Six of our students had the opportunity to play to Helen, and received advice and tuition on their repertoire in front of the other performers and music students who do music as a Thursday afternoon activity.
We have a strong link with the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), and this was the third such visit from the college, the previous two featuring the RNCM’s Heads of the String and Woodwind Departments. Awen Blandford, who left last year, has just begun her studies at the Royal Northern on Cello with Chris Hoyle, Head of Strings.
The standard of pianism currently achieved within Shrewsbury School is of a very high standard and the depth of ability is very strong at the moment - indeed there were many other pupils who could have played. Helen was extremely impressed by what she heard and was able to work with, and said afterwards that it was a much generally higher standard than she is used to finding in comparable schools, which was heartening to hear.
After Sally Joyce had started proceedings with a lovely account of Clair de Lune by Debussy, Galin Ganchev played Rachmaninoff’s Etude Tableau op.30 No.9, a work that he is currently preparing for both auditions and recitals. It is a complex and virtuosic work, and he received great advice from Helen, as did all the other participants.
Henrike Legner performed Chopin’s Revolutionary Study; Queenie Luk played the opening section of Chopin’s massive Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise; Henry Thomas showed great musicality in the opening of Tchaikowsky’s Dumka; and Reuben Denison and Nateewat Ruechuseth performed works by Bach and Chopin. Others attended, and everyone present will have had their love for the instrument rekindled and went away with new ideas about their approach to their piano playing.
The event was testimony to the work being done by our team of piano teachers at Shrewsbury, led by Peter Bradley-Fulgoni, one of the finest pianists of his generation in the UK, who still pursues an active career as a concert recitalist and recording artist. He could not be with us yesterday as he is putting the finishing touches to his latest Piano CD, soon to be released. Our other piano teachers are Pauline Reid, Susie Allen, James Taylor and Ruth Theobold, all of whom give their students such a love for the instrument and its repertoire.
The session ended with a short recital by a post-graduate student from the RNCM, who is a pupil of Helen’s. She ably demonstrated what four years of study at the RNCM can bring to a student, playing three beautiful pieces by Scarlatti, Debussy and Ravel.
All in all, a wonderful visit and event.