Leon McCawley is one of Britain's foremost pianists.
He has forged a highly successful career since winning 1st Prize in the 1993 International Beethoven Piano Competition in Vienna and 2nd Prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition, building on his earlier success as Winner of the Piano Section of BBC Young Musician of the Year in 1990.
Since then, McCawley’s impressive discography has established him as a pianist of great integrity and variety, bringing freshness and vitality to classical, romantic and 20th century repertoire. His recent CD of Haydn’s Sonatas and Variations (SOMM Recordings) is no exception, and was awarded a Diapason d’Or in 2017.
McCawley has been praised for the purity of his lyrical and heartfelt playing. An acclaimed exponent of Mozart, he has performed and recorded the complete cycle of Mozart Piano Sonatas in winning interpretations: ’There’s absolutely no vanity in his playing, which is bright, clean and unfailingly communicative. In his hands the Mozartian oeuvre emerged with striking vividness’ (International Piano).
Notable recitals in past seasons include London Piano Series at Wigmore Hall (where he will return in 2018 and 2019), International Piano Series at London’s Southbank Centre, Philharmonie and Konzerthaus in Berlin, Frick Collection and Lincoln Center New York, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Prague Rudolfinum and the Phillips Collection Washington DC.
He can be frequently heard on BBC Radio 3 both in performance and interview with most recent broadcasts including In Tune, Wigmore Hall Lunchtime Series and Performance on 3.
As a concerto soloist, McCawley performs with many of the leading and conductors from all over the world and has performed several times at BBC Proms.
McCawley studied at Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester with Heather Slade-Lipkin before continuing his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia with Eleanor Sokoloff. He also received invaluable guidance from Nina Milkina in London.
A keen chamber musician, he has enjoyed fruitful collaborations with a range of ensembles and musicians at many prestigious concert venues including BBC Proms Chamber Series, BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Series at Wigmore Hall and Aldeburgh, Brighton, Cheltenham and Edinburgh festivals.
McCawley’s discography includes Haydn, Schumann, Mozart, Chopin, Barber, Beethoven, Brahms and Rachmaninov. His recording of Vaughan Williams Double Piano Concerto with John Lenehan and Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Martin Yates (Dutton Epoch) is described as ‘not been better served on record before’ and awarded 5 stars by BBC Music Magazine.
Leon McCawley is currently professor of piano at London’s Royal College of Music.