Nettle & Markham's 40th Anniversary celebrations are spanning successive seasons! David was still a student when he and Richard took a break from the piano solo repertoire and joined forces to perform together in public for the first time at a charity concert in August 1975.
The young ones...
1975: First public performance
1977: First performance on two pianos
1979: North American debut
1980: Holst’s original two-piano version of The Planets at Fairfield Halls and BBC Radio 3.
1981: Recordings for BBC
1975: Very first public performance of piano duets in Grimsby – it might work!
1977: More piano duet recitals and first public performance on two pianos in December at Peter Katin Subscription Recitals, Croydon. “Amazing” (Peter Katin)
1979: Recitals included onboard the P&O cruise liner Canberra and their North American debut at the Harbourfront, Toronto
1980: First UK public performances of Holst’s original two-piano version of The Planets including at Fairfield Halls, Croydon, and for BBC Radio 3.
1981: Appearances included St Andrews Festival. More innovative programme planning to include rarely heard works by Hummel, Vorisek, Moscheles & Goetz. British premiere of Jean Michel Damase’s Drominiana, all later recorded by BBC Radio 3 and some to be First British Broadcasts.
1982: Centernary Concerts of Stravinsky & Grainger. Recital at Wigmore Hall. BBC interview with Alan Titchmarsh. Netherlands debut concert
1983: Grainger Concerts with Leslie Howard. SE Asia debut in Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. Wigmore Hall recital. Middle East debut in Dubai, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait and Syria. Christmas concert with Royal Philharmonic.
1984: Tour of Greece/Bulgaria. BBC Manchester. Ulster Orchestra/Barry Wordsworth: Bruch Concerto. Diaghilev programme at Purcell Room.
1985: Wigmore Hall, Tour of Sri Lanka including Bruch Concerto. German debut. Manchester with Halle Orchestra & Sir Charles Groves. Queen Elizabeth Hall Saint-Saens 150th anniversary.. BBC recordings.
1982: Probably the only pianists in the world to celebrate centenaries of both Stravinsky and Grainger. Concerts throughout the UK comprising the complete piano duets of Stravinsky (including his own 4-hand versions of The Rite of Spring & Petrushka). Two-piano recital at London’s Wigmore Hall on the composer’s birthday: an all-Grainger programme including two First London performances. Further concerts of this programme, especially in Lincolnshire to celebrate the composer’s association with this county whilst collecting folk songs. Interviewed by Alan Titchmarsh and performed on BBC TV’s Pebble Mill at One. Featured in the Wigmore Hall Christmas Concert as outstanding performers of the season. Netherlands debut recital in Rotterdam.
1983: Grainger celebrations continue with a 6-hand recital at Wigmore Hall in collaboration with Leslie Howard. More recordings for the BBC. Appearances onboard the QE2 World Cruise from Sydney to Hong Kong, where they gave their SE Asian debut at City Hall. An extensive tour of SE Asia continued with a recital in Singapore’s Victoria Hall, a concerto appearance with the Pusan City Symphony Orchestra in South Korea, a live TV recital at Paco Park in Manila and several recitals throughout Malaysia and Indonesia sponsored by the British Council. UK Summer Festival
appearances, a tour of Scotland and another Wigmore Hall recital in the autumn. Middle East debut tour in December: Dubai, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait and Syria, and Christmas Concert at Fairfield Halls with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and narrator Johnny Morris.
1984: Tour of Greece and a two-piano recital in the prestigious Sofia Music Weeks in Bulgaria. Duets by Onslow, Walton and Lambert performed at the live BBC Manchester Summer Recitals. With the Ulster Orchestra/Barry Wordsworth recorded in Belfast Britten’s Scottish Ballad and Bruch’s Two-Piano Concerto (first British broadcast). Innovative programme Diaghilev in Paris performed at the Purcell Room at London’s South Bank Centre.
1985: Wigmore Hall recital including Holst’s The Planets and the premiere of Robert Walker’s Passacaglia for two pianos (commissioned with funding by the Arts Council of GB). Tour of Sri Lanka including the Asian premiere of Bruch’s Two-Piano Concerto with the Symphony Orchestra of Colombo. German debut featuring The Planets in Heidelberg and release of Saga recording to wide critical acclaim, including Music Retailers’ Association Award for Best Chamber Music Record. British premiere of Bruch’s Two-Piano Concerto at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, with the Halle/Sir Charles Groves. First performances and broadcast of Kenneth Leighton’s Sonata for Piano Duet, Op.92 (commissioned with financial assistance from West Midlands Arts), which proves to be one of the most important piano duet works by a 20th century composer. Release of Saga recording of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring & Petrushka. 150th anniversary of Saint-Saens on his birthday at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, including the first London performance of his transcription for two pianos of Chopin’s Funeral March Sonata and the original version of Carnival of the Animals, later recorded for the BBC.
