It’s All About Piano returns to the Institut français, 27 – 29 March

The third edition of the music festival It’s All About Piano returns to the Institut français at the end of March, with a wide variety of piano-themed events featuring musicians and artists from all around the world.

Curated by the Institut’s Head of Classical and Contemporary Music, Françoise Clerc, It’s All About Piano is the only festival in London that’s dedicated to this, the “king of instruments”. The festival aims to give its audience a chance to become more familiar with the instrument through events that combine piano playing with art, film and theatre. The festival also allows artists from a wide variety of different disciplines to work together.

It's All About Piano 2015

The festival will open on Friday 27th March with two multimedia recitals that will fuse animated images by the Brothers Quay and Kandinsky with music by Janáček and Mussorgsky, commissioned by the Cité de la Musique in Paris and performed by Uzbekistan-born French pianist Mikhail Rudy. That same evening, French-Cypriot pianist Cyprien Katsaris will improvise to a champagne tasting given by French Bubbles co-founder Maud Fierobe; this will be followed by a recital given by British jazz pianist John Taylor. All of these events will be held at Kings Place.

On the Saturday and Sunday of the festival, events will move to the Institut français itself with recitals and readings, film screenings, a sing-along concert, a story-telling event, and free tuition for beginner piano players, plus workshops on How to Build Your Own Piano and The Art of Piano Tuning. The Institut français’ house bistro will also be turned into a ‘piano bar’ on these two days, with improvised jazz sessions being performed on both days.

It's All About Piano 2015
Pictured left to right: Angela Hewitt (credit Bernd Eberle) Cyperien Katsaris (credit Jean-Batptise Millot) François-Frédéric Guy (credit Benjamin de Diesbach) Mikhail Rudy (credit mr) Peter Donohoe (credit Sussie Ahlburg)

These weekend events will include recitals from international pianists François-Frédéric Guy and Peter Donohoe; a concert from Julien Gonzales, who is the 8-time winner of the Accordion World Championship; the London première of Messiaen’s La Fauvette Passerinette given by pianist and scholar Peter Hill who discovered the work in 2012; a collaboration between students from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris and students of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama recorded by BBC Radio 3; a masterclass with Angela Hewitt; and ciné-concerts with improvised accompaniment to French classics created by Louis Feuillade and Max Linder.

Locals will of course know of the Institut français as a famed language centre, which today also comprises a multimedia library, cinema and French bistro. The centre also strives to contribute to London’s cultural life with many of its events that are held throughout the year – these include live broadcast screenings of the Opéra national de Paris and the Aix-en-Provence Festival; family chamber concerts organised in collaboration with the Cavatina Chamber Music Trust; and a network of contemporary classical music projects organised in partnership with the Franco-British fund for contemporary music, Diaphonique.

The full line-up of It’s All About Piano can be found at, where you can also book tickets for all events.

It’s All About Piano
27th – 29th March 2015
Institut français
17 Queensberry Place


Kings Place
90 York Way
London, N1 9AG

It’s All About Piano! returns to the Institut français, 4th to 6th April

From 4th to 6th April 2014, the Institut français in London will celebrate the king of all musical instruments with its second piano festival, It’s All About Piano! Come down to discover the infinite possibilities offered by the black & white keys, from recitals to film screenings, kids activities, workshops and much more. Rising stars and the greatest pianists – including Alexeï Lubimov, Lucy Parham, Pascal Rogé, Jacky Terrasson, Pascal Amoyel – will enchant with all styles of piano music, from the classical repertoire to harpsichord recitals and jazz performances.

It's All About Piano

There’s a full range of events on each of the three days of the festival, from a recital by Russian pianist Alexei Lubimov on the Friday; a screening of the children’s film The Magic Piano (followed by a storytelling of The Out-of-Tune Piano), and a documentary on The Making of a Steinway Piano, both on the Saturday; Musical Storytelling with award-winning storyteller Jan Blake, and recitals from Geoffroy Couteau, Kenneth Weiss and David Bismuth on the Sunday – with much more on each day as well, of course! There will also be several activities and events also taking place throughout the festival, including free piano tuition and a Build Your Own Piano workshop. And if you’d like to take things easy, why not relax in the Piano Bar where you can enjoy some music whilst sampling cocktails and piano-themed delicacies?

