Charles Economou is a musician with wide-ranging interests. His first studies were in Mathematics at Cambridge University, but encouraged by Murray Perahia and Howard Shelley among others, he decided to make music his career. He performs regularly in London and throughout the UK as a solo pianist, accompanist and chamber musician, and his concerto performances have included Beethoven’s Emperor and the Ravel G major. He is particularly in demand as an accompanist for singers and has given many concerts with the acclaimed baritone Donald Maxwell.
Apart from his playing, he devotes much of his time to composition. His youthful efforts were in a decidedly classical vein, Charles Rosen’s The Classical Style being a formative influence, but he has long since become a devotee of the most ‘advanced’ modernist composers such as Pierre Boulez and Elliott Carter and it is in this direction that his current compositional interests lie. Recent works include piano pieces and a series of more abstract ‘studies in counterpoint’ – exercises taking their cue from certain ideas of Elliott Carter but putting them to very different use, which may yet bear fruit in a larger work.
Meanwhile, the idea of writing a piece based on the Bhagavad-Gita for Hugo Ticciati and the O/modernt festival has led him to explore the world of Hindu spirituality, taking him outside the sphere of his usual philosophical interests. The piece is scored for violin, piano and male reciter and experiments with the combination of music and the spoken word. It will receive its premiere at this year’s festival. Forthcoming commissions include songs for the Cheltenham Contemporary Music Society, which he will perform with his regular duo-partner, the soprano Rebecca Rudge.
He also enjoys having opportunities to lecture on the music that most interests him, and has given lecture-recitals, in Stockholm and elsewhere, on composers such as Schoenberg, Webern and Boulez.