Observations: A festival of real note from the BBC


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The Independent Culture

If you like the piano, you'll love this autumn: the BBC is embarking upon a giant celebration of the instrument, lasting for six weeks. The Leeds International Piano Competition is a fine way to begin – in the past it has launched the careers of such revered musicians as Murray Perahia and Radu Lupu. The 2012 final is this weekend.

Beyond that, the capabilities of the piano and those who play it will be centre stage in many shapes and forms. There's a regrettable focus, of course, on training up novice “celebrities” to perform on the piano from scratch, and a huge presence for Lang Lang, arguably today's most recognised pianist, including a new documentary about him. But the most interesting moments could be those off the well-thumped tracks.

Monday evenings feature live recitals on BBC Radio 3; mornings offer the much-loved British pianist Peter Donohoe presenting 50 of his greatest colleagues; Radio 3's In Tune is to have an A to Z of the piano; and online there are special masterclasses for all to learn from.

Piano Season on the BBC, today until 6 November