Each event is individually priced – please see the full It’s All About Piano guide for details and to book tickets:

You can also purchase a Piano Pass for £10, which will give you 50% off the price of all recitals during the festival!

Make sure to come down to the Institut français this April to sample the delights of the piano!

It’s All About Piano
4th – 6th April 2014
Institut français
17 Queensberry Place

‘Tell Me On A Sunday’ and ‘Putting It Together’ at St James Theatre in January 2014

News reaches us of a couple of fantastic musical theatre productions that will be held on our doorstep – at St James Theatre in Victoria – early next year.

First up, Tell Me On A Sunday is on from 7th to 12th January 2014 starring Marti Webb, one of this country’s most popular musical stars – she’s had leading roles in musicals such as Oliver!, Evita, Cats and Godspell. This one-woman show – which is an original production by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black – tells the tale of an English girl who’s newly arrived in New York, and who’s on the look out for success, companionship and love. But after enduring frustration and heartache, she starts to wonder whether she’s been looking in the wrong place all along.

Marti Webb will be reprising her original role in Tell Me On A Sunday, one that saw her receive huge critical acclaim. Originally performed as a album (which reached number one in the UK charts), the show became a TV special and was then performed on stage as one half of Song & Dance.

St James Theatre - Tell Me On A Sunday

Ms Webb last performed the role 10 years ago, and this special run will see only eight shows take place, supported by hits from theatreland’s latest and greatest shows, exclusive to the UK. Of returning to her role, Ms Webb says:

“I’m thrilled and delighted to be doing Tell Me On a Sunday again. It means so much to me, it really does. It was one of the most important things to have happened to me in my life.”

Tickets cost £20 to £37.50, and there’s also a special £60 premium ticket which includes a post show meet-and-greet with Marti Webb. To book tickets, please call the St James Theatre box office on 0844 254 2140 or visit

Next up in January at St James Theatre is the London premiere of Stephen Sondheim’s Putting It Together, by arrangement of Sir Cameron Mackintosh and featuring an award-winning cast that includes David Bedella, Daniel Crossley, Janie Dee, Damian Humbley and Caroline Sheen.

St James Theatre - Putting It Together

Putting It Together was first produced by Sir Cameron Mackintosh in New York over twenty years ago, starring Julie Andrews. The show is a revue with a difference – set at a cocktail party in New York, it tells the story of two couples – one middle-aged and married, the other young lovers who are just starting out – who reflect on the complexities of modern relationships through the songs of Stephen Sondheim.

Sir Cameron Mackintosh says:

“I couldn’t be more delighted that my brother, Robert, is presenting the London premiere of Sondheim’s review ‘Putting it Together’ – a companion piece to Side by Side by Sondheim that I put together with Julia MacKenzie in England many years ago starring Diana Rigg and subsequently in New York with Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett.

Robert’s theatre, the stylish and innovative St. James, should prove the perfect venue for Sondheim’s brilliant, witty and moving material culled from many of his great musicals. ‘Putting it Together’ is a musical theatrical cocktail that promises to leave audiences shaken, stirred and highly entertained.”

Putting It Together at St James Theatre is directed by Alastair Knights, choreographed by Matthew Rowland, with musical supervision by Alex Parker, and associate direction and choreography by Scarlet Wilderink.

Tickets cost £20, £30, £35, £37.50 and £47.50 for premium tickets. To book tickets, once again please call the St James Theatre box office on 0844 254 2140 or visit

The St James Theatre opened its doors in September 2012, and has seen productions such as Scenes from a Marriage starring Olivia Williams and Mark Bazeley and directed by Trevor Nunn; Bully Boy by Sandi Toksvig, directed by Patrick Sandford and starring Anthony Andrews and Joshua Miles; and The American Plan, directed by David Grindley and with a cast including Diana Quick and Dona Croll. The theatre is entirely funded by private investment and its space includes a 312 seat theatre, a studio space, brasserie and bar.