1986: Tour of Middle East & Greece. Bournemouth Sinfonietta (Mozart), Friday Night is Music Night BBC Radio 2. Annual French festivals, Snape Maltings Proms
1987: BBC Proms. Tour Germany incl. Berlin Festival. Days & Nights in Vienna.
1988: EMI recording at Abbey Road Studio 1. Schleswig-Holstein Festival & meeting Bernstein. N Ireland tour incl. Ulster and Belfast. Dyson's The Blacksmiths with Sir David Willcocks. Tour of Czechoslovakia.
1989: BBC Pebble Mill at One. Carmina Burana. Philharmonie in Berlin. Singer-Polignac in Paris. Royal Festival Hall with London Philharmonic. Armagh Festival. Recording Carnival of the Animals.
1986: Middle-Eastern tour of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Jordan. Debut in Berlin of Diaghilev programme in collaboration with celebrated German critic Klaus Geitel. 2nd tour of Greece and performances on the Atlantic crossing of the Cunard liner Sagafjord. Mozart’s Two-Piano Concerto with the Bournemouth Sinfonietta and a live Friday Night is Music Night broadcast on BBC Radio 2 from Dundee with the Scottish National Orchestra and Kenneth McKellar. London premiere of Bruch’s Two-Piano Concerto at the Barbican Hall. Bath Festival. First of seven consecutive annual appearances at Dame Moura Lympany’s Festival of Music & Wine in the French Pyrenees, as well as in Brittany, with the Manchester Camerata, Elizabeth Harwood and Victoria de los Angeles. Personal invitation by the late Sir Peter Pears to perform at the Snape Maltings Proms.
1987: BBC Proms debut at Royal Albert Hall to perform Stravinsky’s Les Noces. Several concerts in Germany, including the Berlin Festival and the premiere of the duo’s transcription Scenes from West Side Story. First performances of Days & Nights in Vienna, with Barbara Leigh-Hunt and Gabriel Woolf. In Nottingham Carnival of the Animals with Richard Baker as narrator.
1988: Recording for EMI at Abbey Road Studio 1 and performances at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival of Scenes from West Side Story, presenting first CD off the press to Leonard Bernstein at his 70th birthday celebrations, on the platform of the Royal Albert Hall. Northern Ireland tour including Ulster Hall, Belfast, with the Ulster Orchestra and narrator James Ellis (Z Cars). UK tour including premiere of Kenneth Leighton’s Prelude, Hymn & Toccata, Op.96 (commissioned in association with Lincolnshire & Humberside Arts). Recording of Dyson’s The Blacksmiths for chorus, strings and percussion with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir David Willcocks. Tour of Czechoslovakia, with sell-out recital at Dvorak Hall in Prague.
1989: Further performances of Bernstein and interview with Alan Titchmarsh on BBC TV’s Pebble Mill at One, as well as pairing a performance with the two pianos and percussion version of Orff’s Carmina Burana. Third German performance at the prestigious Philharmonie in Berlin, Beaumaris Festival in North Wales, and the Singer-Polignac Foundation in Paris, at the invitation of the composer Jean Francaix and including Milhaud’s Scaramouche in the presence of the composer’s widow. Mozart’s Two-Piano Concerto in two performances with the London Philharmonic at London’s Royal Festival Hall and also with the Northern Sinfonia in the Lake District. Armagh Festival in the presence of composer and veteran duo-pianist Joan Trimble. Recording of Carnival of the Animals with Nicholas Cleobury at Henry Wood Hall for Conifer Classics. Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle for soloists, chorus, two pianos and harmonium, with the CBSO Chorus/Simon Halsey and distinguished soloists including Sir John Tomlinson, at Cheltenham & Birmingham Town Halls and subsequently recorded for Conifer Classics.
1990: Poulenc Ulster Orchestra/Ronald Corp. Mendessohn with Manchester Camerata. USA debut tour. Recording South of the Border. National Philharmonic/Wordsworth. Tour Germany
1991: Columbia Artists Management for USA tours. Concertgebouw Amestardam. Barbican Hall, Wigmore and Fairfield Hall. Poulenc with Ulster Orchestra. ITV documentary with Dame Moura Lympany. Malcolm Arnold Concerto. Mozart Concerto in Germany and UK. Spanish debut.
1992: New London Orchestra/Ronald Corp. BBC Radio, Bath, Snape Proms. African debut. In USA invited to tour for Community Concerts.
