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Nicholas McCarthy.

Nicholas McCarthy.

New series of piano recitals at Opus Theatre

Opus Theatre, under the baton of Polo Piatti, presents the first two concerts in the Phoenix Piano Series this coming weekend. Nick Terdre reports.

The Phoenix Piano Series is a collaboration between Opus Theatre, whose director is the composer Polo Piatti, and Richard Dain, the owner of Kent-based Phoenix Pianos. There will be four recitals a year, played on Opus’s concert grand piano, a unique nine-foot Phoenix Opus.

“We will be inviting internationally renowned pianists to offer spectacular recitals which are equivalent to the ones offered by any mayor capital in the world,” Polo tells HOT. “With artists who usually perform in prestigious places such as the Royal Albert Hall, Wigmore Hall or Cadogan Hall, as well as in internationally renowned venues around the world, and where tickets sometimes sell for up to hundreds of pounds per concert.

“However, following the Opus Theatre’s principles and ethos, all tickets will be exceptionally accessible at just £15 per recital.”

Nicholas McCarthy

The first recital will be given on Friday 13 April by left-handed pianist, Nicholas McCarthy. Born in 1989 without a right hand, Nicholas only took up the piano at the age of 14. When told he would never succeed as a concert pianist, he disregarded the advice and went on to study at the Royal College of Music in London.

In 2012 he became the first and so far only one-handed pianist to graduate from the college in its 130-year history.

The left-hand-alone repertoire came into being in the early 19th century but developed rapidly after the First World War as a result of the many injuries suffered on the battlefield. Austrian concert pianist, Paul Wittgenstein, who lost his right arm in the war, played a pioneering role in developing the repertoire, commissioning pieces from leading composers such as Ravel, Prokofiev and Britten.

Nicholas has played extensively throughout the UK and toured internationally. One of his proudest moments was performing with the British Paraorchestra in the closing ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, when the orchestra played alongside Coldplay and gave a rendition of the Paralympic anthem before an audience of 86,000 in the arena and half a billion TV viewers worldwide.

His programme will include works by Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Bellini, Gershwin, Bach and Strauss.

Anton Lyakovsky

Anton Lyakovsky.

Anton Lyakovsky.

The second recital, on Saturday 14 April, is in the hands of Russian-born pianist, Anton Lyakovsky. Anton’s first studies were in Russia, at the Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatory among others, and were followed by post-graduate courses in London at Trinity College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

He has a string of international piano competition prizes to his name and has performed at world-class venues in Europe and Russia, as well as appearing as a soloist with various orchestras, including the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra and the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra. His repertoire includes a large number of piano concertos.

Anton will include works by Beethoven, Liszt and Chopin in his recital.

The third and fourth recitals in the inaugural Phoenix Piano Series will be given by Sunni Li and Oliver Poole on Friday 20 April and Saturday 21 April respectively.

Piano recitals by Nicholas McCarthy on Friday 13 April and Anton Lyakovsky on Saturday 14 April: Both concerts will be given at 7.30pm in Opus Theatre, entrance at 24 – 25 Cambridge Street, Hastings TN34 1DS (opposite ESK). All tickets are £15, available at the venue 30 minutes before the concert or in advance from Hastings Tourist Information Centre, Muriel Matters House, 2 Breeds Place, Hastings TN34 3AA, by calling 07384 640 837 or online at

Posted 07:11 Tuesday, Apr 10, 2018 In: Music & Sound


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  1. Polo Piatti

    Many thanks for your kind words, Zelly. They really mean a lot to me. Polo x

    Comment by Polo Piatti — Tuesday, Apr 10, 2018 @ 10:28

  2. Zelly Restorick

    How amazing some people are.

    Nicholas McCarthy hasn’t accepted any limitations in his life, didn’t listen to those who said “you’ll never realise your vision” and has destroyed any preconceptions anyone might have about a person with one hand becoming an internationally renowned musician.

    This is someone who is smashing the concept of ‘dis-ability’, by showing the world what ‘ability’ they possess.

    I wonder what it is within some people that means they respond like Nicholas? What genetic pre-disposition? What nature and nurture? What innate quality within their make-up that means they do not lie down and give in, but rise to the challenge and succeed against the odds?

    I write this with much admiration and respect for Nicholas McCarthy – and all those musicians and composers who pioneered the sphere of single-hand piano playing – and to Polo, for his generosity in the ethos of the Opus Theatre – of making such internationally acclaimed music available to members of the general public for whom these performances would normally be beyond their financial reach.

    Thank you for your existence – reminding every human that although we – our species- are capable of horror and violence and despicable acts, we are also capable of beauty and goodness, courage and compassion.

    Comment by Zelly Restorick — Tuesday, Apr 10, 2018 @ 07:25

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