What the audience enjoyed

'The Astonishing Master Mozart':

St. Ronan's School, Kent, 13th January, 2016:

 

'On the strong recommendation of David Force (our Director of Music and formerly Head of Academic Music at Eastbourne), Dr Griffiths was invited to give a short lecture to the Prep School (c. x300 Y3-8 boys and girls) on Friday 13th January 2017. His title was ‘The Astonishing Mr Mozart’.

Despite rather a ‘graveyard’ slot (4.40pm) at the end of a busy week and, potentially, a dry topic for this age range, Graham totally captured the children’s interests. He illustrated his talk with excellent slides, pitched the level perfectly, never talking down, and played the piano with breath-taking skill. The applause at the end said it all.

He is a tremendously knowledgeable and most engaging speaker. I strongly recommend him to colleagues.'

William Trelawny-Vernon, Headmaster of St. Ronan's School [Reference]

  • A fantastic talk that kept all of the school from year 3 to 8 entranced through out, many of them playing imaginary keyboards as they listened. Any speaker who talks with such love of their subject is bound to give an excellent session and the added addition of wonderful piano playing makes this a must have.' (Richard, Master ic Enrichment)
  • 'I like classical [music] much more now as I can understand it a little bit' (Harry, year 5)
  • 'What an inspirational talk and delivered with such panache! I have been meaning to start piano lessons for years – I am now determined to do so.' (James, Teacher)
  • 'Dr Graham Griffiths, Stravinsky expert, pianist and Mozart aficionado, held the school spellbound with his talk about Mozart’s early years. The children were amazed by the sophistication of the music that Mozart wrote when he was their age, but were reassured to discover that he was also very naughty and liked cats! Dr Griffiths illustrated his talk with examples beautifully played on the piano, and we all enjoyed discovering the secret to Mozart’s melodic mellifluousness by counting appoggiaturas.' (St. Ronan's School website)

St. Christopher's School, Hertfordshire, 4th October, 2016:

  • ‘Great teaching!' (Richard Palmer, headmaster)
  • 'Graham's talk about Master Mozart's visit to London in 1765 was fascinating and entertaining. [...] As well as talking about the distinguishing features of Mozart's music, and his undoubted genius, Graham finished by playing a romantic-era piano piece by Mozart's son, Franz. The one hour talk was truly 'Mozart in a Teacup'. Bravo!' (St. Christopher's School website)

Cranleigh School, Surrey, 13th September, 2016:

  • Thanking you so much for two really enjoyable talks to your young musicians [scholars + GCSE, IB and 'A Level' candidates]. I certainly learned a great deal, as did they. I would be happy to have a very positive chat with anyone considering a visit from you. - Marcus Pashley, Director of Music, Cranleigh School, Surrey. Write to: mcp@cranleigh.org

Bryanston School, Dorset, 13th January, 2016:

  • It was an enormous pleasure to meet you and welcome you back to Bryanston after so many years. I know that so many pupils and adults in your audience were enthralled by your lectures and I will speak personally if I may - I found your sincere passion, charming sense of humour, endless knowledge, alongside your lovely piano playing - a real joy and inspiration. (Duncan Emerson, Director of Music)
  • 'On Wednesday 13 January we welcomed back [Old Bryanstonian] Graham Griffiths for two musicological lectures. The first, for a select number of sixth form pupils, was entitled An Introduction to Musicology and contained a fascinating insight into the passions of a musicologist and the reasons why someone might choose to pursue this path after school. The second lecture was entitled The Astonishing Master Mozart. This lecture-recital provided an insight into the young Mozart’s life and his early works and contained live performances of a number of the piano compositions. We were all struck by Graham’s genuine passion and enthusiasm for his subject. We now treasure a copy of his latest book Stravinsky’s Piano and we look forward to seeing him again in the future.'

Bede's Senior School, East Sussex, 13th October, 2015:

  • ‘It was enlightening; we all thoroughly enjoyed it and felt that you pitched it absolutely superbly.’ (Deputy Director of Music, event co-ordinator)
  • ‘I am a musical ignoramus, just getting into jazz, but thanks to your encouragement I'll now look into Mozart for the first time.’ (Retired gentleman from the outreach community)

Lord Wandsworth College, Hampshire, 22nd September, 2015:

  • Very informative and great to get an insight into the Classical Music era.’ (Year 12 student, 16)
  • I loved it… quirky, fun, really interesting. I learned LOTS. I’d love another on Mahler.’ (Deputy Headmaster)
  • Delightful! Excellent balance of story, instruction and music...’ (Classics Teacher)
  • ‘Amazing’ (Year 11 student, 15)
  • ‘I really enjoyed it.’ (Year 11 student, 15)

