About

Pianist Libby Burgess is known for her generosity of spirit, collaborative instinct, warmth of sound, and musical intelligence.

The creative highlight of Libby’s year is the New Paths festival, which she and her partner Roland Deller founded in 2016 and present each spring in the beautiful town of Beverley, in the East Riding of Yorkshire. As Artistic Director she has quickly been recognised for the striking, enticing tone of her programming, reflecting her own twin interests of song and chamber music, and she relishes this opportunity to gather the musicians she most values in one place for an intense few days of concerts, pop-up performances and community events. In this context she is normally to be found giving some dozen performances in four days, ranging from the complete Schubert song cycles (in 2019, partnering Jonathan Lemalu, Nicholas Mulroy and Marcus Farnsworth) to annual commissions from living composers, from surveys of the works of Howells (2019) or Finzi (2018), to performances for pre-schoolers.

As a result of the impact of these festivals, New Paths was additionally asked to take on the management of the long-running Beverley Chamber Music Festival each autumn, of which Libby and international pianist Martin Roscoe are now Co-Artistic Directors. They have played together in duet several times, and in the 2019 BCMF Libby will be performing with the Brodsky Quartet, cellist Laura van der Heijden, and mezzo-soprano Kitty Whately.

Between these biannual festivals, she is to be found on recital stages across the country. Libby has an exceptionally wide repertoire and takes inspiration from the breadth of musicians with whom she works: she has recently partnered in recital such singers as Jonathan Lemalu, Katherine Broderick, Mary Bevan, Katarina Karnéus, Marcus Farnsworth, Johnny Herford, Katie Bray, Stuart Jackson, Gemma Summerfield, Bethan Langford, and instrumentalists including Fenella Humphreys, Tim Lowe, and Eva Thorarinsdottir. She has a fifteen-year long partnership with oboist James Turnbull, performs as the Wieck Trio with Jamie Campbell (Principal 2nd Violin of Aurora Orchestra) and Cara Berridge (cellist of the Sacconi Quartet) when their diaries allow, and performs regularly with CantiaQuorum (trumpeter Alex Caldon and his violinist wife Alexandra), whose imaginative programming she adores. Libby’s repertoire radiates outwards in both directions from her core love of nineteenth century Lieder and chamber repertoire; she has a passion for Bach, and regularly collaborates with living composers. Libby is also an experienced recording artist, with eight discs as duo partner and chamber musician to her name; she performs on BBC Radio 3, and has made a number of studio recordings with the BBC Singers.

Although primarily motivated by musical collaboration, Libby enjoys solo performance: recent highlights include Shostakovich’s First Concerto with CantiaQuorum and a solo recital for Britten Sinfonia at Canford School, and she is currently developing a major project based around Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier.

The seed of Libby’s love for working with voices was sown (whilst reading for a music degree at Oxford, for which she was awarded first class honours) in her role as organ scholar at Christ Church Cathedral – the first time a woman had been appointed to that position at any of the all-male Oxbridge choral foundations – and has developed in the intervening fifteen years at the piano, beginning with her postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music.

Whilst these days primarily a recital artist, Libby’s musicianship is informed by the diverse range of experience she has garnered along the way, from repetiteuring to continuo playing, conducting operas at Ryedale Festival to chorusmastering the world premiere of Peter Maxwell Davies’ last opera ‘Kommilitonen!’. These are all types of work she enjoys revisiting: she has recently conducted concerts for the Oxford Bach Choir, given a Bach organ recital as part of the Cambridge Bach-a-thon (livestreamed with the hashtag #playlikeagirl to 95,000 people), and chorusmasters the outstanding professional chorus of Southwell Music Festival each summer. In recent years Libby has been asked to give a number of pre-concert talks and lectures; she has also had articles published, and loves writing programme notes to contextualise her (or others’!) concert programming.

Libby has been engaged as a vocal coach at the Royal Academy of Music and on MusicFest Aberystwyth summer school, and is a regular chamber music tutor on the Berkeley Ensemble’s annual chamber music courses. She is highly-respected as an adjudicator and leader of masterclasses, both roles she enjoys enormously. She was Head of Keyboard at Eton College until 2016, is involved with education work for Aldeburgh Young Musicians, and leads regular workshops for Steinway Hall giving opportunities to children from inner-city schools.

Libby lives in Yorkshire, works primarily in London, and across the UK, and has consequently developed an in-depth knowledge of the country’s railway network.

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