Shropshire Star

Ludlow Piano Festival looks forward to hitting all the right notes again next year

A town's first ever piano festival hit all the right notes say the organisers who are already looking forward to next year's event.

File picture of Alistair McGowan playing piano at Fringe community piano, Ludlow

The backers of the Ludlow Piano Festival say the recent event proved a "massive hit" with more than 1,700 admissions to 17 events.

Sounds of the piano were heard all over town at the end of last month as the cathedral-like St Laurence's, Church, the intimate Palmers Hall and the comfortable Assembly Rooms were turned into concert venues.

There were even two 'street' pianos and three pianos in local bars and restaurants.

It even bought a galaxy of celebrities to town in one of the biggest audiences seen in Ludlow in recent times.

TV impressionist and pianist Alistair McGowan, the chair and co-artistic director of Ludlow Piano Festival said: "I couldn’t have hoped for more from the first Ludlow Piano Festival.

"People, young and old, were queuing up to play every sort of piano music on our two street pianos which gave a wonderful atmosphere to the town for five beautiful blue-sky days.

"All our recitalists thrilled their audience with their virtuosic playing and imaginative choice of repertoire and the music - and words - rang out so beautifully not just at St Laurence’s Church and at the Assembly Rooms but at Palmers Hall which formed a historic and wonderfully atmospheric third corner of our ‘piano triangle’."

Mr McGowan added: "We can’t wait to start planning next year’s festival and look forward to finding some new and enticing events in a similar spirit and some new (and some of the same) players who will impress, move and excite us with what they and the piano can do.

"We hope to see you there and that you’ll spread the word far and wide that Ludlow Piano Festival hits all the right notes!"

Joel Baldwin, the event's co-artistic director, said: "The hope for any festival is that it is not only a success in terms of the big-picture programming, logistics, general audience experience, and the warm reception of each event but also that there is consistent atmosphere of interactivity, a palpable sense of networked purpose, unique flavours combining together in harmony through positive communication and social connections, pairings and contrasts forming a delicious and balanced meal of music and extra-musical material that gradually grows greater than the sum of its parts. That is a festival. And that is exactly what happened.

"What an amazing collection of local and not-so-local audience members we saw coming together over five days to celebrate the piano, music, and creativity more broadly.

"I know our performers felt this buzz too. They were always mixing in, stimulating conversations, and enjoying being part of the melange, offering such positive feedback on them whole experience, which is as vital for the festival as the way their individual performances are received. So a huge thanks to them—they were so generous with their time and dedicated themselves to support the entire festival as much as possible.

"The moment that really sticks in my mind, though, is the sunny walk across the square towards the Assembly Rooms hearing the piano outside St Laurence’s blend with someone playing the piano outside the castle, en route to Palmers Hall and buoyed by the anticipation of hearing a world-class musician perform a thrilling programme on a magnificent Steinway D piano there. It brought it all together and made the music even more meaningful.

"We can’t guarantee the weather next year, but I think we can guarantee that if the festival returns, it will build on these magical flavour combinations and it will be another occasion not to be missed! Now to think about next year’s menu."

For more information on the Festival visit