Posted: Thursday, Aug 31, 2017
Author: Catherine Farley

‘Gorgeous!’ ‘Stunning!’ ‘Magical.’ ‘Mind blowing!’ Superlatives filled the air this week at Harrow Bangkok as its new Creative Performing Arts Center unveiled a very special delivery: a grand piano from legendary piano manufacturer Steinway & Sons.

Despite being the only school in Thailand to own one of these state of the art pianos, a low key event was chosen to inaugurate the new acquisition. After thanking the team, Harrow Bangkok’s Head Master Michael Farley spoke of Harrow’s love of music and deep commitment to its continued development through investment in facilities as well as fostering outstanding talent.

Harrow Bangkok has an extremely gifted group of music scholars. Therefore, it was fitting that the first person to play the Steinway was Sunsun, the school’s most senior music scholar. The audience watched transfixed as his fingers darted and fluttered above the keys, landing with perfect precision on the gleaming ivory and ebony, the room swelling with the rich, clear notes of Chopin’s Scherzo No.2. It was apparent when Sunsun finished, that he- as well as the audience- was visibly moved by the experience. Moments later, Harrow’s youngest scholar Plub, 11 years of age, took his place at the helm of this magnificent piece of engineering, if he was overawed by the occasion it did not in any way impede his masterful performance of Chopin’s ‘Grand Polonaise Brillante’. Shortly afterwards they both shared how they had felt: ‘Insane! It really is a very special feeling to sit at that piano.’ beamed Sunsun ‘Yes it was great!’ agreed a smiling Plub.

It was only on July 14th this year that Mr. Chris Johnson, Harrow’s Director of Music travelled direct to Steinway’s headquarters in Hamburg Germany to select the piano. Once there he played the same piece of music on six different pianos, before choosing the piano destined to become one of Harrow Bangkok’s most treasured teaching resources.

 ‘There is something about a piano that speaks to you – you give to it and it gives back. They were all fantastic of course, however I knew this was our piano.’

While Mr. Johnson was in Hamburg, back in Bangkok, Harrow’s music scholars were apparently dreaming about being able to play the piano upon its arrival.

‘Yes I have been practising! explained music scholar Ying excitedly, just before she took her place at the keys. ‘I have searched my repertoire to select a piece I believe will allow me to explore the very wide range of this piano.’ After reflecting for a few seconds, she immediately hushed the room into an awed silence with her performance of Chopin’s #3 Opus 10. Upon finishing she exclaimed breathlessly, ‘I just did not think the sound could be this good… it’s amazing!’

Undoubtedly, Harrow Bangkok has an incredibly vibrant musical culture. No fewer than 500 students per week are involved in a huge variety of musical activities, including ensembles, choirs and orchestras, covering every style and genre from Bach to Bacharach. The opening of the stunning new Creative Performing Arts center in the heart of the school’s campus will have a huge impact on the quality of provision for students, to cite just one example, the number of practice rooms alone has increased from 5 to 21.

The last words on this historic day go to a very happy Mr. Johnson,

'You never know how far away you are from a dream coming true. We have spent the last three years designing and thinking about providing the absolute best for our students. Although we always had a Steinway in our sights, from the outset we understood that the cost could be beyond us, which it was- and still would be- were it not for a simple conversation over dinner with our CEO Daniel Chu. Knowing the passion we have for music here, he stepped forward and made a personal gift of the Steinway to our school. I was stunned- and of course overjoyed- to be given this once in a lifetime opportunity. There is no doubt Steinway Pianos represent the very best in a global music market and we believe that this reputation, matched with Harrow’s Educational excellence will indeed make perfect harmony!’

 

 

 

Last updated: 31 Aug 2017 11:20