St John’s pupils enjoy Peter Donohue Masterclass

Two St John’s Year 8 musicians recently had the awe-inspiring opportunity of taking part in a masterclass with internationally acclaimed pianist Peter Donohoe CBE at The Leys School.

Alongside performances of other works by pupils from The Leys and other schools in the region, Blake Chen performed the final movement from Maurice Ravel’s Sonatine and George Balfour performed Gabriel Fauré’s Andante quasi allegretto.

Peter Donohue was a pupil at another CSA member, Chetham’s School in Manchester, and has built a world-wide career, encompassing a wide repertoire and over forty years’ experience as a pianist. He was the Silver Medal winner of the 1982 7th International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.  He was also awarded a C.B.E. for services to music in the 2010 New Year’s Honours List. In an evening concert at The Leys on the same day, he performed works by Mozart, Schumann, Scriabin, Chopin and Liszt, to rapturous applause.

Director of Music, Mr Simon Kirk, commented, “Along with the other students involved, Blake and George were hugely privileged to work with Peter Donohoe. Through expert advice, entertaining anecdotes and impressive demonstrations, he was able to distil the essence of successful and rewarding piano playing in such a way that all of the young players were able to gain access to a deeper control and greater command of their instrument and repertoire.”

Kyle Macdonald, Senior Social Media Editor at Classic FM, was a guest of the Leys Music Department for the day. Classic FM featured Fauré’s beautiful Andante quasi allegretto Op. 84/1, played by SJCS pupil George Balfour, on their Facebook page