When a pianist falls down the stairs just before recital

Two nights ago, the Royal Festival Hall went dark when its solo pianist called in sick.

Angela Hewitt is made of tougher stuff.

Last night in Oxford, we hear, the Canadian pianist fell down a flight of steps within two hours of start time. One ankle was twisted so badly she couldn’t stand on it.


Forget it.

Ms Hewitt was brought onto the stage in a wheelchair and performed Bach’s Book I of the Well-Tempered Clavier using just one foot on the pedals.

The audience was enthralled.

Tomorrow she’s playing Wigmore Hall.

On a Fazioli.

Should be interesting.


photo: Facebook


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  • Mr Lebrecht, Angela Hewitt deserves lots of respect for her professionalism, but you are unfair to Paul Lewis. He’s had his moments with gulls, but overall does he have a track record of frequent cancellations?

    A twisted ankle does not necessarily interfere with concentration, while sickness easily can. On can sometimes prolong sickness by not treating it properly or simply by not resting.

      • Certainly the Fazioli is one of the most expensive pianos on the market, but as with most other high-end piano brands (other than Steinway), a Fazioli requires exceptional technical control in order to mine the tonal resources from the instrument. Which begs the question as to why Ms. Hewitt favors the Fazioli, as (at least for her Bach recitals) she consistently produces a blunt, flat, monotonous sound. She makes it work well enough, but she seems unwilling to exploit the resources of these pianos – or perhaps her conception of this music prevents her from doing so.

  • In 2003 another Canadian, Louis Lortie, made his Carnegie Hall debut substituting for Maurizio Pollini. Chopin Etudes on a Fazioli. He entered on crutches, right leg in a brace. Skiing accident. Worked the pedal with his left foot. All went well. Rather extraordinary.

    • What does he do when both pedals (Sostenuto AND Damper – not to mention the Una Corda – are required?
      [My last Teach (80 years ago!) had me use *all three at once* in a certain composition.
      LF on Una corda and Sostenuto , & RF on Damper.] He asked if I had ‘big feet’ (which I did – size 10 (women), inherited from my father who wore size [Men’s]13! at 6’5″ tall. [Fortunately I was 5′ 6 &1/2″ which helped avoid ‘starers’ 🙂

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