Jamie’s Piano Pilgrimage Update

As our readers will already know, Jamie’s 3 part documentary for his show “Piano Pilgrimage” starts this month. With part 1 airing this Saturday 4th January at 10.30am on BBC Radio 4.

We can now confirm the full episode air dates with episode details, thanks to Folded Wing.

Episode 1 – Saturday 4th January 10.30am

In the first episode, Jamie begins by focusing on the piano itself and traces the story of an old abandoned piano that he rescued from a street corner. His journey leads him to the London Borough of Camden where piano historian Dr. Alastair Laurence takes him on a tour around the area that, only a century ago, was the world centre of the piano making industry.

After exploring some of the remaining piano retailers in the neighbourhood and playing London’s most out of tune piano, Jamie travels to the Yorkshire Dales to visit one of the few places left in the country where pianos are still being made from scratch.

At Newark College, Jamie talks to the course leader and students at the last piano tuning course in the country and learns some surprising facts about the physics of piano tuning.

Finally, Jamie visits the Brontë’s old family home to play on the sisters’ own piano that has been carefully restored.

Episode 2 – Saturday 11th January 10.30am

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In the second part of his pilgrimage, jazz pianist Jamie Cullum uncovers the central role pianos have played in our communities in the past, and demonstrates the instrument’s continued importance in many people’s lives today.

Beginning at the family home of the Brontë sisters in West Yorkshire, he learns what the instrument meant for women in terms of courtship and their potential for marriage in the 1800s.

Jamie then heads to a school in Northern Ireland where the piano still plays a key part in the girls’ education and wider social lives. After hearing a talented young pianist play, he performs an impromptu piece with the school choir around their grand piano.

Once a film student himself, Jamie looks at the position of the piano in silent cinema and learns about the resurgence of the phenomenon today at an open-air event in south London.

The pilgrimage eventually takes Jamie and his rescued old piano to a London pub to meet Chas and Dave. The three of them discuss the instrument’s contribution to pub culture, before Jamie joins the Rockney duo for a crowd-pleasing sing-a-long around the piano.

Episode 3 – Saturday 18th January 10.30am – Stay tuned for further info

Whilst we wait for Saturday to come around, here are some photos from the making of the show, courtesy of Folded Wing.


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