Focus: Charlotte Butler | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Who are you and where are you from?
I’m Charlotte Butler, a pianist, composer and teacher from Sunderland.  

What is it you do?
I compose and perform contemporary classical piano music, specialising in atmospheric music that has both an immediate and lasting effect on the listener. I also write educational piano music inspired by my experience as a piano and music theory teacher. 

How long have you been doing it?
I have been playing the piano and composing since the age of eight. I studied music at Sage Gateshead and Newcastle University, gaining a First-Class Honours degree alongside diplomas in piano and music theory. I’ve worked as a musician since the age of sixteen and began sharing my compositions online around ten years ago. I released my debut album Illuminated Keys in 2020 and have been sharing new music ever since. 

What inspires you?
I take a lot of inspiration from my surroundings, particularly the coast, which has inspired my latest release. Sometimes I find inspiration in a particular sound or musical idea, such as a single chord or rhythm, or a mood I want to convey in a piece. I’m also inspired by fellow contemporary composers for piano, such as Alexandra Stréliski and Olivia Belli, as well as the classical works of Chopin, Debussy and Ravel.  

Tell us about your music
Although I also compose choral works and other instrumental ensemble pieces, my main passion is contemporary solo piano music. My works have been described as ‘the most beautiful piano miniatures, deftly conjuring a variety of emotions in a series of impeccably performed fleeting solo piano pieces’ (Steve Luck). I strive to create melodic, impactful music that stays with the listener, perhaps evoking a particular emotion, memory or image. 

My debut album Illuminated Keys includes 25 pieces composed between 2014 and 2019 that exemplify my musical style. Tracks from the album have featured on NTS Radio and Steve Luck’s Peaceful Piano series. Following the album’s release, I created a popular online series called “A Piece a Day” where I composed and uploaded a new piece daily during the UK lockdown. Through this project, I met and collaborated with a number of talented local composers also working within the contemporary classical genre including Steve Luck and Philip Alexander, who I recently performed alongside at a Side by Side Arts Live concert. I have also performed as a featured artist in the Atmospherica composer concert series curated by Steve. 

Most recently, my composition “Nocturne: Moonlight on the Waves” was published this August by EVC Music in a new piano anthology inspired by Chopin’s Nocturnes. The collection, titled 22 Nocturnes for Chopin, is made up exclusively of pieces by women composers. 

What have you got coming up in the future?
At the moment I’m looking forward to sharing my new EP. Shoreline Score is composed of five piano miniatures evoking an array of coastal scenes. Each piece depicts a different sea-inspired moment, from the golden glint of the sun on the water’s edge to crashing waves surrounding mighty sea stacks.

I’m also looking forward to the book launch of 22 Nocturnes for Chopin which is taking place at Steinway Hall this September. My composition will also be presented in a series of recitals by prize-winning pianist Rose McLachlan.  

Finally, I’m looking forward to more live performances, and have a number of singles to release in the near future. 

Where can people find out more about you?


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