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Graham Fitch

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Graham Fitch, now based in London, maintains an international career not only as a pianist, but also as a teacher, adjudicator, lecturer, writer and commentator on piano playing and musical subjects. His workshops and classes, which he gives all over the world, have received high praise for their creative and illuminating approach to the subject. Presently on the piano staff of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Graham Fitch maintains a busy private studio in London. He writes regular columns for Pianist Magazine, and has a successful blog, www.practisingthepiano.com.

Graham Fitch, M. Mus (Manhattan), GRSM (Hons.), ARCM, Cert. of Advanced Musical Studies (RCM), was a student of Stephen Savage, Peter Wallfisch and Roger Vignoles at the Royal College of Music, London, during the late 70s, and also studied harpsichord with Ruth Dyson. At the RCM, he was awarded the Borwick Prize, Hopkinson Gold Medal and Sydney and Peggy Shimmin Prize for piano playing, and a Belgian government scholarship to participate in harpsichord masterclasses with Kenneth Gilbert in Antwerp. In 1982, Graham was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, A Countess of Munster Musical Scholarship and a BUNAC award to complete his studies in the United States with Ann Schein and Nina Svetlanova. He established himself in New York and stayed for seven years, becoming Mme. Svetlanova's teaching assistant at the Mannes College of Music and winning first prize in the Mieczyslaw Munz Piano Competition.

During much of the 1990s, Graham Fitch's career straddled the Atlantic with solo and chamber performances in England (where he taught piano at the Purcell School, St. Paul's Girls' School, the Centre for Young Musicians) and in Europe and North America. The New York Times spoke of his playing as "unalloyed pleasure". In the UK he was recitalist at the Bournemouth Festival, and appeared in repeated engagements with the London Chamber Soloists on London's South Bank. US activities included concerts with his trio, the Trio dell'Arte, various solo appearances (including a performance of Bach's Goldberg Variations in Merkin Hall during the 250th anniversary of the composer's death) and a performance of Bartok's Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion with Jonathan Haas.

From 1997 to 2008, Graham Fitch was Associate Professor, Head of Keyboard and Head of Section of Practical Studies at the South African College of Music, University of Cape Town, from where he travelled extensively to perform and teach. An international tour of Bach's Goldberg Variations elicited rapturous reviews on four continents, and invitations to return to Australia, New Zealand and the USA. More recently he has given a recital, a masterclass and a keynote address at the 7th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference, been in residence at London's Royal Academy of Music, coached chamber music at the Franschhoek Chamber Music Workshop, and participated in the Stellenbosch International Piano Symposium.

A published author, Graham has written several articles on aspects of piano playing and musical style. He has also produced a generation of teachers through his influence as a teacher, and through his pedagogy programmes.

As a performer, Graham has specialised in the music of the high Baroque (especially Bach, Rameau and F. Couperin), Haydn, Mozart, Chopin and Schumann. He gave all-Bach recital programmes in the Bach year, all-Chopin recitals in the Chopin year, and more recently all-Mozart solo and chamber programmes in the Mozart year. He has performed concertos with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra under Bernhard Gueller and David Tidboald, as well as performances with Bryden Thomson and Iain Leddingham.

As a teacher, Graham was in high demand in the early 1990s at the Purcell School, privately in London and New York, and later as a piano professor at the University of Cape Town (1997-2008). He is now available in London as a private teacher. He has extensive experience as an adjudicator (Cape Town and Bloemfontein Eistedfodds), and as a national and international competition jury member (the Pretoria International Piano Competition, Sanlam National Music Competition, the Kawai Australasian Youth Piano Concerto Competition, and others). He has given masterclasses in the UK (including at the Royal Academy of Music, where he also deputised for Christopher Elton and took the Performers' Class, Chetham's School of Music), USA, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Among his students' many national and international successes are the International Russian Music Piano Competition, BBC Young Artistsí Platform, Royal Overseas League, Derby Concerto Competition, South East Arts and UNISA Overseas Scholarship Competition. In the 90s, Graham studied further with Edith Picht-Axenfeld in Germany, and with piano guru Peter Feuchtwanger, making a study of his special exercises.
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