james rhodes

james rhodes


james rhodes on the guardian

And only when the pain of not doing it got greater than the imagined pain of doing it did I somehow find the balls to pursue what I really wanted and had been obsessed by since the age of seven – to be a concert pianist.

Do it because it counts even without the fanfare, the money, the fame and Heat photo-shoots that all our children now think they’re now entitled to becauseHarry Styles has done it.

Charles Bukowski, hero of angsty teenagers the world over, instructs us to “find what you love and let it kill you”. Suicide by creativity is something perhaps to aspire to in an age where more people know Katie Price better than the Emperor concerto. 

We seem to have evolved into a society of mourned and misplaced creativity. A world where people have simply surrendered to (or been beaten into submission by) the sleepwalk of work, domesticity, mortgage repayments, junk food, junk TV, junk everything, angry ex-wives, ADHD kids and the lure of eating chicken from a bucket while emailing clients at 8pm on a weekend.

What if for a couple of hundred quid you could get an old upright on eBay delivered? And then you were told that with the right teacher and 40 minutes proper practice a day you could learn a piece you’ve always wanted to play within a few short weeks. Is that not worth exploring?

 punctuated by short moments of extreme pressure (playing 120,000 notes from memory in the right order with the right fingers, the right sound, the right pedalling while chatting about the composers and pieces and knowing there are critics, recording devices, my mum, the ghosts of the past, all there watching), and perhaps most crushingly, the realisation that I will never, ever give the perfect recital. It can only ever, with luck, hard work and a hefty dose of self-forgiveness, be “good enough”.

he government is cutting music programmes in schools and slashing Arts grants as gleefully as a morbidly American kid in Baskin Robbins. So if only to stick it to the man, isn’t it worth fighting back in some small way? So write your damn book. Learn a Chopin prelude, get all Jackson Pollock with the kids, spend a few hours writing a Haiku. Do it because it counts even without the fanfare, the money, the fame and Heat photo-shoots that all our children now think they’re now entitled to becauseHarry Styles has done it.

find/follow him:

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James Rhodes (born 6 March 1975 in London) is a Britishconcertpianist.


Born into a middle-class Jewish family in St John’s Wood, North London, he was sent to a local public school where he experienced abuse by his gym teacher. Rhodes suffered mentally, and later had a back operation.

Age 7, he borrowed the CD of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto from his father’s collection, although he did not progress formally beyond Grade 3 piano tuition. After moving to a local boarding school, he then, from age 13 onwards, was educated at Harrow School, where he worked with piano teacher Colin Stone. It was during this period that he entered the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition, but failed to make it past the second round.


In 1993, he was offered a scholarship to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. But in part due to mental health issues and his father’s insistence, Rhodes took a psychology degree at University College, London.

On graduation Rhodes took a job in the City of London. 


at TEDxOxford

classical music has to stop apologizing for what it is

music is the one thing that doesn’t need to become faster or dummed down

architecture is frozen music – goethe

favorite pianist – Glen Gould


via James..

Rachmaninov. For free. To go with my tattoo. Enjoy :)

Dude wrote this when he was a teenager. No doubt today he’d be sent to therapy and medicated for composing something so dark…
Grabbed 10 minutes today to record and upload it for you guys. Hope you like :) x


james rhodes and cumberbatch

above links to 3 min video… below – 6 min version:


Published on Aug 19, 2013

A short we did for Channel 4 exploring the idea of violence in music. Basically an excuse to get tiny cameras inside my body using various orifices and see what happened when I played really, really fast.


