Emma Exton U5, Olivia Morton L6 and Jessica Li U5 recently attended and performed at a masterclass organised by the Piano Trio Society of Great Britain at Lancing College.
Coincidentally the first masterclass session was with St Swithun’s Old Girl Alice Neary (a member of the Gould Piano Trio, and a professor of cello at the Royal College of Music, London and the Royal Welsh College of Music). Alice gave the girls greater confidence to enjoy the process of music making at a high level. (Alice left St Swithun’s in 1988 to go to Chethams’ School of Music in Manchester for sixth form and then on to the Royal Northern College of Music. She then became the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship to the US to develop her cello playing further).
Following this session our trio then had a masterclass in the Sanderson Room at Lancing (the girls liked the room saying it was ‘very Hogwarts’). They were coached by the Sandor Vegh pupil, Peter Cropper (founder of the Lindsay String Quartet). It was in this session that Emma, Olivia and Jessica reached a level of playing that was beyond their school years. Peter Cropper was incredibly impressed by the way in which the girls were able to respond to instructions, forget any performance anxiety and interpret the music, and, as he was to reiterate later in the day, enjoy the process of playing.
Following an excellent lunch the girls enjoyed a lecture from Raymond Yiu, and further masterclasses including one by the Nosis Trio (second year undergraduates at the Royal Academy of Music). Emma volunteered to turn pages for Nosis Trio’s pianist, always a nerve wracking job!
At the end of the day Peter and Alice were joined by the Chamber Music in Residence coach of the Royal Northern College of Music, Jeremy Young. The Trio played Beethoven Piano Trio in E flat major, op. 70 no. 2 and Emma, Olivia and Jessica were treated to some very fine chamber music playing indeed.
Not completely exhausted, Emma and Jessica still managed to sing along to Tchaikovsky’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in the back of the car on the way home, with some small interjections from Olivia and Ms Richardson. The big discussion now is, which trio to play next and ‘can we have a Victorian Gothic Chapel, Hogwarts style at St Swithun’s please?’