The ever popular British pianist Peter Donohoe first shot to fame in 1982 when he was a Silver Medal Winner at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, and is noted for his performances of Liszt. He talks to us in advance of his return to Southbank centre on Tuesday 28 February.
What do you fear the most and why? The commercialisation and dumbing-down of culture, because in the long-term it will kill the very culture it is trying to popularise.
Which mobile number do you call the most? My wife and daughter in equal measure.
What or where is perfection? It isn’t, but Bach’s Fugues and Mozart’s melodic lines come close, as does Brahms’ sense of form.
Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) and why? The Saint – nostalgia.
What’s your favourite ritual? Porridge for breakfast.
What other talent or skill would you like to possess? To understand M-Theory (In theoretical physics, M-theory is an extension of string theory in which 11 dimensions are identified) and to be able to do simultaneous translation in Russian, French and Spanish.
Tell us about a special memory you have of Southbank Centre? After a performance with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1987, I raised the alarm and reported the theft of my car from the artist’s car park to the Metropolitan Police. I then discovered my train ticket in my pocket as I was being interviewed. The subsequent conversation with the police was something I will never forget, but I have nothing but praise for their understanding and humour over the situation.
If you could programme your ideal Southbank Centre show, which artists (living or dead) would you bring together? Sviatoslav Richter and Yevgeney Svetlanov.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you? To be open to the possibility of totally changing my mind.
What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection? Dinu Lipatti playing Chopin Waltzes.