Me chatting with the brilliant Stephen Hough. Love that a bunch of the film crew went and bought the Liszt Sonata after shooting this… http://vimeo.com/71639214

Siren Piano Night – Stephen Hough
Vimeo is the home for high-quality videos and the people who love them.
James Rhodes shared a link.
Can’t stop watching this. Words can’t do it justice…
Marc-Andre Hamelin Plays Chopin’s “Minute Waltz”


recent post on the telegraph:

We’re turning a deaf ear to our musical youth

I am, of course, biased. Not only do I make my living as a concert pianist, but it was Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, Bach and others who reached into my soul, ripped out whatever was in there, shook it about, polished it, took it for a ride and then put it back again in a way that just fitted a bit better.

sept 2014:
launching an instrument ‘amnesty’ so people can donate their unwanted instruments to schools
may 2015 – we can’t keep silent:
He pauses, and recalls: “The shock of being told, in effect, you can’t say that. Not only can you not write it in a book, but we are trying to gag you from speaking anywhere in the world on any medium – on Twitter, in interviews, on TV – about not just sexual abuse but mental illness. Can you imagine? I wouldn’t be able to tell you now that I’m in treatment for mental illness without being threatened with imprisonment, had this been successful.”
(from video)
we can’t be told to shut up – we have the right to tell our own story
the piano man documentary:



9 min – music did in 5 min 30 seconds what i hadn’t managed to find in months and months
11 min – to take something everyone knows and just have fun with it.. make it your own
posted by james on fb
Wanted to put the whole Instrumental saga in my own words. Legally/emotionally as far as I can go right now but hope it makes things a bit clearer. Apologies for the length x
simply being heard was one of the most effective ways of diminishing the shame and allowing myself to move on. Having my past witnessed and accepted with compassion and belief did more for my self-esteem than years of medication and therapy.
as i’m reading debt, ch 12..
july 2015 – on cnn

a book about music, a love letter, .. a memoir.. so it covers things. i feel i have a duty to say.. this happened to me.. but i came out the other side and this is how.

while something this good (bach) can exist in the world.. i can’t make my peace with taking my own life.. that was enough for me

rape thrives in secrecy and shame… ie from the abuser: if you talk about it..you can’t imagine the hell that will be unleashed on you. the abuse doesn’t stop when he stops raping stops.. it has ripple effects… you can’t imagine the legacy..

we’ve got to talk.



still can’t get his book in the u.s…. came out may 2015 in uk
sweet interview/book review:
James’ 60 seconds on why piano is awesome:
mozart/bach/…rachmaninoff.. … 6 ft 8 in, bipolar, manically depressed, really miserable,..huge hands… yet put him in front of a piano and he writes the most timeless, immortal, extraordinarily romantic angsty gritty music
sept 2015 – music good for mind
oct 2015 interview
Thank god for being different.
Ask for help. Be as kind as possible to everyone.
Please just hold on a bit longer.
What kind of legacy do you hope to leave? That’s a ridiculous question. Beethoven left a legacy; Mozart, Bach, Bob Dylan, Churchill, Dickens, and a thousand others who will never be understood by even the greatest minds of our time left a legacy.
3.53am. Fuck me. I can play 100,000 notes from memory (in pretty much the right order) yet don’t know how to do something as basic as sleep.
Some rather exciting and lovely news (for me anyway) screendaily.com/news/productio… Fun times.
Alison Owen and Debra Hayward’s Monumental Pictures are teaming with BBC Films to develop a feature adaptation of British pianist James Rhodes’ memoirInstrumental.
mar 2015 – how i survived my 20s

One of the quickest routes to happiness is understanding and accepting that you’re not entitled to anything other than a reasonable shot at the life you want. If anyone gets in the way of that or interferes with it too much, then run the hell away without explanation or apology.

equity – everyone getting a go. everyday.

