ABOUT TOM BELL
Tom Bell is one of the UK’s most exciting young talents. Although only in his twenties, he has already made a name for himself as an outstanding pianist and is often described as “a young Jools Holland”. His music reflects influences of Daniel Barenboim, Vladimir Horowitz and Keith Emerson, through to more modern artists such Jools Holland and Axel Zwingenberger.
Tom combines dazzling, virtuoso classical with thundering, foot stomping boogie woogie. Formidable technically, his intense and creative approach to music is demonstrated in his ability to produce inspired works across the whole of the Blues/Classical spectrum. Whether performing a Chopin Ballade or some of his excellent original material, his command over both genres demonstrates a unique spin on the traditional concert experience, setting him apart as an exceptional performer and boogie pianist without parallel.
In August 2016, Tom released his acclaimed debut album, “Face To Face”, which features a unique combination of classical and blues, including some of Tom’s excellent, original compositions. The CD has attracted attention from some of the world’s leading critical sources as well as celebrity personalities, including, International Piano Magazine, Fanfare Magazine (USA) and Blues Matters Magazine. Fanfare described Bell’s playing as “balm to the soul… delivered by a young man of much talent”; and of his his recording of Chopin’s fourth Ballade, “a beautifully nuanced reading, incredibly tender at heart; yet he has all the technical arsenal at his command”. In the January/Feb 2017 edition of International Piano Magazine, Tom’s album is featured alongside Angela Hewitt OBE, Maurizio Pollini, Danlil Trifonov and Emil Gilels. The magazine’s critics were fascinated by Tom’s unique combination of genres as described his album as, “an intriguing disc, which at first glance looks as if it shouldn’t work, but does… Well recorded, this is something of a treat”. Impressed by his boogie playing, they also wrote, “the frivolity is infectious, the atmosphere closer to a live performance than the studio; but underlying all of this is Bell’s rock solid sense of rhythm”. Over the coming years, Tom is expected to establish a reputation as the UK’s No.1 Blues/Boogie Pianist.
Most recently, Tom performed at the Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham as part of the end of season international classics concert series.
Tom grew up in Southwell, Nottinghamshire and began playing the piano at the age of 7 but showed little interest in piano practice to begin with. However, at 13, he took up lessons with Simon Freeman who went on to introduce him to the music of Jools Holland and The Daniel Smith Blues Band, amongst others. Tom very quickly developed a keen interest in this type of music and went away and discovered he was able to learn the tracks from their CDs, note perfect, purely by ear/listening.
At age 15, Tom was listed on the National Register for the Gifted and Talented and was already playing beyond Grade 8 performance standard. After a brief phonecall, he was invited to play for Daniel Smith during his Nottingham tour. Smith was amazed by Tom’s rare musical ability, as he played back to him several tracks from his album. He described Tom as a teenage prodigy and “the future”, inviting him back to perform a support act during one of his concerts. He then went on to play duets with Daniel in concert on several other occassions during his teenage years.
Despite all this, in 2008, Tom then moved to Loughborough and gave up music altogether for 4 years in order to pursue his athletic ambitions in the Triple Jump, having competed at National Standard as a junior. During this time, he studied English Literature at Loughborough University and received a BA (Hons) degree.
Two years after graduating, unable to resist his desire to play the piano for any longer, Tom studied classical piano, to complement his boogie playing, with Simon Freeman and Royal College of Music’s Graham Fitch. With an equal love for both classical and blues/boogie woogie he made a bold decision to include both contrasting genres in his concert programme. At this moment in time, he is the only UK Pianist to do this.
FACE TO FACE
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