1993: Adelaide Symphony. Newbury Festival and Bristol. Release of Nettle & Markham in England and Malcolm Arnold (London Musici) CDs. USA tour.
1990: Poulenc’s Two-Piano Concerto with the Ulster Orchestra/Ronald Corp in Belfast, Mendelssohn’s Two-Piano Concerto in E with the Manchester Camerata/Sir Charles Groves. USA debut tour including Merkin Hall, New York. Recording for Hyperion of South of the Border with Jill Gomez and the National Philharmonic Orchestra/Barry Wordsworth. Buxton Festival, Trusthouse Forte Music at Leisure weekend, Bath Spa. Tour of Germany. New Year’s Eve Gala Concert at the Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham, with Brian Kay.
1991: Classical Arts International presents recitals in USA. Signed on for future seasons by Community Concerts, then a subsidiary of Columbia Artists Management Inc. Recital at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam on two restored 19th century pianos. Mozart’s Two-Piano Concerto with the English Chamber Orchestra/James Judd as part of their Mozart 200 series at Barbican Hall, London. Two-piano recitals at Wigmore Hall, Fairfield Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall (London premiere of Scenes from West Side Story), the latter in aid of Stars Organisation for Spastics and introduced by Russ Conway and Leslie Crowther.
Poulenc’s Two-Piano Concerto with the Ulster Orchestra/Peter Hirsch. Broadcast on ITV of documentary West Side & Roussillon also featuring Dame Moura Lympany. Buxton Opera House. Cancer Charity Recital in partnership with Russ Conway, Peter Katin, Robert Docker and Brian Lemon at White Rock Theatre, Hastings. Feature article in Classical Music magazine. Malcolm Arnold’s Concerto for Phyllis & Cyril at the composer’s 70th birthday concert at Queen Elizabeth Hall, with the BBC Concert Orchestra/Barry Wordsworth and Larry Adler, in the presence of David’s former professor and the concerto’s dedicatee Phyllis Sellick. Mozart Concerto in Germany and Devon. Spanish debut in Marbella.
1992: A tour of another innovative duet programme From the Sublime to the Ridiculous proves to be highly entertaining as well as educational. Poulenc’s Two-Piano Concerto with the New London Orchestra/Ronald Corp at St John’s Smith Square, London. As well as almost monthly broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 every year, the duo has its own series on Radio 2. Bath International Festival. Snape Maltings Proms, Aldeburgh. African debuts in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and South Africa in recital and with leading orchestras. Showcase in New York for Community Concerts secures dozens of engagements over the rest of the decade.
1993: Recitals on P&O liner Sea Princess on World Cruise to Australia and performance to an audience of 10,000 at Elder Park, Adelaide, with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Corporate Function for Royal Mail at Highclere Castle, long before it was made famous in Downton Abbey. Newbury Spring Festival. Colston Hall, Bristol, in repeat performance for the Russ Conway Cancer Fund. Release of CD compilation Nettle & Markham in England and Arnold’s Concerto for Piano Duet & Strings with London Musici/Mark Stephenson for Conifer Classics, recorded in the presence of the composer. First US tour for Community Concerts, touring with two Steinway Concert Grand Pianos, the first of many such tours and a very happy collaboration with Steinway & Sons, New York.
USA tour statistics
1993: First public performances on Double Piano.
1994: Recording Arnold Concerto. Poulenc Concerto Dublin. USA Tour.
1995: Southern Africa Tour. Tour with Double Piano. Various summer festivals.
1996: P&O cruises. Ulster TV. Mateus Festival with Sir Edward Heath. Mendelssohn Concert in Cape Town. Release Nettle & Markham in France.
1997: Cape Town recital and live video recording. USA and UK tours. Tour with double piano in Germany. In New York Waldorf Astoria tribute to Jessye Norman.
1998: Tours USA, South Africa & Germany. First extensive Japan tour incl. NHK Symphony broadcast.
1999: Carmina Burana. CBSO Simon Halsey. UK fesrivals.
1993 cont./ First public performances on the newly acquired Pleyel Double Piano: concerts in Manchester, Widnes and Sheffield City Hall with the Manchester Camerata/ Christof Escher.
1994: Recording of Arnold’s Concerto for Phyllis & Cyril with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Vernon Handley for Conifer Classics, again recorded in the presence of the composer. First broadcast with Double Piano on TV. Poulenc’s Concerto in Dublin with the RTE Concert Orchestra/Colman Pearce. Second extensive tour of the USA.
1995: Second tour of Southern Africa (Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa) including recitals, concertos and Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle. Several tours of UK with Double Piano. Summer Festivals at Peterborough, Lichfield and Warwick, including performances of Bartok’s Sonata for Two Pianos & Percussion to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the composer’s death. Duo and their Double Piano featured in the book Piano by David Crombie.