Finally, remember that there’s enough of the really important stuff for everyone.

cure violence keri
dis order

______________sept 2016 – Music and the inner self | TEDxMadrid

this thing (piano) is kinda my best friend

piece – written by bach – first prelude.. but.. most won’t know.. this whole conference is about trust.. and i’m the anti trust.. i don’t trust anything.. but i do trust music.. trust me when i tell you this.. there is not a single person here or online that would not be able to play that piece in a few weeks.. i’ve just written a book that shows you how to do it..

the point is.. music.. written 300 yrs ago.. and yes w/in it contains entire universe.. a magical thing.. i can’t think of anything else that is as universal as music..

forester: classical is the deepest of the arts and goes deep beneath the arts…

something we need more of in world we live in today.. that world seems to worship extroverts… and see introverts as kind of freaks.. everything predicated on.. looking outside ourselves is the right thing to do.. to try and make what’s happening inside feel just a little bit better.. weirdly we’ve got it the wrong way around..

the black paintings.. goya and bethoven have a lot of similarities.. both went deaf, were depressed.. goya was homeless. bethoven arrested once.. police thought he was a tramp.. real reason.. they looked inside selves to get the truth people needed to see..

music about interiority… feelings.. all of us today have forgotten how to shut the fuck up and just sit and be still and just be… how to really listen and hear..

what would happen if we were all a bit more honest about what’s going on in the inside… would world be a better place.. i don’t know.. would it be a more trustworthy place.. no doubt..

book about child rape and classical music.. love letter to music because music is the one thing.. that when bad things were happening.. it literally saved my life..

the soul resides at that junction point between our inner/outer world.. small space between dreams/reality.. my happiest place is when i get back there..

bach invented mindfulness.. where the magic happens..

no greater proof for existence of god than bach, bethoven.. et al… much stronger list.. than dozens of meds…

music is where real magic happens.. much better than drugs.. than self-help books (premise behind everyone is that you’ve done everything wrong for decades.. but if you read this book.. i’ll convince you to read next book…)

fundamental truth is everyone is a miracle.. perfect just the way you are.. way to get to that.. is to listen.. connect.. celebrate this idea of interiority..

they can’t listen.. they don’t know how to fix it.. so it falls on us as people who are creative..

i’d like to build/develop an app.. celebrating interiority.. provide you everyday with piece of classical music.. (classical musicians keep things up here away from ord people)

app will send you piece of music.. listen to it yourself.. just for 5 min a day.. reconnect with that part of self..

i want us to learn how to listen again.. to reconnect to that part of ourselves..

trust.. listen to your heartbeat.. trust this music will tunnel into you and take you to a place you are safe and extraordinary and powerful..

listen – a simple message

i hope everyday you will find 5 min to connect with some kind of inner beauty.. a vital antidote to the fucked up crazy world we live in..


The child abuse inquiry has been devastatingly inept – but it must go on – We survivors placed our faith in this inquiry. It must go ahead – for us, and for the thousands of children whose appalling suffering continues


I don’t like the term “victim”. I prefer “survivor with shrapnel”. And speaking as one of those survivors, let me make it clear that evenmore debilitating than the physical pain of abuse, is the loneliness.

from loneliness page

Carl Jung via ideapod .. on where loneliness comes from


“Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.”
― C.G. Jung


May herself said: “Where there has been a failure to protect children from abuse, we will expose it and we will learn from it.”

And Christ do we need words like that and the actions to back them up.


when many of these survivors are prepared, finally, to dig deep, open their mouths and speak out, they are met with an incompetence, mistrust, abandonment and rejection that is as appalling as it is consistent.


ensure that, for once, there is a chance that “never again” really means “never again”


James Rhodes (@JRhodesPianist) tweeted at 8:33 AM on Mon, Oct 03, 2016:
Redoing my (tiny) flat. Making it deceptively bigger, brighter and cheerier. My space. Just for me. Gotta feel warm and safe 🏡💜

huge… ginorm huge.. rp ness baan ness..



