Ethan Loch – piano
|JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
|Partita No.1, BMV 825
Winner of the 2022 BBC Young Musician Keyboard Final
Just like the judges in the BBC Young Musician competition, we too were mesmerised by seventeen year old Ethan Loch’s performance - and knew that we had to bring him to Skipton!
Ethan went on to secure a place in the BBC Young Musician Grand Final at Bridgewater Hall, where he performed Frédéric Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Mark Wigglesworth, broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4. He has also won the Scottish International Youth Piano Competition (2019), 7th James Waterhouse Loretto Piano Competition ‘Advanced’ class (2017), Premio Asoluto prize at the 15th International ‘Giuseppe Sciacca’ awards (2016) and was a finalist in the EPTA Belgium International Piano Competition (2018). His first CD, ‘Mysterious Pathways Volume One’, was featured on Classic FM and a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio documentary.
Ethan was born in 2004 and diagnosed completely blind since birth. As a toddler, he would explore the piano for hours imitating his first inspiration: Rowlf the piano-playing dog from the Muppet Show and his other inspiration, the DVD ‘Horowitz in Vienna’, was played relentlessly. His formal piano lessons began at age 4 with his mother, and he now studies with Fali Pavri at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Ethan was the focus of a BBC radio documentary called ‘Batman and Ethan’ which explored the freedom a blind child can experience through working with the talented teacher of the blind, Daniel Kish. He has also appeared on BBC’s The One Show and ITV’s Little Big Shots where he performed both solo and with the Romanian singer and harpist Daria.
Ethan is grateful to the Young Classical Artists Trust for their generous support in their aftercare scheme for BBC Young Musician finalists.
Photo credit: BBC/Dan Prince
Sponsored by Skipton Mechanics’ Institute
Skipton Music picks a winner
Skipton Music's 2023-24 season continued with a recital to a packed Town Hall by the pianist Ethan Loch, winner of the 2022 Young Musician keyboard final, on Tuesday 24 October.
Ethan has a phenomenal technique, a lovely sense of fantasy, and on occasion a wonderfully delicate and expressive touch. When these elements were in balance – as in the slow movement of the Haydn piano sonata which began the programme, or in the pieces by Ravel and Debussy – the result was spellbinding. Ethan also brought out all the passion and nobility of the two Chopin pieces which enclosed the second half of his programme, the C-sharp minor Polonaise and the Ballade No 4. With playing like this, it was easy to understand why the panel in the Young Musician competition rated him so highly.
Perhaps the recital as a whole displayed rather too much of the virtuoso side of Ethan's personality, and that combined with the rather harsh sound of the Craven piano at the top end of its volume range made for a slightly unvaried effect. It was especially unfortunate that Ethan decided not to play the F-sharp major Chopin nocturne as originally intended, which would have provided some welcome contrast. However as an encore, we heard an unbuttoned improvisation in jazz style which sent the audience dancing happily home – perhaps Ethan could build in a sequence of jazz transcriptions as an integral part of future recitals?
[Editor's Note: We are delighted to add that a collection following Ethan's concert raised a grand total of £672 for the Amber Trust, which provides musical opportunities for blind and partially sighted children.]