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International Music Academy Masterclass for a talented BVGS Student

BVGS Student attends unique International Music Academy 2018 in Hungary

Academy Students: Kieran is back row fourth from the right; Adam is back row fifth from right Academy Students: Kieran is back row fourth from the right; Adam is back row fifth from right

Building up to my arrival at the renowned Annual International Music Academy in Hungary, I had attempted to have three pieces of repertoire at my disposal; Liszt’s Liebestraume No.3, Debussy’s Clair De Lune and Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in G Minor - I was mostly successful excluding the Liszt.

On the day of my arrival in July, at a wonderful castle in a beautiful Hungarian setting, I had to meet and get to know the other students over breakfast; I found this more daunting than expected given that there was only one other British student - the others came from America, China, Indonesia and Singapore (some of the younger ones didn’t even speak English). That evening signalled the beginning of the academy with the yearly opening ceremony garden concert, led by Adam Gyorgy, which overlooked the scenic hills of Pomáz. Adam is an international concert pianist who had distinguished himself by becoming one if the few current Steinway artists. Amongst his many achievements, he won the first international Chopin competition in Budapest (2004) and performed several times at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York.


The next ten days were filled with daily lesson and various evening activities. The activities included a wonderful ‘gypsy night’ where Budapest’s best gypsy band played at a restaurant Adam brought us to; they played classical pieces but also put a classical spin on more modern pieces which I loved. This particular night was my favourite because it reminded me of my passion for music, the night even had ‘Little Buddha’ (a young boy who we had jokingly named such due to his uncanny resemblance to Buddha statues) on his feet dancing in the middle of the floor. He reminded me of the freedom of being six, indirectly through watching him as well as listening to the music I felt completely at ease filled solely with joy. The lessons were in a masterclass format similar to how Liszt would have taught his own students, this also challenged me as it meant I had to perform in front of an audience for a lesson.

Over the course of the academy I felt that I gradually started to overcome my nerves that even caused my hands to shake and become sweaty before a lesson. The lessons were an irreplaceable experience as our teachers were all professionals with their knowledge akin to any expert. The main detail I changed over the course of the ten days was my use of body/arm weight to play the piano, I am currently working on these skills which I know will take countless more years to perfect.

The academy was concluded with a closing ceremony concert, all the students got to dress up and perform for a large crowd but also in front of television cameras which aired the performance nationally. Through this performance I managed to maintain my composure, this is something I would not have been able to do at the beginning of the academy. For me this was a life changing experience which on the day of departure I was upset to leave behind; from the evening activities to practicing between 5-8 hours a day (even until 1am the next morning one day) I loved every second and it has caused my desire to continue playing the piano to only increase exponentially.

Kieran Thiarya (OV2019)