Wrote a thing about my musical hero, Teodor Currentzis. Hope you’ll read it – he’s worth it. theguardian.com/music/2016/nov…

Teodor Currentzis is classical music breaking the four-minute mile

I don’t trust anyone or anything. I’m the anti-trust guy. But Currentzis, I trust. His albums have become one of my best friends. They offer me everything I’ve ever wanted – a deeper understanding of myself, an unimaginable beauty and a window into another world that is better, safer, more profound and filled with more meaning than the one I currently inhabit. He keeps me company while on planes, on trains, in hotels, backstage, while I make dinner and during the lonely post-divorce nights.


there is an absolute meaning to life that has long eluded me.


nov 2016 live – Chopin Sonata in B minor, Presto

the mad love of chopin


James Rhodes (@JRhodesPianist) tweeted at 7:26 AM on Wed, Jul 26, 2017:
Really quite proud of this short film I made for the BBC. A call to arms perhaps… https://t.co/cLB0sdgQ2d

get the 12 min video – linked to top image

the industry is filled with all these ridiculous words..rules..clothes..

you don’t need a background in it.. you don’t need to understand it

concert hall.. one of only places we can go now..you’re not assaulted w media.. no lyrics.. everyone has a diff story in head.. beneath words/pictures/images

polishes your soul.. and puts it back in..

these are my best days..

to find something where we can go inside ourselves..

you never ever need to do scales.. learning to play.. thru music

8 min – why bach – a man drenched w grief..

these guys created despite.. not because of ..mental illness..


James Rhodes (@JRhodesPianist) tweeted at 5:30 AM – 14 Oct 2017 :

it’s amazing how much quieter and more peaceful life becomes when you only think/speak in the present tense. even if only for an hour or two… (http://twitter.com/JRhodesPianist/status/919163415712722944?s=17)

couple tweets later.. on affluence w/o abundance

Irish Times Culture (@IrishTimesCultr) tweeted at 11:39 PM – 13 Oct 2017 :

Affluence Without Abundance: The Disappearing World of the Bushmen by James Suzman https://t.co/LYN7ijqsN9(http://twitter.com/IrishTimesCultr/status/919075242420584450?s=17)

the Ju’/hoansi, though highly intelligent, exhibited an obliviousness to linear time, an unconcern for the past and the future that would seem, to us children of the agricultural revolution, feckless and fatalistic.

150,000 years or more of almost unchanging existence in their native environment had taught the bushmen – thought to be ancestors of all modern human beings – that the land would usually provide enough food for them, from one source or another. There was little point in worrying about the future or clinging to the past.


James Rhodes (@JRhodesPianist) tweeted at 2:50 PM on Mon, Mar 26, 2018:
Have had some lovely comments about this mental health podcast. And thought I’d share it, even if it’s uncomfortable. Giant trigger warning… https://t.co/9PexOu1Bp2

3 min – i don’t think you can quantify trauma

4 min – now.. the rhodes case – on silencing talk about mental health and abuse

7 min – now book.. sent into prisons in spain.. taught in unis.. changed law.. helped a lot of people.. movie being made of it

8 min – then wrote – how to play piano.. in 6 wks

9 min – new book.. mindfulness.. via learning an instrument.. a form of mindfulness.. another awful word.. flow.. but .. where time just disappears.. it’s magic.. we live at a pace that’s just not designed to live at.. bach, beethoven, brahms.. found their way thru this madness..

12 min – fire on all sides.. i hope is an sos book.. it’s ok to have a slightly messy life and feel slightly awkward about it.. we should embrace all of it.. not just the nice part

requested to library for purchase

13 min – instrumental is who i am.. yes.. it’s (fire on all sides) is a tour diary..  ie: loneliness..

14 min – life.. no matter how wonderful it looks from the outside.. can be very difficult

bryony: what does danger look like to you

15 min – ultimately it’s suicide.. self harm

16 min – way to get out of it (self harm.. which is not suicidal.. it’s a release) .. talking about it.. w key people..

18 min – often family are the worst possible people to talk to .. ie: it’s going to be alright..

19 min – if you want to help someone w self-harm.. mental health.. not alarming/critical

20 min – there’s so much shame .. that feeling of wanting to be invisible..

