Performing as a Wedding Pianist and Jazz Band in Surrey
My name is Eugene Portman and Surrey is very local to me. In fact, the border is a mere six miles away from where I live in Sussex. I suppose the proximity of the county and the contacts I have in the area are the main reasons why it has been a good source of work for me as a wedding pianist. Over the years I have visited many of Surrey’s many and varied venues which include hotels, golf clubs, restaurants, pubs and many historic venues such as castles, museums, and stately homes. Here are just a few venues where I have performed as a pianist:
Here are some of the Surrey venues that have used my services as a pianist:
- The Barn at Bury Court – Bentley, Farnham. A beautiful venue tucked away in the Surrey countryside and just a stone’s throw away from Farnham.
- Denbies Vineyard – London Road, Dorking, Surrey. There is a treat waiting for any pianist being hired to play here, as Denbies have a lovely Yamaha grand piano in the Garden Room. This is a venue that I play at quite frequently and I’m always treated really well by the staff.
- Branksome Place – Hindhead Road, Haslemere. A very popular venue for weddings and other types of events.
- Farnham Castle Conference Centre – Farnham, Surrey GU9 0AG. They have a piano in one room and I did play it on one occasion. It is a big venue with many rooms and a pianist would probably need their own digital piano if they played there.
- St Georges Church – Esher Park Avenue, Esher, Surrey. This is Esher’s oldest building and is used for weddings and other events. There is a grand piano which was in good condition on the last occasion I played there. St. Georges is a lovely Tudor building and is used as an arts centre and meeting venue.
- Nonsuch Mansion – Nonsuch Park, Ewell Road, Cheam, Sutton. A lovely historic venue with beautiful grounds. It is very popular for weddings and other kinds of events. It is also used for recitals and outdoor concerts.
- Russets Country House – Petworth Road, Chiddingfold. This is a lovely venue and they have a nice Daneman Grand piano on site. The instrument is ideally situated for both wedding ceremonies and drinks receptions.
- Loseley Park – Compton, Nr Guildford, Surrey. There is a grand piano in the main house which is used for wedding ceremonies. The Tithe Barn is situated just a short walk away from the main house and is usually used for drinks receptions and wedding breakfasts. The Tithe barn does not have a piano so you would need a digital one or hire a piano if you are wishing to book a pianist.
- Sandhurst Military Academy – Sandhurst, Camberley. A spectacular venue, but I don’t think that it can be hired by just anyone. I think that you would have to be a serving officer to use its facilities.
- Stanhill Court Hotel – Stanhill Road, Charlwood, Horley. I have played for quite a few weddings here and I have enjoyed every one of them.
On a day-to-day basis, most of my work is as a solo pianist and it is definitely something I enjoy. However, I have also performed around Surrey in larger line-ups. These line-ups are as follows
- Duo – piano and bass
- Trio – piano, bass, and drums
- Quartet – piano, bass, drums, and sax
If you contact me I can help you find a line-up that will match both the available space at the venue and your budget.
Surrey is very popular for weddings and I spend most of my time providing music for couples tying the knot. However, over the years I have played the piano for many other types of events. It would be impossible to list all of them, but they include art exhibitions, birthday parties, office parties, christenings, product launches, and other corporate events.
Because of the wide variety of events I have played the piano for, my repertoire has had to grow to accommodate the variety of work. Jazz has always been a favourite genre of mine, but it isn’t enough just to play jazz. I have to be fluent in all genres as I never know what I am going to be asked for next. Even weddings demand many styles of music. For instance, I am often required to play classical music for the ceremony, followed by jazz for the drinks reception. The wedding breakfast can require yet another genre of music. The many styles of music I play include rock, pop, Latin, ragtime, classical, blues, jazz and even singalong.
Although I play many styles of music, my real love is jazz, and my style of piano playing has been influenced by the great jazz pianists of the past. These include the likes of Oscar Peterson, Monty Alexander, George Shearing, Erroll Garner, and Dudley Moore. I prefer these musicians from the past rather than the more modern avant-garde musicians.
Above all, I try and make my music entertaining, and I always try to keep it at a volume that people can hold a conversation comfortably. Inobtrusive is my keyword, but I can turn up the gas if you are looking for something more lively. Furthermore, I hope that my music will add sparkle to your event, without drowning conversation.
Performing as a Sing-along Pianist in Surrey
Another trend in Surrey has been the demand for me as an old-fashioned singalong pianist. I can organise an old-fashioned sing-along and can provide all the song sheets. All you have to do is provide some hearty voices and some enthusiasm.
I often organise these singalongs for Cockney-themed evenings, where I dress up as a typical Cockney pianist. This consists of an outfit complete with a Bowler hat, grandad shirt, waistcoat, red neckerchief, etc. Please see This Page for more information about this. Alternatively, you can visit www.uksingalongpianist.co.uk and find out where I’m next playing the piano live in Surrey.
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Other Surrey towns where I perform as a pianist: Redhill, Reigate, Horley, Crawley, Dorking, Leatherhead, Woking