Video/Holbrook: Royal Hospital School celebrates arrival of £250k pianos

Ten pianists from the Royal Hospital School, Holbrook, perform the world premiere of a piece of musi

Ten pianists from the Royal Hospital School, Holbrook, perform the world premiere of a piece of music by Iain Farrington to mark the launch of a £250,000 piano scheme at the school - Credit: Archant

Pianists at Holbrook’s Royal Hospital School couldn’t wait to get their hands on £250,000 of new pianos, including an Italian Fazioli Grand - the Ferrari of the piano world.

HOLBROOK: Pianists at Royal Hospital School couldn’t wait to get their hands on £250,000 of new pianos, including an Italian Fazioli Grand - the Ferrari of the piano world.

The Grand, one of just 110 hand-crafted each year in a family-run factory in Rome; three Bechstein Grands and 10 Hoffman Uprights arrived Wednesday morning.

Ten pianists, including headmaster James Lockwood, had just five minutes practice before marking the occasion by performing the world premiere of Iain Farrington’s Pianoscape in the Burns Recital Hall.

Year nine student Taylor Godfrey, 14, said: “I feel really lucky to have been able to take part, these are really lovely pianos and to have so many together is quite rare.


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“We had only had one practice, we had been practicing on little keyboards but it sounded much nicer in here.”

William Saunders, the school’s head of academic music, said the school wanted to celebrate the investment by having a special piece of music composed.

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“We have more but we thought ten pianos all together was probably enough. It was designed to be a colourful piece that was exciting to play rather than something that was beautifully tuneful.”

He organised the £250,000 project, contacting the Duet Group, which specialises in providing musical instruments to schools and universities, before visiting its warehouse in Munich, Germany, to look at possible replacements.

“I played one piano after another before deciding on these,” said William, who also performed at the recital.

“The new pianos are fantastic for developing students’ playing skills.

“The 15 they are replacing all came to the natural end of their lives at the same time and this was the most cost effective way of replacing them.”

Four will get new homes in boarding houses, the rest will be recycled.

Peter Crompton, director of music and another of the 10 pianists, said: “The Royal Hospital School has been building upon its strong musical tradition with a commitment to investment in musical education.

“A state-of-the-art music school was opened in 2009, a number of music scholarships have been awarded to the most talented pupils joining the school and now, this new piano scheme will attract even more first-rate musicians and enable our young pianists to develop to an even higher level.”

The new instruments will feature in an inaugural concert at the school’s recital hall from 7pm on Saturday, September 21.

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