16 January 2019

Tonight it was a pleasure to welcome to the school the prominent Russian pianist and teacher, Katya Lebedeva. Miss Lebedeva has a highly successful career as a performer and teacher, largely based in Germany, but with regular teaching commitments in London, both at Trinity Laban Conservatoire and the Royal College of Music. It is at the latter institution that she is known to our own Head of Piano, Lynette Stulting, who has worked regularly with her and sometimes deputises for her on Saturdays.

Within just a few minutes of working with our first pianist, Didier Delgorge, who chose the opening and the second subject of Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto, it was clear that we had a brilliant and engaging teacher in our midst. Miss Lebedeva was able to call on many analogies and metaphors, often drawing on orchestral sonorities and singing techniques to bring alive aspects of technique and interpretation.

Other pianists tonight included Jason Ng (Mozart’s Sonata 8 in A minor), Oliver Breach and Alvin Tam (Beethoven’s 1st and 2nd movements, respectively), Ashwin Tennant (Beethoven’s Sonata 7 in D) and David Bicarregui (Rachmaninov’s B minor Prelude).

It was wonderful to see the pupils responding with such immediacy and intelligence to Miss Lebedeva’s fine teaching and it was fascinating for the audience, including many other young pupils, as she was able to share her ideas with all present, not just the pupils – and often with humour and anecdotes. As such it was a master class in giving a master class.

We offered our thanks to all the pianists, their teachers and to Miss Lebedeva for her wonderfully fascinating and helpful observations. The boys were encouraged to recall all the wonderfully apposite comments and to incorporate them in their playing of these great works. This was a fantastic evening of teaching and learning and we look forward to Miss Lebedeva’s next visit to Abingdon.

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