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Q&A | 20 Questions For Christian Blackshaw

By Ludwig Van on March 12, 2019

Christian Blackshaw (Photo: Si Barber)
British pianist Christian Blackshaw answers 20 questions, including his signature meal, favourite concert hall, and his role models. (Photo: Si Barber)

Ludwig Van’s Q&A series is composed of a bank of questions aimed at artists who have made a serious mark on Toronto’s cultural scene. 

Christian Blackshaw that rare breed of pianist. His ability to match emotional depth with technique has propelled his career around the world with conductors Valery Gergiev, Sir Simon Rattle, Gianandrea Noseda, Yuri Temirkanov and Sir Neville Marriner. Of his many recorded works, it is his complete Mozart Piano Sonatas series was recorded for Wigmore Hall Live that not only captures your attention, but keeps it. During the 2018/19 season, he is an Artist in Residence at the Wigmore Hall. In 2019 he makes his debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nezet-Seguin.


Mooredale Concerts brings Christian Blackshaw to Walter Hall on March 17, 2019.


Name your favourite concert hall/ venue anywhere

Wigmore Hall, London and also, Mariinsky Concert Hall, St. Petersburg

Your first three record store purchases

Dinu Lipatti recital, Artur Schnabel Beethoven Sonatas, and Clifford Curzon Schubert D major Sonata, D.850

Three pieces, songs or arias that you could listen to on repeat for an hour?

  1. “Der Abschied” from Das Lied von der Erde of Mahler performed by Kathleen Ferrier, Vienna Philharmonic and Bruno Walter
  2. “Trauere, mein Herz”, Cavatina Act 3 from Oberon by Weber performed by Gundula Janowitz, Deutsche Oper Orchestra and Ferdinand Leitner
  3. “An die Musik” of Franz Schubert performed by Fritz Wunderlich with Hubert Giesen, piano

The first album that made you love music?

Age four, transfixed by The Hebrides Overture, (Fingal’s Cave) by Mendelssohn

Your favourite word?


Your least favourite word?


What is the title and author of the book closest to you right now?

A Gentleman in Moscow (Amor Towles).

If you could board a plane this afternoon, where would it be taking you?

A secret location in Greece

The three books that you read that made an impact on you in your formative years?

The Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame),  Peter Pan (J.M.Barrie),  Childhood, Boyhood, Youth (Leo Tolstoy)

Signature meal to cook at home?

Slow cooked chicken, potatoes, good oil, lemon juice, fresh oregano, fresh thyme, and seasoning — in one pot

What did you major in as an undergraduate?

As I left school at 16, I took three diplomas aged 19 in piano performance, teaching, and graduate studies.

The different career path that you could have gone on?

There was never any doubt of my direction, though if I failed, working with wood or stone would appeal.

Your three favourite films?

Fantasia, Some Like it Hot, and The Lady Vanishes (the black and white Hitchcock)

Your role models?

Musicians I admire include, Sir Clifford Curzon, Maria Callas, and Herbert von Karajan.

The historical personalities, both good and bad, that that fascinate you the most?

There are many, naturally… However, my three have to be: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert, and Robert Schumann

What is the best thing about your work?

Being allowed to inhabit the musical language of composers of genius

What is the worst thing about your work?

Failing in the above

What are you listening to as you answer these questions?


If you had a motto, what would it be?

Forever simpler

Whose musical style do you covet?

It’s not a question to covet. Only to find truth and meaning and the freedom to express.


Read more Q&A’s HERE.

Ludwig Van
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