“A wonderful concert, most musically and intelligently planned throughout and outstandingly well played. ”
(‘Musical Opinion’ magazine, issue no.1507, April-June 2016, London. Reviewer: James Palmer.)
Full review here
“It came as balm to the soul to encounter some real, sensitive music-making…the tumultuous ending [Gershwin’s Second Rhapsody] would have brought the house down in a properly packed venue – which is surely what the piece deserves.”
“All the pieces were played with a fine sense of the meticulous need for balance between the two players and an ability to bring a refined tone to widely varied repertoire”
[Gershwin/Jacobson 2nd Rhapsody]: “It is a major addition to the four-hand repertoire.” [Mariko Brown ‘Travels Through a Mist of Chinese Mountains’]: “…as atmospheric as a shansui watercolour, clear-textured, inventive in its use of the instrument, and retaining a sense of mystery despite its range of moods.”
(International Piano Magazine)
“Rhythmic steel and incisiveness which had us on the edge of our seats…”
(Music and Vision Daily)
“Debussy’s delicate ‘Epigraphes Antiques’ [were] played with a pellucid touch and perfect sound quality on Blackheath’s Steinway…”
“They played, thought and matched each other throughout in musical understanding, beauty of sound and speed of reaction. We felt privileged to hear them.”
(Chairman, Portsmouth Music Club)
“After the interval came Dances, Oracles, Mystery, performed to a series of pieces by Debussy, ravishingly played by Julian Jacobson and Mariko Brown.”
Since their formation in 2011, the piano duo of Julian Jacobson and Mariko Brown has quickly established itself as an ensemble of rare distinction, vitality and originality. Following their critically acclaimed debut in the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe’s Summer Festival in July 2011, they have given many concerts in venues including Southbank Purcell Room (2014 and 2015), St John’s Smith Square, Fairfield Halls, Blackheath Halls, Royal Academy of Music (‘Music Past and Present’ series), the Lower Machen Festival, Markson’s Bösendorfer series, Warwick University, Brighton Fringe Festival, and at venues in Birmingham, Manchester, Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol. Abroad they have performed in Madeira at the Teatro Municipal, and they perform annually in France in the festival ‘Rencontres Musicales en Eygalières’.
Their first CD, of music by Julian’s father Maurice Jacobson, was released in 2014 on the Naxos label by the British Music Society. Their CD for SOMM Recordings, with works by Busoni, Debussy, Satie, Poulenc, Casella and Anthony Herschel Hill, will be released later in 2017.
Their always expanding repertoire is firmly centred on the classics of the duo repertoire, and they have been particularly acclaimed for their performances of Schubert, Debussy, Ravel and Gershwin. However they also have a strong commitment to searching out neglected masterpieces, and – as composers as well as pianists – they maintain a strong and active involvement in contemporary music. Mariko’s piece, “Travels Through a Mist of Chinese Mountains” (listen to a clip here) has been performed to great acclaim in France and England, and Julian’s “Palm Court Waltz” in memory of Sir Richard Rodney Bennett received its premiere in May 2013 in the Markson’s Bösendorfer series. They gave the world première of the revised version of “After Braque” by Gary Carpenter in their Southbank debut in April. They have revived Debussy’s neglected ballet masterpiece “Khamma”, performing it as a collaboration with dance. 2014 also saw the première at St John’s Smith Square of Julian’s virtuoso transcription of Gershwin’s Second Rhapsody, which received excellent reviews and in 2016 they premiered Julian’s new transcription of Gershwin’s “An American in Paris”. Also in 2016, in Manchester Art Gallery, they gave the premiere of Edward Lambert’s “Aspects of Work”, written for the duo and inspired by the painting “Work” by Ford Madox Brown which is part of the gallery’s permanent collection.
Julian Jacobson studied piano and composition from the age of seven with Lamar Crowson and Arthur Benjamin, subsequently studying at the Royal College of Music, Queen’s College Oxford and privately with Louis Kentner. He enjoys an international career as soloist, chamber musician with many prominent artists, and teacher, appearing in over 40 countries and making annual visits in recent years to Australia and the Far East. He has been soloist with several of the principal British orchestras under conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Jane Glover and Tamás Vásáry, as well as appearing in most of the leading UK festivals. He has been particularly acclaimed for his performances of the Beethoven Sonatas, of which he has given eight complete cycles, most recently at The Forge, Camden Town (2011-12). In 2003 he performed the entire cycle in a single day in aid of the charity WaterAid, an event which attracted worldwide media coverage and which he repeated in October 2013 in St Martin-in-the-Fields. He has recorded for Meridian, Hyperion, Chandos, Decca Argo, Continuum and other labels. Julian Jacobson is a Professor at the Royal College of Music and Birmingham Conservatoire, and also Guest Professor at Xiamen University, China.
Anglo-Japanese Mariko Brown began her piano studies with Martyn Dyke, with whom she performed regularly including at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon, as well as for many outreach community projects. She made her first concerto appearance age nine under Dr.Ruth Gipps, subsequently going on to study at the Guildhall School Junior Department with Professor Joan Havill where she won the prestigious Lutine Prize. This led to concerto appearances at the Barbican Hall and St.Giles Cripplegate as part of the City of London Festival. During this time she also took up composition with Gary Carpenter, receiving a prize for her Oboe Sonata. She was awarded the Principal’s Prize on graduation from the Junior department and went on to continue her studies at the Senior Department, with both teachers and also Simon Bainbridge, graduating in 2000. Her Piano Sonata, commissioned and performed by Helen Reid, in 2004, was premiered at Bridgewater Hall, Manchester. She has also been Musical Director for productions at the Arcola Theatre, London and Eye Theatre in Suffolk.
A dedicated teacher, Mariko taught for many years at Junior Guildhall and currently teaches at the Yehudi Menuhin School.
Mariko will perform the Grieg piano Concerto with the Amati Orchestra in March 2016.