Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Christopher Norton Back in Asia October 2013

Christopher Norton in Asia 24th- 26th October 2014

I spent most of October 2013 in New Zealand after the sad death of my wife. A projected tour of Australia had to be cancelled, but I decided to reinstate the dates in Asia that were originally in the diary. Ironically, the major event, the Music Learning Live Asia conference in  Singapore, was cancelled while I was in transit, but a fringe event was put together, which I participated in on 24th October.

The fringe event was held at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music at Singapore University:

My redoubtable agents, Olive and Anthony Yau, were with me and had brought an excellent selection of music with them to display and sell:

See if you can identify the books in the picture.

My presentation was an introductory session to my music, so it encompassed Boosey & Hawkes material, particularly Microjazz, Preludes and Concert Collections, as well as the American Popular Piano series. About 100 teachers came to the presentation, representing many countries, including the Phillipines, India, Malaysia, Australia, even Canada. They seemed to like the music very much and sales of signed books were brisk afterwards. One student (and her teacher) bought lots of books and we gave her a chance to choose from one of my composer portraits – often hilarious pictures of famous composers with my face added. Here she is looking at the selection of portraits (she finally chose Debussy!)

My second presentation was at the Steinway showroom in Orchard Road in Singapore. This was the first presentation of what I hope will be a large number of special presentations in Steinway showrooms across Asia. Steinway Gallery Singapore helped a lot with marketing and organising the event. Their marketing department worked marvellously with Olive and Anthony, sending emails about the presentation, working on ticketing and indeed all details of the event. Numbers were surprisingly good, partly because Julie Tan, President of the Singapore Piano Teachers’ Association, helped to publicise the event. I toured with Julie last in 1990 and our association goes back even further than that. Here is a picture of Anthony Yau, CN, Chia Sinn Tech (a former distibutor of my books in Singapore) Julie Tan and Olive Yau.

A very good number of students and teachers came to the Steinway event and I talked about using contemporary styles to improve piano playing. Here’s the lovely poster that Steinway made to publicise the event:

I also had a number of students play for me and commented on their performances. Two girls played a selection of duets from Microjazz Collection 3 very expertly and with great verve. Here they are with their teacher:

There was food and drink after the presentation and I was able to talk to lots of the teachers and students who attended. Plenty of photo opportunities were taken! Here is a photo of the audience during the presentation:

Next we went to Malaysia, where an event had been put together by a very good friend, Lucy Loo, who is a very lively piano teacher as well as one of the leading lights in Christian music in Malaysia.

I visited Malaysia a number of times in the 80s and 90s and it was great to be back. We had a very good turnout for a presentation centred around the theme of Using Popular Styles. The last of the books we had available sold here. A return visit is assured!

Finally, we went to Hong Kong. I didn’t do any presentations, but we did meet with a representative of Tom Lee Music, who would like presentations in 2014.

Presentations in Asia are likely to take centre stage in 2014. This mini-tour, brief as it was, was an indication that there is an interest in my music in these territories and a desire to explore improvisation and popular styles.

Christopher Norton London, UK 6th November 2013