Piano Performance

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I am an experienced performer, as soloist in recitals and concertos, and in various ensembles. I play everything from baroque to contemporary styles, with special interest in devising programmes for specific occasions. For example, in the Chopin/Schumann anniversary year, 2010, I  performed programmes with a mix of music by Chopin (Etudes, Ballades, Waltzes, Nocturnes and more) and Schumann (Phantasie and Scenes of Childhood). In the Bach anniversary year, 2000, I performed the complete Well Tempered Klavier, books 1 and 2.

 I am always ready to discuss traditional, innovative or customised programmes, including non-conventional performance settings. All audience types and age groups can be considered. Solo programmes are rooted in the mainstream piano repertoire, as seen in my repertoire – from Bach to Bartok and beyond, but can also include ragtime and light jazz. I often play concerts with a mix of solo and chamber music, teaming up with other musicians to create variety and appeal. Please see my Programme Biography for a summary of my career.



Photo Gallery



Chopin bicentenary concert with Thomas Solzbacher in Neuwied, Germany; February 2010.

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Derby Concert Orchestra, St Mary's Church, Wirksworth, Derbyshire, UK. 17 May 2008
"Beate Toyka, German-born one-time pupil of Hamish Milne and now based in Derbyshire, was the soloist with Derby Concert Orchestra and conductor Jonathan Trout. Her playing combined power and delicacy, and she established a fine sense of rapport with her colleagues. The first movement cadenza was dramatic, although a firmer sense of momentum was needed in the movement as a whole. The opening of the second movement is Grieg at his most magical, and soloist and orchestra together created a wonderful sense of atmosphere."
Mike Wheeler. Music and Vision. http://www.mvdaily.com/articles/2008/05/beate-toyka.htm May 24th, 2008. Downloaded July 27, 2011. 


The VoiceBox, Derby, UK. 6 March 2010
"Derby's first event marking the Chopin bicentenary was a joint recital by local resident Beate Toyka and Thomas Solzbacher, each playing two Ballades and one of the two groups of Etudes.

Beate Toyka explored a wide expressive range in the First and Fourth Ballades, without allowing the lighter moments in No 1 to become too skittish. In the Op 10 Etudes there was a powerful sense of purpose in no 1, while her performance of no 3 impressed with its refusal to sentimentalise music that can sound maudlin."
Mike Wheeler. Music and Vision. http://www.mvdaily.com/2010/03/toyka.htm  Downloaded July 27, 2011. 

The Voice Box, Derby, UK. 6 November 2010
Beate Toyka's reading of Kinderszenen was affectionate without sentimentality. 'Curious Story' tripped along; 'Important Event' sounded suitably grand, while not forgetting that this is a child's-eye-view of grandeur; and there was a delicious air of drowsiness in 'Child Falling Asleep'...
Mike Wheeler. Music and Vision. http://www.mvdaily.com/2010/11/schumann.htm   Downloaded July 27, 2011.

Neuwied, Germany. February 2010
To celebrate Chopin’s 200th birthday the 2 pianists Beate Toyka and Thomas Solzbacher had taken on the challenging programme of the all of his op.10 and op.25 Etudes, topped up with his four Ballades. The result was a Chopin Marathon which demanded also from the audience concentrated listening and endurance. This was made easier by the sharing of the challenge between 2 pianists – who tackled these challenges in different ways. Common to both their roots is being graduates of the Musikhochschule Köln.  Beate Toyka who had also studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London with Hamish Milne approaches Chopin altogether more emotionally and impulsively. She demonstrates this with artistry in the 12 earlier Etudes, dedicated to Franz Liszt, with their demands on stretches, dexterity, elasticity and independence of fingers.

Whether every note counts, or whether, as Chopin’s contemporary Robert Schumann wrote, it is the overall impression, can be debatable. Toyka tends to subscribe to the latter, but even if from time to time runs or arpeggios blur in the racing skirmish of the keys, or an odd wrong  note creeps in – we are recompensed amply when for example the pianist brings out the sparks in the F minor Etude, or  when the left hand rolls again and again threateningly against the singing right in the ‘Revolutionary’ Etude.

Similarly polarizing is the interpretation of the 1st and 4th Ballade. She is not concerned with reconciling between opposing themes which determine the basic structure of each ballade, but with rather to deepening than leveling the ravines. From poetic, epic tones at the beginning of both works we are swept along powerfully, with memorable strength.

