Concert pianist James Rhodes to play in Southmead Hospital's Brunel building

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

St George’s Bristol has arranged for renowned pianist James Rhodes to perform to staff and patients at Southmead Hospital at 3pm on Thursday 15 October.

St George’s is committed to bringing the world-class artists that perform at the concert hall closer to local audiences, particularly to inspire young musicians.

St George’s ‘Music Mentors’ scheme has recently offered mentoring opportunities to young musicians by Julian Lloyd Webber, Xuefei Yang and Craig Ogden, with Natalie Clein confirmed to teach a master-class to Bristol’s young cellists in November.

The world-class music venue just off Park Street regularly promotes concerts from some of the world’s most respected and high profile professional musicians.

James Rhodes will be performing to a sell-out audience on Friday 16 October at 7.30pm.

From championing music education in schools to sharing how music has helped him manage his own mental health problems, James Rhodes is a brave and inspirational character, and a fascinating performer.

His best-selling autobiography Instrumental was released this year and he appeared on Radio 3’s In Tune on 25 September as part of Welcome Collection’s Why Music? Weekend. 

He is touring the country this Autumn.

James has also made two documentaries for Channel 4, Don’t Stop The Music and Notes From The Inside.

North Bristol NHS Trust, which runs Southmead Hospital, bought its Steck Boudoir Grand in June after a painting that was too large to be displayed in the hospital was sold at auction.

The piano sits in the atrium of the Brunel building and as the result of an appeal volunteer pianists play in the hospital entertaining and distracting patients and visitors. James Rhodes is their most high profile volunteer to date!

The Trust’s Fresh Arts programme, supported by Southmead Hospital Charity, enhances the patient experience at Southmead and Cossham Hospitals.

Its aim is to create healthcare environments that are welcoming, reassuring, stimulating and personal and that reflect the needs and values of the local community.

The current live music programme forms part of this and aims to entertain patients and staff, provide a focal and talking point, help create a more relaxed atmosphere, create a positive healing environment to support the recovery process and support hospital staff and patient wellbeing by decreasing levels of stress and anxiety.

Chief Executive of St George’s Bristol, Suzanne Rolt said: “When I read that the Fresh Arts Programme had acquired a new piano at Southmead Hospital, I felt it was a perfect opportunity for St George’s to step forward and do something really special for the local community.  

"We have a thriving education programme and a Music Mentors scheme that regularly takes world-class artists out to schools around Bristol, but this is something new for us. 

"James Rhodes is an exceptional artist who really connects with audiences.  He’s returning to St George’s for a sell-out concert but this is a chance for him to meet with an audience that might not otherwise be able to get to our hall. 

"We’re hugely grateful to James for his warm and enthusiastic response to this invitation and, for the people at Southmead, I think it’s going to be an unforgettable moment!”

James Rhodes said: “This is such a brilliant thing to be a part of and I'm thrilled to have been asked to play.

"I'm a big fan of taking music into environments where it may not otherwise exist and this is the perfect opportunity to do just that. I hope Chopin would've approved.”

Fresh Arts Programme Manager, Ruth Sidgwick, said: “What a thrill for NBT to have James Rhodes playing at Southmead Hospital! 

"We have a wonderful range of talented volunteers playing for our patients and staff, but to have an international concert pianist playing here too is a massive honour and excitement and a huge treat for anyone who will be in the building on Thursday afternoon – I can’t wait to hear James’ playing in the atrium of the Brunel building!”