The first International Angela Hewitt Masterclass

I never thought I would enjoy it so much. Normally I only give a masterclass that lasts three hours, on a day when I often have an orchestral rehearsal or am recovering from a big recital the day before. This was the first time ever that I gave one that lasted a week. I was dreading it somewhat—wondering if I would be able to sustain the interest for the pupils, hoping that I wouldn’t get bored. That wasn’t the case at all. Thanks to the students themselves (all girls funnily enough!), we had the most marvellous week together at the Auditorium Marianum in Perugia (the masterclass was a promotion of my Trasimeno Music Festival Association). I had asked the young pianists (aged 18 to 30) to prepare a huge programme (that already demanded a certain level), and we went through vast amounts of repertoire from Bach to George Crumb. The first day and a half were spent on the classics and romantics; then we had an afternoon devoted to Bach, and the girls got so excited that we had to continue the next day. One day we went through seven concertos—2 Bach, 1 Ravel, and 4 Mozart—with me playing the second piano (see photo on the Masterclass gallery, along with students from left to right, Annie Yim, Silvie Cheng, and Julia Hamos). They came from Canada, the USA, the UK, and Italy (the others were Harriet Stubbs, and the Duo Dama from Terni here in Umbria who were the recipients of the Pasqualina Pat Adamo Scholarship generously given by one of the festival’s Canadian Friends of Italian ancestry). I also took them all to Assisi one evening, and of course out to see Lake Trasimeno. At the final concert they really played so much better than when they first arrived, and I was almost in tears seeing their happiness and progress. But before you all get excited about attending the next one, let me say that this was something quite unique and I won’t have time, I don’t think, next summer to do the same. During my mini-sabbatical it was possible, but next summer is already looking like one of the busiest yet with tons of repertoire, both new and old. So I can’t afford a week when I don’t work on my own things. But perhaps sometime there will be another occasion. I very much hope so.

Angela Hewitt