Introducing Cordelia Williams

The next in our monthly interviews with CMF Artists is with pianist Cordelia Williams…


Describe yourself (musically, or otherwise, whichever you’re most comfortable with) in 3 words:

According to the friend who knows me best: vivacious, thoughtful, intense. I’d say emotional, curious, determined (I know that’s six)

Who do you usually perform with?

Usually by myself! Otherwise with whichever orchestra invites me, or with various friends in chamber music (I particularly love lieder, viola and piano duos and string quintets).

What has been a performance highlight in your career so far?

For grandeur: recitals at Royal Festival Hall and Beijing Concert Hall. For fun, concerts where I get to travel to beautiful places like Norway and the South of France. For personal satisfaction, hearing my first CD played on the radio.

What is coming up in the diary that you are most looking forward to?

There are two exciting things coming up this month actually: Beethoven Emperor Concerto with the RPO at the Barbican and Symphony Hall Birmingham just before New Year, and recording my second CD, which will be of Schumann, just after New Year. I love Schumann and I’m looking forward to letting it all out after so much preparation.

Do you have a favourite performer? What type of concerts/gigs do you regularly attend?

As pianists I think Dinu Lipatti and Grigory Sokolov are fantastic. I’m always blown away by Richard Goode’s concerts – there’s no ego in his playing, it’s just totally natural and compelling music-making. But what I really like for relaxing is swing and jive; I love going to dances with live swing bands.

Do you compose your own music and if so, how do you approach this?

No – there’s so much incredible music for piano that I will never get to the end of it. No time to write more!

How did you find out about CMF and why did you decide to apply?  

A bit of a strange route – my father’s colleague was reading the Lord Mayor’s magazine and saw a photo of me performing at the City of London Festival. It was part of an article about the founding of CMF, and this led to me having coffee with Lizzie! Then, by complete coincidence, I was nominated for an award by the Wiltshire Music Centre. It seemed like it was meant to be.

What are your hopes for the future?

This is an impossible question. I’d like to perform Brahms’ 2nd Concerto by my 30th birthday. Also I’d like to learn the Goldberg Variations and live in Rome, Istanbul and New York. And learn how to cook a souffle.

Finally, your 3 desert island discs?

The Bach B minor mass. Schubert’s String Quintet in C. And Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto – it’s sublime and has been such a formative work for me.


Read more about and listen to Cordelia here.


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