WATCH: ‘Exiled’ pianist to launch classical season with homecoming concert

Shetland born pianist and composer Neil Georgeson will launch Shetland Arts’ classical season on Thursday with his first local performance in over four years.

The concert will be the first of three featuring Neil during the autumn and winter season. He last performed in Shetland shortly after the opening of Mareel.

For his first performance Neil has chosen pieces which explore the concept of home and islands.

Beethoven’s Tempest Sonata, inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest – which is set on a remote island – and Debussy’s L’isle joyeuse, inspired by the Greek island of Cythera, will be among the pieces which Neil will perform.

Works by Bach, Schubert and Grieg will also feature, examining concepts such as homeland, exile and homesickness.

Speaking ahead of Thursday’s concert Neil said that many of the pieces he will play have a “direct sincerity” which complements the theme of the performance.

He said: “A few of the pieces are by musicians who were thinking about home when they weren’t there.”

These pieces resonate with Neil, who is now based in London, because of his self-imposed exile from the isles.

Having grown up in Aith and attending Aith Junior High School, Neil says the difference between London and Shetland is comparable to a “dimension shift”, and he is always longing to return to the place where he grew up.

Another recurring theme in Thursday’s concert will be the concept of “the wanderer or rootless traveler, which was a kind of romantic character in 19th century art.”

Neil’s second show in December will be a song recital in collaboration with soprano Anna Dennis and his third will feature music inspired by visual art.

He added: “I’m really excited to have three concerts in one season, especially since I haven’t played for four years.

“I hope folk will come to see all three, especially the song recital with Anna because she’s brilliant and she’ll only be here once.”

• For a full interview with Neil and more information about his three concerts during classical season see this Friday’s Shetland Times.


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