1996: Duo and their Double Piano featured in the book The Piano by Jeremy Siepmann. Article on the Duo in Fanfare magazine. Two Caribbean cruises onboard P&O liner Victoria. Appearance on Ulster TV. Recording of piano duet in Britten’s The Little Sweep for City of Birmingham Touring Opera with Dame Felicity Palmer, Coull String Quartet and Simon Halsey. Guests of honour to perform at Mateus Festival in Portugal with Sir Edward Heath to celebrate 80th birthday of Dame Moura Lympany. Mendelssohn Concerto in E for the Gala Concert of Cape Town Symphony Orchestra at Cape Town City Hall. Release of CD compilation Nettle & Markham in France.
1997: Return to Cape Town for City Hall recital, recorded for TV and produced in video and eventually DVD. More extensive touring in the USA. Norwich Cathedral concert includes Gordon Crosse’s Covenant of the Rainbow for chorus, piano duet and organ. Travels with Double Piano to German/Polish border for concerts with the Neue Lausitzer Philharmonie/Christof Escher in East Germany. Soloists in Arnold’s Concerto with Bournemouth Sinfonietta/Sir David Willcocks in Gala Opening Concert of the Hall for Cornwall in Truro. As leading Steinway Artists, invited to perform at the Waldorf Astoria, New York, in a Salute to Jessye Norman hosted by Oxxford Clothes and later performed at a Champagne Reception at the Steinway Piano Factory.
1998: Extensive publicity to the duo’s Railway Arch studio, including a TV documentary for BBC 2’s Modern Times series. Further tours of the US, South Africa, Germany and another invitation to be guest performers onboard P&O. First extensive tour of Japan, including performances with the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo and broadcasts on TV and radio.
1999: Recital and Orff’s Carmina Burana at the Llandudno Festival. Piano duet part in Britten’s Saint Nicholas at Birmingham Symphony Hall with the CBSO/Simon Halsey. Chichester Festival.
2000 & ON...
2000: British Council recital in Brunei. Performances of specially devised In London Town programme in Canada and the USA. Rossini at St George’s Chapel, Windsor.
2001: Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle at the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford. Grassington Festival. US tour immediately following 9/11.
2002: US tour concludes with Celebrity Recital at Steinway Hall, New York, to celebrate 25 years of the Duo and 10 years of touring the USA with Steinway Concert Pianos. Return visit to Japan.
2003: US tour includes the Mount Dora Festival in Florida. Burford Festival includes the duo’s transcription of Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto and marks the first of many collaborations with conductor Brian Kay.
2004: Festivals in Grassington and Sherborne Abbey. Performance in Leicester of Brahms’ A German Requiem in the duo’s painstaking reconstruction of the composer’s piano duet version.
2005: 30th anniversary celebrations begin, with a South African tour including Poulenc's Concerto with the Kwa-Zulu Natal Philharmonic in Durban and the premiere of Hendrik Hofmeyr’s Concerto for Two Pianos with the Chamber Orchestra of South Africa in Pretoria.
2006: Release of CD The Complete Two-Piano Music of Brahms and more UK performances of Brahms’ A German Requiem. 1st Cape Town International Summer Music Festival includes Hofmeyr’s Concerto and Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals with new verses written and performed by Evita Bezuidenhout, “the most famous white woman in South Africa”.
2007: Celebrity Recital during Singapore International Piano Festival at Victoria Hall, entitled Lisztomania: The Art of Virtuosity. Performances in UK of Side by Side by Sondheim for soloists, chorus, narrator and two pianos. Gala Charity Concert in Colombo, Sri Lanka for Sunethra Bandaranaike’s Sunera Foundation. Memorial Concert in Cape Town with Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, David Nettle conducting and Richard Markham as soloist in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.2.
2008: US tour for Allied Concert Services and more UK performances especially of Brahms and his A German Requiem.
2009: 30th Anniversary Recital at Cadogan Hall, London, as part of the Celebrity Recital Series. Their recordings of Holst and Stravinsky re-released on CD and Stravinsky’s Petrushka used for a puppetry season at the Little Angel Theatre, London.
2010: To celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Chopin, performances of Rondo in C for Two Pianos and Variations in D for piano duet at Kings Place, London, broadcast on Classic FM. Return visit by popular demand to Cadogan Hall, a programme which includes the premiere of their transcription Scenes from Turandot.
2011 onwards: More performances of Scenes from Turandot, including at the Newbury Spring Festival, where Sir Richard Rodney Bennett’s Four Piece Suite is performed in the presence of the composer. Premiere of their transcription for two pianos and harmonium of Overture: William Tell.