Luxford Centre, Uckfield, East Sussex, 6th June, 2015:

  • A most entertaining, amusing but extremely informative talk. I learned much from it. It has been a lovely afternoon.
  • Very many thanks. Good to hear the family background and the dynamics of music so well explained.
  • I have just become aware of how musically illiterate I am – so in September I shall join U3A and try to learn a little more. Thank you for the stimulus.’ (Retired, ‘75’)
  • Loved it! Very informative and fascinating with a lovely touch of humour. Maybe something on Stravinsky? The excerpt you played us was wonderful.’ (Nurse)
  • It is always a pleasure when someone knows their subject and knows how to present it in ways which draw in and absorb their audience. Thank you.’ (Retired)
  • Brilliant, thank you. Clearly expressed, witty and consistently interesting. More of the same please.’ (Retired)

Cumnor House School, Danehill, East Sussex, 11th May, 2015:

  • ‘Fabulous! Loved the accessible content and humour.’ (‘Music-lover’)
  •  ‘Quite fascinating… beautifully illustrated with well-chosen anecdotes; really interesting musically.’ (Occasional concert-goer)
  • ‘Your enthusiasm for the subject was infectious.’ (Parent)
  • ‘A brilliant performance of Franz Mozart’s Polonaise Melancolique – what a lovely discovery!’ (Regular concert-goer)
  •  ‘Particularly interesting to view (and hear) Mozart’s earliest sketches and to see his excited Dad’s [Leopold Mozart’s] handwriting in the margin of the scores.’ (Music professional)
  • ‘Unexpectedly intriguing. I didn’t feel drowsy at all.’ (School pupil, 11, keen musician)

'Franz Schubert':

Cumnor House School, Danehill, East Sussex, 16th May, 2016:

  • Thank you for a wonderful and most interesting evening. I really enjoyed your talk on Mozart at the Sloane Club and tonight was equally brilliant – (Visitor)
  • I loved it. Thank you for a lovely evening. Love from … (Year 4 school pupil, cellist); A gem of an evening. We are SO looking forward to the next one! (This pupil’s parents)
  • Excellent new angle on Schubert’s life with friends. Pleasant and calm delivery. (Visitor)
  • I particular like it when you dissect the music, then perform it complete – as in the Variations [on a Theme by Anselm Huttenbrenner]. (Visitor)
  • I enjoyed the middle of the Drei Klavierstucke best. Thank you as ever. (Parent)
  • Thank you for a REALLY inspiring talk. The children must love your lessons! (Visitor, friend of the Visiting Oboe Teacher)
  • Truly beautiful talk. I have learned so much this evening. I thought the piano pieces (Waltzes, Variations and Drei Klavierstucke) were lovely… I didn’t it to end! (Parent)
  • Totally brilliant in every respect. (Reception teacher)
  • You brought Schubert’s music to life. I also love the way you weave little stories into your talks giving us your insight into the composer’s life – they’re such gems. (Parent)
  • I enjoyed the talk and recital immensely, as I am sure everyone did. I felt the balance between piano and talking was fine. Looking forward to next year, maybe Tchaikovsky or Beethoven? Many thanks. (Parent)
  • What a wonderful evening! We so enjoyed ourselves and loved your delivery, subject matter and playing. Wow! Thank you so much. (Teacher, husband and two daughters, Years 3 & 5)

'Stravinsky's Piano':

XV St. Petersburg International Conservatoires Festival27th October, 2015:

  • I would like to express words of gratitude for your wonderful lecture [on Stravinsky and Kashperova], for your high professional level and for your interest in our festival project! (Director, XV International St. Petersburg Conservatoires Festival Week).
  • Thank you for today’s lecture. It was a privilege to attend. I am still under the impression of your music. (Lecturer, St. Petersburg University)
  • Congratulations on your catching presentation. This is not flattery: all my student-composers who attended told me about it! I shall ask [the administration] for a copy of your presentation in Russian to learn myself. (Academic Director, 'N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatoire of St. Petersburg)
  • A very interesting and well-presented lecture. Very emotional; and you were great at the piano. Many congratulations! (English teacher, 'N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatoire of St. Petersburg)
  • I write to invite you to present your lecture-recital at the Moscow Conservatoire in 2016 at any date to suit you. (Academic Director, 'P.I. Tchaikovsky' State Conservatoire of Moscow)