More than 50 local musicians seized the opportunity to play a beautiful, concert-standard grand piano in Priory Meadow Shopping Centre during the ever-popular Music in the Meadow event last week, which ran as part of the Hastings Music Festival.
They ranged in age from four to 84 and played all kinds of music from simple exercise pieces, musical standards, pop songs and serious pieces of classical music.
The elegant grand piano, kindly provided once again by Sussex Pianos, was rarely silent over the three days, with people travelling from all over East Sussex and beyond to take the opportunity to show off their skills.
The event was a curtain-raiser for the prestigious Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition which began in earnest at the White Rock Theatre on Thursday.
Stage 1 of the competition will continue until Saturday (February 24). Each contestant plays excerpts from the concerto they have chosen from the competition’s list. There will be five sessions each day.
Up to 24 contestants will then go through to Stage 2, on Monday, February 26 and Tuesday, February 27, when they will play excerpts from a second concerto they have chosen from a separate list. Again there will be five sessions a day. Tickets for both stages are £4 per session or £15 for a whole day.
Children under 16 accompanied by a paying adult will be able to attend any of the Stage 1 and 2 sessions for free. Schools are also being invited to send groups to the first two stages free of charge.
Schools should email info@hastingsconcerto
competition.co.uk to book.
A maximum of 12 contestants will then go through to the semi-final on Wednesday, February 28. Each will play a 35-minute recital mainly of music of their own choice, which ensures tremendous variety.
For the semi-final there will be four sessions. Tickets are £20 for the whole day.
Six semi-finalists will go through to the Grand Final. The six who don’t will take part in one of the highlights of the competition – a Masterclass given by distinguished members of the international jury on Thursday, March 1.
Once again this year the Masterclass will be given at the White Rock Theatre. And to create a truly intimate atmosphere, the audience will be seated on the stage with the participants. Tickets are £20 to include wine and canapés.
Then comes the Grand Final itself, which will take place over two evenings – Friday, March 2 and Saturday, March 3.
The finalists – three each evening – will perform one of their chosen concertos in full with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, a rare chance to play with one of the great orchestras of the world.
The winner will receive a cheque for £15,000, the chance to perform as a soloist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and an opportunity to play a concerto in the United States, as well as other concerts.
All stages of the competition will take place at the White Rock Theatre and are open to the public.
Tickets are available from the White Rock Theatre, on 01424 462288 or from www.whiterocktheatre.org.uk.
• All photos taken and kindly supplied by Richard Grebby of RG Studios.