John Thwaites is best known for his collaborative work with strings and as a founder member of the Primrose Piano Quartet. The Primrose have commissioned and recorded important new work by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies (for the Cheltenham Festival), Anthony Payne, Sally Beamish, Steve Goss and John Casken, and have recorded the earlier twentieth century repertoire for Meridian, including a Five Star Choice for Classic FM Magazine of Bridge and Howells. Their latest release is a Double CD of French repertoire and they have an annual Festival at West Meon in Hampshire.
John has worked with many leading cellists including Alexander Baillie, the late Johannes Goritzki, and Kirsten Jenson, appearing also with Jian Wang, Pierre Doumenge, Louise Hopkins, Adrian Brendel, Tim Lowe, Natalie Clein, Alexander Ivashkin, David Cohen, Oleg Kogan, Li Wei, Christoph Richter, and Gemma Rosefield. A string of recordings with Alexander Baillie for the SOMM label include a Double Five Star Chamber Music Choice of the Month for BBC Music Magazine (a double CD of British Cello Sonatas). The Complete Works for Cello and Piano by Sir Arnold Bax is their latest recording.
He has played quintets with the Martinu, Maggini, Dante (their recording of the Lyapunov Piano Sextet in B flat minor for the Dutton label was also a BBC Music Magazine Double Five Star Chamber Music Choice of the Month), Schidlof, Emperor and Aurea String Quartets. Theatrical collaborations have included work with Simon Callow, Tony Britton and Tim Piggott-Smith, and he has also performed with Michael Collins, Thomas Riebl, Tim Ridout, Toby Spence, James Gilchrist, Helen Charlston and Louise Winter.
His research focus is on Brahms. Op. 38, Op. 99 and Op. 121(transc. Shafran) were recorded with Alexander Baillie on pianos from the Gert Hecher Atelier. An article describing the recording of Brahms’s Piano Quartets on Period Pianos in Vienna with the Primrose Piano Quartet is listed on the Research Catalogue. Op. 120 with Dorothea Vogel has recently been released (something of their approach can be divined from the youtube video Brahms Re-imagined). Working with figures such as Clive Brown, Anna Scott, Claire Holden and Kate Bennett-Wadsworth John is developing an Historically Informed Brahms pianism particularly suited to the straight-strung pianos of Brahms’s time.
John studied with Harvey Dagul, Sulamita Aronovsky, Renna Kellaway, Paul Berkowitz, Martino Tirimo and Christian Blackshaw.
Broadcasts include BBC Radio Three Lunchtimes and frequent appearances for “In Tune”. He has also appeared on Bulgarian television (with The Music Group of Manchester) and made radio broadcasts in Eire and Germany.
After posts at Christ’s Hospital, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Purcell School he is currently Course Director of Cadenza International Summer Music School and Head of the Department of Keyboard Studies at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.