The Dulwich Piano Festival takes place on Sunday 24 June at The Old Library in Dulwich College.
The event is a piano competition for local amateur pianists from beginner to intermediate level.
For many years, I have been entering students from The SE22 Piano School for piano competitions at various locations around South London. Our students have travelled to nearby Beckenham, slightly further afield to Bromley, Coulson and Croydon, and then much further away to Richmond and Muswell Hill.
It always struck me as extremely odd that Dulwich doesn’t have it’s own music festival given the large amount of students that play instruments in the locale. This is how The Dulwich Piano Festival came about. I decided to start off small by focussing on pianists as this is the area that I know best. Having already used The Old Library before for student recitals, I knew this would be the perfect event to host the first Dulwich Piano Festival.
We are keeping things small and just having 4 classes with 10 competitors in each. There are two beginners classes, one for under 6s and one for slightly older beginners aged 10 and under. Then we have two classes combining Grades 1 and 2, then Grade 3 to 5. These are all approximate levels of playing and we don’t mind at all if students aren’t working towards graded examinations.
A very difficult task was choosing our inaugural adjudicator. Over the years, I have met many fantastic adjudicators at various festivals, and have been impressed by those who show great empathy and the ability to converse easily with pianists, particularly the youngest students.
I chose Penelope Roskell as our adjudicator for 2012. Penelope is a busy performing musician who has played recitals in over 30 countries. She is also a Professor of Piano at Trinity College of Music in Greenwich. I met Penelope at a Masterclass for pianists last year and was immediately taken with her encouraging and informative teaching style. I also know several of her advanced piano students including teacher Frances Wilson and Trinity College music student Stephen Gott and their playing really is first-rate.
The Dulwich Piano Festival is delighted to have the backing of The Inter Schools Advertiser. We will be featured in their next magazine which comes out in the middle of February. The Inter Schools Advertiser have very kindly agreed to sponsor one of the trophies for the best overall performance in the Beginners’ class and Rod and Jane Peters will be presenting this award on the day.
We also have a Challenge Cup for the highest scoring performer in the Graded classes. In addition to this, medals are given for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places. All entrants receive a certificate, a written comment sheet and verbal feedback from the adjudicator.
Entries are now open via the web site. We invite group entries from teachers. Please email for more information on submitting your entry.
Even though we have not had the first festival, we already have big plans underway for the 2013 festival which is going to be a much wider range of classes.
We are also offering a competition for Dulwich OnView readers to win one free entry worth £10 to the competition – to enter, please make a comment below. Closing date end of February 2012.
*Photos by James Eppy