Prestigious piano competition won by Perse pupil
Talented pianist Maito Shiode (Year 8) struck a chord to win the illustrious Emanuel Trophy.
The 2022 Perse Musician of the Year lifted the silverware and earned prize money of £750 with a sensational performance at the prestigious piano competition in London.
Maito qualified for the Emanuel Trophy Piano Competition having won the senior music prize at the Cambridge Competitive Music Festival in 2022. He was among 19 pianists from across the country taking part, all of whom had won local music competitions over the past two years.
For his recital, Maito played three of his favourite pieces from Bach’s Goldberg Variations, as well as Chopin’s Impromptu in A flat.
He said: “With Bach, I just like how the different voices interact to form a contrapuntal dialogue (contrasting melodies that harmonise when played together). The Chopin piece is much more lyrical and fluid. I like it because it is gracious yet mysterious, making you wonder how it will unfold next when you listen to the piece for the first time.
“My turn was about two-thirds of the way into the seven-hour competition and the dazzling performances by other contestants made me quite nervous.
“However, I also remembered my teacher’s word that, if I became nervous, I should take my mind off myself and focus on the composer instead, and that I should work on communicating and delivering their music to the audience.
“I also tried to pedal light and re-pedal more than usual, as the powerful tone of the Steinway concert grand piano was slightly overwhelming for the acoustics of the church.
“Other contestants included music school students and winners of some major junior competitions. They seemed confident and experienced. I wasn’t sure if I played my best, and I really wasn’t expecting to win.”
However, it was Maito who stood out for adjudicator and acclaimed international pianist Professor Frank Wibaut.
He said: “The judge said it was at a very high standard and he actually made a personal donation to create two third-place prizes.
“After they announced the person who took second place, I felt I’d not got anything, so I was very surprised, but really pleased to hear I’d won. I hope to build on this experience and learn more and more.”