Thomas Solzbacher, who studied in Cologne, Essen and Luzern and lives in Bad Honnef, in contrast comes over more thoughtful, more differentiated. While Toyka is keen on confrontation and almost black and white drastic contrasts Solzbacher aims for compensation and shaded steps.
Lieselotte Sauer- Kaulbach, Neuwied Konzertkritik, Generalanzeiger, Bonn. February 28, 2010.

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J.S.Bach: D major, C minor, D minor
Mozart: K 271, K 414, K 466, K 467 (Elvira Madigan), K 488, K 491, K 503, K 537
Beethoven: Nos 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
Beethoven: Triple Concerto
Schumann: A minor
Brahms: D minor
Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
Grieg: A minor

Enquiries for projects and new concertos are always welcome and will be considered.



Sample Recital Programmes
Please enquire if you have any particular wishes for your concert. Suggestions below are a guideline.


Keyboard Dances from Bach to Bartok
J.S.Bach Partita, No.4 in D major
F. Schubert, from Waltzes op.18
F. Smetana, Polka and Furiant
Shostakovitch, 3 Phantastic Dances
F. Liszt, Mephisto Waltz No.1
Folk Music from Botswana (arr. BT)
J. Brahms, 6 Waltzes from op.39
F. Chopin, Polonaise op.53
I. Albeniz, Cataluna and Castilla from ‘Suite Espagnole’
B. Bartok, Roumanian Folk Dances
A. Ginastera, 3 Danzas Argentinas
Romantic Piano Music You Have Always Wanted to Hear
F. Chopin, Nocturne E flat major
Waltz B flat major
F. Liszt, Liebestraum No.3
Concert Study ‘La Campanella’
R. Schumann, Carnival
Clara Schumann, Variations on a theme by Robert Schumann
G. Gershwin, S’Wonderful, The Man I love, I got rhythm,
Rhapsody In Blue
Variations on a Theme
G.F. Handel, The ‘Harmonious Blacksmith’
W.A. Mozart, ‘Ah, je voudrais dire, Maman’
L.v. Beethoven, ‘Rule Britannia’ Variations
Joseph Whitol, Variations on a Latvian Folksong
Clara Schumann, Variations on a theme by Robert Schumann
Variations in style of different composers on the German Folksong “Oh Du lieber Augustin”
Beethoven, ‘Eroica Variations”
Concerts for Children and Schools
Short, 'fun' or titled pieces with introductions:
J.S.Bach: Gigue from French Suite or Partita
Mozart: Alla Turca
Beethoven: Rondo “Rage over the lost Penny”
Schumann: Selection from ‘Kinderszenen’
Chopin: ‘Butterfly’ and ‘Revolutionary’ Studies
Bartok: Roumanian Folk Dances (with Audience Participation)
Kurtag: Selection from ‘Jatekok’
Gershwin: ‘I got rhythm’
Joplin: 2 Rags

Composer Profile Concerts

Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Chopin

The Complete Well-Tempered Klavier, by JS Bach


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Programme Biography


The following provides my career summary, and biographic detail for a concert programme:

Beate Toyka was born in Germany, to a family in which music and internationalism were a way of life. Trained in Cologne Conservatoire she went on to the Royal Academy of Music to study with Hamish Milne. While there she won the Leslie England prize for interpretation and was accepted by the AVANTI concert agency for outstanding young musicians. Moving to Cambridge, she travelled to destinations across Europe, both as soloist as well as in chamber music ensembles. She also taught for Cambridge University.


Leaving Cambridge, Beate lived for seven years in Botswana, Southern Africa. From there she played concerts in most surrounding countries - Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and South Africa, and was broadcast on Radio Botswana. Whilst keeping true to her classical roots she also responded to the influence of other sounds around her. She joined forces with marimba players, local dancers and choirs and arranged Tswana folk songs for piano.


Beate now lives in Derbyshire, England. She performs extensively, in solo recital, as concerto soloist, and as accompanist. For the past five years she has had a close association with the Derby Chamber and Concert Orchestras, and their conductor Jonathan Trout, with whom she has explored and performed many of the greats in the piano concerto repertoire; from Mozart through Beethoven to Brahms and Grieg. Beate is a great enthusiast for chamber and ensemble music. She formed the Derby Piano Quartet, four pianists playing music in combinations from 1 to 8 hands. More recently she formed the Mercian Piano Trio, whose performances have already been met with great acclaim. Beate is a sought-after teacher, accompanist and adjudicator. She co-founded and ran the “Peak District Suzuki Piano Workshop” – an intensive residential summer piano course for children, set in the heart of England’s beautiful Peak District.



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