Interview with pianist Llyr Williams

Presented by Da Camera for his Houston recital debut, Llyr Williams is performing at The Menil Collection on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. The concert is sold out. To join the waiting list, email boxoffice@dacamera.com. Or come to the Menil on Tuesday night and join the standby list; unoccupied seats will go on sale at approximately 7:20 PM.

Q: What does your practice routine look like? Is there anything specific you do to keep your piano playing in top shape?

Llyr Williams: Nothing specific or out-of-the-ordinary. I tend to have a routine of working similar hours every day. I run-through a new program about three times at home around the same time of day I’d be doing it in the concert so that I build up my stamina/overview of the whole recital as well as concentrate on the more difficult bits.

Q: Who was your earliest musical influence? Who helped you get your start in playing the piano?

Llyr Williams: When I was very young, I listened to a lot of vocal music, mainly opera, on the gramophone. My parents bought a small upright Baldwin for me around the time of my seventh birthday, and my first teacher lived half a mile up the road.

Q: During a tour, when you perform the same repertoire frequently, how do you keep your interpretations fresh?

Llyr Williams: Whenever I revise a piece, I try and find at least five things to play slightly differently from the last time I looked at it. Obviously, this has to be done in a way which respects the idiom of the particular composer/period etc., otherwise it becomes arbitrary.

Q: If you weren’t a pianist, what other instrument would you play. And if you weren’t a musician, what other profession has piqued your interest?

Llyr Williams: I’ve never really thought about the first question. As for the second, maybe a record producer or landscape photographer.

Q: How are the pieces in this program tied together? How are they meaningful to you?

Llyr Williams: I don’t necessarily devise all my programs based on a particular link. I just tend to play the pieces that I enjoy playing and invite the listeners to make whatever connections they can between them afterwards.