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Keith Porter-Snell Bio. (pdf)

Keith Porter-Snell Bio. (doc)

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Concerto Repertoire. (pdf)

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A magnificent Steinway piano, once played by Rachmaninov himself, a sympathetic acoustic, the ideal setting for chamber music: and, of course, performers of the highest quality.

The opening Sonata by Defesch, a contemporary of Bach and Handel, for piano and cello, showed us the warm sonority of the cello sound: then the lively lilting Allemanda. An opening to whet the appetite followed by the Suite No 1 for unaccompanied cello by Bach.

It is the touchstone for cellists, music of unsurpassed excellence, testing for the player, but supremely rewarding. Bruno Schrecker will have played it many times and it never loses its quality: a performance to be savoured.

Then an Etude, The Poet, for piano left hand by Bortkiewicz, contemporary with Rachmaninov, romantic, yet with a hint of melancholy, mobile and sonorous covering the range of the keyboard, played with serious virtuosity by Keith Snell.

A Spanish interlude gave us a Suite by De Falla, pulsing with rhythmic energy: and then a tranquil lullaby. Granados' Andaluza, with its familiar insistant melody, changed the mood, full of vigorous intensity and life.

Then Bach again, a quite remarkable transcription by the pianist of his Violin Suite in E, for piano left hand. This was exceptional playing, again exploring the full range of the keyboard.

Debussy closed the programme, his Sonata in D Minor. It has intensity and a piquant combination of resonant low notes and pizzicato for the cello, with a very mobile piano part. It was played with panache and great artistry and a packed audience responded with enthusiastic applause. For Bruno Schrecker the years sit lightly. Shall we hear him again? Let us hope so. And Keith Snell: perhaps with the Bath Philharmonia? We look forward in anticipation.

Peter Lloyd Williams, the Bath Chronicle
Review of Keith’s performance with Bruno Schrecker, cellist, 4 December 2012, Bath, England

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Snell clearly understood the counterpoint implicit in Bach’s melodic lines. In the case of BWV 1010, he even summoned up a strong sense of nineteenth-century rhetoric, clearly defining the transcription as a composition in its own right, rather than a rearrangement of the notes from four strings to five fingers.

Mind you,...there was much to enjoy in Snell’s performance. Performed as a set of twelve, [Verbs, Book 2] cover[s] an extensive geography of technical demands; and Snell was clearly comfortable with all of them.

Snell walked the fine line between fidelity to Chopin and recognition of Godowsky’s showmanship in his interpretation, probably escalating the music above that “stunt” level that may originally have been intended.

Snell captured the music’s connotations of Scriabin, suggesting that Bortkiewicz’ works may have been unjustly neglected by the current crop of pianists.

Steven Smoliar, Examiner.com
Review of Keith’s performance at Old First Concerts, San Francisco, August 2012

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Hough’s piece calls for introspection rather than virtuosity, subtlety rather than overt flamboyance and Miland and Porter-Snell captured this delicate emotional balance together beautifully.

Porter-Snell’s precision and command of the keyboard were very much to the fore.

Heather Morris, Peninsula Reviews
Review of Keith’s performance at Old First Concerts, San Francisco, April 2014

© 2017 Keith Porter-Snell