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5th May 2023

Wonderful Piano Day and Jaw-Dropping Evening Recital

The strength of piano playing and teaching at Oakham School was once again in the spotlight on Thursday 4 May as we welcomed many visiting young musicians for our first ever Piano Day for Young Pianists. Under the direction of Head of Piano, Anne Bolt, the pianists had a packed day of workshops focusing on solo piano playing, coaching in piano duets and a composition session with the Director of Music, Peter Davis.

We were also privileged to be joined by world-renowned improvising pianist, Harry the Piano, who led some inspiring sessions on improvising for our pianists. Some of these improvisations featured in a brilliant afternoon concert along with highlights from the solo and duet sessions during the day. Mr Davis and Ms Bolt also gave the world première of three brand-new composition medleys from the workshops earlier in the day: Buchanan Blues, Wilson Waltz and a Merry Melodic March anticipating the forthcoming coronation.

An appreciative audience of pupils, parents, staff and visitors were then treated to more of Harry the Piano’s genius in a one hour recital that evening. This was packed full of wonderful highlights from his much-loved cabaret routines, including an extended tribute to the music of George Gershwin, and a whole sequence of well-known themes transformed into the styles of other composers. This is one of Harry’s signature skills, as he demonstrated remarkably in his finale, performing six pieces of music nominated by the audience in completely different styles. This jaw-dropping sequence embraced the James Bond theme music in the style of a Chopin waltz, “Humpty Dumpty” in the style of a Czerny piano study,  “Twinkle twinkle little star” in the style of a bossa nova, Debussy’s “Clair de lune” performed in reggae style, the Welsh hymn Cwm Rhonnda performed in honky-tonk style, and the theme from Jurassic Park performed in a heavy metal style! The audience’s rapturous ovation was richly deserved for such an entertaining and inspiring end to the day.

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