Tell Me On A Sunday
Tuesday 7th – Sunday 12th January 2014


Putting It Together
Tuesday 14th – Saturday 1st February 2014

St. James Theatre
12 Palace Street

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2013-2014 season of concerts at Cadogan Hall and The Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra have recently announced the full listing of concerts for their 2013-2014 season at Cadogan Hall in Chelsea and the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington. There’s a wonderfully wide variety of artists performing this season, and the concerts include their usual special Christmas events in December.

Read on below for details of all these concerts, including information on how to book tickets for each event. You can also book tickets for any of these concerts by calling the venues’ box offices – Cadogan Hall on 020 7730 4500, or the Royal Albert Hall on 020 7589 8212.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will also be performing concerts at the Southbank Centre for the 2013-2014 season – to find out more details, please see

More details on the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra can be found on their website at, but do also remember to check them out on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube!

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2013-2014 concerts at Cadogan Hall

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Natasha ParemskiNatasha Paremski performs Schumann

7.30pm, Wednesday 18th September 2013
To book tickets:

DVORÁK Carnival Overture
SCHUMANN Piano Concerto
DVORÁK Symphony No.7

Pianist Natasha Paremski takes to the stage for Robert Schumann’s beautiful Piano Concerto, one of many works written for his wife, Clara. Framing the Concerto are two works by Dvorák: the spirited Carnival Overture, which brims with lively Czech folk music, and the Symphony No.7, considered by many to be Dvorák’s greatest achievement. Shortly before its completion, he wrote: ‘I am now busy with this symphony for London, and wherever I go I can think of nothing else. God grant that this Czech music will move the world!’

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Grzegorz NowakGrzegorz Nowak conducts Berlioz, Beethoven and Brahms

7.30pm, Tuesday 8th October 2013
To book tickets:

BERLIOZ Roman Carnival Overture
BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto
BRAHMS Symphony No.1

Three outstanding works by three great masters, beginning with the glittering festivities of a Roman carnival, as portrayed by Berlioz in music full of romance and joie de vivre. Beethoven’s Violin Concerto is a masterpiece of the genre, bridging the gap between Classical and Romantic concerto styles with elegance and wit. Beethoven’s genius so overwhelmed Brahms that he was slow to write works that might be compared with those of his idol. It took Brahms nearly fifteen years to compose his First Symphony, but the work was worth the wait. The Symphony exudes great nobility and mastery of form, with a powerful opening movement, lyrical Andante, graceful third movement and stirring finale.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Top Brass!Top Brass!

7.30pm, Thursday 17th October 2013
To book tickets:

COPLAND Fanfare for the Common Man
WALTON, arr. ERIC CREES Spitfire Prelude and Fugue
TOVEY Pictures in the Smoke 
VIZZUTTI Prism: Shards of Colour for brass and percussion
BROUGHTON Fanfares, Marches, Hymns and Finale
ARLEN, arr. ALLEN VIZZUTTI Somewhere Over the Rainbow
TRADITIONAL, arr. DEL STAIGERS Carnival of Venice

A scintillating concert showcasing the outstanding Royal Philharmonic Orchestra brass section, joined by the dazzling American trumpet player Allen Vizzutti. A true virtuoso, Vizzutti is equally at home playing classical and jazz, and his performance style incorporates elements of both styles – with thrilling results. The great jazz musician Chick Corea hailed Allen Vizzutti for his ‘easy control, polyharmonic wit, orchestral penmanship, punctuated spiritual warmth’, adding that ‘rarely do so many qualities find themselves in one musician’.

