Pianist

Sasha Valeri Millwood MA (Cantab.) MMus (GSMD)

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About Sasha Valeri

Sasha Valeri Millwood MA (Cantab.) MMus (GSMD)'s profile picture
Pianist
Brentwood
Public liability insurance
Verified profile
researcher, musicologist, music theorist, composer-contrapuntist-pianist, classical improviser, accompanist

A graduate of the University of Cambridge (where one of the papers for which I studied was the Advanced Keyboard Skills paper) and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama (where I studied Interpretation through Improvisation with Dr David Dolan for two years), I am an experienced soloist, chamber musician, improviser, accompanist, pit-band player, and répétitur. I have worked with musicians of various abilities (from the complete beginner to Andrew Kennedy) and in various contexts (including examinations, professional recitals, competitions, auditions, and functions that require background music). In many cases, I have had to sight-read a part, so I know how to deliver good results in situations with limited/no rehearsal time. I am a member of the Incorporated Society of Musicians. I can improvise elaborations and interludes in various styles, either as a soloist or in collaboration with other performers. Given sufficient preparation time, I can also realise figured bass (including on harpsichord or chamber organ), and even transpose works of a reasonably tonal character. That said, I hasten to add that (unsurprisingly, seeing as I am a composer myself) I would be delighted to play more modern repertoire, too. I have experience accompanying a range of instruments, voices, and repertoire, including atonal and serial music. A sympathetic chamber musician, I prioritise listening and maintaining good ensemble over burying one’s head in the notes: a good accompanist covers up the other player’s slips and mistakes in performance. However, having worked as a répétitur on several operatic productions, I am also familiar with the contrasting demands of that role, where the priority is to follow the conductor and furnish clear cues for the singers. Please note that, at the present time, I do *not* apply to listings on the "Jobs board"; if you are interested in engaging me, you need to contact me specifically, using the "Send enquiry" button.

Musicianship
Genres:
Classical, Baroque, Contemporary classical, Musical theatre, Opera, Avant garde, Experimental
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Instruments:
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Event types:
Concert, Wedding, Funeral / Memorial service, Private event, Corporate event, Theatre / Show, Birthday party, Christmas party
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Other skills:
Composer, Orchestrator, Arranger, Transcription, Fluent improviser, Fluent sight-reader, Repetiteur, Perfect pitch, Instrumental teaching, Theory teaching, Composition teaching, Musicologist
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Customer questions

What if my timings change after I've booked you?

Please tell me as soon as possible, even if not 100% sure about the need to change timings. I will endeavour to accommodate changes, provided they are amenable to my diary. There may be a surcharge, especially if accommodating your changes would incur financial loss or further expense on my part (e.g.: amending an advance train ticket or hotel booking).

Can you provide an iPod/DJ service before and between your sets?

I can improvise interludes at the pianoforte between each work on the programme/set. As a pianist, I can play continuously for over an hour. SInce my offering is based on live performance, I do not provide a DJ service, since that is no longer live! However, I am happy to liaise with the other performer(s) and/or DJs you engage (if applicable).

How much time do you need to set up?

For solo-pianoforte engagements: if you have a pianoforte (with a stool) at the venue, and the instrument is not locked/covered, I could, in theory, just turn up and start playing immediately. Ideally, I would have a few minutes alone with the pianoforte to warm-up and test the acoustic of the venue.

If I have a piano at my venue, are you happy to perform on that?

Yes (in fact, this is my preferred option). To obtain the most musically satisfying results, please ensure that it is in working order. Ideally, you should arrange to have it tuned shortly before the event (at a top concert venue, the pianoforte is tuned before every performance using it, but I appreciate that this would be beyond the budget of most places).

Can I pick the songs you play from the set list?

Yes, of course you can (but please be aware that, for civil wedding/partnership ceremonies, you may be subject to legal restrictions precluding religious music). I am also happy to play music not already in my wide-ranging repertoire, as long as you can provide sheet music (preferably in advance, but I am always up for sight-reading).

Are you able to bring your own piano or keyboard?

Ideally, I prefer to play on a working acoustic pianoforte provided by the venue. However, if that is not available, I can bring an electronic substitute, although this will be less musically satisfying and will incur a surcharge to reflect the time and cost of transport and setup.

Can you learn song requests before the event?

Yes, as long as you can provide sheet music in hard copy (although I may be able to make a plausible reconstruction from recordings!). You can post it in advance or bring it on the day -- as an experienced sight-reader, I am always up for the challenge of playing unfamiliar sheet music with no notice (I do this a lot when accompanying auditions). Try me!

What do your clients love most about your performances?

Among the most common themes in the praise I have received from clients are the creativity, excitement, and versatility of my performances, which often include music they have never heard before, as well as improvised interludes. As an accompanist, I have often been praised for the confidence and reliability I project, even when sight-reading.

Which venues have you performed at in the past?

As a pianist, I have performed at the Wigmore Hall, the Royal College of Music, Blüthner showrooms (London), West Road Concert Hall (Cambridge), Chelmsford Cathedral, and many other venues in London and farther afield.

Which artists have you been most influenced by?

As an intellectual and artist of independent and open-minded spirit, I have been influenced (and continue to be influenced) by many artists (whether contemporary or from the past), but endeavour to be original in my own artistic praxis. You can get an idea of some of these influences from my biography (too many to list individually here).

What is the most high profile gig you've performed?

I have performed twice at the Wigmore Hall (and had a composition premièred there on a separate occasion).

Prices

Note: prices may vary based on travel distance. For an exact quote, click “Check availability”.

Standard Prices
Performance durationPrice
Short performance (up to 15 min)£225
Up to 1 hour£225
Up to 2 hours£225
Up to 3 hours£225
Packages
Accompaniment for amateur events (<1 hour)
For accompanying at examinations, competitions, auditions, amateur performances, and amateur recordings, provided that the duration (including warm-ups, sound checks, &c.) does not exceed one hour
£45

Reviews

From customers:

Benjamin H, 5 years ago

[Millwood] improvised links between the pieces; apparently a common practice in the 18th century. I wonder if this could be revived in the 21st century – I'm a big fan of improvisation.

Jonny V, 3 years ago

I fondly remember listening to your improvisation at Gregor's Nae Ball back in 2014 [sic -- it was actually 2013]

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