Lawson, Rex

Lawson was born in London, England, on April 3, 1948, and the piano was there from the start: his parents, two talented amateur musicians, had met through playing piano duets. His education was at Dulwich College and Nottingham University, where he studied Music and French-his attempts to pursue a course of study which combined music and electronics (although common enough a thing nowadays) were thwarted by the administration of his university. Photo © 1998 Jeanne Newman Rex began his career in music administration and was first an orchestra manager in middle England. A long-standing fascination with player-pianos led him to organize for his orchestra a performance in 1972 of Edvard Grieg's Concerto for piano and orchestra with Percy Grainger as the soloist. The valiant Mr. Lawson was undaunted by the fact that Grainger, at that time, had been dead for over ten years. The performance featured Rex peddling the reproducing-piano roll of the Concerto which Grainger had made, and its success led Rex on to organizing and presenting further performances of posthumous pianists. His administrative career was transformed into a full-time commitment to the pianola as Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924), George Gershwin (1898-1937), Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943), and others returned to concertizing via Rex's fine pedaling.
  • Total duration: 79'57
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For over thirty years Rex Lawson has been at the forefront of pianola music throughout the world. This recording features new music and arrangements for pianola commissioned by the Aeolian Company of London in 1921, with music from JS Bach, Arnold Bax, Frederic Cowen, Percy Grainger, Herbert Howells, Maurice Ravel, Alfredo Casella, Hubert Parry, Igor Stravinsky and others.


"What you get here is Lawson playing, not merely operating, a pianola. These are his performances - and he really does give you the sense of a live event. The programme is a fascinating one." Gramophone

"This delightful disc contains crisp, meticulous music for the Pianola... Lawson has mastered this art and spread the Pianola gospel around the world." The Sunday Times


This disc was recorded 25-26 July 2007 at the Old Granary Studio, Beccles, Suffolk.

Recording Engineer & Producer: RICHARD BLACK
Repertoire Consultant: DENIS HALL
Editing & Mastering: RICHARD BLACK
Executive Producer: COLIN MATTHEWS


(P) 2008 NMC Recordings Ltd

Catalogue number:
NMC D136
Release Date:
5 May 2008