On Monday 8th June, The Purcell School was delighted to receive a visit from one of our Patrons, renowned pianist and conductor, Vladimir Ashkenazy.  Mr Ashkenazy spoke to the whole School in assembly about why he feels privileged to be a musician and how he embarked on his musical journey. He was interviewed by Head of Wind, Brass and Percussion Kevin Hathway, with whom he has worked at the Philharmonia Orchestra for many years.  Mr Ashkenazy then gave a class to the piano department, and three students played to him: Liya Li, who performed Handel’s Suite in F minor (Book 1) and Rachmaninov Prelude Op.32, No. 12, Helen Meng played Chopin’s Fantasy in F minor and Alim Beisembayev played Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 7, Op.83.

As one of the foremost musical figures of our time, it was an honour and privilege to welcome Mr Ashkenazy to Purcell and the day was an inspiration to our students.  In his introduction, Headmaster David Thomas quoted from a review in the Gramophone: “It is rare to find, in the same artist, the very highest levels of musical talent living alongside the deepest genuine humility. None has that rare combination in higher degree than Vladimir Ashkenazy.” (Gramophone, London, June 2013). The school is very grateful for his support, and looks forward to future collaborations with him.