Toad Lane Concerts: Maria King piano

Date published: 30 April 2022

The celebrated Maria King is indeed a concert pianist extraordinaire. She entertains superbly with that rare ability to bridge the supposed divide between highbrow and light entertainment. Her boundless enthusiasm and sense of fun is infectious – in a good way for a change, in these times.

Maria graduated from the RNCM (Royal Northern College of Music), where she continued with post graduate studies as well as in Paris. She has appeared as both concert soloist and duo partner at major venues and festivals across the country. Additionally, she worked extensively as an accompanist at the RNCM for eight years.

She also uses her musicianship and genial personality with children and adults with learning difficulties, working with Lord Yehudi Menuhin's Live Music Now! and Music in Hospitals & Care; and for The Lost Chord Trust for residents suffering with dementia.

Maria has entertained audiences on first class cruise liners all over the world with her own show ‘for a good few years’ as she says, which she continues to thoroughly enjoy.

With her back on terra firma today we had some of the great piano hits of the concert repertoire: Schumann’s mighty Sonate in g minor op 22, Prelude in g# minor by Rachmaninov, the Sabre Dance by Khachaturian (at breakneck speed), culminating in the mercurial Mephisto Waltz no. 1 by Liszt. But interspersed between were lighter jazz-like numbers, My funny Valentine and Smile arranged by Jacob Koller, and Herman Hupfeld’s As time goes by - all from memory and washed down with lashings of anecdotes and amusing patter. Her dual gifts of skilled pianism and engaging rapport do not conflict but blend into a unique talent with shades of the styles of Victor Borge, Liberace and Victoria Wood.

The award-winning Toad Lane Concerts are on Wednesdays at 12.30pm at St Mary in the Baum, Toad Lane, Rochdale, OL16 1DZ. Entrance fee is £6. No refreshments available now, but the venue is Covid-19 compliant. Contact 01706 648872 for further information.

To see the May 2022 programme, click here.

Dr Joe Dawson

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