ABOUT LEON McCAWLEY

His seemingly ascetic, self-contained persona would deftly step aside to allow comedy, fantasy and passion to hold the floor, on the back of a disarmingly profound and mercurial virtuosity…” Classical Source

One of Britain’s foremost pianists, Leon McCawley has forged a highly successful career since winning first prize in the 1993 International Beethoven Piano Competition in Vienna and second prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition the same year. Since then, his concert performances and extensive discography have established him as a pianist of great integrity and variety, bringing freshness and vitality to Classical, Romantic and 20th century repertoire. His recent CD of Schubert Piano Music for SOMM Recordings is no exception: ‘Here is an album communicated with such tenderness, naturalness and sincerity’ (5 star review in Classica Magazine, March 2019) and ‘McCawley knows how to gauge mood and colour. This is strong Schubert playing, the sort we might have had from Backhaus or Serkin.’ (Classical Ear, November 2018).

 

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NEWS

1414 September, 2019

‘SPARKLING’ BBC RADIO 3 RECORD REVIEW FOR HAYDN SONATAS VOLUME II

Leon’s latest release of Haydn’s Sonatas Volume II for SOMM Recordings was featured today on Andrew McGregor’s BBC Record Review (listen from 4:00 into the broadcast- available on the BBC iPlayer until 13th October):

“First some sparkling Haydn from Leon McCawley…this makes for an excellent opening. McCawley is a persuasive advocate for, as the booklet notes say, Haydn’s ‘airy charm’, […]

3030 August, 2019

HAYDN: SONATAS VOLUME II RELEASED!

Leon is delighted to announce the release of his second volume of Haydn Sonatas for SOMM Recordings. Check out the disc information HERE and enjoy!

1717 April, 2019

LEON PERFORMS AT BBC PROMS 2019

Leon will make his sixth appearance at the BBC Proms on 31st August, performing John Ireland’s Piano Concerto with BBC Concert Orchestra/Bramwell Tovey in a special tribute concert to Sir Henry Wood. The concert will be recorded and broadcast on BBC4 TV on 1st September. Book tickets here!

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CONCERTS

Listen to Leon’s recent performance of Beethoven Sonata Op. 111 at Wigmore Hall HERE

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31st August 2019 LONDON
BBC Concert Orchestra/Bramwell Tovey at BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall (7.30pm)
Listen HERE until end of September

John Ireland: Piano Concerto

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1st September 2019
TV broadcast of 31st August concert on BBC4 (7pm)
Watch HERE until end of September

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20th September 2019 RINGWOOD
Solo recital at Trinity Centre, Ringwood (7.30pm)
Book tickets

Haydn: Sonata in G Hob XVI/40
Schubert: Sonata in C minor D958
Schumann: Abegg Variations Op. 1
Hans Gál: Three Sketches Op. 7
Brahms: Klavierstücke Op. 119
Chopin: Polonaise-Fantasie Op. 61

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23rd September 2019 PENRITH
Solo recital at Penrith Methodist Church (7.30pm)
Book tickets

Haydn: Sonata in G Hob XVI/40
Schubert: Sonata in C minor D958
Schumann: Abegg Variations Op. 1
Hans Gál: Three Sketches Op. 7
Brahms: Klavierstücke Op. 119
Chopin: Polonaise-Fantasie Op. 61

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27th September 2019 DROGHEDA
Solo recital at St. Peter’s Church of Ireland (7.30pm)
Book tickets

Haydn: Sonata in G Hob XVI/40
Schubert: Sonata in C minor D958
Schumann: Abegg Variations Op. 1
Hans Gál: Three Sketches Op. 7
Brahms: Klavierstücke Op. 119
Chopin: Polonaise-Fantasie Op. 61

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12th October 2019 ROCESTER
Solo recital at Abbotsholme School Chapel (7.30pm)
Book tickets

Haydn: Sonata in G Hob XVI/40
Schubert: Sonata in C minor D958
Schumann: Abegg Variations Op. 1
Hans Gál: Three Sketches Op. 7
Brahms: Klavierstücke Op. 119
Chopin: Polonaise-Fantasie Op. 61

