Learning & Engagement
The Leeds has a renewed focus on promoting The Piano to local, national and international audiences. We champion the piano to the widest possible audiences to enable everyone to discover and enjoy the piano.
Our Learning & Engagement programme is at the heart of The Leeds. We have a broad programme of activities which are inclusive, accessible and have pianos at their very core. We recognise and champion the unique role of the piano as the instrument that most inspires and connects audiences. We create short and long term projects that
enable people to discover and enjoy the piano, to deepen their learning and to experience world class performance. Frequently working in partnership with creative organisations, educators and participants we have a collaborative and innovative approach to create real impact and raise the barre for piano centred engagement internationally.
In September 2018 we held the 19th Leeds International Piano Competition and launched piano events and activities across Leeds to bring the widest possible audience into the Competition to discover and enjoy the instrument.
We opened the Competition up to residents and visitors of Leeds with a fun, festival programme in the city and also reached underserved audiences with a programme of accessible performances in community settings.
Working in partnership with Leeds BID we transformed Leeds into a Piano City, installing the World’s Smallest Concert Hall, a shipping container complete with baby grand piano in Victoria Gardens. There were live performances every day by members of our illustrious Jury as well as Competitors from the 2018 competition.
We streamed live video Competition sessions from the Great Hall to introduce new audiences to the magic of piano performance. Special sessions and activities took place in the Container, including music making activities for the very young with Made with Music, a collaborative performance lecture with Leeds theatre company Manic Chord and piano taster lessons with expert tutor Liam Brigg. All were offered for free and over 1250 people joined us to celebrate and share the joy of the piano across the week.
Collaborating with Leeds BID and businesses and civic spaces across the city centre we brought music to new homes in iconic Leeds venues with the Leeds Piano Trail. Twelve imaginatively decorated pianos were installed in August 2018 to give everyone the chance to play and listen to the piano as the city prepared for the Competition events in September. We worked with community groups, such as Peer dementia Support Group and Leeds Dads and education settings including Blenheim Primary School, University of Leeds,
Leeds Beckett University, and Leeds City College, alongside an array of professional artist and arts educators to animate the pianos with vibrant and eye-catching designs. The pianos were brought to life by professional and community musicians and were played by shoppers, children and passers-by all sharing and discovering the piano. We are delighted to announce that eleven of the pianos will remain in situ in Leeds with all details to be found here as we continue to enable and encourage everyone to explore and enjoy the piano.
During September 2018 we established we brought world class pianists out of the concert hall and into the community. Working with Competitors we curated a range of performances in primary schools and community spaces including the Bexley Wing at St James’s Hospital, a U3A meeting as well as cultural settings such at Marks and Spencer Archive and the
Treasures of Brotherton Gallery. Performances were informal and fun and intended to provide an accessible route for audiences to experience live piano recital often for the first time. Over 2100 people attended these events which for the very first time introduced global talent from The Leeds to audiences who would not usually enter the concert hall.
We will announce our programme of community engagement events and activities shortly and welcome any organisations or individuals interested in collaborating in this work. If you’d like to find out more or discuss this work in more detail please contact Jenny Rogers (Learning and Engagement Director) at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0113 831 4106.
Schools – ‘Piano Fantasia – Discover the Piano’
On Thursday 28 March 2019, our ‘Piano Fantasia’ will once again bring the wonder and excitement of the piano to life for over 1000 primary school children at Leeds Town Hall!
Working in collaboration with pianist and entertainer Will Pickvance, and three inspiring Scholars from the Lang Lang Music Foundation, we have created a show which explored the tremendous history and variety of the piano – delving inside the piano, following its keyboard ancestry, meeting some of its most infamous composers, and experiencing some of its most iconic pieces along the way.
“The children enjoyed watching the different pianos being played and they were enlightened to find out about composers they had, surprisingly, never been exposed to before.” (Year 4 Teacher)
The show combines live performances from Will and the three Lang Lang Scholars, with beautiful animations and audience interaction – all held together by the story of a young boy who asks Father Christmas for a spaceship, but receives a piano instead! Designed specifically for Year 4 pupils this unique event provides a curriculum enhancing performance in an iconic Leeds venue.
“Absolutely brilliant. Such a well planned and well written show. Well done” (Year 4 Teacher)
“Thank you again for allowing us to share the experience, it was very much enjoyed by all” (Year 4 Teacher)
We are now taking bookings for schools who would like to take part in our second Piano Fantasia. There are a limited number of pre-show in-school workshops available and all participating schools will receive an educational resources pack to continue the learning in your own school environment.
With thanks to the Royal Philharmonic Society for funding and support from all schools are able to attend for free with travel bursaries available to assist with transport costs too.
The Leeds is proud of our role as advocates and champions for the piano. We help audiences delve deeper into the world of the piano to share its heritage, celebrate its impact today and research and safeguard its future. Piano + enhances and enriches audiences knowledge and
understanding of the instrument by offering talks, exhibitions, Masterclasses and more. Alongside the 2018 Competition we launched an extensive programme of events to inform, entertain and enlighten audiences as we continue to bring new perspective to the piano, its music and its people.
You can view the September 2018 Piano + programme here and Piano + will return during the Leeds Piano Festival 2019 with a public Masterclass given by Stephen Osborne at Leeds College of Music, tickets will be on sale shortly.
To find out more about Piano + please contact Jenny Rogers (Learning and Engagement Director) at email@example.com or 0113 831 4106.