Lucie Loves… Music // An unusual evening with Emmanuel Vass at LASSCo Brunswick House


The South London Concert Series is exactly that, a series of concerts but with a twist! Each concert is hosted in a rather unique venue, which immediately sets the tone for the audience to expect the unexpected.

Launched in November 2013, the South London Concert Series was founded by harpsichordist, pianist and teacher Lorraine Liyanage and pianist, piano teacher and music blogger Frances Wilson to promote young and emerging musicians (primarily pianists) living or studying in the UK. The Series is unique as it also offers performance opportunities to non-professional and amateur pianists and other musicians by giving them the chance to perform alongside professionals in the same formal concert setting.

When Lorraine contacted me, JMG and I couldn’t have been more tempted by the enticing offer of experiencing a live piano recital in such incredibly eccentric surroundings. LASSCo, which stands for the London Architectural Salvage and Supply Co, at Brunswick House in Vauxhall, is home to a treasure trove of curiosities and colourful reclaimed gems - another love of ours. I can’t wait to go back and explore the place properly when it’s back to its usual line of work- as opposed to doing a very good job of moonlighting as a rather decadent concert hall.

The evening kicked off with a short introduction by BBC Music Magazine’s “rising star”, Pianist Emmanuel Vass, in a nicely sized room decked out with rows of reclaimed wooden school chairs in front of an old deep mahogany-coloured piano.

Packed in tight, the audience sipped on glasses of Prosecco as introductions were given and 24-year old Manny, originally from the Philippines and brought up in North Yorkshire, took to the keys. After playing his first couple of pieces, Manny opened up the floor, in his warm, rich northern accent, to fellow Pianists and supporting artists: Lorraine Womack-Banning, Jose Luis Gutierrez-Sacristan and Rob Foster. They played a combination of beautiful arrangements by Chopin, Turina, and, if I remember correctly, Mozart.

The feeling of sitting in complete silence - even quieter than the silence you (are supposed to) sit in at the cinema, is a sign of huge respect for the talented musicians performing for us. After a busy day at work, we took a seat and relaxed as the music washed over us, bringing with it wave after wave of mixed emotions - it’s funny how music can do that to you, bringing to the fore poignant moments in your life.

We spoke to piano teacher Lorraine about SE22 piano school and listened in awe as she told us that her most mature students were in their 80s and early 90s! JMG is determined to learn how to play the piano like his idol and musical genius, Chilly Gonzales, but in order to play they recommend that you have a piano at home to practice on - we don’t have one… yet.

If you’d like to learn more about the South London Concert Series, click on the linked text, or if you’d like to hear more from Emmanuel Vass’s new album From Bach to Bond, you can do so from his website, which lists a series of upcoming concerts:

A date for your diary…

The next South London Concert Series performance is at the 1901 Arts Club on Friday 16 May. Doors at 7pm for a 7:30pm start and 9:30pm finish. Tickets are limited and cost £17.50 + £1.75 booking fee and can be purchased online here:

Photography © Lucie Kerley