PAUL Turner has been in strict training since May, limbering up for three marathons this autumn.

The concert and recital pianist is tackling all of Chopin’s Nocturnes in one go to kick start this season of the Swindon Recital Series, on Sunday, September 17.

It will form part of the Swindon Music Marathon day on October 7, and then on Sunday, February 25, he will perform the complete Beethoven works for cello and piano with Julian Metzger.

“It’s the same as any sporting event – you have to build up the stamina and work on it almost every day, because it is a feat of concentration,” said Paul.

The Swindon pianist has been wanting to do the marathons for a long time and he chose Chopin as it is both his own and his father Tony’s favourite. Paul will be performing all 21 pieces back to back.

“Each one has a different character I need to bring out. Chopin wrote in a style that was specific to piano and he was a virtuoso pianist himself bringing out that singing quality that had not been done before.”

Paul says that right from the word go there was no question that music was to be his life. His parents both worked in the Wills factory in Swindon and they wanted a different path for their son.

“I didn’t have the aptitude for anything else,” said the pianist. “I became involved in everything musical in the town, orchestras, bands, choirs everything.”

There was always music in his home — his mum sang in church choirs and there was a piano in the house he was encouraged to play. The young Paul grew up listening to Swindon groups such as SALOS and Kentwood, and they are still going strong.

He entered the Swindon Music Festival, but it was 10 years before he won a class, being pipped at the post by one point each year. Today the pianist is the official accompanist for the festival. He spent five years at the Royal Academy of Music where he honed his craft to a professional level, made many contacts and began playing at some of the top venues in the classical world including the Wigmore Hall in London, the Purcell Rooms and the Festival Hall, but he played only once at the Royal Albert Hall.

His most famous venue to date was the Buenos Aires Teatro de Colon, one of the biggest grand theatres in the world, performing with the American soprano Maria Ewing, the wife of Peter Hall and the mother of actress Rebecca Hall.

“It was terrifying,” said Paul. “There were layers and layers of balconies and when there is just two of you on stage with a spotlight on each of you – I was just a bit nervous! But Argentina was all new and exciting and it was my first long haul flight.”

The musician was also part of the Live Music Now organisation set up by Yehudi Menuhin to take live music to places that were not normally a performance venue such as schools, prisons, old folks homes and hospitals.

Paul is the founder of the Swindon Recital Series which he set up 25 years ago when the Wyvern Theatre was no longer including classical music concerts.

“The idea was to put on regular evening concerts in the Arts Centre. At the time I was playing with some wonderful artist both here and abroad so it seemed right to bring them to Swindon where there was no classical music,” said Paul, who was awarded the Swindon Does Arts Hero trophy in recognition of an outstanding contribution to the arts in Swindon, in September 2009.

Tickets to the Chopin Nocturnes are £16, (£13.50, students £3.50, 14s and under free) from 01793 524481 or visit