Feb 27, 2020
Concert celebrates £25k refurbishment of city’s Steinway

A Beverley-born classical music star is taking to the Hull City Hall stage this month to play the first public concert since a major refurbishment of the Hull Philharmonic Orchestra’s Steinway.

Robert Markham, an internationally-acclaimed pianist, left the city in the 1980s to pursue his musical career and is returning for the concert on Saturday, February 29.

He will play Beethoven’s Piano Concerto Number 3 in C Minor as part of the celebrations of the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth which are taking place around the world during 2020. The concert also features special guest Tim Redmond who is one of the UK’s most well-known conductors.

The Steinway Model D grand piano was donated to the orchestra by Ideal Standard 50 years ago and has been used at the City Hall since then for both classical and popular music events. The £25,000 refurbishment has been undertaken by Tyneside Piano Company, paid for by the Hull Philharmonic Society with help from Hull Culture and Leisure and private donors.

Andrew Penny MBE, the Hull Philharmonic’s musical director, said: “Our Steinway was christened by Rubinstein and has been played by a host of other international classical piano legends along with much loved stars like Les Dawson and Victoria Wood.

“The refurbishment has given it a new lease of life and we hope that it will continue to entertain Hull audiences for another half century.

“It is wonderful that Robert is joining us for the first public performance since its overhaul and provides an opportunity to highlight the incredible musical talent that the city has produced over the years.”

Under Tim Redmond’s baton, the orchestra will also perform Airport Scenes, an orchestral suite from the contemporary opera Flight, by Jonathan Dove, and the Symphonic Dances by Rachmaninov. “It is a varied and exciting programme,” added Mr Penny.

Mr Markham attended Bethune Junior High School and Hymers College before going to Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester and then the Juilliard School in New York. He went on to win numerous prizes at major international competitions and was piano class winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition, and later a finalist at the Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow. He performs extensively and serves on the staff of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

He said: “It’s nearly three decades since I played on the Steinway and with the Hull Philharmonic. It will be fantastic as I know a lot of people in the orchestra from my past. I’m very excited about it.

“I love Hull. It’s a fascinating city and I’m very proud to have my roots here. The City of Culture title was a watershed moment and really boosted the area’s profile, but there has always been a rich cultural life in Hull.

“The C Minor Concerto is Beethoven at his most characteristic. It’s forthright and uncompromising,” he added.

The orchestra is pledging 250 tickets to young students for the concert in a Buy One Get One Free scheme made possible by Williamsons Solicitors. The free tickets are available to any student engaged in music aged 11-18 who attends the concert accompanied by one paying ticket holder. Interested students can obtain their unique booking code by contacting their local music education hub or admin@hullphilharmonic.org

The concert starts at 7.30pm, but ticket holders are invited to attend a pre-concert talk with Andrew Penny, Robert Markham and Tim Redmond at 6.30pm. Tickets are priced from £10 to £28.50 (discounts available) from Hull City Hall box office, 01482 300306 or online at www.hullphilharmonic.org or www.hulltheatres.co.uk