10 Mar 2021

The art of the collaborative pianist

From Upbeat, 12:30 pm on 10 March 2021
Rachel Fuller

Rachel Fuller Photo: Supplied

Rachel Fuller is a collaborative pianist. Her musical training was in Christchurch with Diedre Irons on piano and Alexander Ivashkin on cello. A move to London for a Masters at the Royal Academy of Music confirmed Rachel’s growing interest in musical collaborations with others, rather than pursuing a solo career.

After many years in Europe and the UK working as an accompanist, répétiteur and vocal coach at opera houses including Covent Garden, Rachel Fuller is now Professional Teaching Fellow at the University of Auckland.

Rachel spoke with Upbeat about her love for working with other musicians (mainly singers), and why the term ‘accompanying’ doesn’t adequately describe what a collaborative pianist does.

“As pianists working in ensembles, working with singers and instrumentalists our skills have to be wider and more honed, even, than that of the solo pianist.”

Rachel's set up a Facebook group – Collaborative Pianists of New Zealand – as a forum to bring people together, for sharing knowledge, sharing concert ideas and even sharing work.