must try and get the opportunity to record this again next year, for those of you who have not seen it I hope that you enjoy it.


50 responses to Piano Concerts, Master-Classes and Schubert


    Great, thanks you so much Charlotte, very interesting and very nice writting. Read you is like have video and music in our mind, we, I can see and hear all the thing you speak about ! I hope you could make many records this year. Give my “Hello” to George, take care of you, have a fabulous week ! All the best for you !


    I just learn that your body motion, guesture can help with your voice during singing. Also to you your imagination for the song of different language is another difficulty.

    Your performing is lovely.

    Annette Rochelle Aben November 1, 2015 at 9:59 pm

    Moving and entrancing! Thank you for the beautiful musical interlude. <3


      Thank you Annette, I’d love to video this again after the work I’ve put into improvements this year since the recording, it’s going to be good to look back in the future and hopefully see my progress.

      Best wishes


    A lovely interesting blog Charlotte, i would like to hear the 2 person 4 hand piece 😃 Love the video 😘


    Thanks for the Schubert. I got to tell you that I am impressed that you are paying attention to all the little details, such as body movements. All art, even writing, has some physicality to it. It is the attention to details that makes a great artist.


    Brilliant advice – to treat your voice like a puppy and be love, patient, gentle and firm with it. Loved the Schubert.


      Thank you Hilary 🙂 sometimes I can be hard on myself during training but I’m grateful for my life and that I don’t focus too long on lots of little problems.

      Best wishes


    Fantastic, Charlotte. With all you are absorbing, I think you could very well be a teacher yourself one day!


    What a great weekend you’ve had! The masterclass sounds like it was really helpful and informative. So good to hear you sing the Schubert again!


      Thank you Clare, I love master-classes at this stage in my training it is very useful even if I’m not singing in them. I make intensive notes afterwards so that I can concentrate at the time.

      Best wishes


        Years ago when I was about your age the BBC used to televise masterclasses taken by singers and musicians. I found them fascinating!
        Best wishes,


    I am not going to remember all of these tips along with all the other stuff you’ve told us about over several months. You’re smart. Um…are your sneakers pink?


      They’re slowing seeping into your sub-conscious and you’ll suddenly over time know that Carmen is by Georges Bizet and Dixit Dominus is by Handel 🙂 Yes bubblegum pink to brighten up an otherwise dull outfit lol!

      Best wishes


    An interesting and busy weekend, which I am quite sure you enjoyed. The music was excellent. Oh, and I liked the pink sneakers!


    Great read as always and you are right about the process of learning. Especially in our times of instant gratification, people naturally lean towards tasks they can learn quickly. Looking foolish and failing are not meant to make you quit…they are just obstacles to overcome.

    Have a great week!


      Thanks Steve, I’ve got such a lot on at the moment, I’m so pleased that the training I had in ballet, karate etc taught me that nothing worth getting can be short-cut. I also agree about getting knocked down and getting up again, I’ll pop by your blog again soon for some inspiration.

      Best wishes


        I appreciate you dropping by of course! Not sure if you need inspiration but glad you enjoy it.

        I think people who have something going on enjoy reading about others who are doing something well. Positivity is contagious if you let it be a force in your life.


    Once again a very informative and well written piece. Also the cherry on this cake was your wonderful vocal. as always a pleasure to hear you. Thank you so much.


    What a day this was! I can’t imagine holding a floor for one hour let alone four like Kathryn Harries.


    Wonderful, what a whirlwind weekend! Charlotte, we watched the Woman’s Gymnastics from Glasgow over the weekend. What a beautiful city!!! Hope that you have a great week. Loved the Gretchen am Spinnrade, Darlene


      I heard the gymnastics was in Glasgow but I didn’t get the opportunity to see any of it sadly. I love the floor exercises and the balance beam especially. It is a fabulous City, my brother lives in London and they are two very different Cities.

      Best wishes


    I have a book by Patsy Rodenburg called ‘The Right To Speak’ that mentions that arm-swinging exercise as a way of freeing up the voice and also talks a lot about pyschological fctors and habitual body patterns that affect the voice. Such interesting stuff.


      I really should mention some of the exercises to my brother he’s got a big presentation examination for his final actuarial qualification and it would probably come in useful for this, I must mention your book suggestion to him and try to get it from the library.

      Best wishes


    “Mein Herz ist schwer…” May your Herz be seldom schwer! It’s a pleasure to read of your musical adventures. And see your pink sneakers.


    Very interesting observations; I love the notes about how your involuntary body movements might affect the singing!


    What an incredible day to experience ~ and taking all you learn and see and applying it in your great singing & talent. Such emotional and incredible music you make, this is the first time I’ve heard Schubert’s “Gretchen am Spinnrade” ~ a wonderful piece, thank you!

    Carlos Augusto S. P. November 7, 2015 at 2:14 am

    Beautiful performance Charlotte Hoather!!!
    Congratulations and great times along the way!!!

    Carlos Augusto S. P. November 7, 2015 at 2:18 am

    Beautiful performance Charlotte Hoather!!!
    Congratulations and great times along the way!!! Best wishes!!!


    Perfect! I enjoyed your video!


    You are patient and loving,you have already started reaping the fruits of your labour;magnificent your video,dear Charlotte !All the best to you,my lovely one 🙂 xxx


    The Gretchen was superbly done.

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