Watch the winning performance from Sunday’s Harpsichord Competition at the Horniman


Safiya plays a Grade 6 piece by Scarlatti. Safiya studies with Lorraine Liyanage at the SE22 Piano School.

The Dulwich Piano Festival presents the Under 18s Harpsichord Competition for the first time at the Horniman Museum and Gardens in Forest Hill, South London.

The aim of the competition is to bring relevance to the music that we play by performing it on the instrument for which it was written. Our adjudicator Steven Devine says “Collections of historical instruments like this are crucial to our understanding of music and by unlocking the secrets of the instruments, we gain a deeper understanding of the music written for them.”

Meet the Student: Alanna

My name is Alanna Crouch and I am 7 years old. I love playing the piano especially when I am working on new pieces. I would like to be a concert pianist when I am older and I have to work really hard so I can play my best. I practise every day for a few hours and my mummy sits with me for most of the time but she lets me work on some of the easy pieces on my own so my sight reading will get better.

al2Last year I played a Mozart Piano Concerto with The Barbados National Symphony Orchestra. It was very exciting but playing with an orchestra is very different from playing on your own. I had to really listen to what the orchestra was playing to make sure I was playing the right parts at the right times and I had to pay attention to the conductor to see if she wanted me to slow down or get louder or softer. I really enjoyed playing with the orchestra so I must keep working hard so I can do something like that again.

Alanna is working on Grade 8 Piano. She studies with Lorraine Liyanage. She came 2nd in the Concerto Class and 1st in the Jazz Set Piece class at the 2013 Dulwich Music Festival.

Meet the Student: Hannah

Hannah Piano Award WinnerHannah talks about the importance of Mock Exams: I first sat a mock exam before my Grade 1 Piano exam. I was a very nervous student and whenever I played in front of other people I always made mistakes. Lorraine suggested I sit a mock exam with Graham Fitch who was the adjudicator at the Dulwich Piano Festival last year. The purpose of the mock exam was to ensure I was prepared for any mishaps that might happen on exam day and allow me the time to overcome these before the real exam. I still found the mock exam stressful and had butterflies in my tummy.

Hannah-CircleHowever he was very nice and put me at ease. He talked me through my performance and offered suggestions on areas to improve. This is really good for your confidence before doing the real exam. I now sit mocks for all exams and have sat them for my Grade 2 Piano and my Grade 1 Cello. I have done well in all three of my exams and I am sure sitting the mock has helped and I would encourage students to sit them.

Written by Hannah Wickham, age 10 (Dulwich Hamlets Junior School). Hannah is taking her Grade 3 exam next month and studies with Lorraine Liyanage