New season: Old Granary Studio

Tony Cooper Concert venue the Old Granary Studio, near Beccles, is on course for another brilliant season, TONY COOPER reports.

Tony Cooper

The international pianist Piers Lane (patron of Andrew and Jill Giller's Old Granary Studio) opens this year's concert series on April 5 (7.30pm) performing a programme to include Bach's organ preludes transcribed by Eugen d'Albert and Schumann's exquisite Carnaval de Vienne - an exciting yet rather unusual piano work in five movements composed in 1839.

Later in the month (April 20) music/comedy duo Katzenjammer - who performed at Norwich Playhouse last year to a full house - promise to delight with some spectacular piano gymnastics, hilarious comic banter and a finale that's sure to go with a bang! With a modern twist on a traditional genre, they perform their own arrangements of Tom and Jerry-inspired Liszt as well as an explosive Tchaikovsky and marry together popular classics with top 10 pub tunes.

Artistic director of the Academy of St Martinin- the-Fields, violinist Kenneth Sillito, joins Hamish Milne (piano), Robert Smisson (viola) and Steven Orton (cello) as the Pro-Arte Quartet (May 24) to play Beethoven's E flat major quartet, Brahms' A major quartet and Mahler's Piano Quartet (single movement).

The Suffolk Poetry Society reads on May 31 joined by pianist Holger Aston, while on June 4 award-winning guitarist Martin Taylor - recognised as one of the world's foremost exponents of solo jazz guitar playing - makes a welcome return visit to the Granary. Many will remember him from his days touring the world with the legendary French jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli.

The international mezzo-soprano Diana Moore - who hails from Lowestoft - gives an afternoon's recital on June 15 (3pm) accompanied by pianist Christopher Gould. Following in the footsteps of their critically-acclaimed series of English song recitals, they'll delve into the repertoire of German Lieder and French mélodie to bring you their trademark mix of exciting programming (Schumann, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Duparc and Faure plus a selection of English song favourites) with superb musicianship and a sense of humour.

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Piano solos and duets will be heard from eminent French pianist Pascal Rogé joined for his concert on June 26 by Ami Hakuno. Rogé - who last performed in the area for the Norfolk and Norwich Music Club - exemplifies the finest in French piano playing and his approach to Poulenc, Satie, Fauré, Saint-Saëns and Ravel, in particular, is characterised by its elegance, beauty and delicate phrasing. He'll perform solo Debussy's Preludes (Book One) and join Hakuno for Poulenc's Sonata for Piano Duet and Ravel's La Valse.

World-renowned clarinettist Emma Johnson joins up with pianist John Lenehan for an afternoon's concert on June 29 (3pm) to play works by Mendelssohn, Mozart and Schumann while the distinguished piano partnership of Kathryn Stott and Noriko Ogawa (September 11) promises a treat and included in their programme is another version of Ravel's La Valse, plus Rachmaninov's Second Suite and works by Mozart and Poulenc.

South Norfolk resident Rick Wakeman debuts at the Old Granary on October 5 in what promises a rare opportunity to see at close quarters one of the world's legendary performers playing an acoustic set. He'll tell anecdotes in between solo piano performances of famous works closely associated with him.

The final offering of the series (October 11) sees a visit from jazz vocalist Alison Burns backed by David Newton (piano) and Chris Hill (bass). At home in any setting - from large festival stages to small intimate venues - she never fails to touch the audience with her soul-stirring performances.

t All concerts start at 7.30pm unless otherwise stated. Old Granary Studio is at Priory Farm, Maypole Green, Toft Monks, near Beccles. Box office: 01502 679088; www.oldgranarystudio.co.uk