Pianists-classical, jazz & evergreen
We get many requests for pianists , ranging from jazz pianists classical pianists and pianists who play what can be termed as ' evergreens Or light music ', and of course, from many situations a mixture of all styles is asked for.
Normally one is thinking in terms of a solo pianist who performs purely instrumental music, but there are also pianists who play and sing, accompanying them selves on the piano. This is particularly popular for the evening wedding reception. It is difficult to know how best to categorise things, but we've divided the website of into solo pianists who play purely classical and purely jazz, but in each of the sections pianists appear to play a mixture of music. Pianists who also sing and accompany themselves are placed in the sections of covers, function and party bands. The trouble is that there are so many different alternatives, but one has to compromise on the actual site, and if you have a particular requirement the best thing is to send us an email enquiry so that are experienced staff can understand what you're looking for and offer you the best options.
Something that is vitally important, but can sometimes get overlooked by people who are searching the Internet for pianists, is whether your venue has a high quality real (i.e. a piano with strings,) or electric piano available for the pianist to play, or whether you are expecting the pianist to bring their own piano. It has their own piano, then of course because of portability issues, it's going to be an electric piano. Nearly all pianists bring their own instruments to a booking. Some will play the piano at the venue if it's of sufficient quality and properly and tune, whilst others refuse to play anything but their own piano (this is because they've had bad experiences in the past where they've been told that there is a good instrument available, and this turns out not to be so, either because it's out of tune or the mechanism sticks or as heavy. To save such issues and to be able to ensure good performance, they will only take their instruments.)
So as with all the other sections in this rambling, I'm just about to run through some of the questions we get asked when people are thinking about booking a pianist for their wedding reception, considering the hire of a pianist perhaps their wedding anniversary meal.
Request: I want an impressive pianist to play at my wedding ceremony and wedding reception.
What does impressive mean? I think it means different things to different people. So is an impressive pianist someone who can rattle out a Beethoven piano Concerto? That may well be the case, but it would be most inappropriate for a wedding ceremony or dinner. It could mean that they come on to the stage wearing gold lame trousers and jacket like Liberace used to do, complete with candelabra in the centre of a gleaming grand piano. To others it may mean I Dave Brubeck lookalike, or a pianist singer like Elton John.
So with a request like this, we have to establish it what it is that impresses this particular potential hire and see if we can meet their requirements. Usually we can, but we have to be sure. The other issue in this request is that they're saying they want the pianist to play at the wedding ceremony followed by the wedding reception. This raises issues like, is the wedding ceremony at church wedding in a traditional old church, in which case there may not be a suitable PowerPoint for an electric piano. Is the pianist expected to move the piano from the church to the wedding reception venue, reset it up, and what time do they have to do this in? Often there is just sufficient time for a string quartet to exit the church and sprint off to the wedding reception venue just in time to play as the bride and groom arrive. They have the advantage that there is no power requirement of their instruments, they are small and light and easily moved compared with the electric piano, the good quality pianos often being extremely heavy and sometimes on large cumbersome stands.
Providing all these questions can by answered effectively, it is highly likely that we would be able to supply a pianist that would impress this particular person in the way that they like to be impressed.
Request: a professional pianist or I want an experience pianist for my wedding ceremony and breakfast;
All our pianists a professional pianist, in that they perform for payment on a regular basis and they are all experienced having played for many weddings and banquets and birthday parties or corporate events before we offer them to the general public. But what does professional mean in the case of the musician? If it means that this is their only way of earning a living, by giving live performances, then you will be very hard put to find a professional pianist and if you did, they wouldn't be playing at weddings. Elton John is a professional pianist (and singer), as is Mitsuko Uchida, but you wouldn't be likely to have them playing at your wedding. They don't do weddings, unless it's royalty, and unless you're a millionaire you couldn't afford them.
The nature of the music business these days, particularly with the effective music downloads, ubiquity of sites such as Spotify, and the plethora of radio and television music channels, there is much less continuous demand live music compared with things as they were in the past. Live music performance is now quite a specialised thing. No longer are there the public dance halls crowded out each Friday and Saturday night, each one with its own dedicated dance band. The numbers of symphony orchestras has dropped dramatically, with even the BBC having disbanded many of its orchestras fifteen or twenty years ago. Jazz bands which used to play regularly everywhere from seaside piers to pubs and specialised concerts, are something of a rarity now. And of course, even the smallest cinemas one time had their pianist, and the larger cinemas their cinema orchestra, but that was in the days of the silent films, a year or two back now.
So the vast majority, though not quite all, of the musicians who play for parties and weddings and corporate events have other jobs. Performing music is just one part of their portfolio of work. True enough, many of the people who perform for weddings and parties are peripatetic music teachers, often working for the local education authority. Others are freelance musicians, freelancing for symphony orchestras, film music soundtrack sessions et cetera, (even the best known simply orchestras use a large percentage of freelance players, usually only the section leaders being full-time employees of the orchestra. So people will be hired on an as needed basis, perhaps for a foreign tour, or concert series, all indeed for an individual concert. At one time this was common enough for instrumentalists who played unusual instruments, such as the bass clarinet or flugelhorn, but now it is is even standard practice in the string section.)
Yet other musicians have jobs to fill in the rest of their portfolio that has nothing to do with music at all. This even applies to many musicians who have been right through the formalities of music college, and applies even more to the kinds of musician who the musicologist don't cater for at all, or only limited way, such as folk musicians, and jazz musicians. (Having said that then many folk musicians and jazz musicians have gone through formal classical training in the London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow music colleges, and there are even a few places that cater for pop and jazz music, such as Leeds University and Newcastle upon Tyne University, which runs a specialist folk music course.) Is quite amazing the range of jobs that musicians will do, quite a number being surgeons or GPs or mathematicians or scientists, subjects which are of the public think have got nothing to do with music, but they have. Musicians, and I meaning really good musicians, are not necessarily arty types in other respects. The most important criteria is that they are doing jobs which allow them to work at weekends, when most weddings and parties take place, and no reliably that they will be available for booking that may be made 6 to 18 months ahead. Not all jobs allow this sort of advanced organisation.