Video: One-handed pianist Nicholas McCarthy inspires Priory School pupils on first visit to Bury St Edmunds

Pianist, Nicholas McCarthy is at the Priory School in Bury running a workshop with the pupils.

Pianist, Nicholas McCarthy is at the Priory School in Bury running a workshop with the pupils. - Credit: Archant

One-handed concert pianist Nicholas McCarthy came to Bury St Edmunds yesterday, where his “incredible” performance and life story inspired special needs pupils at The Priory School.

The talented musician shot to fame in 2012, when he performed alongside Coldplay at the London Paralympics closing ceremony.

Mr McCarthy has since toured around the world, bringing his show to Bury’s Theatre Royal yesterday lunchtime.

Deputy headteacher at The Priory School Mick Truman said Mr McCarthy’s performance and workshop was “awe-inspiring”.

“He came and played a few pieces and spoke to the pupils about his life. He is an incredible talent and it was a very special event.

“He talked about what spurred him on to become a pianist, despite what other people might think.

“The kids responded really well to him, they asked a lot of questions about him and his music. It took him a lot of dedication and hard work to get to where he is.

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“I think the older kids especially took this away. With enough effort, you can overcome pretty much everything, regardless of what people may think is possible.”

Mr McCarthy, from Surrey, started learning piano aged 14, becoming the first ever left-hand only graduate from the Royal College of Music in 2012, making national headlines.

His passion for music was eye-opening for some of the pupils. “He said everyone likes at least one bit of classical music, even if they don’t know it,” said Mr Truman.

“He played bits from adverts and everyone started to realise that they do recognise classical music.

“He speaks very well about music. For the pupils, it plays a big part in their education, it is on the curriculum for every one of them.”

The workshop and performance was in front of the whole school, including their own choir, which is due to sing at the Suffolk Schools Music event at Snape Maltings on March 10.

Mr Truman added: “It was great for them to see a live performance and get a feel for what it is going to be like.”

Tweeting before the workshop and his lunchtime performance, Mr McCarthy sang the praises of the Theatre Royal, labelling it a “mini Royal Albert Hall”.

He also wrote: “On my way to give an educational/inspirational workshop before I go off to perform @TheatreRoyalBSE. Looking forward to seeing everyone.”