Luke Jones - Concert Pianist
At its meeting in September 2013, Gwersyllt Community Council decided to award a grant of £1200.00 to Luke Jones, a highly talented young concert pianist from Gwersyllt, to enable him to continue his studies in Italy.
Luke attended Ysgol Heulfan before winning a scholarship at the age of 11 to study at the world famous Chetham's School of Music in Manchester.
Luke was a pupil at Chetham's School of Music for seven years before winning yet another scholarship - this time to study in Italy under Carlo Grante, one of Europe's foremost concert pianists.
In August 2013 Luke won the coveted Blue Riband prize at the Welsh National Eisteddfod where he competed against a number of other highly talented musicians.
Luke's studies in Italy are likely to last for three years, but he will be returning home from time to time to perform at various local concerts and other events.
Members of the Community Council were delighted to be able to assist Luke in pursuing his studies and have no doubt that he will prove a great ambassador for Wrexham in general and Gwersyllt in particular!
The Community Council has been commended on its decision to support Luke.
Latest news from Luke - 5 June 2014
Apologies for my absence of e-mails, life is very busy here, and I don't always have internet access, however to make amends for my lack of e-mails I will write at length about my time here so far. Firstly, I have been undertaking the arduous task of studying all 12 of Chopin's Op.10 Etudes, which I performed successfully with a fellow classmate playing the Op.25 etudes which are also no small task. It has been the cornerstone of my piano studies here so far, principally because it represents the epoch of romantic piano writing and an evolution of piano technique in the 19th Century. All pianists at some point in their career, undertake at least some of the etudes as they are such a staple of the repertoire. My course is however to learn and embrace all of them, myself and my fellow student will be switching next year and I will be undertaking Op.25 whilst she undertakes Op.10. It is truly a feat of piano-writing achieving a perfect synergy of ingenious technical idiom and romantic melody-writing. Beyond this however, I have been studying another staple of the repertoire that being Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, these being so important in fact that the 19th century pianist Hans Von Bulow cited them as being the "Old Testament of Music" (Beethoven's 32 Piano Sonatas being the 'New Testament). They like Chopin's Etudes are immensely educational not least because of its technical demands but also its music demands, that being careful analysis of form and counterpoint. I performed a recital in a local concert hall in April, which was reasonably successful, it gave me much to think about, and like all my performances reveal new areas with which I can take apart and improve. As I mentioned previously I performed the Chopin etudes in a concert as part of what they call here in Italy a 'Saggio' which is essentially a concert showcasing the students of the teacher and it was held in the Conservatory Auditorium. This I would consider more of a success than my previous concert, as I could feel a marked improvement in the way I played the etudes in comparison to the Recital I did. Also, as I am an borsista (accompaniment scholar), here at the conservatory I have been playing much repertoire with the Singers here, which has yielded some rewards, in so much that it has somewhat broadened my knowledge of the vocal repertoire. Currently I am preparing for the concert which is on the 21st of June in Wrexham, where I will be performing Mozart's 23rd Piano Concerto, an immensely enjoyable work and as with all the other repertoire I have been learning it is an educational experience, studying in detail reveals Mozart's use of articulation, slurring, phrasing, orchestral imitation and many other musical devices. This has been aided by a reading of a book by a friend of my teacher, the eminent pianist Paul Badura-Skoda, who with his wife, wrote an excellent book on intepreting Mozart. Naturally, I am most thankful to the council for aiding me in the ability to fulfil this opportunity, because on reflection it is down to the expert teaching of Maestro Carlo Grante that I have been able to flourish here. I am immensely grateful for your support and I hope you will be able to attend the concert on the 21st at the William Aston Hall, of which you will of course all receive complimentary tickets. Many thanks again.
"Dear Gwersyllt Council Members,
First and foremost, I'd like to apologise for my late reply. I have been exceptionally busy at work in Italy. I arrived in Britain only a day ago or so, so I've been catching my breath as it were.
To summarise my first three months of study is by no means an easy task, however I will try do so as best I can. I can say only that it has been an immensely enlightening experience so far, both educationally and philosophically. It really has lived up to my expectations and beyond, I receive tuition not only in pianoforte but also organ, harpsichord, accompaniment-instrumental, accompaniment-vocal, accompaniment-choral, ear-training (aural), history of music etc. So I am kept busy.
My teacher Carlo Grante, an international pianist, has been more help than one would normally expect from a teacher, he has so kindly found very adequate living space which also has an upright piano (the flat happens to be owned by the local piano dealer) and most importantly he has dedicated much time to my development and has really taught me many valuable lessons least of all monitoring my piano playing carefully and developing me step-by-step. He of course expects a great deal on my part as he wants me to reach the highest levels of my potential and achieve true excellence. I often practice 6-8 hours a day depending on the amount of lessons I have in a day so as you can imagine I am kept busy all around.
I would like to thank you the Gwersyllt Community for making this life-changing opportunity possible without the funding you were so kind to give me I would have great difficulty in realising this opportunity. I will make an effort to write more regular e-mails to inform you of my progress, the first few months were taxing but I've settled in well now and should be able to write to you concerning the programme. Also as a side-note, I performed at the end of term concert involving several singers (the concert was a celebration of the music of Verdi and I performed as accompaniment) and it was a great success!
Further concerts will include a solo recital at the conservatory by me and also there are plans to do a concert in the William Aston Hall which if it goes ahead the Gwersyllt Council will of course receive complimentary tickets. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy the oncoming New Year.
P.S. Whilst the photo attached is not the best, it probably best illustrates what I spent the majority of my time doing (practicing)."