John Ogdon: the price to pay for genius

Sarah Kirkup Tue 27th May 2014

BBC Four presents a new documentary about the tormented British pianist

John Ogdon: tormented genius

John Ogdon: tormented pianist

A new documentary about John Ogdon (1937-89) has been commissioned by BBC Four. John Ogdon – Living with Genius is a profile of the great classical pianist, who won joint first prize (with Vladimir Ashkenazy) at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1962. Together with his wife Brenda Lucas, whom he met while they were students at the Royal Manchester College of Music, he performed as a piano duo at music festivals across the globe. In demand, too, as a soloist, he played more than 200 concerts a year, with exhaustion playing a significant role in his eventual mental breakdown.

The documentary, which features new access to footage from the 1962 Tchaikovsky Competition, as well as interviews with his wife, children and contemporaries, explores the price Ogdon had to pay for success – both psychological and personal. It’s followed by John Ogdon: A Musical Tribute, a concert performed by Peter Donohoe which was recorded earlier this year.

'John Ogdon – Living with Genius' is broadcast on BBC Four on Friday June 6 at 7.30pm

Read the Gramophone review of 'Piano Man: A Life of John Ogdon' in the June issue

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