top of page

Julian Jacobson

28 February 2024
One of Britain's finest pianists, Julian Jacobson came to Gravesend and did not disappoint. The audience was engrossed and glowing in their post-event reviews below. Julian played some classic pieces by Beethoven, Satie and Debussy without sheet music and some more challenging, lesser-known works.


One of Britain's finest and most inspiring pianists, Julian Jacobson demonstrated the range of possibilities achievable from an ageing yet beautiful upright piano.  

William Byrd Pavan “Earl of Salisbury”,
Beethoven Sonata op 13 “Pathétique” first movement,
Schubert Impromptu in G flat,
Chopin Nocturne op 9 no 1,
Debussy Prelude “La Puerta del Vino”,
Debussy Clair de Lune,
Carlos Gardel Tango “Por Una Cabeza”,
Albeniz Tango op 165 no 2,
Rachmaninov Preludes in G major and G sharp minor,
Erik Satie 4th Nocturne and 1st Gymnopédie,
Encore Chopin Minute Waltz.

Pre-concert talk - Beethoven 78 vinyl recordings
Before the concert, Julian and Richard Sanderson discussed some classic 78 vinyl Beethoven recordings of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, gifted to the Fourth Portal by residents John and Sandra Wood.  

Julian also brought along his Sergei Rachmaninoff 78s of Rachmaninoff playing his own music. A magical moment.  

The audience was riveted throughout the performance, for many it was the first up-close experience watching and listening to a concert pianist.

Culture Change
The launch of 78 vinyl and gramophones took orchestral music out of the hallow concert halls to the masses. These technological breakthroughs made a fundamental change to culture across the planet and were the seed of what we see today with Taylor Swift and others. 

The Piano
The piano at St Andrew's Waterside Mission Church at Gravesend has been a mainstay of the Fourth Portal Lab since we arrived. People of all levels and musical interests tinkle, experiment and occasionally burst into virtuoso performances.  

Innovation sits at the heart of the Fourth Portal mission and how seemingly almost obsolete equipment and instruments are still full of life when in the right hands. 

The 78s 

Op. 21


Julian Jacobson
One of Britain’s most creative and distinctive pianists, Julian Jacobson is acclaimed for the vitality, colour and insight he brings to his enormous repertoire ranging across all styles and periods. Following early acclaim as a duo and ensemble pianist performing with many leading British and international soloists, he has gained increasing admiration as a penetrating and imaginative soloist. His 70th birthday was marked by a series of four recitals at St John’s Smith Square, where he was invited to return in August 2020 to perform the Liszt B minor Sonata in a series of concerts marking the reopening of the hall. His reputation as an important Beethoven pianist was cemented by a whole series of sonata cycles, beginning in 1994, and he has now presented the cycle twelve times. Five of these cycles were ‘marathon’ performances where he performed the complete 32 sonatas, from memory, in a single day; his 2013 performance, at St. Martin-in-the-Fields London, was broadcast worldwide and received rave reviews. In November 2022 he presented the marathon in London and six days later at the Festival of Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay, on the occasion of his 75th birthday. Since 2014 he has been Chairman and Artistic Director of the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe.

Julian Jacobson has performed at the leading UK festivals including Aldeburgh, Bath, Brighton, Cheltenham, Dartington, Edinburgh, Huddersfield, Leicester, Norwich, Prussia Cove on tour, and Belfast Sonorities. His international career has taken him to more than forty countries on five continents. Concerto appearances include London Symphony, BBC Symphony, City of Birmingham, English Chamber, London Mozart Players, London Sinfonietta, Bournemouth Sinfonietta, Bucharest Philharmonic, Icelandic Symphony and Royal Omani Symphony Orchestras. A large and varied discography for labels including Decca Argo, Chandos, Hyperion, Meridian, BIS, Naxos, Continuum and SOMM includes acclaimed recordings of Balakirev, Dvorak, Martinu, the complete sonatas of Carl Maria von Weber and duo sonatas of Brahms and Enesco.

Composers who have written for him include Robert Saxton, Simon Bainbridge, Benedict Mason, Philip Cashian, Daryl Runswick, Charles Camilleri, Keith Tippett and Erika Fox whose concerto “David Spielt vor Saul” he premiered with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in 2022. Michael Nyman wrote the trio “Time Will Pronounce” for his former ensemble the Trio of London, recorded on Decca Argo. In 1987 he gave the acclaimed UK premiere of Ligeti’s now famous Etudes Book 1; a subsequent BBC recording was highly praised by the composer. A composer himself, his works are published by Bardic Edition and Faber. His transcriptions of Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” and Second Rhapsody have received rave reviews and many performances: he recorded them for SOMM in August 2020 with his regular duo partner Mariko Brown. He has also composed and conducted five film scores including “To The Lighthouse” (1983) and “We Think The World Of You” (1988).

Visit Julian's Website

Richard Sanderson
Richard Sanderson is a multidisciplinary sound and recording artist, record producer and promoter who was the Fourth Portal sound artist in residence from spring to summer 2023. He was formerly the head music buyer for classical and jazz at Virgin Megastores. 
Richard Sanderson is a multidisciplinary sound and recording artist, record producer and promoter working across multiple music genres and interested in community-orientated approaches to new music. He was a director of the London Musicians Collective for over ten years. He is also a Morris dancer.
Richard oversaw an eclectic range of music for sale in all formats, including vinyl records from classical, spoken word, world music, 60s pop and easy-listening to left-field experimental, improvised music field recordings and sound effects, including recordings sourced from his own collection. 
He explored sound through performance. There were field recordings of the tidal aspects of the river and beach, including site-specific open-access performances led by the Hither Green Drone Orchestra on the beach next to the Fourth Portal. The drone sounds mingled with the waves and shingle in an unexpected free public performance.
An indoor performance exploring the sonic possibilities of the Beaufort Scale was open to all musicians, electronics and narrators. Published field recordings of the river and an audio stream offered possibilities for musicians to remix these sounds.

This event has ended.

+ Photo Roger Harris +

FP GE FLYER 240101 Jan2024 Winter Season Jan2024.jpg
Add a Title
Add a Title
Add a Title
Add a Title
Add a Title
Add a Title
bottom of page