As we enter a new academic year, The Purcell School is proud to celebrate the recent triumphs of students past and present at three prestigious international music competitions.
Pianist and alumnus Alim Beisembayev triumphed at the 20th edition of the Leeds International Piano Competition, which took place on 18th September 2021 in Leeds Town Hall. Alim won First Prize (The Waterman Gold Medal) in the Grand Final, an event which is widely regarded as among the most respected in the musical world, and was awarded a £25,000 cash prize. In addition, he will receive a career-changing prize package that includes worldwide management with Askonas Holt, a recording contract with Warner Classics and a European tour organised with partners Steinway & Sons. Furthermore, Alim also became the recipient of the medici.tv Audience Prize, voted for by the public, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society Prize for performance of a 20th/21st century work.
Alim Beisembayev studied at The Purcell School from 2010 with Tessa Nicholson, a relationship that continued when he progressed to the Royal Academy of Music. He is currently in the second year of his Master’s degree at the Royal College of Music where he studies with Professor Vanessa Latarche.
The Purcell School was also represented in the Grand Final by pianist and alumnus Thomas Kelly who was awarded Fifth Prize in the prestigious competition. Thomas joined The Purcell School in 2015 where he studied under Andrew Ball. He is presently in the first year of a Master’s degree at the RCM studying with Professor Dmitri Alexeev.
The second international competition, which took place on Friday 3rd September 2021 in Vevey, saw pianist and alumna Yumeka Nakagawa become the XXIX Clara Haskil International Piano Competition winner. The Clara Haskil Prize awards the winner 25,000 Swiss francs and the opportunity to perform at the Vevey Spring Classic in 2022. Success at this, one of the truly significant piano competitions, places Yumeka firmly on a list of leading-edge pianists including Christoph Eschenbach, Dinorah Varsi, Richard Goode and Michel Dalberto, to name but a few. In addition, Yumeka won the Competition’s Audience Award, as well as the Coup de Coeur Special Prize from a jury of music students.
Yumeka Nakagawa’s musical education began as a young student of Professor Barbara Szczepanska at Robert Schumann Hochschule in Düsseldorf, and continued at The Purcell School under the tutelage of Head of Keyboard William Fong. She is currently studying with Professor Grigory Gruzman at the University of Music Franz Liszt Weimar in Germany.
Of Yumeka’s success, William Fong commented:
‘This is a huge achievement. My experience of Yumeka is one of a highly motivated pianist with a great passion for music. It is wonderful to see how she has flourished even since leaving The Purcell School a little over a year ago.’
The XI International Balys Dvarionas Competition for Young Pianists and Violinists, which concluded on Saturday 4th September in Vilnius, is the third eminent event in which students of The Purcell School prevailed. Current Year 13 pianist Magdalene Ho won all of her categories.
Magdalene Ho has been playing the piano since she was four years old and joined The Purcell School in 2013, where she continues to study under Patsy Toh.
For further information about the competitions detailed here, please click on the titled links below:
Leeds International Piano Competition
The Clara Haskil Prize
The XI International Balys Dvarionas Competition