Who or what inspired you to take up the piano, and pursue a career in music?
I was brought up in a musical family so I was always surrounded by music. My mum and grandma taught music privately at home and it seemed completely normal to learn the piano because that was what I heard and saw all the time. When I was just starting out, I would spend hours reading and playing through everything from my beginner’s book and anything else lying around which I could read. I was so obsessed with music that it would have been a big decision to not pursue a career in it.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
Deciding whether I wanted to be a cellist or a pianist was very difficult. I played both to a similar level at the time and I even did conservatoire auditions on cello!
Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?
One of my first memories of being totally inspired was when I first heard Jacqueline du Pré’s interpretation of the Elgar Cello Concerto. There was an important turning point in my studies with Murray McLachlan (my teacher at Chetham’s School of Music) who helped me discover so many new technical and expressive possibilities at the piano. He was certainly one of the reasons I decided to choose piano over cello.
Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?
I had two months to learn Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F for a concert at the Philharmonie in Berlin. It was a very challenging and exhilarating experience because that was the first time I had to learn a concerto very quickly and play in such an amazing hall.
Which particular works do you think you play best?
That’s a difficult one because I find it hard to judge my own playing in terms of what I play best. Maybe particularly lyrical pieces like Barcarolle in F-sharp major op. 60 by Chopin?
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
I usually consider the occasion and the audience I’m playing for. It’s important to choose pieces that you love. I try to put pieces together that contrast in emotion and get different responses from the audience.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
Not really. It’s a privilege to play for people, whether if it’s in a concert hall, church, old people’s home or a school.
Who are your favourite musicians?
There are too many to name. But out of the pianists a few examples would be Maria João Pires, Murray Perahia, Vladimir Horowitz, and of course my teacher Lars Vogt.
What is your most memorable concert experience?
Wartburg Castle stands out as a very memorable experience. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever played and the castle is perched on a hill. It has amazing panoramic views where you can see Eisenach and the surrounding forest.
As a musician, what is your definition of success?
There are many different ways to define success and it usually depends on what that person wants. I feel that each and every opportunity to share music with people is a blessing and a success in itself.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
You need to work hard, love the music you’re playing and devote yourself from an early age. Try and get good teaching and take all the opportunities you can to learn and perform. Finally, learn to listen to yourself deeply and enjoy playing!
Jamie Bergin makes his Wigmore Hall debut on 4 July 2019 in a programme of music by Beethoven, Brahms, Albéniz and Chopin. Further information
British pianist Jamie Bergin recently graduated with the artist diploma at the University of Music in Hannover where he studied with Prof. Lars Vogt. In October 2016, Jamie became the assistant of the class of Prof. Vogt.
He won various prestigious prizes at national and international competitions such as 1st Prize, the Audience Prize and the prize for best interpretation of the commissioned work at the Europäische Klavierwettbewerb Bremen 2012, 2nd Prize and the Carl Nielsen Prize at the Aarhus International Piano Competition 2011 in Denmark. In 2014, he was the winner of the Chopin Wettbewerb (Stiftung Kurd Aschenbrenner) in Cologne, Germany. Jamie has also received major scholarships from the Musicians Benevolent Fund, the Countess of Munster Musical Trust and Spannungen Kammermusikfest in Heimbach.
Over the years, Jamie performed solo recitals and concertos throughout Europe at major venues such as the Bridgewater Hall, St Martin-in-the-fields, Barbican Concert Hall, Sage Gateshead, die Glocke in Bremen and Berliner Philharmonie. He has made appearances with renowned orchestras including the Manchester Camerata, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Bremen Philharmoniker and Aarhus Symphony Orchestra.
Jamie has appeared at international festivals such as ‘Klavier Festival Ruhr’ (Essen), Schumann (Bonn) and ‘Spannungen’ (Heimbach). He was also a feature in a documentary that was broadcast several times on the British Television channel – Channel 4. His performances have been broadcast on radio stations including Radio Bremen and Deutschlandradio Kultur. In June 2016, Cavi-music released an album of chamber music taken from live performances at the Spannungen Kammermusikfest in Heimbach where Jamie plays works by Klughardt and Saint-Saëns.