Richard Saxel is a concert pianist who has established a reputation as one of the most engaging pianists of his generation. He studied the piano with the late Clifford Benson whilst reading a music degree at the University of York, and then with Michael Dussek as a postgraduate at the Royal Academy of Music. Richard's musical interests owe much to the influence of these two outstanding teachers; whilst happy to explore solo repertoire, he also has a strong affinity for the art of chamber music and piano accompaniment. In 2013, Richard was awarded Steinway Artist status, and added to their worldwide roster of artists, and he was elected as an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in their 2016 Honours List, recognizing a significant contribution to the music profession.
One of Richard's great attributes as a performer is his versatility. Equally comfortable as a concerto soloist or as an accompanist, his career has taken him around the world. For four years he was one of the six pianists in Piano Circus, who perform and broadcast contemporary music at major festivals, and he has worked with a fascinating variety of artists, from Indonesian puppeteers to ballet dancers, tango musicians, trapeze artists, music theatre performers, opera and jazz singers and also with the Endymion Ensemble under Gyorgy Kurtag. Richard has performed worldwide at many major festivals, including the Abu Dhabi International Festival, Istanbul International Festival, Lucerne Festival, La Roque D'Antheron, The Big Chill, the Victoria Arts Festival in Gozo, the Cheltenham Festival and the Dartington International Summer School as well as at several of London's leading venues including the Queen Elizabeth Hall and St. John's Smith Square, and at St. David's Hall in Cardiff. In 2012, Richard gave two concerts in Rome with Madeleine Mitchell, celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee at the invitation of Her Majesty's British Ambassador to Italy, and was subsequently invited back to perform as a soloist. He has in the past won the National Federation of Music Societies Making Music Award, and works regularly with a huge variety of accomplished singers and instrumentalists.
Richard records as a soloist for the Quartz Music label. His debut CD of Janacek's 'On an Overgrown Path', Schumann's 'Waldscenen' Op.82 and Edward MacDowell's 'Woodland Sketches' Op.51 received outstanding reviews; '...a haunting claim for intimacy...to anyone who warms to introspection presented with an enviable taste and clarity, this recital is outstanding' (Gramophone), '...a spellbindingly eerie account...Saxel demonstrates a sensitive understanding of the composers' idiosyncratic means of expression' (BBC Music), and 'Saxel's playing is outstandingly, unfailingly musical...the recording quality of the piano on this CD is quite exceptional' (International Record Review). His second recording, of Nocturnes by seventeen different composers, was released by Quartz Music in March 2018. Richard also recorded a CD of works for oboe, horn and piano with Jeremy Polmear and Stephen Stirling on the Oboe Classics label in 2010, which received excellent reviews in the press both in the UK and in the USA. He is strongly committed to music education, regularly adjudicates for festivals and competitions, and is currently Director of Music at Cranleigh School in Surrey, where he has taught since 2001.