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18th October 2019 PULBOROUGH
Solo recital in The Music Room at Champs Hill (7.30pm)
Book tickets

Haydn: Sonata in G Hob XVI/40
Schubert: Sonata in C minor D958
Schumann: Abegg Variations Op. 1
Hans Gál: Three Sketches Op. 7
Brahms: Klavierstücke Op. 119
Chopin: Polonaise-Fantasie Op. 61

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4th December 2019 ILKLEY 
Solo recital at King’s Hall (8pm)
Book tickets

Haydn: Sonata in G Hob XVI/40
Schubert: Sonata in C minor D958
Schumann: Abegg Variations Op. 1
Hans Gál: Nos. 5 & 6 from 24 Fugues Op. 108
Brahms: Klavierstücke Op. 119
Chopin: Polonaise-Fantasie Op. 61

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PLEASE CHECK BACK FOR MORE CONCERT UPDATES

PRESS – RECITALS

Birmingham Post, February 15th 2018
Solo Recital at Artrix, Bromsgrove
Bromsgrove Concerts’ imaginative programming brings hidden rewards, there in abundance on Friday when pianist Leon McCawley led us off the beaten track with a fascinating sequence of comparative rarities. We have perhaps more media-glittering pianists, but none can surpass McCawley in his thoughtfulness of approach, and his ability to make himself as one with an instrument new to him. His pedalling on Bromsgrove’s piano was so subtly coloured, so well-contoured to the phrasing…and always so right for the music under discussion. *****

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Classical Source March 1st 2016
Wigmore Hall Solo Recital March 1st 2016

Every time in this excellent Wigmore Hall recital when I thought I’d nailed the main, generating aspect of Leon McCawley’s style, he’d confound expectations. His seemingly ascetic, self-contained persona would deftly step aside to allow comedy, fantasy and passion to hold the floor, on the back of a disarmingly profound and mercurial virtuosity, and his playing just sounded right…

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Washington Post November 17th 2014
Solo Recital at Phillips Collection, Washington DC

A performance this weekend by British pianist Leon McCawley was another strong offering in the Phillips Collection’s excellent Sunday concert series…McCawley is a thoughtful, lyrical pianist, and he played everything with erudition, imagination and fastidiousness…

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PRESS – CONCERTOS

La Nueva España, Asturias 12th May 2019
Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias/Hans Graf at Auditorio Principe Felipe, Oviedo

Without a doubt, McCawley was one of the attractions of the evening. His style, intimate and technically imposing, fitted like a glove for the interpretation of the Schumann concerto, and was in evidence even more so in the ‘Liebeslied’ encore, played with such sensitivity and delicacy.
Jonathan Mallada

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El Comercio, Asturias 21st January 2017
Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias/Manuel López-Gómez at Teatro Jovellanos, Gijón

…this was a passionate and poetic Beethoven [Piano Concerto No. 3], full of energy and rhythm. McCawley is a pianist with a very lyrical and poetic touch, so transparent and precise…

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Bachtrack February 13th 2015
St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra/Alexander Dmitriev at The Anvil, Basingstoke

Leon McCawley, the soloist for Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto no. 1 in B flat minor, made a far more memorable impression and there was now a frisson of excitement in the hall…Dmitriev created just the right tempo for the opening Allegro non troppo to allow McCawley to express both aching tenderness in the first movement’s plaintive gestures and terror in its homicidal octaves which were thrilling in their propulsive vigour…It was in the final pages of the Allegro con fuoco, where his exhilarating scales helped lift the performance onto another plane and demonstrate how good this orchestra can be. Further demonstration of McCawley’s artistry was heard in the gentle lyricism of Rachmaninov’s Prelude in G major, Op.32, no. 5 that served as an encore.
David Truslove

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RECORDINGS

Click on the cover images for reviews  and options to buy online

List of recordings

PHOTO GALLERY

Click on images for downloadable high res files

VIDEO

Featured videos from LEON McCAWLEY’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL: