Crítica al CD “Américas Sin Fronteras” por Ray Picot. ILAMS #AmericasWithoutFrontiers

Su impacto es inmediato y positivo

En octubre pasado Clara Rodríguez tocó un interesante programa donde exploró la música del Caribe, dos meses después acaba de lanzar su última grabación, Americas Without Frontiers Américas Sin Fronteras (Nimbus Alliance NI6346) que nos lleva por el área explorada en el concierto y más allá.

Aunque solo he tenido el CD muy poco tiempo, su impacto es inmediato y positivo,  ya he explorado la discografía de esta pianista, pero debo decir que este álbum representa una experiencia completamente nueva.

Muy imaginativa, Clara Rodríguez sustenta el álbum con algunos arreglos idiomáticos que incorporan sutiles percusiones. Estos aparecen en diferentes lugares a través del mismo, aunque nunca afectan, sino que resaltan el interfaz único de la música de arte sudamericana y caribeña y los estilos más populares.

Escuchar a Nazareth primero en piano solo y luego con la percusión es una idea inspirada, uno se pregunta ¿por qué esto no se hace con más frecuencia?. Si bien hay algunos nombres de compositores que no son familiares, la elección de la música es perfecta, ya que un ritmo de baile se desliza en otro.

También hay conceptos extramusicales detrás del álbum, que son interesantes y muestran lo bien conectada que está la Sra. Rodríguez con el mundo en el que se creó esta música.

En este álbum se hace una conexión muy importante con el centenario del venezolano Antonio Estévez en 2016, con las maravillosamente idiomáticas 17 Pieces infantiles, que le valieron a el compositor el Premio Nacional de Música en 1957. Estas son piezas cortas fascinantes que suenan seductoramente simples en las manos de Clara Rodriquez, ¡lo cual estoy seguro de que no es así! Las piezas individuales exhiben muchos cambios de humor, respirando un aire indígena distintivo, pero siempre melodioso e interesante.

Clara las toca con afecto y virtuosismo consumado y representan algunos de los mejores trabajos del compositor para el piano, es sorprendente que no se les conozca mejor.

Otro punto a destacar fue la selección de 5 estudios de Ariel Ramírez, que, como su maravillosa Alfonsina y el mar, evocan sin esfuerzo el área del Río de la Plata.En todo el álbum, las piezas familiares respiran un aire nuevo en un entorno transformado y con interpretaciones llenas de tanta devoción.

En resumen, es un disco para disfrutar y saborear por los aficionados y los recién llegados a un repertorio fascinante, del cual Clara Rodríguez es la campeona indiscutida.”

En resumen, es un disco para disfrutar y saborear por los aficionados y los recién llegados a un repertorio fascinante, del cual Clara Rodríguez es la campeona indiscutida.Clarines_blue_wednesday

Ray Picot. ILAMS Ibero Latin-American Music Society. London 2017



Concert and CD REVIEWS

Clara Banner




Photography by Antolin Sanchez



“In a packed Saint John’s Smith Square, the soloist in Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto was Clara Rodriguez who gave a flowing and committed account of the demanding solo part shrewdly revealing the works rhetorical contrasts in playing that was by turns brisk, lively and sympathetic.

Robert Matthew-Walker. Musical Opinion 2007



“This music needs an empathetic spirit to show it to its best advantage and Clara Rodriguez provides performances of alluring vivacity allied to that most essential of requisites-CHARM.  Highly recommended” Jeremy Nicholas. Gramophone Magazine


Photography by Sogand Bahram


“Clara Rodriguez at the Wigmore

Most of what Clara Rodriguez played to a full Wigmore Hall on 20 December was marked by the sheer beauty of her tone.


Having tuned herself in with the sixth of Mompou’s Cançon i dans she gave a wonderfully clear and precise account of Mozart’s Sonata in B flat major K 333. In parallel to this the Polonaise-Fantaisie, one of Chopin’s most rarefied works, was led into with the B major Nocturne Op.62 No 1. This latter, with its long skeins of trills, elaborate decorations and fairly radical harmonic departures, is itself a demanding task yet Clara Rodriguez understood Chopin’s music extremely well…deep and heart felt performances.


This seemed equally true of the South American composers who filled the recital’s second half. Bagatelles by the Argentinian Rosas Cobian were colourful and pianistically resourceful. From Brazil, Villa-Lobos’ Dansa do Indio Branco was in contrast insistently rhythmic, even noisy. It was back to colour and sensitivity in Antonio Lauro’s Canción and Seis por derecho in which Rodriguez’s playing was especially refined. The concluding piece also a Joropo, the most characteristic dance of Venezuela, was the rhythmic Zumba que zumba which is dedicated to the recitalist by Federico Ruiz.” Max Harrison. Musical Opinion.

“Clara Rodriguez is an excellent pianist with vitality, clean technique and command of tonal nuance ”

Lionel Salter. Gramophone Magazine


“Her Mozart KV 333 was a demonstration of virtuosity and brilliancy within a strict gallant style.Her version of Chopin’s Polonaise-Fantaisie (1846) was animated by a genuine dramatic sense as well as being instinctive and spectacular



Venezuela” on Gramophone Magazine October 2010

Astor Adriana, Bor Fuga, Juangriego. Camacaro Diversión, Don Luis. Castellanos Mañanita caraqueña.Diaz Caballo viejo. Escobar Noche de luna en Altamira. Fernandez Diablo suelto.Gutiérrez Alma llanera. Laguna Creo que te quiero. Lauro Canción, Vals criollo, Seis por derecho. Núñez Retrato de Ramón Delgado Palacios. Pacheco El cumaco de San Juan. PaesanoPajarillo, El porfiao. Delgado Palacios La dulzura de tu rostro. Ruiz Aliseo, Zumba que zumba. Teruel Destilado de vals. Vollmer Jarro mocho, El atravesado. Yanez Viajera del río

Clara Rodríguez pf Nimbus Alliance NI6122 (74′ . DDD)


Vladimir  Ashkenazy and Clara Rodriguez at BBC Radio 3

“Dances that show that there is more to Venezuela than El Sistema… Their harmonic language is conservative, ranging from mid-19th century European, highly reminiscent of Gottschalk, through to the jazz-inflected idiom of Antonio Carlos Jobim, with frequently maddeningly catchy melodies and rhythms that are almost all dance -based.

The music might be undemanding to hear but it is certainly not undemanding to play; and, as with her previous engaging disc of her compatriot Teresa Carreño, Clara Rodriguez makes the most of her innate feel for the exuberant and languorous, dispatching the toe-tapping cross-rhythms with panache and a light touch. Almost any of these, but particularly Paesano’s Pajarillo, Bor’s Fuga and Fernández El diablo suelto, would make a refreshing encore… This is a treasure chest from which to cherry-pick.The piano has been vividly recorded at Nimbus Wyastone Concert Hall … Miss Rodriguez’s chatty 12-page booklet with her enchantingly idiosyncratic English” Jeremy Nicholas


“Clara Rodríguez. The Purcell Room

A feast of Venezuelan dances is not the usual piano recital fare, yet with just the right balance of ebullience and excitement, as performed by Clara Rodriguez, it enthralled a large audience of all ages, at the Purcell Room on March 22. Caracas-born and based in London, Clara Rodriguez is ideally suited to this repertoire, which straddles the line between light music and miniature character pieces. With her genial introductions she took us on a fascinating journey through unfamiliar territory, much of which she has recorded, most recently in the album VENEZUELA (Nimbus Alliance NI 6122). Her selection of some twenty-two joropos, waltzes and merengues, illustrated their distinctive stylistic amalgam of Americo-Indian, Latin syncopation and indigenous Venezuelan dances through vivid syncopation and cross rhythms. Reading from the manuscript scores, since much of the material awaits publication, Rodriguez gracefully managed the panoply of pianistic textures, polytonality harmonic surprises, deep bass melodies and sometimes soupy nightclub chromaticism, imbuing each simple form with its unique élan. As well as their compositions, even the names of the composers radiated musicality, as in the sentimental lyricism of Pajarillo by Luisa Elena Paesano (b. 1946) which opened the programme and a nocturne by Maria Luisa Escobar (1903-1985), contrasted by a brighter neoclassicism in film music by Federico Ruiz (b.1948), whose piano concertos Rodriguez has performed. More intriguingly modern dissonance in the waltz Adriana by Miguel Astor (b. 1958) linked him to the better-known Antonio Lauro (1917-1986) whose style, here shown to great effect in three pieces, with hints of Debussy, especially in the joropo Seis por derecho. A waltz by Ricardo Teruel (b. 1956) emulated modern jazz, in contrast to the more Lisztian romanticism of Federico Vollmer, Pedro Elías Gutiérrez (1870-1954) and Luis Laguna (1926-1984). Throughout, Rodriguez, bedecked in her golden Venezuelan dress, elicited from her instrument Chopinesque lyricism and caressing tone. Amidst such a feast of delicacies, two stood out for their sparkling virtuosity and sheer sense of fun, Joropo by Moises Moleiro (1904-1979) and El Diablo Suelto by Heraclio Fernández (1851-1886) which pulled no punches in piano panache, while two more delicious encores by Ruiz and Paesano, brought this entertaining programme full circle”.

Malcom Miller. Musical Opinion. London 2010


What a treat was in store for the gratifyingly large audience at the Purcell Room last autumn. There was a pianist of rare quality to meet us with grace of demeanour and palpable pleasure in her very special brand of musicianship. Her name? Clara Rodríguez; not a newcomer, but one whose return to the South Bank had been rightly anticipated with eagerness by former admirers. And why is she so special? She can and does play softly, with a range of nuance between pianissimo and mezzoforte of rare subtlety, of the kind which makes the music steal upon the ear like vibrations from another world. We heard Schubert’s Sonata in B flat D960, played as the essay in quietude which it surely is: all four movements differentiated in the most perceptive of ways, and the whole producing an unforgettable spell of unsullied beauty. This came after an opening of a group of so-called Children’s Pieces by the Venezuelan composer Antonio Estévez music of character and charm. Later we heard Poema Singelo by Villa-Lobos, a beautiful study in shifting sonorities. Finally came a riveting account of Chopin Sonata in B minor Op.58 magical in its unforced poetic feeling and clarity of articulation.”

Geoffrey Crankshaw. Musical Opinion. London

Venezuelan Pianist Clara Rodríguez Performs in Washington

“Rodríguez played Liszt B minor sonata with breath and power” The Independent. London

2008-06-27 18.44.11

VENEZUELA: Clara Rodriguez Nimbus Alliance NI 6122

Classical Music Magazine

“Pianist Rodriguez’s latest excursion through the music of her homeland encompasses 25 works from 18 composers, so one expects sweet little lollipops.

There are plenty of them, but waltzes from the likes of Federico Vollmer or Pedro Elias Gutierrez have a melodic subtlety to delight Debussy. Federico Ruiz offers jazzy urbanity and virtuoso display abounds, admirably presented by Rodriguez.”


CLara Rodriguez and actor Trader Faulkner at the Southbank Centre -London

“Clara Rodriguez again filled the Wigmore Hall on 27 June and the quality of the performance made this seem unsurprising. While producing the most beautiful and rich piano tones, her Albéniz pieces were romantically played, stressing the harmonic adventures (Almería), elusive reverie (Evocación) and making us aware of the echoes of ancient Andalusian cante hondo (EL Albaicín). The Venezuelan songs and dances were piquant, lively
and engagingly played…a commanding performance of the Chopin Ballade No 4 Op. 52 as well as the Allegro maestoso of the Sonata Op. 58 No 3 with a fuller response to the very different characters of the Molto vivace and the Largo. The lyrical beauty of this latter was finely nuanced and in the closing Presto the rhythm surged most excitingly”
 Max Harrison, Musical opinion, London 2008

Foto de Ben Johnson. North Norfolk
“A sparkling partnership, with a scorching repertoire from a really romantic pianist, Clara Rodriguez, balanced by Karin Fernald’s cool approach, narrating the life of the great Venezuelan pianist Teresa Carreño, so that we not only get the facts, but the feeling that she has been round the back and seen the funny side of the storm. Fresh air blowing through the hothouse”. Irving Wardle on Liszt in petticoats, The Times


Clara Rodriguez and Friends | Southbank Centre: Purcell Room | Concert review | September 13th, 2011
London-based Venezuelan pianist Clara Rodriguez and friends brought the heady and exotic rhythms and sounds of South America to a windy Southbank in a delightfully relaxed concert of chamber music at the Purcell Room.
Clara opened the concert with a passionate and dramatic performance of Heitor Villa-Lobos’ ‘Impressoes seresteira’ (Impressions of a serenade musician), the second movement of his Ciclo Brasileiro , and a piece which suggests a “latin Rachmaninov” with its sweeping climaxes and soulful melodies. Afterwards, the friends, all fellow Venezuelans, joined Clara on the stage – flautist Efrain Oscher, guitarist Christobal Soto, bass player Gabriel Leon, and percussionist Wilmer Sifontes – and Clara explained that the pieces to be performed would take us on a musical journey “from Cuba to Argentina”. With evocative titles such as ‘A fuego lento’, ‘Mananita pueblerina’, ‘O voo mosca’ (“the flying fly”), and ‘Romance de Barrio’, and emcompassing genres such as Samba, Tango and Merengue, the music was by turns lively and foot-tapping, lilting and dancing, plaintive and haunting, humorous and witty, earthy and energetic. As the musicians, clearly good friends and music partners, settled into the performance, there was a wonderful sense of a shared experience: this was music for friends, performed by friends, amongst friends. The audience responded with enthusiasm, cheering and whistling, clapping loudly after each piece.


Clara Rodriguez, Gabriell León, Efrain Oscher, Cristóbal Soto and Wilmer Sifontes at Bolivar Hall -London

From the tragic Argentinian samba ‘Alfonsina y el mar’ (Ariel Ramirez), a tribute to Alfonsina Stormi, who committed suicide in 1938 by jumping into the Mar del Plata, through a spirited ‘Joropo’ (a Venezuelan folk waltz) by Moises Moleiro, ‘Caramba’, a tender and emotional “protest song” by a jilted lover, to Piazzola’s iconic piano tango ‘Adios Nonino’, written as a tribute to his dead grandfather, and a rousing and entertaining closing number ‘Capullito de Aleli’, by Puerto Rican Rafael Hernandez, the music, beautifully and expressively played, vividly brought to life the colours, sights and sounds of South America. At times, we could easily have been enjoying a chilled mint tea in a café in Havana in the 1930s, taking in the potent and emotionally charged atmosphere of a Buenos Aires tango bar, or enjoying a lazy Caipirinha overlooking the beach at Rio. Infectious syncopated rhythms from the percussion, the haunting strains of the flute, the flamenco-like strum of the guitar or mandolin, an elegant and vibrant piano, which, despite being a full-size concert Steinway, never dominated, this was music to savour – smoky and sensual, excitable, racy, heartfelt, hypnotic, buoyant and vibrant. For a few hours, at least, it was as if we were all on holiday together.
Frances Wilson


“South American Belle” A portrait of Clara Rodriguez by Bill Newman. (Excerpt) Music & Vision

“This whole business of placing a concert pianist in a special category may spell taboo to piano buffs, but the thoroughly vivacious Venezuelan-born Clara Rodriguez has several unusual slants to her artistry. And a growing number of appetizing programmes, all containing intriguing titles to whet people’s appetites and dissuade them from returning home afterwards…When I first heard her play it was at the Purcell Room of London’s South Bank…the challenge was there to create unusual colour contrasts between the usual classical fare of Liszt, in his famous B minor Sonata, and some exotic output of Moises Moleiro and Federico Ruiz, both represented on ASV CDs. Gorgeously dressed to match the occasion, Rodriguez’s sensuous playing did everything to vitalize the constant admiration of senior music critic G. Crankshaw, and brought forth much praise from my fond colleague, Phyllis Sellick.


The Liszt on this occasion was persuasively different to artists unleashing tonal forces, their portentous architectural exaggerations pummelling the listener’s senses into a state of nullified submission. It was reflective and tender, each new subject and harmonic strand treated with natural respect, and a visionary understanding of their correct place within the whole. One didn’t require to express plaudits following it, but just to give thanks for revealing the music’s inner message…”

Bill Newman



“The performer’s qualities excel in this representative selection of Chopin’s output.

Clara’s unique style totally captures Chopin’s pianism; she is sufficiently precise and meticulous to happily give way to expression, variety and the aesthetic brilliancy that belong to this music. From the opening of the Third Sonata the perfect control of Chopin’s language is felt, in the chiaroscuro which navigates through the two Mazurkas, in the highly sensitive rubati of one of the best ever readings of the Fourth Ballade, in the freedom and fluency of the scales and melismas of the Nocturne Op. 62 No 1, in the just gradation of tone that takes us to the outburst of chords in the Barcarolle Op. 60, my favorite piece of the CD. There is a careful and abundant atmospheric offering in the piece that closes the recital, the Polonaise-fantaisie Op. 61. Rodríguez adds to the Polish eloquence reflective passages, density, and mellowness of tint. All constructed with feminine delicacy.” Einar Goyo Ponte. El Nacional.


“On her disc of the Piano Music of Moises Moleiro his compatriot Clara Rodriguez plays both sensitively and rousingly. Of all the outstanding discs of this week, this one is my favourite for its fresh novelty.”

Cork Examiner. Ireland


“Moises Moleiro’s music is defended with enthusiasm and considerable grace by Clara Rodriguez. She has a highly articulate touch and a fine control of dynamics that are a pleasure to hear. A charming choice of programme that may prove even more interesting for introducing a very talented young artist. This CD is as vibrant and colourful as anyone could wish.” CD Review


“The Venezuelan Teresa Carreño (born in Caracas 1853; died in New York 1917) was, with Clara Schumann, the most celebrated female pianist of the 19th century. Most of these works are self-evidently morceaux for the salon, but superior specimens of the genre, requiring a pianism above the ordinary and showing a complete technical command.

Clara Rodriguez is a sympathetic and enthusiastic interpreter. It’s a sure and agile touch. She invests all this highly agreeable music with vibrant life. The recording is superb.”


Teresa Carreño Piano works. Caracas MMG


“What a Super performance that was! Those who came to see a virtuoso, were well served: they got a programme dense of very challenging pieces, a real ‘tour de force’ relentlessly unfolding before their eyes/ears. And those who came eager to catch a glimpse of Art, the Ineffable, the unspoken and unquantifiable, they got it too: a heartfelt performance delivered through a magic touch of limitless expressive power.”

Roberto Filoseta. Composer.

 El Cuarteto y yo 09 332


ERNESTO LECUONA. Nimbus Alliance.” This disc concentrates mainly on works by his Cuban and Spanish roots, encompassing influences from African and gypsy music. They are steeped in lyricism and mood. Phrases are vastly spaced, creating highly effective picture painting. On this CD, pianist Clara Rodriguez brings everything out with a great sense of mood and timing. This music is extremely enjoyable, very well constructed and, above all, wonderfully sunny. And on this disc it’s also very well played.” PIANIST MAGAZINE – SELECTED DISCS.


With the fitzrovia musicians playing Mozart Piano Concerto conducted by Michael Collins

“Her playing is an overwhelming whirl of intelligent and deeply controlled sounds led by an outstanding technique. She has a transcendental and volcanic temperament” Intermezzo. Paris


 “This engaging personality played at the Purcell Room with style and address, bravura and startling accomplishment. I would like to see her lavish talent spread on, for example, Albeniz’s Iberia Suite” Musical Opinion. Geoffrey Cranckshaw


Playing Schumann Piano Concerto with the Simón Bolívar Orchestra under Jordi Mora

“Three exquisite encores followed Clara Rodriguez’s distinguished interpretation of Mozart’s KV467, all sparkling and brilliant and received with strong applause. Her performance of the concerto was no less impressive, especially the famous Andante, played with a beautiful cantabile and rare emotion” La Press. Tunis

“Clara Rodriguez enthralled her audience” -Headline-   Financial Telegraph. Delhi


 “Clara Rodriguez plays the music from South America like no other pianist, with a marvellous sense of phrasing, poetry and sparkling dynamism. This music belongs to her” Arioso International. Saint Quentin. France


“Clara Rodriguez knitted a watercolour-tone landscape that resulted in a privileged performance of the Reynaldo Hahn Piano Concerto in E major. She defined beautifully the composer’s sensitive and lyrical profile with pearly articulation and just the right kind of virtuoso touch” El Mundo. Caracas

“Clara Rodriguez’s opening with Scarlatti sonatas showed immediately the subtlety of colour and phrasing which are a revelation in all her playing. She has the winning personality of a born communicator, her rapport with the audience is totally engaging. In a word: she has charisma Roger Oliver. Kensington Arts

“A real artist and a thorough pianist. She has the secret of making the piano sing. Her playing has rare elegance, poetic lyricism and a brilliant technique” Cahier de critic. ParisDSC_9316

“Her chiselled, exquisitely sculpted notes, the intensity and passion she imbued her performance with were the key to the unqualified success of her concert where she revealed to the many music buffs present the richness and complexity of the classical Venezuelan music.” The Pioneer. Delhi

“The renowned pianist Clara Rodriguez” Time-Out Magazine. London

“The extraordinary pianist Clara Rodriguez demonstrated her excellence not only thanks to her clear and precise technique but also in the expression of her feelings and sympathy for the music she played” El Gusano de Luz. Caracas.


“Moonlight Sonata by candlelight” at St. Martin-in-the-Fields -London

Tanguitis” quite literally translated as “illness of the Tango” proved to be an ailment worth experiencing. The Purcell Room filled with recognizable symptoms of Hispanic rhythms, sensual harmonies and folk influences as Rodriguez introduced the first of the seven-featured composers for the evening. The performance opened with two works by Venezuelan composer and icon of her time Teresa Carreño (1853-1917). Both taxing pieces with a tendency to leap between extreme registers were performed with agility; leaving the listener quite possibly thinking more than two hands were at the piano. Rodriguez’s performance was particularly refreshing in the choice of repertoire. The collection of works leaned heavily towards South American and Spanish composers, but with a mix of traditional and contemporary influences. From the humour and sensitivity of Rugeles’ Tanguitis to the sparseness and atonality of Cobian’s    Voices:  2, Rodriguez’s execution of this diverse range of compositional styles was deft and enlightening. The movement generated by the alternating rhythms and the humour of the pieces (which Rodriguez is so adept at drawing to the surface) were accomplished seamlessly.


Clara Rodriguez with Nené Quintero and Edwin Arellano at St. James’s Chruch Piccadilly

Her playing has a freshness and intensity that conjures up the evocative nature of these works, whilst never leaving authenticity behind…”Halenka Bednar. LondonNet Classical

2008-06-27 20.47.34

Signing autographs at Wigmore Hall

“Play the last track on this disc for a friend or significant other. Probability of recognition is high, for it is an all-time favorite hit, Malagueña, from the Suite Andalucia. Ask who wrote it, though, and you’re more apt to draw a blank. The answer is Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona, who was born just outside Havana, and lived from 1895 to 1963. In his day, Lecuona was an immensely successful musician and a quite prolific composer. He wrote literally hundreds of works, mostly for piano, but also songs and zarzuelas. He graduated in 1912 from the Havana Conservatory, and in 1916 came to New York, where he appeared in recitals as an accomplished virtuoso pianist. Word traveled west, and by the 1940s Lecuona was on the payrolls of MGM and 20th Century Fox writing scores for Hollywood films. He won an Academy Award in 1942 for his song Always in My Heart. Back in Cuba, he founded the Havana Symphony Orchestra and a ballroom dance ensemble he named The Lecuona Cuban Boys Band.


Spanish, Latin American, and Cuban melody and dance rhythms are at the core of much of his music, but his education at the Havana Conservatory was a formal European one. He knew music history and his predecessors. Córdoba from the Suite Andalucia, for example, vacillates somewhere between a Schubert impromptu and a Brahms rhapsody. Ante el Escorial begins like Debussy’s La cathédrale engloutie, and soon takes on the character of Liszt. There is not a single item on this well-filled disc that is less than captivating, and most are beautiful precious gems.


Pianist Clara Rodriguez began her studies in Caracas, where at sixteen she won a scholarship from the Venezuelan Arts Council to continue her studies at London’s Royal College of Music. She has been busy ever since, concertizing widely, and in 1993 founding the Teatro San Martin de Caracas Music Festival. This is a thoroughly enjoyable CD, and the sound, which I’ve complained about in previous solo piano releases, here seems to me to be perfect. Warmly recommended.

Jerry Dubins

(Jan/Feb 2005) Fanfare Magazine.24271582_10210899164543816_1043933972_o[1]

“The impressive Clara Rodriguez” (Headline) Time-Out

“At the Purcell Room on Wednesday a large, Latin looking crowd for the Venezuelan pianist Clara Rodriguez. Of special interest here were two composers also from Venezuela.Moises Moleiro’s short character-pieces were like the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries’ music all caught up at once: Scarlatti- meets –Albeniz sonatas and, in Pictures of the plains, a sequence of linked episodes like a nationalistic tone poem, full of robust and prolific melody. The Tropical Triptique by Federico Ruiz, written last year, was more oblique and sophisticated, again melodically fluent but blues-tinged, and headed for an original synthesis of Latin American and Caribbean types in its irresistible final dance”

Robert Maycock. The Independent. London


Clara Rodriguez at St. John’s Smith Square -London

“It would be hard to believe that this refined musician could not pave her own way amongst the excessive number of pianists of today. Miss Rodriguez possesses the means; her technique is brilliant and firm. The astonishing Ginastera Sonata No 1. Op. 22 brought out all the technical qualities of Clara Rodriguez, whose Latin ardour added to an impressive temper, have come out clearly without exaggeration or harshness. Her playing shows brilliancy and brightness. With the Chopin Sonata no 3 Op. 58 Miss Rodriguez did show the firmness of a rhythmical and toned direction. Her playing was clear, transcendent; ending in apotheosis, with sparkling and brilliant sounds. Undoubtedly, the Largo was one of the most beautiful moments of the evening with emphasised and majestic serenity. Indeed this exciting and passionate recital has revealed the triumph of a young and spontaneous, kind and agreeable pianist. Clara Rodriguez: a name to remember!”

Michael Georges. Paris

2008-06-27 17.47.49

Clara Rodriguez at Wigmore Hall

So Gustavo Dudamel is not after all the only Venezuelan to break into the international music scene. The pianist Clara Rodriguez is one of the most acclaimed soloists to come out of South America in recent years, and her career as a concert pianist has taken her to most European cities, South America, Asia and even Northern Africa. She also happens to be very popular with English audiences and performs regularly at Wigmore hall, South Bank Centre, the Barbican Centre and also St. John’s Smith’s Square. Although her discography includes the established elite of the piano, one finds a considerable number of recordings dedicated to composers from her native Venezuela, such as these 2 CDs under review.


At the Teresa Carreño Theatre in Caracas with El Cuarteto

Teresa Carreño (1853-1917) was a highly talented and much sought after composer, composing some 70 works for the piano most of which were written and published in Paris when still in her teens. All the works on this programme reveal Carreño as a great romantic spirit, and all the pieces are full of evocative touches which are both intimate and reflective. Joyful moments are not amiss either.

Moises Moleiro (1904-1979) is a more varied breed. The works chosen contain practically all of his pieces for the instrument and his style is a mixture of French impressionism and Byronism. Although he too managed to form an international reputation, he is considered mainly as one of the mainstays in the musical life of Caracas, where he helped create a nationalistic style.


Two beautifully performed and recorded discs which should delight piano buffs and music lovers in general”.

Copyright © 2009, Gerald Fenech. Classical Net


“This appears to be a reissue of a recital previously available on ASV (ASV CD DCA 890), and recorded, I believe, in 1994. It is good to have it back in circulation, as it offers a well-played representation of an interesting composer.
Moleiro was born in Zaraza in Venezuela and in the mid 1920s he studied piano in Caracas with a well-known teacher, Don Salvador Llamozas. He went on to make a career as a pianist, composer and teacher. This present CD includes the bulk of the work he wrote for the piano.

Most of the music here is not strikingly Latin American in manner, although there are a few distinctive touches here and there which speak of its geographical origins. For the most part Moleiro’s piano music has about it a kind of aristocratic grace, and works within mostly European models understood from a South American perspective. At times one senses a kind of nostalgia for European forms and what they might represent. One is not surprised to encounter ‘El senor de la peluca’ – the gentleman with the wig – or to find oneself listening to a charming Waltz.


Moleiro’s Sonatinas are written in the tradition of Scarlatti (though being far from mere pastiche); his Prelude and Fugue in C sharp minor have more than a little of Bach about them; the Serenade in the Spanish Style speaks for itself; the Estudio de concierto has clear affinities with Chopin and the delightful La fuente registers its composer’s knowledge of Ravel and Debussy. But everywhere there is enough evidence of a personal sensibility at work to maintain the listener’s interest. At times Moleiro’s programmatic miniatures – such as La muchacha de la herrería (the girl from the blacksmiths), El herrero (The blacksmith) and Los pájaros (The birds) – are attractive additions to a familiar keyboard tradition.
The last two pieces on the CD are the most distinctive. Certainly Estampas del llano (Pictures of the plains) and Joropo are far more thoroughly infused with a sense of the composer’s native land, and without that nostalgic air mentioned above. Though the musical language of Estampas del llano is essentially European in nature, its evocation of the Venezuelan plains, in their contrasting fecundity and aridity, makes it music that no European composer would have written. The joropo music of Venezuela grew out of the fusion of ancient Spanish traditions, including the fandango and the malagueña (themselves incorporating Arabic influences) with the musics of African slaves and of native South American Indians. It is a heady mix and from it has grown some exciting music. A good deal of that excitement is captured in Moleiro’s Joropo for piano, played with considerable panache by Clara Rodriguez.


Miguel Delgado-Estévez, Clara Rodriguez, Eduardo Ramirez and Federico Ruiz

Throughout this recital the sureness of Rodriguez’ technique is evident, and her flexibility ensures that she can sound at home in all of the various musical idioms on which Moleiro’s piano music touches. This makes for a consistently entertaining programme – a CD that makes a case, without overstatement, for the music of a figure too little known beyond his native land.” Glyn Pursglove.  Music Web International


Charm, Diversity, Invention –a delight

“It is good to learn that there is more to the musical life of Venezuela than the ubiquitous Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra and the charismatic Gustavo Dudamel, extraordinary though they may be. This is the first of a pair of delightful discs of Venezuelan piano music played by Clara Rodriguez, a talented young international pianist who studied initially with Phyllis Sellick at London’s Royal College. Moises Moleiro (1904-1979) drew inspiration from the plains of his Venezuelan homeland. His writing may not at first acquaintance be overtly Latin American in style, save for the occasional snatch of syncopation. Indeed it is often Bach, Scarlatti and Handel that come to mind, particularly in the sonatinas and toccatas. But there are hints of local colour throughout. The `Serenade in Spanish Style’ for instance clearly betrays the influence of the guitar. This is essentially a collection of miniatures, the shortest barely lasting more than a minute, the most extensive running to a full nine. Invention and diversity are the key words and there are delights at every turn. Stately waltzes rub shoulders with lively Handelian fugues, Satie-like lullabies follow moments of Chopin tinged nostalgia. There is humour and playfulness too – in `Los parajos’ (The birds) one can clearly picture the clucking hen scurrying about a farmyard, whereas the `C sharp minor Toccata’ is a light fingered moto perpetuo. To complete this most entertaining disc we at last have a true flavour of the country in all its exotically perfumed, technicolour glory. `Joropo’ is surely a piece crying out to be orchestrated – no doubt to be taken up by Maestro Dudamel as a rip-roaring, flag waving encore. A joyous disc, superbly played and well worth investigating. (Try Rodriguez plays Carreno/NI6104)”
Martin Furber. Amazon


Clara Rodriguez and Adrian Suárez

“A Heart warming disc”

This, the second of Clara Rodriguez’s discs of piano music from her native Venezuela is a particular delight. In essence the style is suggestive of those charming Edwardian salon pieces once so popular. Charming, unpretentious perhaps, but endlessly imaginative and always beautifully written for the instrument. Ms Rodriguez has this music in her bones and there are delights at every turn. Teresa Carreño was born in Caracas in 1853 and died in New York in 1917. She came from a well known Venezuelan family who were proud of their close links to Simon Bolivar (a name now of course indelibly linked to the extraordinary youth orchestra that bears his name). Mentored by Louis Gottschalk, she made her New York recital debut aged just eight and went on to tour the world, earning plaudits from the likes of Rossini, Grieg and Gounod. This is music to warm the heart, lift the spirits and very often bring a smile to one’s face. Toe-tapping polonaise rhythms and mazurkas give way to more contemplative pieces such as the charming lullaby dedicated to her father, or the poignant elegiac ‘Partie’ written when she was just fourteen to commemorate the death of her mother. The lilting ‘Venecia’, as its title suggests, is a gently swaying barcarole while ‘Un bal en Reve’ overflows with joyousness and bonhommie. But there is more to this disc than nostalgia and light heartedness. One of the more substantial pieces here is the ‘Une revue a Prague’, a full blown virtuosic concert study given virtuoso treatment by the pianist. This disc has been a real discovery. It is a collection with which to settle down in front of a warming winter fire.
Martin Furber. Amazon


clara4x 11=11

Photography by Sogand Bahram

Teresa Carreño was born in Caracas. She went on to make an important and successful musical career in North America and Europe as (primarily) a pianist of considerable reputation. She was also a singer and an occasional conductor, as well as a composer. Carreño was the granddaughter of Cayetano Carreño (1774-1836), composer, organist and choirmaster who played an important role in the musical life of Venezuela. Her own father, Antonio Carreño (1812-1874) was, by profession a banker and a diplomat, but also had a sound musical background and gave his daughter her early music lessons. Her mother, Clorinda Garcià de Sena y Toro was a niece of Simon Bolivar’s wife. Teresa was something of a keyboard prodigy. At the age of 8 she was taken to New York, where she studied with Gottschalk and gave public performances which attracted large audiences. One writer who attended her concerts wrote that “Little Miss Teresa Carreno is indeed a wonder … A child of nine years, with fine head and face full of intelligence, rather Spanish-looking (she is from Caracas) runs upon the stage of the great Music Hall, has a funny deal of difficulty in getting herself upon the seat before the Grand Piano, runs her fingers over the keyboard like a virtuoso, and then plays you a difficult Nocturne by Doehler, with octave passages and all, not only clearly and correctly, but with true expression … she plays Thalberg’s fantasia on Norma, full of all kinds of difficulties … with brilliancy, with nice shading, with expressions, her chords struck square and clean, like a master”.
There followed further studies in Paris, with George Mathias and, later with Anton Rubinstein. In her earlier years she seems to have been a somewhat impetuous and fiery player she seems later – after a break from public performance, a break bound up with her complex marital history – she gained a reputation as a meditative player, whose work was characterised by genuine profundity. Evidence of her own playing exists only in the form of piano rolls.
The excellent Clara Rodriguez here gives us a delightful sampling of Carreño’s own compositions most of which were apparently composed during her teenage years in Paris. The music will surely interest – and give pleasure – to anyone with a fondness for the nineteenth-century piano repertoire. There isn’t perhaps much of startling originality here, nor very much that betrays the composer’s South-American origins. The partial exceptions are Un bal en rêve, which incorporates the dance rhythms of the Venezuelan merengue and the Latin-tinged Vals gayo. Everything is very accomplished and each piece makes clear not only the considerable technique that the young Carreño must have had at her disposal, but also her sophisticated rootedness in the music of her age. Her Ballade has a dramatic poetry of a sort which no nineteenth-century composer would have been remotely ashamed. Le Printemps has a fine declamatory opening, an elegant waltz momentum, and a pleasing willingness to disrupt that momentum to subtle and expressive effect. Chopin would not, surely have been embarrassed to acknowledge either the Mazurka de salon or Un rêve de mer. The lovely Venise is pure delight, an exquisite barcarolle – this is a piece that deserves a place in the extensive canon of compositions inspired by Venice. Something positive can – and should – be said about every piece on the disc.CR-programa-post1

Clara Rodriquez plays with abundant vitality and a matching tenderness. Her performances carry a persuasive air of authority – this is clearly music which means a lot to her. Little of this music achieves any great emotional profundity unless it be Plainte, an elegy for the composer’s mother. It never fails to engage as it explores a variety of moods and tempi and is always full of character. “

Glyn Pursglove  Music Web International11141282_10153221169158541_4011679488915063830_n

“Venezuelan-born Teresa Carreño was one of the most fêted and tempestuous pianists of her day. She was married four times – her first husband was the elite violinist Emile Sauret, the third Eugen d’Albert, and the last was her former brother-in-law. She also composed, almost entirely morceaux, generally speaking written early on in her world-touring career. Though she didn’t record on disc she did make some piano rolls.

We get off to an ebullient start with Le printemps with its pert dance, which shows the composer’s powerhouse technical resources and ebullient, winning personality. Plainte (Queja). Elegía No. 1 is by contrast a more searching expressive work which enshrines a winning tristesse. The rolled chord drama and pomposo dignity that preface the Ballade lead to virtuosic roulades of Lisztian profusion, intensely pianistic and dramatic. The Intermezzo is a frisky genre piece whilst the skittish beat displacements and hesitations of La corbeille de fleurs give one a glimpse of her humour and wit. The Chopin-sounding Mazurka de salon is gracefully assertive. But she also mines – albeit in a limited expressive compass – more subcutaneous feelings in the Partie, written on the death of her mother when the composer was fourteen.

If contemporary players want a new sweetmeat to enlarge their encore repertoire they could do worse than to disinter that capricious salon charmer, La fausse note. Chopin haunts Un rêve en mer, and there’s tremendous brio in Kleiner Waltzer, whilst a saucy rocking rhythm inhabits Le sommeil de l’enfant. Whilst none of these pieces is especially brilliant they are all richly characterful and wholly pianistic, as one would expect from one of the acknowledged virtuosi of the day. Rather more interesting perhaps is Vals gayo with its touches of Latin Americana, a late work dating from 1910. What Une revue à Prague loses in its relative conventionality it makes up for in respect of its vitality and energy.

These last qualities are true of Clara Rodriguez who plays the recital in the wholly appropriate locale of the Teresa Carreño Sala José Félix Ribas, Caracas. The recordings date from 2002 so their appearance now – I’m not aware if they’ve had distribution before – is welcome. She plays moreover with verve and colour and unpugnacious style .I listened to the admittedly ambiguous results of Teresa Carreño’s own piano roll of Kleiner Waltzer [Welte Mignon 371, released on Pierian CD 0022] and even allowing for the jerky results, enough can be intuited to say that Rodriguez has done a splendid job all round.”

Jonathan Woolf


From an Amazon costumer:

“I came across this composer, unknown (at least to me) until now, when I was searching for Spanish-related music prior to a move to Spain.

The first track I listened to was Cordoba – and I was hooked straight away.

If you like Granados or Albeniz then you are very likely to love this too, especially played as well as it is here. You can almost here the sea lapping against the sandy beach under a clear summer evening in a hot climate and smell the aromas of sweet flowers and young ladies’ perfume on the air.



Photography by Antolin Sanchez


At other times Lecuona takes you on a fiesta type dance and gives you other mental pictures to enjoy.

Not strictly Spanish, I know, but the South American rhythms are so reminiscent of that country that I had no problem in imagining myself there again.

Don’t hesitate to sample new names like this in the classical music repertoire and I am sure you will find many undiscovered joys to behold.”



REVIEWS CDs International Piano May/June 2012

Pianist Clara Rodríguez, a fervent proponent of Latin-American piano music, is a close collaborator with contemporary Venezuelan composer Federico Ruiz. Two pieces on the disc were written for the pianist: Tropical Triptych and Nocturne. Instantly, the opening Merengue places us geographically, at least in terms of continent, as there appears to be a clear influence of Ginastera. Rodríguez projects the infectious rhythms well and the work is a satisfying length. Ruiz clearly has a pronounced sense of humour, given the title of his pieces for ‘children’(of less than 100 years). There is great charm to these pieces, and Rodríguez plays them with great affection. The expert pastiche of the Charlie Chaplin movement is a highlight, but it is Rodríguez’s convincing way with the bitter-sweet elements of this music that marks her as on home territory. The more exploratory music not only provides contrast but gives us a hint of Ruiz’s scope. The Nocturne is more chromatic and probes deeper, while the Micro-Suite is dodecaphonic. It sounds like Schoenberg but operates on a Webernian timeframe, which makes it all the more intriguing (the Passacaglia is the longest movement, at just over a minute). The Tropical Triptych puts the disc back on course with 15 minutes of liquid sunshine. Rodríguez plays the ornaments most fetchingly in the first movement, while the finale heralds a heady mix of conga, salsa and spiritual. This latter movement is compositionally as well as technically virtuoso, mixing more advanced writing harmonies with appealing rhythms. Recommended



Federico RUIZ (b. 1948) Merengue (1994) [3:45] Pieces for children under 100 years of age (1982-94) [22:31] Three Venezuelan Waltzes (1981-89) [7: 03] Nocturne (1994) [8:32] Micro-Suite (1971) [4:15]

Tropical Triptych (1993) [17:10] Clara Rodríguez (piano) rec. All Saints Church, Petersham, Surrey, no date given NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6179 [64:06] Clara Rodríguez has been recognised for some time now as an ideal pianist to perform Latin American composers. She has performed the works of Venezuelan Federico Ruiz with fidelity and has earned the dedication of some of them; Tropical Triptych and Nocturne were written for her. The music in this recital reflects an interesting range of influences, dance patterns and stylistic affinities. Merengue, composed in 1994, establishes Ruiz’s penchant for rhythmic vitality and romantic refinement. There is a long cycle of small character pieces called Pieces for children under 100 years of age, written between 1982 and 1994. Droll as the title is, it wouldn’t matter much were the music dull. That, assuredly, is not the case. There are hints of a Latin Chopin in the opening Prelude, whilst he summons up the spirit of Chaplin (Charlot) in the second piece of the set. This turns out to be a touch of Ragtime, so it’s not properly Chaplin that’s being evoked; it seems to me, more the piano accompaniment provided in cinemas and movie theatres to some scenes from his films. Our Lady of Sorrow is properly wistful whilst there’s great charm to Magic Dream. It’s important that he establishes mood quickly in these pieces as they are all so short – none is longer than three minutes. The Dictator rides a moped is amusing for its out of control sequence; Dictators clearly can’t ride them. Debussy haunts the Encounter of Antonio and Florentino and there’s a laconic Cha cha cha further on in the sequence. Altogether this is a lively, imaginative and witty set. The Three Venezuelan Waltzes, composed during the 1980s, are disparate but bound together by their origin in the waltz. The Nocturne is somewhat different, being rather chromatic and obviously effusive, and it’s played by its dedicatee with aplomb. Very different again, indeed the work of a much earlier Ruiz, is the Micro-Suite of 1971. The five succinct movements, more succinct indeed than the children’s pieces, are decidedly Webern-like, and suggest the journey Ruiz has undertaken from this rather formalised use of twelve-tone, to his later absorption of local models and rhythms. We return, finally, to a more recent Ruiz in the shape of Tropical Triptych composed in 1993. When Ruiz conjoins rhythmic brio with lyrical intensity, as here, the results are idiomatic and exciting. His propensity for Ragtime, and a bit of Gottschalk, Ginastera and Milhaud certainly doesn’t hinder him either. To these qualities and affiliations one can add that he writes, so it seems, with considerable pianistic affinity. The performances manage to get across this vitality in well-defined recordings.

Jonathan Woolf


Chris Spector
Midwest Record
CLARA RODRIGUEZ/Plays the Piano Music of Federico Ruiz: The funny thing about this session is that you feel the fit between Rodriguez and Ruiz is like the original fit between Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb. Playing with a passion that keeps her from coming up for air, she delivers the contemporary classic works of Ruiz with a fluidity and grace that takes things to a whole other level of the game. One of those players that makes you wonder how she can make so much sound all by herself, do not go into this date expecting it to be some wine and cheese recital music. Both the principles are on such fine display here that you can’t wait for the composer to write some more for this South American piano playing gem to tackle. A winner throughout.



by James Manheim

Each Caribbean country has its own Afro-Latin dance rhythms that influenced its concert music as well as its popular styles, but Venezuela’s contributions have always been somewhat neglected internationally in comparison with Colombian cumbia or Dominican merengue. This survey of Venezuelan dance piano pieces by pianist Clara Rodríguez, covering short works from the late 19th century until the present day, attempts to remedy the situation. Her enthusiastic if wholly unedited booklet notes (in English only) quote guitarist John Williams: “Listen to it with two rhythms going simultaneously — a six-eight over a three-four. To really play this, you need to do the African thing — move your body with the complex pulse. It’s not good tapping your feet like a European. There’s a European influence here, but the guts of it is Indian plus African.” Williams was referring to the music in general, but his statement is especially applicable to the most common genre on the album, the joropo. This rhythm is little known outside of Venezuela, and it’s easy to understand why after hearing this album: if you think of the cumbia, which has become a virtual lingua franca of dance music south of U.S. Interstate 20, as the simplest of all Caribbean rhythms, the joropo may well be the most complex. As Rodríguez points out, “it consists of strongly accented rhythms and often makes use of hemiola but unlike the other Venezuelan dances, no single rhythmic pattern is associated with it”; it takes a variety of forms, all exploiting additive rhythms and hemiola tensions. Aside from the joropo there are waltzes, a merengue, a pasaje llanero, and the still more complex ritmo orquidea in Pablo Camacaro‘s Diversión (track 11). The thematic and harmonic structure of the music is simple, setting off the tricky rhythms that appear even in the waltzes. A fascinating glimpse into one of Latin America’s less-appreciated musical cultures, recommended for anyone with an interest in the music of the region.


Playing Chopin Piano Concerto No 1 with the Filarmónica Nacional Orchestra under Luis Miguel Gonzalez

From Amazon customers:

A Cuban birthday treat…, 26 Feb 2013



This review is from: Ernesto Lecuona Piano Works – Cuba España (Audio CD)

I have a particular affection for the music of Ernesto Lecuona; he and I share a birthday (though not a birth-date!), the only composer I am aware of who has this particular distinction.

I came across his music first via a CD from BIS of his songs, so was delighted to see this latest issue of his piano music. If anything I’m even more impressed by the content of this latest issue.

Lecuona studied with the Spaniard Joaquin Nin (whom Martin Jones has explored on Nimbus), taking his young charge to Paris in 1928 where he met Ravel. He later played for Arthur Rubenstein who recognised his quality both as a player and composer. In America during the War he worked for both the MGM and 20th Century Fox studios, writing for a number of movies, and winning an Oscar for “Always in my heart” in 1942.

The music whilst broadly “classical”, often pays tribute to Spanish and Cuban popular music with to me, frequently the air of a sophisticated nightclub or hotel soloist …..and none the worse for that! Indeed it’s superbly tuneful and attractive, frequently beautiful, and I found marvellous to relax to after a long and fraught day. Listen to the gently swaying “Minstrels” (Track 12) and you’ll see what I mean.

The sound meanwhile is excellent, although I couldn’t see any details of venue or location. The engineering is credited to “Richard Hughes” – is this the gentleman who has worked on many issues for Meridian Records? If so that explains the quality. And…. as for Clara Rodriguez…. she sounds completely inside the idiom.

I see from the inside back cover of the CD booklet there are several other issues featuring this pianist……..I’ve got a feeling my wallet’s going to be stretched a bit further…………..


Ksenia, Clara, Jordan “In the mood for Tango” Photography by Sogand Bahram

Pleasures from Cuba and Spain, 22 Feb 2013


Arthur Francis

This review is from: Ernesto Lecuona Piano Works – Cuba España (Audio CD)

What you might expect from a composer born in Cuba is a plethora of both South American and Spanish rhythms and you will most certainly not be disappointed with this disc on that score. Ernesto Lecuona’s extraordinary talent as a pianist saw him accompanying silent films from the age of seven and writing the first of his more than 400 songs when eleven. He graduated from the Havana Conservatoire at seventeen and made several tours of Latin America, Europe and the USA leading a dance band known as Lecuona’s Cuban Band. Though known today almost only by his Malagueña (either as an original song or in a piano or orchestral transcription), he achieved fame in the world of light music between the two world wars, with 176 pieces for piano, film soundtracks and music for five ballets.

The current selection of 27 relatively short pieces, including ten 19th Century Cuban Dances, six Afro-Cuban Dances and a six movement Andalusian Suite (which concludes with Malagueña) show a remarkable originality and in a piece called En tres por cuetro he displays an affinity with the opening of Medtner’s Sonata Reminiscenza, op. 38/1. Nimbus are again to be thanked for bringing these pieces to us, as indeed is the pianist Clara Rodríguez, who studied with Phyllis Sellick and at London’s Royal College of Music.


Latin American Gem



This review is from: Ernesto Lecuona Piano Works – Cuba España (Audio CD)

A really delightful disc. I am not that familiar with Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona, but this disc left me wanting to explore his music more; and I see Clara Rodriguez has recorded piano music by several other South American composers. Full of interesting dance rhythms with elements of Debussy and also Joplin. Very original and beautifully played. Well worth purchasing and I will be looking into her other discs as well.


Play your cares away!, 10 Feb 2013


Jack L. Honigman (Manchester, U.K.) –

This review is from: Ernesto Lecuona Piano Works – Cuba España (Audio CD)

A truly delightful selection of easy listening music complemented by quite superb pianistic art. Clara Rodriguez has impeccable technique and the lyrical, rhythmic and uncomplicated melodies give her the opportunity to display fully what can be done by sheer artistry. The phrasing and delicacy combined with robustness when called for is an absolute delight and enables the busy executive, or anybody else, to submerge themselves in an undemanding lake of tranquility.
Her previous recording of the music of Federico Ruiz presented less opportunity for interpretation since it was more complex in its composition – although again, excellently played.
In short – spoil yourself! Buy it!

“Flamenco is fused with Lisztian flourish with devilishly exciting results.”

“I have enjoyed a number of Clara Rodríguezs more recent discs and I have enjoyed this one as much. 
It helps to like Ernesto Lecuonas good-time music but I cannot imagine anyone, other than a diehard serialist, not liking it, or at least actively objecting to it.
If you enjoy the imposing vistas projected in Ante El Escorial, a kind of lightweight Granados, you will be delighted by both the piece and the playing.
There is real rhythmic vitality generated in Granada, with its ancillary hints of Debussy, something else that aligns the Cuban Lecuona to earlier Iberian composers such as Granados and Albéniz.
Here, too, Flamenco is fused with Lisztian flourish with devilishly exciting results.
The Danzas cubanas are full of verve and colour, and played with considerable digital clarity and stylistic acumen.
Elements of the music sound like Cubano Rags, yet others like updated Gottschalk, which is not wholly unsurprisingly since they are nineteenth-century dances.
The other two cycles are the Afro-Cuban Dances and Suite Andalucia. The former glitter ebulliently and are marked by teasing rhythms and splendidly hummable tunes.
The latter cycle is no less exciting, each movement a monument to a town or landmark and full of colour, and a very personal sense of warmth and immediacy. The movement devoted to the Guadalquivir, for instance, is rich but not over-complex thematically. Clara Rodríguez’s Lecuona selection is as fine as anyone’s”. —Jonathan Woolf,, February 2013



New release on Nimbus Records 2017

From Sonograma Magazine- Catalunya– “Americas Without Frontiers” “…the interpretative richness of the present work goes beyond the labels that could be placed on the 19 tracks of this CD where the melodic copiousness is a treasure that goes far beyond the American continent.”



At the piano with Phylis Sellick (1911-2007) by Clara Rodriguez

In Caracas, when I was 16 years of age, together with my mother, we saw a newspaper advert for a competition that would take place a week later. The prize was a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music in London. With my teacher’s support I entered it and went along to the Escuela de Música Superior José Angle Lamas, the oldest of all the music conservatories of Venezuela with a long tradition producing wonderful composers.

The then directors of the Senior and Junior Departments of The Royal College of Music had been flown in specially to judge the competition. I remember playing Bach Prelude and Fugue in A minor from Book 2 of the 48, Chopin Etude Op. 10 No 1 and Reflets dans l’eau by Debussy. After some theory and aural exams, it was decided that six scholarships would be given to junior musicians: two pianists, one guitarist, one violinist, one recorder and one horn player . This must have been in May and by the 12th of September we were landing in Heathrow!

I was told on arrival, that Barbara Boissard and Michael Gough Matthews had thought that I should study under Phyllis Sellick and that that same evening I would be able to see her on TV as she was judging the final of the Leeds Piano Competition.

Phyllis Sellick was stunning! Everybody seemed to know her, even people I talked to in the streets, asking for directions as I got lost a few times in South Kensington-Knightsbridge-High St. Kensington! In a way, to me this was not surprising as I thought: “It’s normal, I am in Europe, here everything has to do with classical music, and piano” I remember people telling me that she was very good on Mozart and that her husband had been a very well-known pianist too but that she was the most musical of the two. (Sorry Cyril!)



From the very first moment I met her at the RCM I bathed in a warmth and kindness that never changed in the 28 years I knew her.

The first thing that amazed me was her hands that were so soft, padded, very wide and with a wonderfully lifted little finger knuckle. The perfect hand for the piano.

She patiently, with great care, love, tact and a wonderful insight guided me and taught me the Art of playing the piano. I still go by her teachings, every day! I also do my best to pass on all that knowledge to my pupils.

I remember trying to tell myself: “this is it! This will be my profession” as up to then I had thought I would finish my piano degree in Venezuela and I would also go to university to study sociology.

I used to call her Miss Sellick until she told me: “Phyllis, please!”, she used to call me “Little Clara

Phyllis, used to say to me: “This is a world class conservatory, so you must play like a world class pianist” She would also talk about being a “professional pianist” an important concept that Cyril Smith and herself had with great determination fulfilled during their time.

During the first term with her one day she asked me “How long do you practice a day?” to which I must have answered trying to be impressive “two hours”, she said “you must do five” so, with a clock in front of me I started doing this, of course!

I used to have weekly lessons with her on Wednesdays and Junior Department lessons on Saturdays.

Very early on she entered me for a concerto competition where I played Mozart’s KV 595, and before that took place, she kindly organized a concert in her beautiful house of Fife Road, East Sheen, where I met many of my piano classmates that came from all over the world: Marta from Peru, Eva from Germany, Kim from New Zealand, Noriko from Japan, David from the USA, Karen and James from the UK. Norberto and Héctor, from Argentina, would kindly accompany me on the orchestral reductions and they would come to the teaching room at the end of my lessons to translate to Spanish any important message Phyllis wanted to make sure I understood as my English was non-existent.

Then I made many more friends that studied under her and admired her, Andrew, the Cann sisters, Geofrey, Ann, Liz, Amanda, Adrian, Dominic, Ian…it is impossible to mention them all right now!

Phyllis and co

Amanda Hurton, Phyllis Sellick, Marta Encinas, Clara Rodriguez, Eva Alexander

She had both a practical and a methodical way of living life and being in a “bubble” of love for music; she once told me that she only needed “piano music and coffee to live.”

Once, her car was stolen and the greatest chagrin was that the thief had taken away the whole collection of  “Edition Musica Budapest”  of the Sacarlatti Sonatas with it.

She was such a kind teacher, always thinking of how she could help her students solve problems. She would give me a phonecall when I least expected it, to tell me something about a particular bar that I should play “pp” or how I should join a yoga class to help relax my shoulders.

One day she arranged for five pupils to come to my lesson to sing Bach Fugue in C sharp minor from Book 1 so I could conduct them and listen to all the voices. That was an exhilarating experience!

My studies with her were full of wonderful pianistic revelations, for instance, the idea that the piano is a percussion instrument and that we pianists, must make it “sing” as well as making long lines, connecting every note so that there is coherence in the phrasing, is a challenge.

This work of filigree was something Phyllis instilled in me even deeper. I have to say that I had had excellent tuition in Venezuela from my first teacher Guiomar Narváez and masterclasses from Regina Smendzianka from Poland, plus my own interest in playing in a way that did not produced unwanted accents, but it was under Phyllis’s light that I went on developing this side of my playing.

Phyllis at 10

Phyllis at the age of ten

Phyllis Sellick was born in Ilford, Essex, started to play the piano by ear at the age of three and had her first music lesson on her fifth birthday, she would say that going up the escalator on the tube was the best thing of going to the lessons plus when the teacher played with her. Four years later she won the Daily Mirrors “Pip, Squeak and Wilfred” contest for young musicians and was awarded two years’ private tuition with Cuthbert Whitemore, subsequently winning an open scholarship to continue her studies with him at the Royal Academy of Music. Thanks to her mentors, she later studied with Isidor Philipp in Paris, a pupil of George Mathias, who in turn had studied with Frederic Chopin, a fact that always fascinated us, her pupils, who are fifth generation Chopin’s students!

During her stay in Paris, Phyllis played for Maurice Ravel and studied many of his works with him, making recordings of some of his pieces on 78 RPM. I am very proud to have studied with her some Ravel works including the Concerto in G which she came to hear when I performed it at ST. John’s Smith Square.

For us, her students, it was so important that Phyllis and Cyril had had a formidably close friendship with Sergei Rachmaninoff. I think that Phyllis had a deep affinity with his music and its interpretation. She felt real musical passion and made me try to convey it in performances, all with a “steely” control! Very difficult to manage as sometimes the music moved me so much that I was not capable to produce any sounds from my hands! When I was about 7, I remember telling my mum how a piece from Ana Magdalena Bach’s book had made me cry. So, all these feelings had to be curbed in order to play the piano!

You can watch a film by Mark Lonsdale “Clara Rodriguez at the piano with Phylis Sellick” here:  Youtube

I now realize how hard it must have been for her that at the height of his solo concert career her husband lost the use of the left hand down to having had two strokes. How much support she must have given him, so they could start a new career playing the four-hand repertoire with three hands. Arranging many pieces and having many works composed for them.


Cyril and Phyllis on the steps of the Albert Memorial. Kensington Gardens

I immensely enjoyed listening to her stories about their efforts during the war such as their concert tours in Portugal and in India. How uncomfortable many situations were, from insects biting their hands during performances to seeing the most shocking social contrasts in those societies.


Cyril and Phyllis in a broacasting studio in India

She braved the air raids, playing Beethoven fourth piano concerto near where a bomb fell jerking the piano up and down, ending her story thus: “fortunately I was able to continue playing”.

Or when she learnt to drive ambulances or those amazing stories during The Blitz when Cyril and her had to go to Broadcasting House to play Mozart D major Sonata, live,  having to run through the London streets under “a good deal of shrapnel” to take the tube- where people were getting ready to sleep on the platforms – to play the Mozart divinely!

On another occasion she had to go to sleep in the BBC to be woken up at 2.00 am to play the incredibly difficult Ravel Toccata for the World Service, “it felt like death” she said to me.

Phyllis Sellick, Cyril Smith and Brahms

Cyril, Brahms and Phyllis

Another beautiful story was the one of their trip to Ireland, their son accustomed to hear: “this month we have not got enough money because concerts have been scarce” the little boy was very distressed to see the Irish children wearing no shoes and with anger said: “their parents should play more concerts!


Graham, Phyllis, Cyril and Claire

Sir Henry Wood insisted that they should play together and they performed together at The Proms in 1941, making many international tours and recordings as a duo. Composers such as Ralph Vaughan Williams (Introduction and Fugue ‘For Phyllis and Cyril’) and Lennox Berkeley wrote music specially for them. Malcolm Arnold (Concerto for Piano 3 Hands and Orchestra, Op. 104, sometimes known as Concerto for Phyllis and Cyril).

Phyllis and Cyril were awarded OBEs in 1971.

Once I wrote a card to her in which I said that she had the highest standards of piano playing I have ever known and she replied that she would, “on sad days”, remember that thought.

I used to go to play for her until she was well into her eighties before my recitals or recordings. Her opinion was very significant for me. She went to all my major London concerts and would very sweetly give me a call the next day, invariably I would be thinking how many things should have been better played, she would give me lots of encouragement and often said: “I am your number one fan” in which case I would say that we belonged to the mutual admiration society.

She broke first her thumb and then her wrist and I remember seeing her trying to train her hand again by doing basic excercises and even playing Beethoven third piano concerto at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon successfully but not many other concerts were possible as her hand had been badly damaged unfortunately.


Queen Elizabeth being presented a bouquet by Phyllis at the Royal Festival Hall. 1952


In 2002 she appeared on the BBC radio programme Desert Island Discs. One of her choices was Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini to which she added “I would like Cyril to play it”. I remember the presenter asking her also, “How do you teach?” and she said: “I listen to the students and then tell them what I think” We both laughed when I pointed out how simple she made everything sound.

She died in Kingston in 2007.


London Concert and CD launch “Americas Without Frontiers”

Wednesday 29 November at 7.30 pm at St. James’s Church, Piccadilly


Venezuelan pianist Clara Rodriguez returns to St. James’s Piccadilly for an evening full of wonderful music with a varied programme of composers that include Chopin, Ravel and Rachmaninoff as well as a selection of fantastically joyful and intriguing compositions by composers from Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Haiti and Venezuela to launch Clara Rodriguez’s new CD “Americas Without Frontiers” on Nimbus Records.

Tickets from:

Dear friends,

I am happy to announce that I shall be playing a recital on Wednesday 29th November at 7.30 pm at the beautiful St. James’s Church in Piccadilly.

This time I shall be also paying homage to my teacher, the English pianist Phyllis Sellick (1911-2007) in the tenth year of her death.

She was and still is a great inspiration for my playing and my teaching. She transmitted to me knowledge from her vast artistic experience as well as the one received from her own teachers that included Isidor Philipp – fact that made her a great-grand pupil of Chopin’s – and from Maurice Ravel in Paris.

In London she and her husband, Cyril Smith, were part of the élite of musicians of the time that included names such as Michael Tippet, Vaughan Williams, Arthur Bliss, who all wrote pieces especially for them. Her admiration for the music of Sergei Rachmaninoff, who was a personal friend of the couple, was unquestionable and she demonstrated a deep understanding of his music.

I have decided to play a programme that will include iconic works by Chopin, Ravel and Rachmaninoff in her honour as well as pieces from my new CD “Americas Without Frontiers”, copies of which you will be able to get on the night.

Dominic Seligman will read anecdotes from the life and work of Phyllis Sellcik; poet and Timothy Adès will read his English translation of the poem TIME OF MAN by Atahualpa Yupanqui and Leonardo Muller texts by Alejo Carpentier and Alfonsina Storni.

It is a privilege to still be able to make music in this world of ours!


Four Venezuelan waltzes:
Evencio Castellanos: Mañanita Caraqueña

Ramón Delgado Palacios: La dulzura de tu rostro

Maria Luisa Escobar: Noche de luna en Altamira

Teresa Carreño: Mi Teresita

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Three Preludes Op. 23

E flat No 6, G minor No 5, D major No 4

Frèdèric Chopin: Ballade Op. 23 No 1 in G minor


Ludovic Lamothe: La dangereuse

Germán Darío Pérez: Tranquilamente, un tipo leal

Germán Darío Pérez: Ancestro

Maurice Ravel: Pavane pour une enfante défunte

Maurice Ravel: Three pieces from Le Tombeau de Couperin:
Prelude – Menuet – Toccata

Ariel Ramírez: Alfonsina y el mar

Ernesto Lecuona: Malagueña

Image by Carlos David; Photography by Antolín Sánchez



Teresa Carreño, la gran pianista venezolana por Clara Rodriguez

Este año Clara Rodríguez tocará varios conciertos dedicados a la memoria de la pianista venezolana Teresa Carreño (Caracas, 22 de diciembre de 1853 – Nueva York, 12 de junio de 1917), quien también fue cantante y compositora y  quien fuera descrita a lo largo de su vida como “Liszt en faldas”, “La emperatriz del piano”, “La valquiria del piano”

Teresa Carreño fue una de las más exitosas y admiradas pianistas de los siglos XIX y principios del XX, tocando conciertos alrededor del mundo y componiendo desde los 6 años de edad un total de 70 obras para piano; Muchas de ellas se publicaron en Europa y en los Estados Unidos.

Teresa Carreño representó a la tercera generación de niños prodigios que habían ejercido la posición de “músicos meritorios”, carreras comenzadas desde por lo menos los 6 años de edad en la Catedral de Caracas como cantantes solistas, organistas y ejecutantes de instrumentos de cuerda y fue la primer músico de su familia en ganar reconocimiento fuera de Venezuela gracias a su primera presentación pública a los 8 años de edad, en el “Irving Hall” de Nueva York, el 25 de noviembre de 1862.

Era la tercera de los cinco hijos de Manuel Antonio Carreño (nacido el 17 de junio de 1813 ), conocido principalmente como abogado y ministro de finanzas y quien escribió el famoso Manual de urbanidad y buenos modales en 1853. Manuel Antonio era también músico y escribió unos 500 ejercicios para su hija los cuales ella tocaba regularmente en todas las tonalidades, logrando grandes beneficios y facilidad técnica desde temprana edad . También le enseñó armonía y composición.
La madre de Teresa Carreño, nacida de dos familias revolucionarias de Venezuela, era Clorinda García de Sena y Toro, pariente de la esposa de Simón Bolívar y del Marqués del Toro. El tío-abuelo de Teresa Carreño fue Simón Rodríguez, el maestro de Simón Bolívar y quien ejerciera gran influencia sobre El Libertador.

6.Teresa Carreño-niña. Boston 1863Teresa Carreño. Boston. USA. 1863

Al ver las habilidades musicales de Teresa Carreño y de tener la sensación de que su futuro debía trascender círculos más grandes, Gertrudis, su emprendedora abuela , vendió sus propiedades en Venezuela y en 1862 la familia se trasladó a Nueva York.
En ese entonces, Teresa Carreño fue escuchada por Louis Moreau Gottschalk, quien quedó muy impresionado por su estilo y se ofreció a darle lecciones, Teresita mostró a lo largo de su vida un gran respeto, cariño y admiración por el pianista.

5.Teresa Carreño. La Habana 1864Teresa Carreño. La Habana 1864

Al año siguiente, en 1863, en el mes de enero, se presentó en Boston y luego viajó a Cuba con su familia. Más tarde en el mismo año recibió una invitación de la Casa Blanca para tocar para el presidente Abraham Lincoln y su familia – ella encontró que el piano estaba “muy desafinado” pero que había sido una tarde “divertida”. También se sintió realmente orgullosa de ver su primera composición titulada “Gottschalk Waltz”, publicada. Dicha publicación se agotó tres veces en un año.


Teresa Carreño y su familia se marcharon a Europa en marzo de 1866, el viaje fue una verdadera odisea, terriblemente difícil por mares muy agitados, en un barco defectuoso y en una ocasión tuvieron que inclusive cambiar de buque. Cuando finalmente llegaron a Inglaterra, permanecieron allí por un breve tiempo para luego seguir a París, en donde se instalaron. En la capital francesa fue muy bien acogida por los artistas más famosos, por la aristocracia de todos los salones y por las salas de conciertos más prestigiosas. Madame Erard y Rossini se aseguraron de que tuviera las mejores oportunidades para conocer a los músicos más admirados de la época, como Franz Liszt, quien llegó al salón de Madame Erard acompañado por el joven Camille Saint-Saëns y después de oír a la niña y poner sus manos sobre su cabeza le dijo: “Tienes un regalo enviado por Dios: Genio. Trabaja duro, desarrolla tu talento, sé fiel a ti misma y con el tiempo serás uno de nosotros.” Ofreció darle clases en Roma, pero su padre no pudo organizar ese viaje. Durante su tiempo en París, también tocó para Berlioz, ganó la admiración de Gounod y tuvo una amistad duradera con Blandine Ollivier, una de las hijas de Liszt.
En 1866, Teresa Carreño perdió a su madre quien murió víctima del cólera. En ese momento escribió seis elegías y tocó conciertos vestida de negro. Los críticos dijeron que cada nota que tocaba era como una lágrima de tristeza por su pérdida. Luego viajó a España con su padre y tocó conciertos en Madrid y Zaragoza. Toda España fue a escucharla excepto la familia Toro que consideraba que su madre, Clorinda, se había casado con un hombre de inferior rango social.

2.Teresa Carreño-niña-1858
Una gran parte de su obra fue publicada en París durante las décadas de 1860 y 1870 por Heugel.

Al mismo tiempo, en la ciudad Luz, el gran maestro Georges Mathias, discípulo de Chopin, se ofreció para enseñarle a la adolescente los secretos del arte de tocar el piano.

Teresa Carreño viajó a Inglaterra donde Charles Hallé la presentó a la Princesa de Gales y tocó también en las salas de conciertos Queen Rooms de Hanover Square, donde Anton Rubinstein fue a escucharla; Desde entonces se convirtió en su maestro. Él la llamaba “Mi Sol” y “Bebé”.

En Londres así mismo tocó largas temporadas en el Covent Garden Theatre dirigido por Arthur Sullivan.
A la edad de veinte años Teresa Carreño se casó con el violinista francés Émile Sauret (1852 -1920). En 1874 tuvieron una hija, Emilita, que con mucha tristeza y pesar fue dada en adopción en Inglaterra; Su esposo la había abandonado y no podía ofrecer seguridad ni sustento al bebé. Su padre, Manuel Antonio, murió en París en agosto del mismo año; el periódico Le Ménestrel publicó una nota en donde decía que había sido uno de los maestros de piano más solicitados de Francia.

Ella se trasladó a los Estados Unidos y continuó viajando y tocando incansablemente durante los años 70 y 80, pero deseaba un cambio en su vida artística y comenzó una carrera como cantante de ópera, debutando en Nueva York, en 1876, en el papel de Zerlina del Don Giovanni de Mozart. Ya en París el mismo Rossini había presentido que el talento de  Teresa Carreño para el belcanto sería algún día desarrollado. Su cambio hacia la ópera fue breve, intenso y muy exitoso.

Durante este tiempo se casó con su segundo marido, Giovanni Tagliapietra, un barítono nacido en Italia que bebía demasiado, sentía envidia del talento de su esposa haciéndo de la vida conyugal un tormento para Teresa. Tuvieron dos hijos: Teresita y Giovanni. En su edad adulta, Teresita se convirtió en una famosa pianista y Giovanni en cantante. Durante estos años, Teresa Carreño entabló amistad con Edward MacDowell, y promovió su música en los EE.UU. y en Europa y siempre contó con la amistad de la madre del compositor. Edward MacDowell le dedicó su segundo concierto para piano el cual ella insistía en tocar aún y cuando no fuera el favorito de los directores de orquesta.
En 1885, Teresa Carreño regresó por primera vez a su lugar de nacimiento, Venezuela. Allí actuó en conciertos y también compuso un himno en homenaje a Simón Bolívar. Al año siguiente, en su segundo viaje a Caracas, llevó una compañía de ópera, dirigió la orquesta y en ocasiones cantó también. Les Huguenots, Rigoletto, Norma y Carmen eran parte del afiche de la temporada la cual llegó a un final no muy feliz ya que la oposición de aquel momento tomó como blanco para hacer sus protestas el teatro en donde se efectúaba dicha temporada de ópera, ésto unido al rechazo de la alta sociedad caraqueña hacia ella porque decían que era pariente de Antonio Guzmán Blanco, político caído en desgracia en ese entonces le debe haber causado gran tristeza. Teresa Carreño nunca más se refirió al ese infortunado capítulo.


