Ian Holtham

Ian Holtham is one of the most distinguished and highly regarded pianists and pedagogues in Australia and his performances of the great Classical and Romantic repertoire have played to packed houses and rave reviews for many years.

Professor Ian Holtham
BA(Hons) DipEd PhD (Melb) BMus (Hons) (Durham) FTCL ARCM LRAM LGSM
Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning), Head of Keyboard, Head of Practical Studies,
Faculty of the VCA & Music (School of Music, Parkville)

In 1999 Prof Holtham was invited to become the inaugural Head of Studies at the Australian National Academy of Music – a position he held for a year in addition to his position at the University of Melbourne.

Prof Holtham studied with Peter Feuchtwanger, Geza Anda, as well as with Geoffrey Parsons and Enrique Barenboim in Europe for over five years during the 1970s. He also studied Composition and Conducting at the Guildhall School of Music. He has performed throughout Europe, Asia and Australia and has broadcast regularly with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation since the late seventies appearing as a soloist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, as well as with various orchestras and conductors over many years. He has performed and given Masterclasses throughout Australia, Europe and Asia over the last three decades. Ian is a Steinway artist and has established the Faculty of Music, University of Melbourne as the only institution of higher musical training in the Southern Hemisphere which is a Steinway School. He is also the Chair of the Australian Music Examinations Board in Victoria, is the Chair of the national AMEB piano syllabus and has served two terms as the Federal Chair of the AMEB.

Prof Holtham has published a seminal text on piano technique, and was piano adviser and contributor to the Oxford Companion to Australian Music. He has published articles on Music in the Australian Book Review. He has judged and often chaired virtually all the major musical awards and scholarships within Australia. Since 1995 he has released a solo piano CD virtually each year. His first, Etudes, contained the complete Etudes of Chopin, Opus 10 and Opus 25. This and his subsequent CDs which cover an enormous range of repertoire have all been received with wide critical acclaim. His most recent CDs released through ABC Classics are Forest Scenes: the piano music of Robert Schumann and Beethoven: the last three Sonatas.

Press quotes

“One must still admire Holtham's tenacity in such difficult repertory and his maintenance of clarity and musicianship in the face of such odds.”

— Tony Way, The Age - Green Guide

“shows the mastery and control of the keyboard which makes Holtham such an exciting performer ... Melbourne is indeed lucky to have such a resident talent.”

3MBS FM Libretto

“Holtham is one of this country's finest pianists... beautifully moulded and expressive performances.”

The Canberra Times

“Holtham is a master of poise; his playing holds in tension the ruminative and dramatic aspects of the music”

Tony Way - The Green Guide

Ian Holtham is featured on the following titles

Bach's Tonal Soundscape

Performer: piano

Ian Holtham’s unique approach to Bach’s monumental Well Tempered Clavier provides the listener with the opportunity to hear the preludes and fugues organised by key rather than the traditional and more artificial order by volume.

Chopin Showcase

Performer: piano

Ian Holtham, Piano. The genesis of this recording was to assemble a number of the composer's most attractive and original works as a mark of homage to one of the most outstandingly innovative and important composers for the piano who has ever lived.

Chopin Complete Ballades and Scherzi

Performer: Piano

Having successfully tackled the complete etudes of Chopin, Ian Holtham turned his attention to the composer's complete ballades and scherzi, undoubtedly amongst his most individual and characteristic works.


Performer: Piano

Having already tackled the likes of Liszt, Chopin and Godowsky, Ian Holtham continues his exploration of the virtuoso piano repertoire with this new CD for Move.

Giants In The Land

Performer: Piano

Recorded in Melba Hall, this world premiere recording finds Melbourne pianist Ian Holtham performing a brilliant cross-section of Australian contemporary piano works, including those by Brenton Broadstock, Linda Kouvaras, Stephen Ingham, Stuart Greenbaum, Johanna Selleck and Christine McCombe.

A Liszt Recital

Performer: Piano

Ian Holtham's acclaimed recital showcases works by the great, enigmatic, and quintessentially romantic pianist and composer, Franz Liszt. This album includes Holtham's masterful interpretation of Liszt's Sonata in B minor.


Performer: Piano

In Pictures, Ian Holtham leads the listener through a showcase of Romantic piano masterpieces, including Mussorgsky's 'Pictures at an Exhibition' and Schumann's 'Carnaval'.

Acts of Homage

Performer: Piano

Acclaimed pianist Ian Holtham commemorates the 100th anniversary of the death of Brahms and the 200th anniversary of the birth of Schubert. Holtham demonstrates the diversity in Brahms' work and showcases Schubert's gift for thematic extrapolation with the pieces presented.

Imo Pectore

Performer: Piano

With Ian Holtham as your guide, 'Imo Pectore' – 'music from the inner most recesses of the heart' highlights the remarkable genius of four great composers, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann and Rachmaninov.


Performer: Piano

Ian Holtham, piano. Featuring Chopin's 'Twenty-Four Études Op. 10 & Op. 25', perfect examples of their genre, wonderfully innovative in their textures and uncompromisingly challenging in their technical difficulties.

Ian Holtham also appears on

Bright Tracks

Performer: Piano

Winner of the 1998 ABC Classic FM "Listeners' Choice" Award, this double CD set brings together chamber music by Brenton Broadstock, one of Australia's most well- established and respected composers.