September 16, 2021

Year 13 at the Leeds International Piano Competition

The music department has really hit the ground running at the start of this academic year. Prize Day in the first week of term was unusual and boys from across the whole school showed much courage and resilience to pull together some fantastic performances at the event. Hot on the heels of Prize Day, some of our Year 13 musicians set off to Leeds early on the next morning to perform around the city and watch one of the semi-finals of the Leeds International Piano Competition.

The boys took turns playing their repertoire at three different locations on the city’s piano trail, entertaining people and sharing the joy that music can bring. From Daniel F’s interpretation of Debussy’s Arabesque to Ryan Z’s rousing rendition of Chopin’s Polonaise, the good people of Leeds really did get a treat. Joshua M-R and Mr Hopkinson’s impromptu duet of an ABBA Medley certainly got the weekend vibes going for the commuters heading home through Leeds Station! The Piano trail was great fun but the highlight for all of the boys was watching some of the world’s best up and coming concert pianists in the second round of the Leeds International Piano Competition.

Mr Hopkinson asked the boys some questions about the day on the train journey back.

What was your favourite piece in the whole concert?

Dan: Dmytro Choni’s performance of Debussy’s L’Isle Joyeuse. His performance was very emotionally expressive  

Who was your favourite performer of Round 2 and why?

Ryan: Canadian, Tony Yang. I feel like he utilised the full range of the Steinway Piano. Even though he was quite flashy, he made the greatest impression on me, his skills when playing Schubert’s Piano Sonata No.13 and Rachmaninov’s Piano Sonata No.2, inspired me greatly. 

What did you take away from today that could help you improve further as a pianist?

Josh: All of the performers were technically brilliant, but I took away that the importance of picking a programme that has a good amount of variation enabling the performer to show a range of personal emotions. Dmytro Choni was my favourite performer, and he had a varied programme encompassing many musical styles, from Brahms through to Ginasera via Debussy. 

Who is your money on to get through to the finals from the round we saw?

Josh: Ukrainian, Dmytro Choni. He had a wide variety of material and came across as a more well-rounded performer, really bringing out the intricacies in the music.

Ryan: Canadian, Tony Yang. He played the most technical programme, almost flawlessly, accurately playing in relation to the various genres. In my opinion, to further his probability of winning the whole competition, he should show the more delicate and intricate side of his playing rather than opting for “pizazz” all of the time!

Dan: I’m not a betting man so I’d hate to hazard a guess!

We subsequently found out that Dmytro Choni (Ukraine) and Alim Beisembayev (Kazakstan) made it through to the finals. The whole thing was filmed by Medici TV so if you would like to start your weekend by enjoying some of the performances we say, you can view them at this link: https://leedspiano.medici.tv/en/replays/