E arlier this year piano virtuoso Jayson Gillham went to the Southbank Centre in London. Not to perform. Not this time. The award-winning young artist, who comes from Dalby in Queensland, was there to listen to another pianist, Javier Perianes, play all five Beethoven concertos with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Jayson Gillham. Photo © Benjamin Ealovega

“I thought I’d go along, because I know the pieces so well but just hearing them in two concerts, in two days in a row…” He pauses, collecting his thoughts. “You hear everything live, in quick succession, which puts everything into perspective. It got me thinking about the whole timeline.”

Gillham comes across as someone who thinks a great deal, and as someone who has a great deal to think about. Not least, about how to approach his own performances of the complete Beethoven cycle with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Nicholas Carter, presented in four concerts over two weeks this month and recorded by ABC Classic.

Gillham has been making headlines from an early age. Born and raised in a small country town, he picked up the...