1 October 2021

On Wednesday we were delighted to welcome to Abingdon the concert pianist and teacher, Masayuki Tayama to work with six of Abingdon’s promising young pianists. Mr Tayama has a distinguished career in the UK and abroad as a piano recitalist and concerto soloist. He has also enjoyed distinguished positions as a teacher at Chetham’s Specialist Music School and with the European Piano Teachers’ Association. We were excited to learn that Mr Tayama had also offered to play to us at the end of the masterclass – Beethoven’s great Appassionata Sonata.

From the outset it was clear why Mr Tayama is in such high demand as a teacher. He was an encouraging and clear communicator, passionate about piano playing and hugely knowledgeable, both technically and musically. His energy, too, was incredible, giving each of our six pianists a full 20 minutes of clear ideas for their pianistic development in each of the works that they presented.

First, Laurence Peverall played Rachmaninov’s famous C sharp minor Prelude. Mr Tayama is completing a series of recordings of the complete Rachmaninov oeuvre so was uniquely well placed to encourage Laurence about how to make the opening rhythmically convincing and produce the greatest tonal range from the fine Steinway piano that we enjoy at Abingdon School. He also explained the somewhat macabre programmatic story that the composer may or may not have created and how Laurence could project the piece really effectively.

Other pianists tonight included Josef O’Connor (Melartin’s Barcarolle), Charles Geday (Chopin’s Nocturne in C sharp minor), Yubo Gao (Schubert’s Impromptu in Ab), Boco To (Brahms Romance Op 118) and Daniel Zhang – in virtuosic form (Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata – Presto).

It was wonderful to see the pupils responding with such immediacy and intelligence to Mr Tayama’s fine teaching which he was able to share with all present, not just the pupils – and often with humour and illuminating anecdotes.

Before hearing Masayuki Tayama’s own virtuosic performance of Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata we offered our thanks to all the pianists, their teachers and to Mr Tayama for his fascinating and effective teaching. 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 Mr Tayama’s next visit to Abingdon.

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