The magnificent dozen! QE’s leading pianists take to the keyboards to celebrate the arrival of new instruments

The magnificent dozen! QE’s leading pianists take to the keyboards to celebrate the arrival of new instruments

Twelve of the School’s best and most committed pianists took their places to celebrate the eagerly awaited delivery of pianos to the new Music School.

With the Yamaha CF6 grand piano taking pride of place, seven new upright pianos and four refurbished pianos were arranged in The Friends’ Recital Hall, centrepiece of the £3.5m-plus facility.

Twelve carefully selected pupils – chosen for their talent as pianists, but also their commitment to music at QE – were invited to be the first to play the instruments in their new home.

Led by Year 13’s Raphael Herberg at the keyboard of the Yamaha CF6, the boys performed The Twelve Pianos of Christmas, a version of the festive favourite that Raphael had specially arranged for 12 pianos.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “The boys revelled in the opportunity to spend some free time with these wonderful pianos, swapping around to try the different instruments and then enjoying the chance to perform together.

“This event was an important milestone in the delivery of this major project. We are on to final snagging now, with boys to begin using the recital hall and The Friends’ Music Rooms – the classrooms and practice rooms – next term.

“We are very grateful to the Foundation Trustees for purchasing the CF6 and to all those who have supported the Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s in raising funds for the other new pianos, not least in donating to the Pianoathon and Virtual Founder’s Day celebrations this year. These developments and the amazing opportunities that they enable us to provide for the boys just wouldn’t happen without the support of the Elizabethan community.”

The 12 Pianos of Christmas performance saw each piano take one of the twelve ‘lines’ or ‘parts’, with the sounds building up and coming together, so that, by the end, all were playing simultaneously.

The occasion was attended by the Headmaster, Director of Music Ruth Partington, Assistant Director James McEvoy-Stevenson, Music teacher Caroline Grint and piano teacher Tadashi Imai, all of whom took part in the process of selecting the CF6 grand. Other attendees were David Halford, of Coach House Pianos, from where the new pianos were purchased, and some of those working on site.

An opening festival for the Music School is being planned for early February – details to follow – all things being well!

The four pianos that have been refurbished were all brought across to the new building from the original Friends’ Music Rooms, which were one of the first facilities to be established in the 1990s thanks to giving through the Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s. “The pianos’ longevity is testament to our long-standing policy of ‘buying quality,” added Mr Enright.

The pupils involved, who include three sets of brothers, were:

Raphael Herberg, Year 13
Conor Parker-Delves, Year 13
Shivas Patel, Year 13
Alex Woodcock, Year 13
Jao-Yong Tsai, Year 12
Arjun Patel, Year 13
Keir Parker-Delves, Year 11
Nathan Woodcock, Year 11
Danylo Gutsulyak, Year 11
Jason Tao, Year 10
Zeyuan Wu, Year 10
Rajveer Mukherjee, Year 12