21 min – almost worse than the physical act.. tell you you can’t tell anyone.. you become complicit.. protecting each other.. blame self.. esp when you and brain still plastic.. it changes the brain.. unbelievable shame

22 min – if you’re strong enough to do it.. i think there’s a responsibility to do it.. if a teacher/cleric.. and sees another teacher raping a 7 ur old boy.. she can walk out and not say anything.. we’re one of only countries in world that has that

25 min – operation.. on back.. going under.. ‘i’ve been waiting for this’..

26 min – we talk about abuse.. we don’t talk about kids like me.. we don’t talk about the actual reality of it.. it’s a hard thing to talk about it.. i’m not suggesting people need to go public w it.. but.. you can’t outrun it

27 min – survivors in uk

28 min – living w this w/o talking about it for 60 yrs.. can you imagine

all of us have gone thru trauma.. it’s part of human condition.. and yet.. we never address it

29 min – i was drinking/doing drugs at 9 .. 10..  i just didn’t care.. if i lived or died.. so many people in that (mindset)

30 min – we have to be so careful w the words we use

33 min – when it’s not about me it gets easier.. (piano playing) .. like life.. easier when not about me

35 min – there’s so much pushing apart.. why can’t we be a bit more honest..

36 min – just because i’m not happy does not mean i’m unhappy

part of being a good enough human being is realizing we’re all connected.. t

thurman interconnectedness law

39 min – part of what music does.. doesn’t matter if playing/listening.. tells story of son first seeing a live train

40 min – a life w/o music would be inconceivable..


James Rhodes (@JRhodesPianist) tweeted at 5:20 AM – 27 Mar 2018 :

not all advertising is manipulative bullshit. this is amazing… https://t.co/Nq2cbq3R56 (http://twitter.com/JRhodesPianist/status/978592669105520641?s=17)


James Rhodes (@JRhodesPianist) tweeted at 11:07 AM on Fri, Mar 30, 2018:
Talking about music and my job with the boy. Who cheerfully informs me that ‘everything you play is a cover of dead people who are better than you’. Treasuring these moments


James Rhodes (@JRhodesPianist) tweeted at 5:45 AM on Sun, Apr 08, 2018:
I have fallen completely in love with these two pages of Rachmaninov. Apologies in advance to my neighbours if this is all you hear for the next seven hours  But oh my GOD https://t.co/GzwgqhzxiG

love this love

reminds me of happy lucas

James Rhodes (@JRhodesPianist) tweeted at 6:39 AM – 8 Apr 2018 :

For those asking… here’s a vid of a bit of that new Rachmaninov piece. The space he creates, the illusion of slowing time, the harmonies, the waves of notes! Ahhhh… https://t.co/nw48wcc6zO (http://twitter.com/JRhodesPianist/status/982961010301599744?s=17)


fire on all sides


James Rhodes (@JRhodesPianist) tweeted at 1:14 AM on Thu, May 10, 2018:
so emotionally vacant that i can only cry in my dreams


James Rhodes (@JRhodesPianist) tweeted at 5:57 AM – 19 May 2018 :
god to make a cello sound like that. one of life’s great miracles… #RoyalWedding @ShekuKM is just incredible. (http://twitter.com/JRhodesPianist/status/997808557213892608?s=17)


via james fb share [https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=642646493888075&set=a.275911623894899]:

Necesitaba desesperadamente un perro cuando era niño. me habría ayudado mucho a lidiar con las cosas. Siento que ahora estoy recuperando el tiempo perdido y es muy, pero muy curativo.
Sin pastillas para dormir o contra la ansiedad desde el día que llegó a mi vida. Ni una. Jope.
I desperately needed a dog as a kid. would have helped me a lot to cope with things. I feel like I’m now making up for lost time and it’s very, very healing.
No sleeping pills or anti-anxiety since the day he came into my life. Not one. Skirt.

dog ness


this makes my heart so happy.. (after reading the book years ago.. and now seeing his posts about nina and his dog and madrid)..

what a changed man.. like he says (Que nivel de felicidad y paz… Madrid y Nina, por fin) .. finally

May be an image of 1 person, standing and outdoors