#MiddayMusic presents Michael Butten (guitar) and Andrei Iliushkin (piano)

This week our Young Artists Michael Butten (guitar) and Andrei Iliuskin (piano) performed for #MiddayMusic. You can watch their videos below. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to catch Mica Jane (singer-songwriter) perform next Monday and Ariel Lanyi (piano) perform next Wednesday, both at midday.  Details of their repertoire can be found in the details section on YouTube.  All of our #MiddayMusic videos can be watched on our exclusive playlist.


Michael Butten: Discovering New Music and Places  

For celebrated classical guitarist, Michael Butten, lockdown has offered ‘breathing space’ – a chance to revisit some old music and practice new fingerings. Something his busy schedule teaching and travelling in the UK and overseas for concerts and competitions wouldn’t normally afford.

His latest project involves revisiting Bach Violin Sonata No.3 C major, which he plans to record in a church in a little village called Prestwood close to his Buckinghamshire home. “A friend of mine called during lockdown and said he had a couple of microphones he wanted to test out. We decided to record in a church because of its unique qualities – lack of soft furnishings, plasterwork and high ceilings – that contribute to clarity of sound.”

Michael’s interest in the oft-neglected guitar music of British composers is reflected in his #MiddayMusic choice: Frog Galliard and Farewell by English Renaissance composer, lutenist and singer, John Dowland. “The melancholy nature of both works seems especially poignant at this strange time. Frog Galliard is about a poet talking about how hard it is to leave your loved one behind – something many of us will have experienced during lockdown. Farewell is a beautiful piece that seems the perfect way for me to commemorate those who lost their lives to Covid-19.”


Andrei Iliushkin: Geography No Obstacle for Online Music Making  

For multi-award winning pianist, Andrei Iliushkin, one of the many wonders of art is connecting with an audience in a concert hall. Until that time again, Andrei is taking the concert experience online. One of 30 contestants selected to compete in the Piano Cleveland Virtu(al)oso global piano competition for artist relief, Andrei is looking forward to performing works by Schubert, Bach and Rachmaninov, and benefiting from the exposure that comes from showcasing your music online.

“I’ll be honest, it’s not been an easy time for musicians so it’s good to see something good come from it [lockdown], and to be involved in some of the online projects that are helping musicians be heard. I’m also excited to be taking part in the Philip and Dorothy Green Young Making Music Award, which I’ll be recording at the Razumovsky Academy on the 8th July.

For the Musicians’ Company’s #MiddayMusic online series Andrei is playing Bach Prelude and Fugue in C-sharp minor (Book II). “I chose this piece as it helped me find purpose and happiness when I was going through a period of self-doubt and reflection so it feels pertinent to these uncertain times. To quote a line from a Harry Potter movie, ‘Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light’.”