The Wallace National Piano Competition is the premier platform for New Zealand’s best young pianists. This year, we proudly welcome Australian pianist Piers Lane AO as opening ceremony recitalist and competition adjudicator.
Join us 13-16 July to be part of the journey. Tickets are selling fast, buy one here!
Conveniently nestled between Dilworth Senior Campus and Newmarket, Lewis Eady is a welcoming hub for piano enthusiasts, music teachers, avid students, and now coffee connoisseurs thanks to their newest venture, café Note. When I arrive at Lewis Eady, John is finishing up a meeting with a client in a corner of the showroom. I order a flat white and for 10 minutes tune into the sounds that make up this friendly atmosphere — the bustling traffic, familiar clattering of the coffee machine, and a cheeky ukulele strum or two.
As soon as the meeting ends, John rushes over to Note and orders a long black. No surprise, his day always begins with exercise and coffee. Or was it coffee, then exercise? As the managing director of Lewis Eady and the Charitable Trust, a large portion of John’s day is spent working on the trust’s events and activities with administrator Sharon Seeto, who came on board in 2009. As a firm believer in not wasting time, does John ever have time to relax? “In the evenings, I’ve taught myself to switch off, even if it’s just sitting down and watching a bad movie,” he says. “You do burn out if your mind is constantly going. You’ll notice this as you get older!” We have been warned.
John completed his undergraduate studies at the Royal College of Music in London and subsequently went on to enjoy a professional performance career. He proudly mentions the time he performed for the Queen – an audience on every musician’s bucket list. John is no stranger to the challenges faced by young performers, having been there and done that. “Musicians have to do a lot of soul-searching to decide whether or not they’re prepared to branch out and broaden their horizons. How are they going to make a living when they graduate?” he asks. “My advice is to keep an open mind and think laterally, because throughout your tertiary studies, doors will open… and shut!” These experiences, together with the unwavering commitment to supporting developing musicians inspired John to establish the Lewis Eady Charitable Trust in 2008. The trust’s simple yet powerful aim to ‘better serve and support emerging talent and music education within New Zealand’ has produced many pivotal opportunities especially for pianists, most notably the Wallace National Piano Competition (13-16 July).
So how does John do it? Behind every great man, there is a great woman. Since marrying in 2004, Kelley Eady Loveridge has been doing design work for Lewis Eady. “I couldn’t do any of this without Kelley,” notes John. “She has been involved with Lewis Eady from day one. The photography, graphic design, websites, social media. Not only that, she’s always there supporting me, and all the trust’s events. There’s no way I could have done it myself. She’s just fantastic.” Kelley’s artwork graces the café walls, overlooking John’s skilfully made tables and cabinets fit for a lifestyle magazine. Her passion for detail and innate creativity, coupled with his tireless pragmatism, is what dynamic duos are made of.
As I take my final sip of coffee, it dawns on me that I’ll probably get stuck in after-school traffic. It is 3.30pm after all. John’s agenda for the rest of the day is a little less daunting: “Today, I’ll go home at 5.30pm and help my son with his clarinet practice!” he laughs. No worries. Because behind every great performer, there is a great arts manager.
Words: Gemma Lee
LEWIS EADY showroom & NOTE cafe 75 Great South Rd, Epsom 09 524 4119 | lewiseady.co.nz