Accomplished pianist takes Perse Musician of the Year crown
Pianist Maito Shiode (Year 7) saw off tough competition to be crowned Perse Musician of the Year.
The grand final featured six of the school’s most gifted musicians with performances from Maito, percussionist George Demetriou-Foale (Lower Sixth), French horn player Mikey Halton (Upper Sixth), saxophonist Marcus Wentzell (Year 10), singer Isabella Li-Yan-Hui and violinist Sakura Fish (both Lower Sixth).
However, there was a twist to the regular Perse Musician of the Year format this year, with the House Music Marathon feeding into selection for the competition.
The standout performers from the 674 video submissions – amounting to around 30 hours of music ranging from concertos to kazoos – were put through to individual instrumental/vocal finals in the Lent term, from which the grand finalists were then chosen.
Mikey opened the show by playing works from Richard Strauss and Alan Abbott, while Maito performed pieces from Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Haydn’s Piano Sonata and Chopin’s Etude Op.25, otherwise known as The Bees.
Marcus followed with renditions of movements from Sonatina by James Rae, Aria by Bozza and Monti’s Hungarian folk-inspired work Czardas.
The second half began with George playing Mitchell Peters’ Yellow After the Rain on marimba and Tranquillity by Murray Houllif on vibraphone before teaming up with Ed Kirker (Lower Sixth) for a drum duet of Chris Stock’s Crossfire.
Isabella displayed her soprano skills in four languages – English, Italian, German and French – with a programme of pieces on the theme of love.
Sakura rounded off the concert by performing a traditional Japanese folk song, also called Sakura, as well as Nigun from Block’s Ball Shem Suite and a section from Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole.
Internationally-renowned oboist Nicholas Daniel OBE adjudicated the final and selected Maito as the winner of the Richard King Cup with George coming highly commended.
Perse Director of Music Ben Wingfield said: “It was very hard to call because all six finalists were incredibly talented in their own way and provided some really interesting, thought-provoking programmes.
“Nicholas commended all six finalists on their programming and virtuosity and had some really lovely things to say about everyone.
“He chose Maito as the winner for showing such great maturity and style, while George was highly commended for a deceptively difficult programme using tough techniques with tuned percussion.”
Mr Wingfield was also happy to see the Perse Musician of the Year competition conclude with a live final for the first time since 2019.
He said: “The atmosphere on the evening was something special. We had a great crowd, but the best thing was all six finalists were there to support one another as much as to represent themselves.
“There was a huge amount of mutual respect and that was really nice to see.”