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Friday 17 May 2019

Our latest film celebrates the arrival of a new Steinway as part of the School's ongoing investment plan

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The joy of learning music and the personal development of talented young pianists is vividly demonstrated in our latest film. Made by Stroma Films, the film tells the story of St Mary's Music School's expanding investment in our keyboard department with a very special addition from the world famous Steinway & Sons factory in Hamburg, Germany.

A visit to Hamburg

The film follows the journey of renowned international pianist and alumnus Steven Osborne, who travelled to Hamburg with John Cameron, the School’s Head of Keyboard to select a grand piano to add to the existing fleet of 35 instruments. It also introduces some of the pupils and teaching faculty. John Cameron said

Our challenge was to choose the best model for the School’s needs from a selection of five Model B’s. On arrival in Hamburg we met with Keith Glazebrook of Steinway & Sons, London who started by taking us on a tour of the factory so we could see the various stages in the build process, from the seasoning sheds, all the way through to final finishing and ‘playing-in’ rooms. What struck me most was the forensic attention to the smallest of details and the huge responsibility given to each craftsperson involved. Very little has changed on the factory floor over the last 150 or so years and much of the original tooling is still used. With each instrument taking 13 months of hand-crafting by a small group of technicians, it’s only natural that each piano emerges with its own character.

Steinway & Sons is the market leader in providing pianos for the world’s concert halls, colleges, universities and conservatories the world over. As the instruments that our pupils will go on to use throughout their careers the investment is an important one for the School and is part of an ongoing development and growth strategy.

John Cameron continues

We needed to ensure that the model we selected would not only be suitable for the setting of our current home at Coates Hall, but also that, should the planned move to the Royal High School proceed, the ‘bigger’ sound of the chosen instrument would be well suited to the acoustics of one of the two 100-seater large recital rooms. I think we have made an excellent choice. We now have an instrument that will be used and appreciated by, not only the School’s pianists and teachers, but by everyone here at St Mary’s Music School, from the youngest pupils at our Saturday Music Classes to our most senior instrumentalists, from our most shy auditionees to the most established visiting artists.”

Studying piano at St Mary's Music School

In the second part of the short film, concert pianist and piano teacher Elena Fischer-Dieskau,  gives an insight into the approach and ethos behind studying keyboard at the School. She said

Working with young people with such huge talent and promise is really exciting and it is our job to develop their potential in way that nurtures and supports every child.  Having the best instruments available is part of that and so we are really delighted at the arrival of the new Steinway to add to our existing fleet.

The instrument the new piano replaces will be reconditioned and continue to play an active part in the life of the School. Over its 35 years in the spotlight, thousands of pupils have performed either on, or alongside it, in concerts and Masterclasses. The piano has seen countless performances by exceptional teachers and visiting artists over the years.

The importance of philanthropic giving

The vast majority of our pupils at St Mary’s Music School receive financial support, both from the Scottish Government Aided Places Scheme and our own Bursary Fund. The only criteria for entry to the School are musical ability and potential so the generosity of our donors and supporters is fundamental to help support our mission of access to excellence for every child.

To enable the purchase of the Model B Steinway, over £100,000 was raised through a match- funded giving campaign which incorporated a special event sponsored by School Director Kat Heathcote and her husband Iain Macneil, Trustees of Witherby Publishing Group Charitable Trust.The new Steinway Model B embodies this mission and will greatly enhance the teaching of our talented pupils. The additional income raised is being used to support the School’s Bursary Fund.

We hope you enjoy the film. 

 

Piano Summer School

In the summer, pianists age 13 to 19, at Grade 6 and above are invited to take part in our residential Piano Summer School. The Piano Summer School takes place 4th to 9th August.  More information is available here. 

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