The launch of the London Piano Meetup Group at Peregrine's Pianos on Saturday 18th May was a very enjoyable and successful event, very well-attended, and friendly. Hosted by Lorraine Liyanage and myself, we had six performers playing repertoire by Gershwin, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Brahms and Rimsky-Korsakov, and all the playing was of a very high standard. The atmosphere was supportive and each performer enjoyed a rousing round of applause.

The afternoon closed with a guest recital by Emmanuel ('Manny') Vass, a young pianist from Yorkshire who has recently completed a busy tour to promote his new CD from Bach to Bond. Manny played some of the pieces from his CD, including his Lisztian transcription of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, a lively third movement of Bach's Italian Concerto, Debussy's atmospheric 'Pagodes' from Estampes, and a very classy rendition of his James Bond themes "mash up". Afterwards, everyone had the chance to chat briefly, and meet Manny. The general consensus was that the event was enjoyed by everyone, and we are already looking forward to the next event.

Fran Wilson, Emmanuel Vass & Lorraine Liyanage at the launch party
Fran Wilson, Emmanuel Vass & Lorraine Liyanage at the launch party

The events are run via the Meetup website, a social networking platform that allows people with similar interests to connect to join clubs and plan events. Membership of Meetup is free, but is not obligatory to come to the London Piano Group events as we also publicise the events via other social networks (Twitter, Facebook, our blogs and websites, Google+ and various other piano and music sites and forums we belong to).

The purpose of these events is to give adult amateur pianists performance opportunities in an informal and supportive setting. When Lorraine and I first met at a piano course in October 2011, we discovered a shared desire to meet other non-professional pianists, and to get involved in events to bring amateurs together to play and enjoy music. Playing the piano can be a lonely activity and events such as these are a great way to meet other pianists, compare notes (forgive the pun!), share repertoire and socialise.

Future events will include performance platforms, some with a specific focus such as 20th and 21st century repertoire or Baroque, a masterclass with pianist and teacher Graham Fitch, a talk and demonstration by GéNIA, creator of Piano-Yoga®, and talks by author and music journalist Jessica Duchen and Charlotte Tomlinson, a pianist and teacher who specialises in tension in playing and overcoming performance anxiety.

Ways to keep in touch and find out about upcoming events:

London Piano Meetup Group website

Follow us on Twitter - @LonPianoMeetup

London Amateur Music Makers on Facebook

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