Kelso Old Parish Church is the venue tomorrow (Friday) for the visit of Alexander Ullman, of one of the most remarkable young pianists to have graced the town in recent years (along with Anna Fedorova, who stunned her Tweedside audience this time last year).
Ullman took first prize at the prestigious Liszt International Piano Competition in Budapest.
Given that he was competing against the cream of Europe’s young pianists, it is difficult to underestimate the quality of this achievement.
Ullman was born in London in 1991, studied at the Purcell School and then was honoured to be invited to study at the Curtis Institute, Philadelphia – one of America’s top music academies – with legendary pianists Leon Fleisher, Robert MacDonald and Ignat Solzhenitzin. He returned to the UK and is now studying at the Royal College of Music in London.
His engagements take him all over the world.
He has given concerts throughout Europe, Asia and America, taking him to venues and festivals in Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark and India. Recent engagements include a tour of China and recitals at the Leipzig Gewandhaus.
At tomorrow’s Kelso Music Society event, which starts at 7.45pm (following the society’s AGM), he will play a demanding programme of Haydn, Ravel and Chopin, and finishing off with Liszt’s mighty B minor sonata.
This concert brings to an end another highly successful programme of performances by world-class performers – and saw a great step forward by getting some of the artists to give workshops to schools with generous help from Enterprise Music Scotland.
The Gould Piano Trio, with Robert Plane, attracted six schools and 150 children to the church to hear them play and explain their music.
One of the headteachers of the schools who attended commented: “To have great musicians like these playing to you on your doorstep is a tremendous privilege.”