Also available in Portsmouth, Winchester, Basingstoke, Newport, or any other area Hampshire.
Working as a Pianist in Hampshire
My name is Eugene Portman and I am a professional pianist performing in Hampshire and other areas of the South East. In fact, the great demand for pianists in this area ensures that I have a constant supply of work. For this I am very grateful and I really hope that this continues well into the future. Luckily I live in Horsham, Sussex, so traveling to events in this area is quite easy.
The Venues I Visit
Most of the enquiries that come in are for me as a wedding pianist and Hampshire has a great variety of venues which are suitable for this purpose. I say suitable, but anything goes these days. In the past I have played for weddings and other events in military forts; on the beach, on the HMS illustrious aircraft carrier and even the top of the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth.
I suppose that most venues can be roughly divided into pubs, restaurants, hotels, golf clubs and historical venues such as castles, stately homes and museums. All these types of venues are in plentiful supply in Hampshire, so there is no wonder that the area is so popular as a wedding destination. Pianos are scarce in Hampshire’s many venues and as a pianist I usually have to provide a digital keyboard when an acoustic piano isn’t available. However, even when there is a piano at the venue, it is very doubtful whether it would be playable. Unfortunately, most pianos at venues are little more than a good shelf to stick photographs and ornaments. Luckily digital pianos are easy to transport and they sound fantastic as you can hear by listening to the music on this site.
Although I play the piano for many weddings, I do also provide music for other events. These include birthdays, Christmas parties, anniversaries, product launches and just about any other excuse for a party.
As an entertainer and musician I have to be versatile and my repertoire covers a broad spectrum of styles and genres. When I first started playing the piano, at the age of eight. my training was formal and classical based. Practicing Beethoven Sonatas, Bach Partitas and Chopin Etudes was the norm until I was around fourteen. This is when my interests wavered to jazz and blues. I’ve got to say that I didn’t lose interest in classical music, it’s just that my interests started to widen. From then on my main influences in the jazz world were pianists such as Erroll Garner, George Shearing and Oscar Peterson. These were the musicians I listened to and helped me shape my jazz piano style.
Hampshire has a thriving jazz scene and this has helped keep me busy. But, because I play for so many weddings, my repertoire has to very varied. Just playing classical music and jazz is not enough. My repertoire has had to extend to encompass genres such as Latin, swing, pop, rock and even singalong. In other word I play anything from Bach, Debussy, Gershwin and Cole Porter to Neil Diamond, the Beatles and Oasis. This means that I can play different styles of music for each part of the wedding day. For instance, I can play classical music for the ceremony, jazz and swing for the drinks reception followed by rock ballads and mellow jazz for the wedding breakfast.
My Work as a Sing-along Pianist in Hampshire
Surprisingly, there has been a growing trend to book me as a singalong pianist. This sort of thing used to be very popular in pubs all over Britain – especially in London and the East End. Back in the seventies pianists like Mrs Mills kept it alive with her incredible catalogue of recordings and her even more staggering record sales. Gladys Mills recorded at the Abbey Road Studios around the same time as the Beatles. What a lot of people don’t know is that her record sales surpassed those of the “Fab Four”.
The Comeback of the Singalong Pianist
After the mid-seventies having a singsong by the piano died as a trend. However, I am pleased to say that it is now making a comeback and more and more pubs are looking for this sort of entertainment. Furthermore, this has become something that I have come to really enjoy and I always look forward to a singalong gig. To be honest, there is nothing better than seeing and hearing an entire pub singing along to the old pub songs. But, I don’t only do the old musical songs. I also include songs by the Monkees, the Beatles, Neil Diamond and the Kinks.
When I perform at a singalong event I dress accordingly with Bowler hat, waistcoat, grandad shirt, neckerchief etc. This all helps to create the right atmosphere and hopefully encourage the crowd to sing along. I also, provide song sheets to help all those who are unsure of the words.
Singalong events are very popular in Hampshire and the pubs I’ve performed in include the Dolphin, Botley; the Phoeniix Inn, Twyford, Winchester and the The Rose in June. 102 Milton Road. Portsmouth, Hampshire.
Although the bulk of my work is as a solo pianist, I also perform in larger line-ups. One of my favourite line-ups is pianos and bass. There is so much freedom for improvisation when there is just two musicians working together and piano and bass blend beautifully together. This duo of piano and bass can be enlarged to a quartet by adding drums and sax.
If you are considering having a larger line-up than just a soloist please contact me. I can provide one that will match both your budget and available space at the venue.
Whether you book me as a solo classical pianist, singalong pianist or as a jazz quartet – you will find that I try and make the music have a feel-good quality. I always play music we all know and love. Further to this, I try and make my music sit comfortably in any wedding or party – adding sparkle without drowning conversation.
Here are some of Hampshire’s lovely venues that have used my services as a pianist:
The Rose in June, 102 Milton Road. Portsmouth, Hampshire – A proper pub. This is a very friendly locals pub and I really enjoyed my last visit here.
Southampton City Art Gallery, Civic Centre, Commercial Road, Southampton – A pianists paradise. This is a great building and has really nice piano that is dying to be played.
The Elvetham, Hartley Whitney, Hampshire – The Elvetham is a lovely place to hold a wedding or party and I play there often
Cowplain Social Club, 54 London Road, Cowplain, Waterlooville, Hampshire – A great Social club! My last singalong night here was a wild one, They sure know how to have a good time.
Lainston House Hotel, Sparsholt, Winchester – A great rural venue with a nice piano in the main building.
Spinnaker Tower, Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, Hampshire – A great view from the top. On my last visit I had to take my baby grand piano shell to the top and set everything up for a wedding reception. The logistics of parking and setting up was a bit of a nightmare, but it ended up been a great event.
Bartley Lodge Hotel, Old Lyndhurst Road Cadnam, Southampton, Hampshire – A superb hotel in the heart of the New Forest.
Rhinefield House Hotel. Rhinefield Road. Brockenhurst. Hampshire
I can also be hired as a pianist in all the following areas of Hampshire:
- Andover Down
- Bishop’s Sutton
- Bishop’s Waltham
- Chandler’s Ford
- Fair Oak
- Hartley Wintney
- Hedge End
- Locks Heath
- Middle Wallop
- Milford on Sea
- New Alresford
- New Milton
- North Baddesley
- South Hayling
- St. Mary Bourne
- Waltham Chase
- West Town