1. What was the first piece(s) you learned? Was the piano the natural instrument for you from the start?
My Mum who is a piano teacher, used to take me to Kodaly singing classes when I was 3 years old. On returning home, I went to the piano and play the tunes that we learnt in the class. Later on, my Mum showed me some chords and by experimenting, I started to improvise melodies around the chords. When I was 4, I begun learning the Minuets from the Anna Magdalena little notebook by Bach.
2. Is your family musical?
As far as I remember, we have always had music at home. We have always gone to opera, ballet and various concerts, and although my Dad is not musical, he appreciates music very much.
3. Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?
I admire Evgeny Kissen greatly- I love the power and the intensity in his playing but also that he is so melodic.
4. Can you tell us about your first piano teacher?
My Mum was my very first piano teacher. Her speciality is teaching children, and also the fact that she was always there meant I could progress relatively quickly.
5. What are your fondest musical memories, privately or performing?
I have many good memories of musical events, but going to Chethams school of Music for 6th form was a great step as everyone enjoyed musical activities. I especially enjoyed my duet classes and trio rehearsals, as we always managed to have a laugh as well as practise for our various concerts.
6. Your first major prize was at the age of ten, where you were presented with the title of Arun Young Musician of the Year? Can you tell us more of this important turning point?
As a result of getting first prize at the Arun Young Musician of the year, I performed my first short recital at Petworth House in Chichester in 1999 which I remember I very much enjoyed. The day after I performed, we went on a family holiday to Disneyland in Paris!
7. Who are your favourite musicians and what in particular impresses you about them?
Some of my favourite musicians include Martha Argerich and Jacqueline Du Pre. I have always loved the sound of the cello…
8. In 2003 you won the Iris Dyer Prize and your trio won the Dame Ruth Railton Chamber Music Prize. Can you tell us which pieces you played and who was in your trio?
My trio played the Tchaikovsky Piano Trio for the Dame Ruth Railton Chamber Music Prize which was a wonderful work to have learnt and performed with my friends.
9. How often and for how long do you practice?
I practise every day although the exact time varies according to what is going on. However, it is usually between 5-6 hours.
10. Do you or would you like to teach music?
I teach piano privately in Manchester, and especially enjoy teaching adults, although I have had experience teaching children also.
11. You won the EPTA UK competition and the Moray International Piano Competition followed shortly by the First Prize at the Sevenoaks Young Musician of the Year Competition? What years did these take place, which pieces did you play and do you have any enduring memories?
I won first prize in the Epta competition and the Moray International piano competition in 2008, and the Sevenoaks young musician of the year in 2009. For the Moray competition, I performed the Scarlatti Toccata in D minor, Chopin study in F major, and Liszt- Wagner – Isolde’s Liebestod.
12. Can you tell us more of the occasion when in 2006 you were invited to perform at St James’ Palace for an exclusive function where you were presented to HRH Princess Anne?
I was invited to play at a State Function, in 2006 at St James’ Palace. The venue was really beautiful and the piano was stunning. I performed background music for about 3 hours, and then my family and I were invited to eat at the buffet which was delicious!
13. You were the winner of the Maisie Lewis Award from the Worshipful Company of Musicians, the Peter Donohoe piano award and were recently presented with the ‘Making Music Young Concert Artists’ Award for a two-year contract performing recitals and concertos around the UK. Can you provide a bit more details on these achievements please?
Obtaining the Maisie Lewis award allowed me to give a recital in the Wigmore Hall in October of 2011- which was the highlight of my year. The Making Music Young Concert Artists Award provides young musicians with concert and concerto opportunities around the UK for two years. My duo (y-squared) won this award and we also got the award individually also, which means we have been enjoying plenty of recital opportunities.
14. You recently graduated from the Royal National College of Music in London with first class honours? Who amongst your teachers had the biggest impact on you?
I recently graduated with First Class Honours from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. My piano teacher Murray McLachlan had the biggest impact on me throughout my time in Manchester. I also had lessons with him at Chetham’s school of music. His enthusiasm and encouragement is second to none.
15. You are now continuing your studies through a degree in Master of Music. In which institution and what is your specialty you are concentrating on in this field please?
I am studying for my Masters of Music in solo performance also in the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. I will have completed my course in July 2013.