Pianist Viv McLean will be appearing at our Summer Festival this year. We caught up with him to find out more.

Viv McLean, piano. Photo by David Levenson.

What is your favourite piece of music?
I’m afraid I can’t really name one particular favourite piece of music- there are too many to choose from!

What’s your favourite memory of GMF?
It’s also hard to just name one favourite memory from previous Glossop Festivals. Being a part of the festival from the beginning has been a real honour for me- right from the start it seemed apparent that there is a very special atmosphere in Glossop. All the people involved with the festival are incredibly kind, generous human beings with a real love of music and the atmosphere during concerts is amongst the warmest that I’ve experienced anywhere. I’m always extremely touched and honoured to have been made to feel so welcome in Glossop.

Tell us a little known fact about you…
I’m not sure I can think of anything particularly unusual about me- will keep thinking about it!

Any hobbies?
I’m actually rather a piano obsessed geek and do seem to spend most of my time practising! I don’t really have any hobbies, but do love sport and used to play quite a bit of football, tennis, cricket etc. I do enjoy watching sport and- please don’t tell anyone- but do sometimes watch major sporting occasions with a tv on my piano whilst practising!

What or who inspired you to become a musician?
My parents are both scientists but have always been very keen musicians (mother a bassoonist, father an oboist) so there was always music in the house when my big brother and I were very small. My brother starting showing extraordinary musical ability from about the age of three and I suppose I wanted to try to be like him! I was very lucky in studying the piano from very young age with Ruth Nye- an absolutely fantastic pianist and teacher who I found incredibly inspiring.

What are you most looking forward to about this year’s festival?
I’m looking forward to everything at the Glossop Festival this year- seeing all the lovely people of Glossop again after a very difficult few years for everyone, and it will be an enormous pleasure playing the Faure C Minor Piano Quartet and the Beethoven Triple Concerto. I also look forward to a couple of absolutely delicious post-concerts pints in the Wheatsheaf!

What’s your career highlight so far?
It’s also difficult to name one career highlight- I’ve been incredibly lucky in being given chances to play in all sorts of venues and countries and I’m very grateful for all the opportunities that I’ve had.

Which orchestras or ensembles have you’ve played with?
I’ve been fortunate to have had the chance to play concertos with orchestras such as the LPO, RPO, ECO, Philharmonia, Halle, BBC Concert Orchestra, Orchestra of the Swan and chamber music with groups such as the Leopold Trio, Sacconi Quartet, Ysaye Quartet, Le Page Trio, members of the Elias, Carducci and Tippet Quartets, Ensemble 360, the Adderbury Ensemble, Galliard Ensemble, Bristol Ensemble and the Berkeley Ensemble.

Funniest / most embarrassing moment in music?
A particularly funny moment in concert (although not at the time!) occurred a few years ago when, due to a train cancellation, I arrived at a festival for a morning recital just before it was due to start- I went straight on stage, started playing and was suddenly aware of some wooshing noises above my head- I looked up and there was a bird flying around just above me and at times it seemed to be getting very close. The audience didn’t seem perturbed at all so I kept going but was gradually sitting lower and lower and playing faster and faster as the bird showed little regard for my playing and the divebombing seemed to get more and more dangerous. I somehow got through it but I think it might have been the shortest and fastest recital in history.


You can find out more about our Summer Festival by visiting our website, or buy tickets now from Ticketsource.