“There is an extraordinary dynamic between the acting and the music – they feed off each other…I hope everybody is both uplifted by the music and emotionally drained by the story” – actor Tim McInnerny’s profound insights into Lucy Parham’s work; an extra treat at the end of her fascinating Q&A

This will be your first visit to play for us – what are you most looking forward to?

It will be my first visit. I’m really looking forward to it as the Festival has a wonderful reputation. And of course, Martin is a fabulous pianist and Director, so it’s always a privilege to take part in such a series of concerts.

The format of your concert is an inspired idea. How do you go about putting these fascinating concerts together?

Originally it came about from me talking too much in my own concerts! I was especially fascinated by the letters and tragic yet inspirational story of Robert and Clara Schumann and so I often read the letters before playing a major Schumann work in recital. People often commented on how it illuminated the piece so I thought the must be a way of doing it more professionally! Out of that came my first Composer Portrait – Beloved Clara. That was in 2002! Many years later I have 5 of them. The latest is Rachmaninoff.

Are the actors you invite keen to be involved? (We are delighted you will be joined by Tim McInnerny for your concert on 21st July).

The actors are a joy to work with and I have also learnt a lot through them.  I hope they enjoy doing it. I think they do! Theatre has always been a real passion for me, so it is wonderful to share the stage with people I often go and see on stage in a play. Tim brings so much emotion to the story, which I find very moving. I have also worked with some exceptional actors including Juliet Stevenson, Simon Russell Beale, Harriet Walter, Alex Jennings, Dominic West, Edward Fox, Patricia Hodge, and the wonderful Tim, of course.

 I am very lucky. And we laugh a lot together too. It makes the journeys to the venue a lot more interesting than if I were travelling alone!

How important do you think small intimate music events such as ours are, both to you as a musician and to our audiences, and how important are festivals like RVIPW in the cultural life of the UK?

For these shows I think a more intimate event is better, to be honest. I think, and hope that the audience feel as if they have connected with the composer himself (via the actor and consequently the music)

Of course, if you are playing a concerto then a big venue is a different thing, but personally I’d rather be in a smaller, more intimate hall.

You have a great rapport with audiences and will be giving a talk before your concert. How important is this aspect of your work as a musician?

Normally I would give the talk afterwards, as sometimes the questions will relate the performance we have just given. This is a first for me (pre concert) with these shows. I think it’s vital to connect with the audience. Without them, we’d be nothing as performers. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than if one person has been touched or moved by something in the concert. For me communication is key. We need that more than ever in these times, I feel.

You have so many wonderful projects on the go – can you tell us which of these you are particularly excited about?

From Sept ‘17 to April ’18 I will present all my Composer Portraits at St Johns Smith Square. The series is supported by Sheaffer Pens and I am joined by some incredible actors. I think it will be a special time.

And – here is a quote for you from Tim!

Performing in Lucy’s shows is very special. Firstly sharing the stage with a brilliant concert pianist is a pleasure and a privilege.

What she has created is remarkable. There is an extraordinary dynamic between the acting and the music -they feed off each other. You can feel the audience’s sympathy swaying backwards and forwards between intense dislike and criticism of a composer’s behaviour and forgiving him, indeed loving him for the music he has created. This produces genuine dramatic tension and emotional investment from the audience that builds a wonderful atmosphere. I hope everybody is both uplifted by the music and emotionally drained by the story.

It is so much more than just reading a selection of letters and diary entries. Lucy’s plays (that is how I think of them) require complete immersion in the character.

The music and the words carry both actor and audience on a great journey. I can’t imagine not doing these shows and I always look forward to the next opportunity.

 Tim McInnerny, actor

Lucy Parham and Tim McInnerny will be performing on Friday 21st July at 7.30pm – REVERIE: The life and loves of Claude Debussy –  preceded by a pre-concert talk at 6.30pm, free to Ticket Holders. Visit our booking page now for tickets and further details!

Also, here is a sneak preview into what you might expect at her performance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20MaPh68wXI&feature=youtu.be,