This course is intended for mid- and good level amateur pianists (grade 4 to 8). The keywords are : warm and friendly atmosphere in a pleasant environment, high level and rewarding teaching. Graham Fitch will speak about all aspects of musical practice (e.g. how to deal with a new piece, how to choose suitable pieces, sight reading, memorization, preparation before performance, etc.).
Active players will be allowed to play well prepared pieces in public (30 min-slots). Graham Fitch will pay a special attention to the interpretation and remaining technical problems, as well as practice method. Presentation of duets and duos is most welcome.
Resident observers can attend the whole course and benefit from all aspects of Graham’s very stimulating teaching.
Non-residents observers are welcome to attend the course on one or more days.
30-minute private lessons with Graham Fitch and 50-minute sessions in Alexander technique with Fanny Gsteiger can be booked and paid on site.
The course will take place at the Music Center of the Hindemith Foundation, in the village of Blonay, ideally situated above the cities of Vevey and Montreux.
The German violinist and composer Paul Hindemith lived in Blonay from 1953 to his death in 1963. His wife created the Foundation in 1968, including the Music Center which is greatly appreciated by musicians and music ensembles for its friendly atmosphere. The Center consists of two buildings, the Chalet de Lacroix and the Pavilion. The large garden offers a great view on the Lake Léman and the Swiss Alps.
The main classes will take place in the Salon Hindemith with its 2 grand pianos. There are 4 other rooms with pianos that the participants can use freely for private practice.
Twin comfortable bedrooms are available in the Chalet and the Pavilion. Tasty simple meals will be served in the big dining room or on the terrace, weather permitting. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be served during the morning and afternoon breaks.
Graham Fitch, based in London, maintains an international career not only as a pianist, but also as a teacher, adjudicator, and writer. His workshops and classes, which he gives all over the world, have received high praise for their creative and illuminating approach to the subject. First Prizewinner in the Mieczyslaw Munz Piano Competition, he graduated with honours from the Royal College of Music in London as Hopkinson Gold Medallist. His teachers at the RCM included Stephen Savage, Peter Wallfisch and Roger Vignoles. A Fulbright Scholarship then took him to the United States, where he completed his studies with Ann Schein and Nina Svetlanova, as well as participating in weekly classes with Leon Fleisher.
During much of the 1990s, Graham Fitch’s career straddled the Atlantic with solo and chamber performances in England (where he taught piano at the Purcell School, St. Paul’s Girls’ School, and the Centre for Young Musicians) and in Europe and North America. The New York Times spoke of his playing as “unalloyed pleasure”. In the UK he was recitalist at the Bournemouth Festival, and appeared in repeated engagements with the London Chamber Soloists on London’s South Bank. US activities included concerts with his trio, the Trio dell’Arte, various solo appearances (including a performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations in Merkin Hall during the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death) and a performance of Bartok’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion with Jonathan Haas.
From 1997 to 2008, Graham Fitch was Head of Keyboard at the South African College of Music, University of Cape Town, from where he travelled to Australia, New Zealand and the USA to perform and teach. Graham gave recitals, masterclasses and keynote addresses at four successive Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conferences across Australia from 1999 to 2005. He was in residence at the Royal Academy of Music in London in 2006, giving a masterclass, directing a performance class and teaching the Head of Piano’s studio.
Graham is a principal tutor for the Piano Teachers’ Course UK, Britain’s flagship training programme for piano teachers. He is also a tutor at the Summer School for Pianists in Stowe, and gives regular workshops for pianists and teachers in London, at Jackdaws and Finchcocks. This summer, he will be running his third piano holiday in St Laurent, France, now a regular annual event. Graham is a regular contributor to Pianist Magazine, with articles on technique, style, practising and performance as well as producing an ongoing series of video demonstrations on YouTube. Graham was commissioned by Trinity College London to write the teaching notes for a series of graded piano pieces, Raise the Bar (recently published) as well as for the advanced grades for the new syllabus. He is also doing some consulting work for the ABRSM on the new piano syllabus 2021, advanced grades.
Graham teaches privately in South West London, and counts among his students professional pianists, piano teachers, adult amateurs as well as youngsters. Schedule permitting, Graham’s philosophy is to be available to anyone who wishes to study with him who is serious about developing their piano playing.
Fanny Gsteiger, Alexander technique
Centre de musique Hindemith
Chemin Lacuez 3
1807 Blonay Switzerland
Tel. 0041 (0) 21 943 05 20
Informations and administration
1091 Grandvaux Switzerland
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel. 0041 (0) 79 213 69 77
Bank account: Postfinance, Mingerstrasse 20, 3030 Berne, Suisse. IBAN CH49 0900 0000 1519 4064 6; BIC POFICHBEXXX.
By plane: the nearest airport is Geneva Airport, at around 80 km from Blonay, with direct rail connection to Vevey.
By train: from all directions, change in Vevey and take the rack-railway Vevey-Blonay-Les Pléiades to the station “Château de Blonay”. Walk down the main road (5-min walk). At the signpost “Fondation Hindemith”, turn left on the Chemin Lacuez. The entrance to the Centre is on the left side.
By car: exit the motorway A1 at Vevey. Follow the indications Blonay / St-Légier. Drive through the city of St-Légier. Turn left after the 1st railway crossing. Follow the sign “Fondation Hindemith”. The entrance of the Centre is about 30 m to the left, with a large complimentary carpark.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do my pieces have to be at a good standard or can I bring pieces that are “in progress”? Participants usually find that they get the maximum benefit in class and the most out of the course from playing pieces which are securely “under the fingers” and at a good standard.
2. What are the performance opportunities? There will be opportunities to play your pieces in front of all participants in the grand Salon Hindemith after dinner (mini-recitals).
3. Do I have to attend all sessions that are scheduled in the timetable? You are free to choose and observe sessions that are of interest to you. You may prefer to practice on one of the four pianos at the disposition of the group or take a walk in the surrounding area.
4. What should I wear during the week? Dress is informal. In October, temperatures range from 10 to 16°C.
5. What are the conditions in case of special diet or other medical conditions? Please contact Véronique Moret by email for any special need.
6. More information is available on the following websites: http://www.hindemith.info/fr/centre/ , http://www.grahamfitch.com/,https://practisingthepiano.com/, https://www.crescendo-piano.com/, https://www.techniquealexander.ch/fanny-gsteiger.
Crescendo is a Piano School for Adults based in Lausanne. Its directors, Denise and Dan Poenaru, have organized many exciting Masterclasses in the beautiful Château Mercier (Sierre, Switzerland).
Véronique Moret is a retired physician (anaesthesiology) who has spent her academic career at the University Hospital of Lausanne. She is a piano student at Crescendo, attended several masterclasses with Graham Fitch and tries to improve her posture with Fanny Gsteiger’s help. She is the organiser and administrator of the course.