This all-brass programme is conducted by Bramwell Tovey, whose composition Pictures in the Smoke is also featured. Opening with Copland’s glorious Fanfare for the Common Man, the concert includes an arrangement of Walton’s rousing Spitfire Prelude and Fugue, and Vizzutti takes centre stage for the breathtaking Carnival of Venice.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Tasmin LittleTasmin Little performs Bruch

7.30pm, Saturday 19th October 2013
To book tickets:

BIZET L’Arlésienne Suite No.1
BRUCH Violin Concerto No.1 
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No.2, ‘Little Russian’

An unmissable concert, featuring celebrated violinist Tasmin Little playing Bruch’s ravishing Violin Concerto No.1. Bruch’s most famous composition, this irresistible work showcases the violin’s capacity for soaring, singing melodies and dazzling display. Little was hailed earlier this year for her ‘careful articulation and a truly beautiful elegance of playing… Hers is a warmly human personality, and her artistry is truly refined.’

The programme also features Bizet’s first suite of music from L’Arlésienne, full of memorable tunes, and culminates in the joyous Second Symphony by Tchaikovsky. The Symphony includes three Ukrainian folk songs, which gives the Symphony its nickname – ‘Little Russia’, which was a term used to describe Ukraine at the time.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Mario GaleaniMario Galeani performs Beethoven

7.30pm, Thursday 7th November 2013
To book tickets:

HUMPERDINCK Hansel and Gretel Overture
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No.3 
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No.6, ‘Pathétique’

A programme encompassing delicious refinement and great passion, opening with the Overture to German composer Humperdinck’s ‘fairy tale opera’, Hansel and Gretel. The work was first conducted by Richard Strauss, and Humperdinck’s Overture exudes a Straussian romance and wit, full of charming melodies and rich orchestration. Pianist Mario Galeani performs Beethoven’s majestic Third Piano Concerto, with its dramatic first movement, a deeply beautiful Largo, and the famous Rondo. While composing his extraordinary Sixth Symphony, Tchaikovsky wrote to his brother, declaring: ‘It seems that the best of all my works is coming forth from me.’ Many would agree: the ‘Pathétique’ represents some of the most intensely personal and powerful of all Tchaikovsky’s music.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Barry Wordsworth conducts TchaikovskyBarry Wordsworth conducts Tchaikovsky

7.30pm, Thursday 12th November 2013
To book tickets:

TCHAIKOVSKY Serenade for Strings
TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto 

An essential concert for all lovers of Tchaikovsky’s music, this programme celebrates the many facets of the composer’s style, from elegant poignancy, to unfettered emotion, to dancing good humour. Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings was inspired by Mozart, a composer much admired by Tchaikovsky, who said of the Serenade that it was written ‘from inner compulsion. This is a piece from the heart’. The Violin Concerto was not much appreciated during Tchaikovsky’s lifetime, but its vibrant and heartfelt melodies have ensured that the work remains hugely popular with audiences today. The programme concludes with unique arrangements of Tchaikovsky’s glorious Swan Lake, made by the concert’s acclaimed conductor, Barry Wordsworth.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Jamie WaltonJamie Walton performs Elgar

7.30pm, Thursday 28th November 2013
To book tickets:

RAVEL Le tombeau de Couperin
ELGAR Cello Concerto 

A programme of contrasting musical styles unified by exquisite emotional power. Composed during World War One, Ravel dedicated each movement of his Le tombeau de Couperin to a fallen friend. Yet the influence of the Baroque composer, Couperin, results in music of bittersweet understatement. Also written in response to the First World War, Elgar’s Cello Concerto is one of his greatest works, the cello evoking the human voice as it unfolds aching, deeply moving melodies. The Concerto is performed by Jamie Walton, hailed by the Washington Post as ‘a major cello talent… Though relatively young, he plays with the dignity and reserve of a well-seasoned artist’. Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony offers a profound insight into the composer’s tumultuous emotional history, travelling a longed-for journey from unfulfilled desires to joyful acceptance.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - The Magic of ChristmasThe Magic of Christmas 2013

3.30pm, Sunday 8th December 2013
To book tickets:

As winter sets in, warm up with a magical concert full of festive cheer for all the family.

