A brand new competition for young pianists is due to be launched at Wellington School laer this month. An initiative by Director of Music, Andrew Trewhella, the competition is open to musicians under 19 years of age and in full-time education and has already attracted entries both from students at Wellington and other local schools.
Radio 3 broadcaster and renowned jazz musician Julian Joseph will join Taunton School’s Director of Music, Mark Cracknell, in adjudicating the competition. Julian Joseph is familiar to jazz enthusiasts as a pianist, bandleader, composer and arranger. He has hosted many radio shows, including BBC Radio 3’s ‘Jazz Line-up’ and ‘Jazz Legends’, and recently helped to form the jazz syllabus for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.
With Taunton Music Festival beginning on 12 November, this is a timely addition to the autumn calendar of events for young pianists. As Andrew Trewhella said, ‘Performing in front of an audience and in competition with other musicians is an important aspect of a musical education.’
Three different classes – Foundation for pianists of Grade 3 and 4 standard, Intermediate for Grades 5 & 6 and Advanced for Grade 7 and above – will take place throughout the day, with the best three finalists performing in a Piano Competition Finals Concert in the evening. A prize and a trophy will be awarded to the winner of each class.
All the competitors will play their two selected contrasting pieces on one of the school’s Steinway Model B grand pianos. The school is the proud owner of no fewer than 15 Steinways, both grand and upright. When the Music Department took delivery of these brand new instruments in 2010, it became one of only 140 schools and colleges worldwide to be named an ‘All Steinway School’. Andrew Trewhella said, ‘This relationship with Steinway works two ways: our pupils and their teachers are fortunate to have these superb instruments for teaching, practice, rehearsals and performance and Steinway is able to demonstrate its ongoing commitment to musical excellence by designating certain institutions ‘All Steinway Schools’ and working in partnership with them.”