This large department is made up of approximately a quarter of the School’s pupils. In addition to individual piano lessons, there are weekly piano classes for all pianists where they have an opportunity to get together and learn from each other. During the spring term the Keyboard Department works towards an intensive three-day course that culminates in a concert, involving every pianist in the Middle and Upper School. Chamber music is an important part of each pianist’s programme. There is also the possibility for a certain number of Sixth Form pianists to receive specialist training in accompaniment.
Harpsichordists and organists are also catered for. The School has two harpsichords, a single-manual and a double-manual, both built by Alan Gotto, and there is a three manual Johannes electronic organ in the Constance Pilkington Hall.
Masterclasses for the students are regularly given by internationally renowned pianists and teachers such as Andras Schiff, Charles Rosen, Dmitri Alexeev, Paul Badura-Skoda, Fou T’song, James Gibb, Martin Jones, Vanessa Latarche, Hamish Milne, Yonti Solomon, Nina Svetlanova, Ronan O’Hora, Andrew Ball and Dominique Merlet.
There are many performance opportunities for pianists. In addition to the usual concert opportunities given by the School, there are auditions held each year for the chance to perform a short recital in important London venues such as the Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, Steinway Hall and Milton Court. The department has visited Italy twice in the last three years to perform at the Fazioli Concert Hall in Sacile, and in 2014 also travelled to Glasgow to give a joint concert with the Royal Scottish Conservatoire.
The school is proud of its high quality piano fleet which includes two Steinway Concert model D grands and two Fazioli concert grands. All pianos are maintained by Jaques Samuel of London. All resident principal study Sixth Form pianists have the use of an upright piano in their study bedrooms.
The department has an excellent record of success in entry to conservatoires in the UK and abroad, including many scholarships each year. Pupils are also frequently successful in competitions, including two of the three most recent BBC Young Musicians.
Head of Department
William Fong – Head of Keyboard
William’s international career was launched in 1984 when he won the first prize, gold medal and Rosa Sabater prize at the Concurso Internacional de Piano in Jaén, Spain. His concerto début at St. John's Smith Square with the Philharmonia Orchestra followed soon after. He subsequently added successes in the Busoni, Cleveland, Iturbi, and Scottish International Competitions.
Performances in New York, Moscow and St Petersburg (under the auspices of the Sviatoslav Richter Foundation), and in Europe have drawn critical acclaim and enthusiastic audiences. Invited to China, supported by Arts Council England, William has performed and given master classes in Shanghai. He has also performed in Australia at the invitation of the Chair of the Australian Piano Pedagogy Conference and was the keynote speaker, giving a recital and master classes, at the Institute of Registered Music Teachers of New Zealand conference in Auckland.
William maintains a busy schedule of recitals, master classes, teaching and lecturing both in the UK and abroad, as well as regular commitments to some of the finest international piano summer schools.
A musician of wide interests, William has performed with ensembles such as the Brodsky Quartet and members of Guildhall Strings. He has also collaborated with singers Steve Davislim and James Rutherford and has recorded some fascinating and little known repertoire in the chamber music field. His concerts have been broadcast on television and on radio in Europe and the US. William has performed at all of London's major venues. His concerts have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Classic FM, and BBC television.
A distinguished teacher, William is in demand for master classes and adjudication in the UK and overseas.
His students’ achievements have included places and scholarships to study at Curtis Institute of Music USA, Universität der Künste Berlin, Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Trinity Laban. His students have also won important international competitions, including Liszt International Competition (Budapest), Weimar Liszt International Competition, Jeunesses Musicales Romania, and Lagny-Sur-Marne International Piano Competition. Students have also established successful careers as recording artists.
William is a Professor at the Royal Academy of Music www.ram.ac.uk
Lidia Amorelli – Piano
Andrew Ball – Piano
William Fong - Piano
David Gordon – Harpsichord & Improvisation
Caterina Grewe - Piano
Gareth Hunt – Piano
Emily Jeffrey – Piano
Jianing Kong - Piano
Alla Kravchenko – Piano
Ching-Ching Lim – Piano
Pascal Nemirovski - Piano
Tessa Nicholson – Piano
Tatiana Sarkissova – Piano
Deborah Shah – Piano/Accompanist
Daniel Swain - Accompanist
Valeria Szervansky – Piano
Patsy Toh - Piano
Hungarian Dance (i) - Johannes Brahms
Purcell School students at the Wigmore Hall, April 2012