Beste, Sam


Sam Beste is a musician, composer and producer from London, in demand as a pianist since his teens. At 16 he declined an offer to study at the Royal Academy of Music, instead taking up the opportunity to tour with Amy Winehouse, whom he played with until her untimely death in 2011. His career as a pianist has taken him around the globe performing in some of the world's most prestigious venues and festivals with the likes of Tom Jones and Carleen Anderson. Since 2010 Beste’s time has been predominantly devoted to his band Hejira, with whom he collectively composes, arranges, produces and performs. Hejira's debut album was co-produced by Matthew Herbert and released on Herbert's Accidental Records imprint in October 2013. In addition to Hejira, Beste has also been working extensively with Herbert on the electronic pioneer's own releases, recording and co-writing on his latest solo records One Pig and The End of Silence, and collaboratively composing the soundtrack to a film score and the iPhone game Pentapuzzle. Sam Beste is a visiting piano tutor at Goldsmith's College, London, after graduating from the institution himself in 2009 with a BA in Popular Music Studies.

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Artist: Sam Beste


Matthew Herbert is telling the stories of twenty unique pianos from around the world – from Steinways at famous locations to forgotten out-of-tune family pianos. Matthew samples each piano, documents it in photographs, and records short oral histories. The composition, for solo pianist, is played on a simple table, turned into a virtual piano through bespoke soft/hardware created by the Radiophonic Workshop.

‘Along with the other selected artists, I'm thrilled to be part of this programme. In an increasingly fragile music economy, these kinds of opportunities can really help support and stimulate interesting work that may not have otherwise happened.’ Matthew Herbert

‘20 Pianos will be utterly unique – a composition, a Proustian evocation of piano memory, part performance art and technological wizardry. We are thrilled to be working with Matthew Herbert on this exciting venture, and proud as well as grateful that the project has been chosen to be part of the first edition of the New Music Biennial.’ Third Ear


For more information about all 20 pieces of the New Music Biennial, visit our page:



Third Ear

20 Pianos was commissioned by Third Ear.


'[...] mesmerising and powerfully nostalgic.' The Scotsman


Produced with the support of partners and funders:

New Music Biennial Funders


The performance of 20 Pianos was recorded live by the BBC at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on 2 August 2014 and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 9 August 2014.

Catalogue number:
NMC DL201412
Release Date:
25 August 2014