Featuring popular classics Sleigh Ride and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, orchestral favourites such as Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty Waltz and a selection of music by composer and conductor Debbie Wiseman, including the world première of The Christmas Party and the orchestral suite from Father Brown.

In aid of Breast Cancer Campaign

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Christmas CrackerChristmas Cracker 2013

3pm & 7.30pm, Saturday 21st December 2013
To book tickets:

Programme to include:
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas 
Mary’s Boy Child 
Sleigh Ride
The Little Road to Bethlehem
Santa Baby
Let it Snow …plus many more!

Back by popular demand, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s Christmas Cracker is a delightful evening of festive musical gems. This enchanting and melodious concert is sure to fill you with good cheer as the Orchestra, Mary Carewe and Michael Dore sing their hearts out to get the Yuletide celebrations off to an entertaining start.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2013-2014 concerts at The Royal Albert Hall

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - The Very Best of John BarryThe Very Best of John Barry

7.30pm, Friday 4th October 2013
To book tickets:

This concert celebrates John Barry’s music and features hit pieces from: Goldfinger, Dances with Wolves, The Black Hole, Midnight Cowboy, Out of Africa, Born Free, Moonraker, Zulu and many more!

John Barry had huge success in the world of film music, having written some of the best soundtracks for the silver screen including, of course, the James Bond films. Conductor Nic Raine is joined by guest vocalists Alison Jiear and Lance Ellington. Presented by Tommy Pearson, a renowned authority on film music.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - The Great ClassicsThe Great Classics: Grand Opera Gala

3pm, Sunday 27th October 2013
To book tickets:

An unforgettable afternoon devoted to the most popular operatic arias of all time, written by some of the world’s greatest composers. Magnificent music from well-known operas, including: The Barber of Seville, The Magic Flute, Rigoletto, Madame Butterfly, The Pearl Fishers, Candide, Die Fledermaus, Turandot, Carmen and many more!

This season sees the return of the fantastic Grand Opera Gala concert, featuring a stellar line-up of vocalists. British soprano Claire Rutter, baritone Stephen Gadd and Classical BRIT nominee Gardar Thor Cortes will be joined on stage by Renato Balsadonna (from the Royal Opera House) and Barts Choir.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Best of Broadway 2013Best of Broadway 2013

7.30pm, Wednesday 6th November 2013
To book tickets:

All your favourite songs from best-selling Broadway shows performed at London’s most iconic venue. Including hit songs from: Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King, Sweeney Todd, Cats, West Side Story, Mamma Mia and many more!

NEW FOR 2013: a mesmerising tribute to the music of Les Misérables including Bring Him Home, One Day More, I Dreamed a Dream and more from the worldwide blockbuster film and Broadway production.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - John Rutter's Christmas CelebrationJohn Rutter’s Christmas Celebration

3pm & 7.30pm, Thursday 12th December 2013
To book tickets:

A yearly favourite, John Rutter’s Christmas Celebration returns to the Royal Albert Hall. Enjoy a festive evening with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by the composer himself.

Yuletide music would not be complete without that of the one and only John Rutter. Join him in this best-selling concert as he conducts a popular selection of the very best Christmas carols, choral pieces and orchestral works.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Pirates of the Carribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl in concertPirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl in concert

3pm & 7.30pm, Saturday 5th April 2014
To book tickets:
Fine Dining Packages are available at this event

Watch the adventures of Captain Jack and his motley crew unfold in this hi-tech thrilling adventure on the big screen, while the live Royal Philharmonic Orchestra simultaneously perform the electrifying score of the sensational blockbuster, Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. With rumbustious strings and buccaneering brass, the movie springs to life in the magnificent Royal Albert Hall!

This fascinating runaway hit tells the story of an upstanding young blacksmith (Orlando Bloom) who enlists the help of an eccentric, dishonest pirate (Johnny Depp) to rescue the beautiful young woman (Keira Knightly) with whom he is in love and who has been kidnapped by cursed, undead pirates.

This swashbuckling adventure is not to be missed!

