Simon Ballard is at home with a piano. They are friends. He writes music for it – melodic, accessible and attractive music with echoes of Schubert sonatas and the Deutsche Tanze.

No keyboard repertoire daunts him and no period escapes attention. His concert at St Michael’s Church for the Brighton Fringe spanned music from the baroque Carbonelli through Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Ravel and his own compositions.

A formidable technique made light work of Ravel’s virtuoso Introduction and Allegro, described by the pianist himself as “awkward”. It’s sad that only a small audience in St Michael’s Church was present for such a wonderful demonstration of consummate musicianship but we were grateful to be there.

Ballard has a national reputation as pianist, teacher, festival adjudicator and composer. He has a passionate belief in melody, relieved that a brief modern vogue for chromatic cat yowls or silent hours at the keyboard seem to be out of favour. His own compositions were charming, occasionally based on words written by author friend Richard Crellin and now recorded.

An easy, informal and understated approach to his many pupils, his audience and his piano belies a scholar, instrumentalist and virtuoso. Bravo, Simon Ballard.