Biography / About Me
Graham was a scholar and prize winner at both the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he studied with Mary Peppin and most notably, with Joan Havill. Since graduating in 1985 he has played all over the UK and Europe embracing many different styles and genres of music. As well as performing Graham has evolved as a much in demand workshop leader. His experience encompasses ten years of workshops in prisons and in addition workshops in hospices and working with people who have dementia and other people of all ages who's lives and circumstances are challenging in some way. He trained for nine years with the British Suzuki Institute (now British Suzuki Music Association) to become a level 5 Suzuki piano teacher and now teaches throughout the UK and Europe both online and in person. As a former member of Pianocircus, multi-piano music and contemporary music feature in Graham's activities as a musician.
Qualifications : Graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (G.G.S.M.), British Suzuki Level 5 dip. Piano Pedagogy
DBS cleared - certificate available
2012 - finalist in The Open (International) Piano Competition
Recent recipient of first and second prizes from The European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA UK) composers competition for his pieces A Sad Simple Sarabande & Danza
THE LONG VERSION
Graham was born in London UK but grew up on the edge of Surrey and London in Caterham where he attended a regular state comprehensive school called De Stafford. He had a wonderful class music teacher there, Ms. Francis Dalton, who provided a fertile environment for many music students to honour their ability and grow. Although Graham had begun playing the cello as a primary school student, his ambition to play the church organ drew him to the piano and when he was about 10, he began individual lessons with a fine local organist Mr Harold Milnes. Harold Milnes was himself a pupil of Gustav Holst and recognised in Graham someone to whom music spoke and who would follow it's calling. Aged 13, Graham gained a Junior Exhibitioner's Scholarship to the Royal College of Music (RCM) with piano as his first study. There, his piano teacher for the next four years was Anne McCaw. Similarly, he bid farewell to his wonderful school cello teacher Michael Nebe to study cello at the RCM with the enthusiastic and very supportive William Bruce.
Winning the Royal College of Music's Gordon Turner Memorial Prize (for the most promising 15 or 16 year old) and having gained entrance scholarships to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (GSMD) and The Royal Academy of Music (RAM), Graham began his adult music studies at GSMD in 1982 with joint principal studies - Mary Peppin (piano) and Stefan Popov (cello). In his second year, he elected to make cello a second study and to change his piano teacher to Joan Havill. Joan had a significant influence on Graham's development, opening many doors with her drive and passion in arenas such as literature and psychology as well as music. Sometimes lessons took place at Joan’s home and lasted many hours. There was an unmistakable missionary zeal to her musical insight and long discussions were frequent. Graham graduated in 1985 and won the Guildhall School's Adelaide Alexander Memorial Prize, playing the Liszt second piano concerto.
Working as a temp in various offices eventually enabled Graham to buy a piano and to begin teaching and playing. He soon became head of piano for the London Borough of Camden's Saturday music programme as well as the regular accompanist for instrumentalists, choirs and community music programmes. Looking back, it's clear, these times were as formative as his formal musical education and what followed was a great deal of adventuring and discovery for Graham in finding where and in what form his musicianship would best serve. Film music, theatre music, cabaret and contemporary music all figured in his journeying. Groups like Three's Company (a three person cabaret & theatre show ensemble) and the Hildegard Trio (contemporary music for violin, clarinet and piano) were typical and eventually the broad reach of his skills led to an invitation from Glyndebourne Opera's education department to step in at short notice and M.D. a revival of their "rock" opera "Race the Devil". This in turn led to involvement over 10 years with the Irene Taylor Trust (music in prisons) and also a lucky break as a keyboard player in the Mike Flowers Pops (Christmas No. 2 in the pop charts 1995). Other charitable trusts that employed Graham frequently included Lost Chord (music for people with dementia) and also Create Arts (Ltd). During the earl 2000's, for five years Graham was a director and member of the 6 piano contemporary music ensemble Piano Circus who aside from their concert work were also artists in residence at Brunel University.
At around this time, Graham's longstanding interest in Jungian psychology deepened. Reading Jung's Collected Works naturally led to involvement in seminars and an engagement with the Jungian community in London. After a few years exploring by way of background, Graham was eventually accepted as one of four candidates for the Idependent Group of Analytical Psychologists (IGAP) programme of preparation in 2006. This was a training programme without a fixed term but structured and with careful monitoring and mentoring where candidates are made ready and qualified to practice as analytical psychologists. Concurrent with this, Graham also started on the long road of training to become a Suzuki piano teacher. In contrast to the brevity of contact with people through music workshops, this sustained relationship based teaching framework offered new opportunities to explore the role of music, learning an instrument and developing skills for the maturing individual. This was an exciting period of growth and maturation for Graham himself and although passionate about both fields of study it was a dream that eventually clarified where he should best invest his energies - music and teaching the piano using the Suzuki method.
It took a total of nine years for Graham to complete all five levels of the Suzuki training programme, during which time he built a full to capacity teaching practice in London. These have been rich and rewarding years for Graham in so many respects; returning to the very core of the art of piano playing and both teaching and performing the piano repertoire he loves so much. Graham is looking forwards to growing his teaching practice in Kent where he now lives in a beautiful house on the outskirts of Woodnesborough and Eastry.
In 2012 Graham was one of six finalists in the International London Open Piano Competition.
In 2014 Graham was awarded second prize in the European Piano Teachers association (EPTA) composing competition (adults) for his composition 'Danza'
In 2015 Graham was awarded first prize in the European Piano Teachers association (EPTA) composing competition (adults) for his composition 'A Sad Simple Sarabande'