Sasha Valeri Millwood, MA (Cantab.) MMus (GSMD)

Contact Information

A graduate of the University of Cambridge (where one of the papers for which I studied was the Advanced Keyboard Skills paper) and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama (where I studied Interpretation through Improvisation with Dr David Dolan for two years), I am an experienced soloist, chamber musician, improviser, accompanist, pit-band player, and répétitur. I have worked with musicians of various abilities (from the complete beginner to Andrew Kennedy) and in various contexts (including examinations, professional recitals, competitions, auditions, and functions that require background music). In many cases, I have had to sight-read a part, so I know how to deliver good results in situations with limited/no rehearsal time. I am a member of the Incorporated Society of Musicians.

I can improvise elaborations and interludes in various styles, either as a soloist or in collaboration with other performers. Given sufficient preparation time, I can also realise figured bass (including on harpsichord or chamber organ), and even transpose works of a reasonably tonal character. That said, I hasten to add that (unsurprisingly, seeing as I am a composer myself) I would be delighted to play more modern repertoire, too.

I have experience accompanying a range of instruments, voices, and repertoire, including atonal and serial music. A sympathetic chamber musician, I prioritise listening and maintaining good ensemble over burying one’s head in the notes: a good accompanist covers up the other player’s slips and mistakes in performance. However, having worked as a répétitur on several operatic productions, I am also familiar with the contrasting demands of that role, where the priority is to follow the conductor and furnish clear cues for the singers.

For more information, you can consult my website: http://sashamillwood.com/pf

For fees, see: http://sashamillwood.com/fees

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Disclosure and Barring Service: yes

Other Information

Other Categories:

Piano Accompanists

Related Listings:
Sasha Valeri Millwood
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Did You Know Music Facts

Daniel Steibelt vs Beethoven
Daniel Steibelt was a German born classical pianist and composer. He challenged Beethoven to a musical duel in Vienna in 1800. Steibelt studied with Johann Kirberger before he joined the Prussian army.
The Vienna’s music patrons liked the idea of a duel between Steibelt and Beethoven. Each musician got a Prince to sponsor the idea. Since Steibelt was the challenger, he was to play first. In a cocky move, he tossed his sheet music aside. He was renowned for his storm-like bass and that night, apparently he did indeed conjure up a storm. He was greatly applauded. After his piece, all eyes were on Beethoven. Historian Alexander Wheelock Thayer speaks to the growing rivalry between the two:

“When Steibelt came to Vienna with his great name, some of Beethoven’s friends grew alarmed lest he do injury to the latter’s reputation. Steibelt did not visit him; they met first time one evening at the house of Count Fries Eight days later there was again a concert at Count Fries’s; Steibelt again played a quintet which had a good deal of success. He also played an improvisation (which had, obviously, been carefully prepared) …

This incensed the admirers of Beethoven and him; he had to go to the pianoforte and improvise. He went in his usual … manner to the instrument as if half-pushed, picked up the violoncello part of Steibelt’s quintet in passing, placed it (intentionally?) upon the stand upside down and with one finger drummed a theme out of the first few measures.”

Beethoven picked up the sheet music that Steibelt had tossed aside, and chose to play it upside down. Beethoven then proceeded to improvise an opus based on just three notes of Steibelt’s music. He created his own “storm,” he embellished, and mocked what he felt was Steibelt’s simplistic piece. Steibelt stormed out of the room while Beethoven was still playing. His benefactor Prince followed him out. Completely humiliated, Steibelt decided he’d never set foot in Vienna again as long as Beethoven lived there. Beethoven lived out his days in the city and the embarrassed Steibelt never returned. It’s tough to challenge a master, especially a master in his own city with his own fans and his own Princes to back him up.