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Symphonic RockSymphonic Rock 10th Anniversary Concert

7.30pm, Thursday 1st May 2014
To book tickets:

Enjoy the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance of chart classics from iconic bands and artists, including Robbie Williams, Bon Jovi, Meat Loaf, U2, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton and many more!

Symphonic Rock is celebrating its 10th year with an evening of thrilling rock anthems and classic songs in this electrifying orchestral event.

NEW FOR 2014 – A special tribute to the music of Coldplay, featuring Viva La Vida, Trouble and Fix You.

Accompanied by a spectacular light show.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Film Music GalaFilm Music Gala 2014

7.30pm, Thursday 5th June 2014
To book tickets:

Highlights include: Star Wars®, Harry Potter, Gladiator, Jurassic Park, The Lord of the Rings, Big Country, Indiana Jones, Rocky, Ghostbusters, Mission: Impossible and many more!

Lights! Camera! Action! A popular evening with movie-fans celebrating some of Hollywood’s much-loved and iconic soundtracks.

NEW FOR 2014: A tribute to the great film composer Elmer Bernstein featuring classic film scores: The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven, To Kill a Mockingbird, Walk on the Wild Side, The Man with the Golden Arm.

Science Museum Live presents The Energy Show this summer – win tickets!

Please note: The competition is now closed! Many thanks to all those that entered. The lucky winner has been contacted – if you weren’t chosen, you can still buy tickets to the show which runs from 22nd July until 31st August! Details below.

We’re sure all the parents amongst you have been very busy trying to think up suitable things to keep the youngsters occupied this half term week…and perhaps already wondering what to do during the long summer holiday! Here’s something that will surely fit the bill for summer, that’s both highly entertaining and educational – a live science show at the Science Museum!

The Energy Show, a new show for summer 2013 presented by Science Museum Live, will be hosted at the IMAX Theatre at the Science Museum from 22nd July to 31st August 2013. Suitable for both adults and children aged 7+, this is a fast and furious live show that follows on the back of a critically acclaimed, nationwide tour of Science Museum Live.

Science Museum Live Presents - The Energy Show
Credit: Science Museum London

In the show, two scientists do unpredictable experiments against the clock to prove their knowledge of energy. Find out whether they have the time to complete their challenge – assisted by their digital assistant ‘Einstein’ and equipped with a workshop full of volatile chemicals – and whether they will still be in one piece at the end?

Critics have said about Science Museum Live 2012:

A show that lights up the world…Go and see it.’ ★★★★★ –

Superb’ – Mail on Sunday

A great way to encourage a love of science’ – Western Mail

Performances of The Energy Show last 75 minutes and take place Tuesdays to Sundays at 11.30 and 13.30.

Early bird tickets are currently on sale (available until 30th June) and cost £13.50 for adults (normal price £14.50) and £8.50 for concessions (normal price £9.50).

Various family tickets are also available, priced at £26 for 1 Adult, 2 Children; £38 for 2 Adults, 2 Children; £34 for 1 adult, 3 children; and £31 for 2 adults, 1 child.

For more details about The Energy Show and to book tickets, please go to

Win tickets for The Energy Show at The Science Museum!

Please note: The competition is now closed, and many thanks to all those that entered.

We’re also very pleased to announce that we have a family ticket to give away! (A family ticket comprises four tickets, which must be made up by at least one adult and one child.) To enter, all you have to do is email your name and address to, and you’ll automatically be entered into the draw.

The winner will win a family ticket for one of the following performances only: 11.30am on Wednesday, 24th July; 11.30am on Thursday 25th July; 11.30am on Friday, 26th July.

The competition will close on Sunday, 30th June 2013 and the winner will be notified by email soon after this date. They will then be able to pick which one of the performances listed above they would like to attend.

Good luck!

ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions

It’s All About Piano! at the Institut français, 22nd to 24th March

From 22 to 24 March, the Institut français in London will celebrate the king of all musical instruments with its very first piano festival, It’s All About Piano! Come and discover the infinite possibilities offered by the black and white keys, from recitals to jazz, film screenings, kids activities, workshops, a ciné-concert and much more.

