Also covering Basildon, Romford, Colchester, Harlow, Brentwood, and West Ham.
Pianists and Essex Venues
The bulk of my work as a pianist comes from Essex and I feel so lucky to do so much work in the area. My name is Eugene Portman and like so many musicians I feel privileged to work in the many wonderful venues that the county boasts. East Anglia offers plenty of work to all types of entertainers, but musicians seem to do exceptionally well providing music for the many events in the area. Furthermore, there is a never ending source of couples planning to get married in Essex and this provides so much work for musicians, especially pianists. I provide music for a lot of weddings (see Wedding Page), but I also do corporate events, private parties, and store openings.
I’ve mentioned the county’s many venues and I have visited many of them. They range from castles and historic buildings such as Hedingham Castle and Leez Priory near Chelmsford to luxury hotels such as Greenwoods in Stock and Down Hall Country House Hotel in Hatfield Heath. One of the first weddings I played the piano for was held at Blake Hall, Ongar. I remember it so well as it was such a beautiful day and I felt so lucky to be performing at this lovely venue.
Since then I have provided music for many weddings at Blake Hall as well as many other venues in the area. Other venues that spring to mind include Hyland House near Chelmsford, Prested Hall near Colchester and Fennes Estate near Braintree. Only one of these venues has a piano and that is Hyland House which has a beautiful grand in one of the rooms. For all the other venues I have to take my own digital piano which may not look the same, but it has an incredible sound. A sound that is far superior to the instruments that you would find at most venues. Also, pianos aren’t the most hygienic of things to play and since the Covid pandemic I do thing twice about playing an accoustic instrument at a venue. When I take my own I can make sure that is sanitised and also make sure that no one else touches it.
If you don’t like the appearance of a digital piano I have a baby grand piano shell option. This is a case in the shape of a grand piano which discretely houses a digital piano. Please see grand piano shell page.
As you may have guessed there are many venues in Essex. In fact, there seems to be barely enough musicians to go around the huge number of events. I work more as a pianist in Essex than any other county in the UK.
Different Instrumental Line-ups
I’m mostly hired to perform in Essex as a solo pianist, but I can provide a variety of larger line-ups. These can range from a simple duo right up to a five-piece band. The five-piece jazz band is the largest line-up I provide and consists of piano, bass, drums, sax, and vocals. Also, you don’t have to have just one combination of musicians. For example, if the event is a wedding, you can have a duo consisting of piano and vocals piano for the ceremony, followed by piano, bass, drums and vocals for the drinks reception. This could be followed with solo piano music during the wedding breakfast and maybe the full five piece band for the evening.
This range and flexibility means that it very easy to find something that will match both your available budget and space. It goes without saying that I try and make sure that the music will enhance your event and doesn’t intrude. This applies whether you book me as a soloist or whether you go for a larger line-up.
Essex provides me with a constant supply of work as a wedding pianist as well as bookings for other types of events. when I provide music for weddings I have to be versatile with the music I play. I specialise in jazz piano, but weddings demand me to perform other genres. Before I started playing the piano for events my career took me down many different paths. First of all I worked as a as a classical pianist accompanying ballet as well as working with classical singers. Later, my work in pop and jazz saw me performing with both a pop group as well as working with many jazz singers. This also led to me working with my own jazz band performing for concerts, events and festivals. These different avenues of work has given me the opportunity to perform many genres of music. These include classical music, jazz, rock, pop, Latin, blues, and even sing-along (please see sing-along page). Being fluent in many genres means that I can provide music for all the different parts of your wedding day or event. Couples often like to have some Bach, Chopin or Debussy for the ceremony followed by jazz or something lighter for the rest of the day.
Although I play music of many different styles, it is jazz and swing that is my specialty. Throughout the year Essex provides me with a large number of events as a jazz pianist and this is something I really enjoy. My jazz piano style has been honed by listening to the great jazz piano players of the past such as Erroll Garner, Oscar Peterson, George Shearing, and Monty Alexander.
My main aim is to make my music entertaining give it a feel-good quality. I hope that this quality makes the music sit comfortably in any situation. Adding sparkle to your event without drowning conversation.
Singalong Pianist in Essex
A recent trend has been to book me as a sing-along pianist and Essex seems to be the county that has had the most demand for this. Sing-alongs are great for all kinds of events, even formal ones such as weddings and black-tie dinners. Song sheets can be provided so that all you have to do is provide some good hearty voices. If it is a London themed event I can dress in Cockney attire with a Bowler hat, grandad shirt, waistcoat, red neckerchief, double Albert watch chain, etc.
Here are some of the venues in Essex where I’ve performed as a pianist:
- Essex County Hotel, Aviation Way, , Essex SS2 6UN
- Blake Hall Ongar CM5 0DG
- Fennes Estate, Bocking, Braintree CM7 5PL
- Gosfield Hall, Gosfield CO9 1SF
- Greenwoods Hotel, Stock Road, Stock CM4 9BE
- Hedingham Castle. Bayley Street Castle Hedingham. Halstead CO9 3DJ
- Leez Priory, Hartford End, Great Leighs, Chelmsford CM3 1JP
- Orsett Hall, Prince Charles Avenue, Orsett, Essex RM16 3HS
- Prested Hall, Prested Hall Chase, Feering, Colchester CO5 9EE
- Stock Brook Country Club, Queen’s Park Avenue, Stock, Nr Billericay CM12 OSP
- Trinity Park, Bucklesham Rd, Ipswich IP3 8UH
I travel all over Essex as a pianist. Here are some of the towns, villages and cities I cover.
Chelmsford, Southend on Sea, Clacton on Sea, Colchester, Billericay, Braintree, Brentwood, Basildon, Halstead, Romford, Burnham on Crouch, Coggeshall, Epping, Grays, Hadleigh, Walton on the Naze, Harlow, Ilford, Maldon, Waltham Abbey, Manningtree, Rayleigh, Rochford, Wickford, Harwich, Witham, Saffron Walden, Brightlingsea, Loughton, South Woodham Ferrers, Thaxted and Tilbury