Two exceptional young musicians from Cronton Sixth Form College have taken part in a master class with one of the world’s top pianists, Joanna MacGregor.
The master class was organized by Liverpool Hope University as part of their annual Cornerstone Festival. Six places where available to elite young pianist from around the whole of the North West, and among those awarded a place where Chris Schlechte Bond from Widnes and Daryl Tyrer from Runcorn.
The talented duo are currently in their 2nd year of studying A-level Music at Cronton Sixth Form College, having scored some of the best marks in the country in their AS Music exams last year.
Chris, from Widnes, who previously went to Wade Deacon School, is hoping to study Music next year at King’s College in London. Chris started playing the piano at the age of 15, and has mastered the piano in such a relatively short space of time that he will take his Grade 8 in the new year.
Chris also plays Saxophone and plays in the Funk Orchestra at Cronton Sixth Form College and in Halton Concert Band. Chris said of the workshop, “It was amazing to play in front of such a famous pianist. I was really aware of how I was playing, after seeing everyone before me. I found it interesting how she offered advice on how I move my body when I play the piano.”
Daryl, from Runcorn, who previously went to Halton High School, is hoping to study Philosophy at the University of Liverpool next year. Daryl started playing the piano at the age of 11 and is working towards his Advanced Diploma on Piano. Daryl also plays piano for Vale Community Church in Runcorn.
Daryl said of the workshop, “Playing on a Steinway grand piano was brilliant. I found the workshop really useful. Joanna MacGregor helped me see different interpretations of the same piece and picture my performances as a whole. I learnt so much form hearing all the other pianists too.”
David Lloyd-Mostyn, Head of Music at Cronton Sixth Form College, said, “This was a fantastic experience for Chris and Daryl, and they have learnt things here that they will remember for the rest of their musical lives. I’m really proud of how they played difficult pieces with such maturity and musical expression. Both are excellent musicians and deserve this kind of high-quality opportunity.”
Joanna MacGregor is thought of as one of the world’s most wide-ranging and innovative musicians. She has performed in over 60 countries, often appearing as a solo artist with many of the world’s leading orchestras. These include the New York philharmonic, Netherlands Radio and Olso Philharmonic Orchestras and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.