Whether you delight in Schubert or only sway to the jazz greats, whether you want to listen to the masters or watch fascinating films unveiling what goes on behind the scenes in the music world, It’s All About Piano! is sure to enchant and amaze you.

Full details on It’s All About Piano!, including the artists taking part, and all the concerts and other events that will make up this fine Festival, can be found online at

Its All About Piano

Have you been to The Troubadour recently?

We’re sure that many of you – locals and visitors alike – have been to the wonderful Troubadour on Old Brompton Road, SW5. Having opened almost sixty years ago and going strong ever since then, it’s definitely one of the area’s most iconic and famous spots to visit and is often also mentioned as one of the best coffee houses to visit in London.

I revisited the venue recently as, although it’s been listed on this site since the beginning (of the site, not of venue, of course!) it has undergone some expansion in recent years. This has served to both provide extra capacity as well as add some additional elements (some of which you may be pleasantly surprised to learn about – I certainly was!) that although relatively new, have really kept true to the spirit of The Troubadour.

For those of you that perhaps don’t know it, what is The Troubadour? Well, it’s something of a historic venue in Kensington and Chelsea; having opened in as far back as 1954. In that and the subsequent decade, it wasn’t just known as a cafe – its basement club attracted a number of very famous names from the rock ‘n’ roll world, including Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Charlie Watts (pre-Rolling Stones), and Robert Plant and Jimmy Page from Led Zepplin.

Today, the Troubadour still very much plays host to live bands in its basement room which has been expanded to more than double the previous capacity and can now fit 120 people. The basement room curves right round on itself, so you can sit (or stand!) yourself right in the thick of the action, or tuck yourself away somewhere a little quieter – including in the two private little alcoves towards the back. When you head down to the basement, do also take a look at the artwork hand-drawn right onto the walls that depicts some artists that have previously played here.

The Troubadour

Image by @studio 1 Park Royal,

What else goes on at The Trouabour these days? There is of course still the coffee house and restaurant on the main ground floor (also with an expanded capacity) that has retained so much of its original vibe with its unique decor – take a look at the assorted wonderful items hanging from the walls and ceiling, and definitely check out the beautiful wood-carved, brightly coloured front door.

There is a separate wine shop, Troubadour Wines, that sells a very fine selection of wines from across the world and which holds frequent wine tasting events. It also has its own wine bar – separate to the main part of the Troubadour cafe, perfect for a relaxed glass or two.

Wine Tasting at The Troubadour

Image by @studio 1 Park Royal,

The Gallery on the first floor is a spacious room that’s available for private hire (exhibitions, parties, dinner events, seminars) and which also hosts a range of classes and events, such as yoga every Monday.

One thing I was surprise to learn about was the serviced apartment for rent – The Garret – that’s on the second floor of the building, and what surely must be a great little accommodation find for London.

Another great surprise is The Troubadour’s hidden garden at the back, which very much feels like the garden of a private residence – there are no garish gas heaters and overly bright spotlights here! Instead, there are cosy little nooks and crannies and assorted seating amongst the luscious flowers and plants. On my visit, it was a dreadfully dreary day (thanks to the crazy April showers we’ve been having recently) but I can imagine the garden would be an absolutely fantastic place to come for a drink and a bite to eat in the height of summer.

The Troubadour Garden

Image by @studio 1 Park Royal,

If you haven’t ever been to The Troubadour or it’s been a while since your last visit, I would highly recommend that you swing by soon to re-acquaint (or acquaint!) yourself with one of the area’s – and London’s – most famous venues and find out what it has to offer these days.

The High Tea Cast presents… Sex & Mugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll, 24th November 2012

The girls from The High Tea Cast are returning to Kensington to offer up another slice of supreme fun with their Sex & Mugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll night on Saturday 24th November 2012. Last year’s event (see our post on it here) raised the final £1,300 for London based charity Janie’s School, which helped finish the building of a school for young girls in Cambodia.

