‘Olympianist’ heads for Clitheroe

Anthony Hewitt, the 'Olympianist'
Anthony Hewitt, the 'Olympianist'

WHAT does a bicycle have in common with a grand piano?

Pedals is the answer, and “Olympianist” Anthony Hewitt will be pressing both kinds during a unique two-wheeled tour of Britain which includes a stop in Clitheroe.

Next month the Olympianist will cycle 1,200 miles in 21 days with piano “in tow”, giving recitals across Britain to raise funds for UK music and children’s charities

Between May 9th and 29th, concert pianist and keen cyclist Anthony Hewitt will cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats, complete with a piano trailing him in the “BeethoVAN”!

Dubbed the Olympianist, he will cover up to 100 miles a day, giving 27 concerts en route, including a performance hosted by Cliteroe Concerts Society and taking place at The Grand on May 18th.

As well as playing “resident pianos” in venues, Anthony will also perform at remote locations with his piano on a pop-up stage on the back of the BeethoVAN. His piano odyssey encompasses concert venues, market squares, cliff-tops, quarries and fields.

The repertoire for the tour has been chosen to convey a sense of journey, energy, movement, dynamism and excitement reflecting Anthony’s challenge. The concerts will include masterworks of the piano repertoire by Beethoven, Janáček, Schubert, Chopin, Rachmaninov and Brahms. A new commission by Stephen Goss, aptly named Piano Cycle, will be premiered at the Swaledale Festival on May 19th.

For the first time in piano history, the Olympianist’s followers will be able to watch part of each recital from the performer’s viewpoint. Each day he will perform one of the 21 movements from Schumann’s Carnaval Op. 9 in chronological order and film himself with a sports camera attached to his head. Each movement will then be uploaded to his website (www.theolympianist.com) for viewing.

Anthony’s epic journey will raise money for charities including the Mayor of London’s Fund For Musicians, Musequality, CLIC Sargent, Get Kids Going! and Classic FM Foundation.

He said: “I am very excited about this herculean task. It embodies the spirit of the ancient games, which incorporated musical competitions into sporting events for normal citizens.”

Tickets for the Clitheroe concert on May 18th cost £10 and can be obtained from The Grand (tel. 01200 421599) of from Clitheroe Concerts Society secretary Ken Geddes (tel. 01200 4123474 or e-mail: ken.geddes@lineone.net) or the Grand.