Teresa Carreño regresó a Europa y empezó a tocar el piano otra vez en 1889, dando un nuevo impulso a su carrera musical. Pasó un verano en París y luego se mudó a Berlín donde se instaló. Hizo su primera actuación con la Filarmónica de Berlín, interpretando el Concierto para piano de Grieg recibiendo muchos elogios del propio compositor. En otra ocasión, en Varsovia, fue el mismo Edward Grieg quien la dirigió, él sentía profunda admiración por la pianista venezolana.
Entre 1892 y 1895 se casó con el pianista Eugen d’Albert, y juntos tuvieron dos hijas, Eugenia y Hertha. Teresa Carreño le dió gran apoyo a su marido, tocando sus composiciones y acompañádolo a sus conciertos; ella no recibió de él ese respaldo moral.

Eran dos grandes pianistas y compositores viviendo intensamente sus vidas y carreras artísticas bajo un mismo techo. El temperamento explosivo de ella no caló con el cinismo y -creo que hay que decirlo- machismo del pianista alemán.

Con un poco de humor la prensa reseñó en un momento:

“Ayer Frau Carreño dió la primera audición del segundo concierto de su tercer marido en el cuarto concierto de la Filarmónica.”

Después de un divorcio acrimonioso durante el cual el pianista quiso inclusive internarla en un manicomio con tal de no pagar la educación de sus hijas,  Teresa Carreño se dedicó a la composición escribiendo un cuarteto de cuerdas y una serenata.

“Uno nunca puede casarse demasiado tarde ni divorciarse demasiado pronto” se le oyó decir en un momento de amargura.
Comenzó a enseñar el piano y fue muy querida por sus estudiantes de Berlín, escribiendo un libro sobre la técnica de pedal.

Continuó actuando como solista con muchas de las principales orquestas europeas así como en recitales; su repertorio era muy impresionante e incluyía las Sonatas y conciertos de Beethoven, obras de Schumann como la Fantasía y los Etudes Symphoniques, las Baladas y Scherzi de Chopin, los grandes conciertos románticos; también sus propias transcripciones de ópera y sus valses.

En 1902, tomó la decisión de casarse con Arturo Tagliapietra, hermano de su segundo marido; Durante este período viajó a Sudáfrica, Australia y Nueva Zelanda.
Una vida llena de arduo trabajo y grandes emociones la agotaron físicamente.  En un viaje a Cuba comenzó a sufrir de diplopía, aún así ella tocó un concierto con sus ojos cerrados pero debió regresar a su casa de Nueva York en donde murió el 12 de junio de 1917. Gracias a grandes esfuerzos de su discípula y biógrafa Marta Milinowsky, sus cenizas fueron luego repatriadas a Venezuela y guardadas en el Panteón Nacional de Caracas.

Teresa Carreño realizó varias presentaciones en los conciertos de Promenade de Henry Wood (Proms). Este escribió  en sus memorias: “Es difícil expresar adecuadamente lo que todos los músicos sentían por esta gran mujer que parecía una reina entre los pianistas y tocaba como una diosa. En el instante en que caminaba sobre el escenario, su firme dignidad mantenía a su audiencia en vilo que la observaba con gran atención mientras ella arreglaba la larga cola de los elegantes vestidos que usaba habitualmente. Su vigor masculino en el sonido, su touché y su maravillosa precisión al ejecutar pasajes de octavas dejaban a todos pasmados”.

El pianista Claudio Arrau recordó con alegría que él la había escuchado muchísimas veces en conciertos en Europa exclamando: “¡Oh! ¡Era una diosa!

Clara Rodríguez ha grabado un CD que contiene quince de las obras de Teresa Carreño para Nimbus Records (NI 6103) que ha sido internacionalmente elogiado por los críticos y el cual es a menudo reproducido en la radios incluyendo las estaciones de la BBC. El crítico Jeremy Nicholas de Gramophone Magazine escribió:

“Esta música necesita un espíritu de lleno de empatía para mostrarlo a su mejor luz y Clara Rodríguez ofrece interpretaciones de fascinante vivacidad aliadas al requisito más esencial de CHARM”.
Altamente recomendable”


Clara Rodriguez, a short biography

I was born in Caracas to parents sensitive to the arts. My father was a polemic writer who lived a tormentous life. Sadly he died in 2000 at the age of 64. My parents divorced when I was very young , so my mother  raised my sister Valentina, and I in the best possible way that a mother can: with lots of love, sacrificing her time, and taking me to music school from the age of 7.
I had a great childhood, fantastic and fun training, although strict, at the Conservatorio Juan José Landaeta, located in a beautiful old villa within a residential area of the city.
There were some good old grand pianos and a lovely smell of polished woods and exotic plants. There was a friendly atmosphere and my very elegant piano teacher, Guiomar Narváez introduced me to the great composers through a diet of lots of studies by Hanon, Czerny and the whole spectrum of the European repertoire. She had studied in Caracas and in Vienna. My harmony teacher was composer Angel Sauce, who also the director of the Conservatory.
When I was sixteen I participated in an audition organized by Carlos Díaz Sosa, the judges Michael Gough Matthews and Barbara Boissard had  flown in from the UK. I remember playing a Prelude and Fugue from the Book II of the W.T.C. by J.S. Bach, Chopin Study Op.10 No 1, Reflets dans l’eau by Debussy. They granted me a scholarship to come to study at London’s Royal College of Music  and it was decided that I should have Phyllis Sellick as my teacher. I am ever so grateful to them!
I spent a year at the Junior Department and six at the senior. Phyllis Sellick was my mentor, she was so inspirational, a combination of intellect and imagination, Romanticism and rigour. She had studied with Isidor Phillip and Maurice Ravel in Paris. As an adult, Rachmaninov  was one of her close acquaintances. She was sweet, very intelligent and had the highest standards in piano playing I have ever come across. All the major English composers dedicated piano works to her including Arthur Bliss, Michael Tippet and Vaughan Williams.

Paul Badura-Skoda, Regina Smendzianka and Niel Immelman have also inspired me with their knowledge of piano playing and have had a fundamental influence on me as keep having my pianists friends such as Barry Douglas.

I love playing abroad, but it can also be a bit daunting; the music you play and love at home might not be what people of different cultures might like, or so I used to think. Going to far away countries and cultures like exotic India, Tunisia, Morocco, Syria, Egypt to play a mixture of  European and Latin American music used to worry me a little, but taught me that people everywhere are eager and happy to receive it. Playing in Europe or the United States has also been really interesting and enriching.

I greatly enjoy performing solo recitals, as well as being a soloist with  orchestras; playing with incredibly talented musicians in ensembles of Classical or Latin American music is always fulfilling and an infinite learning curve.

Sharing the stage with actors as I have with Karin Fernald or Alberto Rowinski in productions of our own such as “Liszt in petticoats” (dedicated to Teresa Carreño) and “Con-cierto humor” has been lovely because I have learnt from their artistic field to listen to the way they deliver their lines so beautifully.

Gypsy Ballade” was another fantastic show that I loved producing and performing alongside Marisela Romero and José Manuel Garzón, actors/dancers that came from Spain. It was inspired by Federico Garcia Lorca’s poetry, songs and life mixed with readings from his journals, in English, by Karen Fernald and a fabulous stage decor by French artist Jacques Iselin. I played a number of piano pieces from the Andalusian region of Spain.

In 2011 I was very fortunate in that I wrote and performed my own “Franz Liszt” ; this took place in Caracas with fantastic actor Caridad Canelón and narrated by Miguel Delgado-Estévez , a really beautiful experience.

In relation to music and words, I have a dream of producing in the near future The Passionate Life of Isaac Albeniz which will be based on a script written by Trader Faulkner.

Recording CDs is also part of my activities, I find that making them is immensely rewarding but also very difficult. Up to now I have produced and recorded five Venezuelan music CDs, another one of Late Piano Works by Chopin, and the piano music by Ernesto Lecuona.

I am particularly fond of the release El Cuarteto and me produced of a live concert performed in Caracas five years ago, it is a collection of dances and songs from Venezuela.

Frequently I am asked to participate in interviews on the radio, the written press and on TV; the programme In Tune on BBC 3 is one of the loveliest to do because one both plays, and talks ‘live’ on it. As a child, my first ever TV live performance was done in Caracas where I remember playing two very fast Scarlatti Sonatas; then I had fun appearing next to pianist Rosario Marciano as well as playing on a TV programme dedicated to the history of the piano at the Museo del Teclado of Caracas.

In 1993 up to 1998 I founded and directed a music festival in Caracas at the Teatro San Martín. It was wonderful to see the project come to life in an area of Caracas where before there had not been any music.

Lately I curated, produced and directed the Clara Rodriguez Bolivar Hall Concert Series in London and the “Legendary Piano Festival of Caracas” to celebrate the aquisition of a fabulous concert grand-Steinway that belonged first to the Royal Festival Hall and now lives in the Sala José Félix Ribas. Something I am very proud of as I had the responsability of finding the piano and organizing every detail of the festival.

Composers such Federico Ruiz, Miguel Astor, Adrián Suárez, Mirtru Escalona, Lawrence Casserley, Michael Rosas Cobián and Juan Carlos Núñez have written and dedicated pieces to me, for that gesture I am deeply grateful and I have tried to do justice to their marvellous effort and creative talent by recording and playing their music in public concerts. Sometimes as publishing editor as in the case of the Pieces for Children under 100 years of age by Federico Ruiz (Spartan Press and The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music)

I have enjoyed playing a dozen solo recitals and concerts with friends at the Southbank Centre, some others at Wigmore Hall, St. Martin-In-The-Fields and a number of concertos at St. John’s Smith Square, including Ravel in G, Rachmaninov 3rd, Schumann in A minor, Nights in the Gardens of Spain and Federico Ruiz’s Second Piano Concerto.

I have also produced and performed “In the mood for tango”, “Tangoitis”, “Monnlight Sonata by Candlelight”, “Latin Bach” and “Appassionata Sonata by Candlelight”.

For the last eight years I have taught the piano at the Junior Department of the Royal College of Music of London, an activity that gives me much joy and allows me to be in touch with lovely emerging talents.

I consider myself very lucky to count with wonderful passionate artists that work lovingly on my leaflets, CD covers and general image such as the photographers Antolín Sánchez, Jean-Luc Muller and Sogand Bahram, graphic designers Carlos David and Gabriella Bello and dress designer Valentina Rodríguez.

My CDs are available on the Nimbus Records label from: or from Amazon:

You can listen to some of my recordings or live performances on my Youtube channel:

You can also communicate with me through:

My website


and my Facebook page

Clara Rodriguez/Antolin Sanchez photography