Maria Marchant's story
Maria Marchant was accepted on to a number of young artist schemes after she graduated in 2009 and now focuses mainly on recital and concerto work
Can you describe a typical week?
Like most pianists, practice forms a large part of my working week but this has to be balanced with programming, writing programme notes, emailing promoters and updating my website and social media. But on concert days, I prefer to concentrate on looking through the music and learning about the context of the work.
Is your life now how you imagined it would be when you were studying at the RCM?
I’ve always been interested in British music, particularly John Ireland, so I’m particularly happy that I’ve been able to continue that interest since leaving the RCM. I’m sponsored by the John Ireland Trust and that’s enabled a lot of concerts to happen. I’m really hoping in the future I’ll have the opportunity to perform his Piano Concerto.
When I was at the RCM the help and advice from my professor, Niel Immelman, was really invaluable in terms of applying for the young artist schemes and meant that I started off on the right track.
Which aspect of your job do you enjoy the most?
It’s hard to pick one aspect. I love performing and so I think I’d probably have to pick that. But another, no less rewarding, part of the work that I do is a recent project as part of the Concordia Foundation at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital which has involved playing for stroke and dementia patients. I wheel a piano around the wards and with the help of a volunteer play works for the patients. We have a list of pieces for them to choose from and it’s been a real eye opener seeing the power of music and how the patients respond to the piano.
Do you have any advice for RCM students about to graduate?
I think being really proactive in securing performance engagements is an absolute must. Also, always expanding your repertoire. Before you write to a music festival or society, find out as much as you can – if there are any themes that you can pick up on – as it will help you put forward a good proposal.
I also think it’s very important to try to get return bookings. After a recital, send a thank you email. Then find out when they start booking for the next season so you know the right time to get back in touch with them.