Who or what inspired you to take up the piano and pursue a career in music?
My late mother had piano lessons as a child, and when I was 6 years old she took delivery of an old upright piano and I began to learn. Like many children I needed persuasion to practice, but I am glad that I was pushed, as before long I couldn’t walk past a piano without playing.
Who or what were the most important influences on your musical life and career?
Whilst I was at music college (Colchester Institute’s School Of Music), I was very fortunate with all my teachers, including Robert Bell for piano, and Alan Bullard for composition, both of whom made me believe I had the ability to perform and to compose.
In my teens I enjoyed songs by Jeff Lynne (Electric Light Orchestra) studying his chord progressions and harmonies as I played them. Later when Ludovico Einaudi’s piano music became more mainstream I learnt that you didn’t have to write ten-minute piano pieces. It was possible to write shorter works, which suited my own style of writing.
As far as my career is concerned the milestone was finding the recording venue of Crear, and then my producer Phil Hobbs, followed by many more amazing people as a consequence.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
There are many recording studios that advertise a good piano, but a piano is a very individual instrument, and my biggest challenge has been finding a piano that suits my own style of playing, with a setting that inspires.
My other challenge was trying to write music that everyone would enjoy. Each person has differing musical tastes, so this is actually impossible! I have found that writing music that pleases me has resulted in an album with a consistent feel, and I’m fortunate that it seems to have a wide appeal.
Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?
I have just recorded my debut album ‘Journey – Twelve Romances For Piano’. The pieces on it are ones I had written over the previous two years, and so I was confident with my playing. Together with the true sound of the magnificent piano and of the room, I have a finished result that I am very pleased with.
Which particular works do you think you perform best?
I am currently playing my first album pieces in a series of concerts, so these are well rehearsed and played well. Also I am writing and playing new pieces for my second album, but my wife tells me not to concentrate on these yet, as the focus needs to still be performing and promoting my first album.
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
I am currently in the middle of my first tour. In my concerts I have chosen to play my new album from start to finish. I plan to be back in the studio soon, so the following tour is likely to be a performance of my second album along with a few of my own favourite pieces from the first.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
Recently I performed at the magnificent setting of St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, where it was wonderful to see so many people sit and listen. Whilst playing many tourists were walking around the building and I felt the most photographed person in Edinburgh that day!
I also enjoyed playing at Crear where I recorded. The room has a wonderful acoustic, and the large windows look out to Jura. It has another special connection, as this is also where Donna-Marie and myself were married on their private beach with a piper leading us down.
Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?
In my concerts I especially enjoy playing “Time To Remember”. This is the final piece on my album, and was written in memory of my Mother. Whenever I play it I imagine her looking down to me.
At home I do enjoy playing Brahms’s late piano pieces, my favourite being the Intermezzo Op 119 No 1. It’s only a short piece, but Brahms manages to fit every emotion into it.
Who are your favourite musicians?
I have all the available Beethoven recordings by Emil Gilels. I like his solid playing and the full tone he gave every note.
Nowadays I enjoy hearing Polina Leschenko. I have seen her several times playing with the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester, and enjoy the confidence of her playing and full sound. On the rock side I do like Rick Wakeman’s playing, especially his accompaniment on David Bowie’s “Life on Mars”.
What is your most memorable concert experience?
Many years ago I remember seeing Peter Donohoe at the Royal Northern College of Music playing an entirely Prokofiev recital. He played with such passion and vigour that a piano tuner had to pay an emergency visit to replace a string!
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
It is possible to achieve whatever you want so long as you keep working at it continuously, keeping the momentum going. Also, don’t stop practicing when you get a piece right, practice it until you can’t get it wrong.
Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
Healthy, happy, and still enjoying making music, I hope.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
We escape twice a year to a cottage on the edge of one of Scotland’s “slate islands”. There is no phone signal or internet, and the views constantly change with the weather; It’s the perfect place to relax.
What is your most treasured possession?
My Apple iPod Classic (with click-wheel) – with over 5,000 songs/pieces of music on it, I will always have the right music for my mood.
What do you enjoy doing most?
I am lucky to be surrounded by beautiful countryside in Cheshire and Derbyshire, which we enjoy exploring. We are part of a local walking group which as well as seeing new areas is a great way of meeting new people, many of whom are also interested in music, which helps spread the word!
What is your present state of mind?
Being able to hold my head up proud of what I have achieved so far. I’m 6’ 3” so that’s actually quite high, but I am feeling happy with my work this last year, and I hope people who hear it enjoy listening to it.
Adrian Lord’s new album ‘Journey – Twelve Romances for Piano’ is available now. Further information here