4th April 2019 — This year was the largest festival to date, with 120 young people aged 7 to 18 involved from more than 33 independent and state schools in the South of England.
The festival included competitive solo and duet classes of Grades 1 to 8 standard. During these classes each participant or duo had the opportunity to perform the piece on a world-class instrument and had instant feedback from one of two very experienced adjudicators, Mr Luis Parés and Mrs Pamela Chilvers. At the end of the classes, an album of music or CD was awarded to the winner and runner-up. There was a solo masterclass too, at which participants could look in greater depth at a piece with one of the adjudicators.
Of those taking part in the Festival, 13 are studying at Pangbourne College and one of them, Grace Spalton (aged 15) won the Solo Advanced, 18 and under (Grades 7-8), before she joined her fellow pupil Kenny Xu (aged 18) to win the Duet Senior, 18 and under class.
All Pangbourne's pianos come from Steinway and sit well within the school's Music department which was created in 2012 and the Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel, opened by The Queen in 2000.
After the event, Piano Festival Coordinator Mrs Alex Garnier and Director of Music Miss Ellie Calver were delighted to receive a large number of positive comments from parents and teachers. Marie Ward, Head of Piano at Cranleigh Prep and Cranleigh School was one who offered such feedback: "Thank you very much once again for the wonderful festival we attended recently. Our children get such a lot out of it and it provides them with a really valuable experience, outside the school environment, where they can also learn from other performers performers."