Sex & Mugs & Rock 'n' Roll

With a mix of comedy, burlesque and the very best singalong rock ‘n’ roll goodness that you could possibly experience, Sex & Mugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll will be a fabulous night out that will also help third world women build a life for themselves. What’s stopping you, people?!

Performers on the night include international burlesque star Lady Cheek; founder of the Burlesque Fever show, Miss Chantilly Lace; London-based duo The Worry Dolls; British singer-songwriter – who mixes together indie-pop and ska – Darren Michelangelo Smith; dance rock trio Go-Zilla; and Kid Champion, who’ve played as support for bands such as The Vaccines and The Cribs. A DJ will also be spinning some tunes from 12am to 2am.

If that’s not enough…there’ll also be free cake for everyone! And a chance to win some amazing prizes!

Tickets cost £8 and can be purchased at

Sex & Mugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll
8pm, Saturday 24th November 2012
11-13 Kensington High Street
W8 5NP

InTRANSIT Performance Arts Festival returns this July

The 6th edition of the performing arts festival InTRANSIT returns to the wonderful streets, unusual hidden spaces and leafy parks of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea this July. Since its launch in 2006 with a programme of artist-led walking tours around the area, InTRANSIT has grown year on year and next month over 25 arts events will take place during the Festival’s run (13th to 27th July), with almost all events FREE to attend.

2012’s InTRANSIT will see a number of wonderful performances and events take place. These include the Portobello Road Arts Day on 14th July, when this iconic and famous West London road will be transformed into a celebration of street theatre that will include puppet shows, cabaret, dance performances and story-tellers…not to mention unusual circuses and dragons! Famous 3D street artist Edgar Mueller will also have been on site from 9th July, transforming Portobello Square and Tavistock Road, with his creations being unveiled on 14th July as well.

Sandpit at Holland Park on 15th July will be an afternoon of new games (for adults and families alike) – based around the ideas of spectacle and movement – that have been designed by artists musicians, writers and more.

If you’ve ever wanted to experiencer Parkour in the area, try RBKC Parkour on 21st July at the Portobello Pop-Up Cinema on Acklam Road, W10. This film art installation will be an interactive first-person game that features film material shot over the rooftops of Kensington and Chelsea by freerunner Karen Palmer.

I’ve mentioned before on this blog Bikeminded’s Summer Cycling Tour Programme, and their Alice in Wonderland-themed tour (18th – 22nd July), for which they’ve teamed up with the Exquisite Folly Theatre.

Councillor Nick Paget-Brown, Cabinet  Member with responsibility for the arts, said:

“This year’s InTRANSIT Festival provides fresh experiences and encounters with some of the Royal Borough’s most recognised and hidden spaces through the work of local and international artists and performers.  The Festival is an integral part of the Borough’s on-going culture service programme and our commitment to the role arts and culture have to play in making Kensington & Chelsea one of the best places to live, work and visit.”

The Festival is programmed by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, in association with leading arts organisations such as Chelsea Theatre, Hide&Seek and ReThinking Cities.

The full line-up of InTRANSIT and details of how to register for tickets (where required) can be found on the official website at

A Night of Burlesque at The Gore Hotel, 29th March 2012

A Night of Burlesque

On 29th March 2012, The Gore Hotel and The Folly Mixtures will be hosting a fabulous night of Burlesque entertainment alongside a sumptuous three course dinner.

The discreet Tapestry Room at The Gore Hotel will be the very fitting venue for the evening, with its two rooms that are decorated with luxurious tapestries, rich soft furnishings, gilt mirrors and two period fireplaces.

The Folly Mixtures will kick off proceedings with a group performance, popping back between each dinner course with solo performances before a grand finale concludes the night.

Tickets are now on sale and cost £45 which includes a welcome drink, a three course dinner and the show. Please contact Kerry on 020 7590 6700 or on for reservations and other enquiries.

A Night of Burlesque
7.30pm, 29th March 2012
The Gore Hotel
190 Queen’s Gate