A very special gift from Germany has arrived for the talented young musicians at Scotland’s national music school.
Thanks to the fundraising campaign of one of the school’s directors Kat Heathcote and her husband Iain Macneil, St Mary’s Music School now has a brand new flagship Steinway Grand Piano to head up its fleet of instruments.
The couple, who are Trustees of Witherby Publishing Group Charitable Trust, held a fundraising event on the Royal Yacht Britannia in September last year. The evening featured performances by some of the School’s pupils and Kat and Iain match-funded a giving campaign with support from a range of donors.
Steinway director Keith Glazebrook personally oversaw the delivery of the piano, made at the Steinway factory in Hamburg, Germany and the key handed over to John Cameron, head of keyboard and an excited group of young piano pupils.
Owing to the unique nature of St Mary’s Music School as one of nine Access to Excellence Music and Dance Schools across the UK, and the only in Scotland, the school receives vital bursary funding from the Scottish Government, but must make its own investments in instruments.
This is the first new flagship Grand Piano purchased since 1985, which was also purchased through philanthropic support.
Dr Kenneth Taylor, headteacher, said: ‘It was a marvellous experience for representatives from the School to go to the Steinway Factory in Hamburg and try out a number of instruments in the showroom before choosing the model that can withstand the wide use by a school where music is the focus.
‘Everyone is thrilled with such a generous gift and our piano pupils cannot wait to play it.’
Many of the pianos in the school were either purchased through individual donations to the school or left as gifts from a wide range of benefactors.
The instrument which the new piano replaces will be reconditioned and continue to play an active life at School. Over its 35 years in the spotlight, over 600 pupils have performed either on, or alongside the instrument, in concert and Masterclasses. The piano has seen countless performances by visiting artists and exceptional teachers over the years.
Kat Heathcote added: ‘St Mary’s Music School is all about access to excellence and investment in the talent of our pupils. When we heard about the need the school had for a better piano, we felt strongly that this was something that the WPG Charitable Trust wanted to support.’
The fundraising target for the piano was £100,000 and this was exceeded and the donations raised which did not go towards it will be distributed through the school’s Bursary Fund.
St Mary’s Music School is Scotland’s only independent specialist music school, offering a world-class standard of music and academic education to musically gifted children aged 9-19 years. It is also the choir school of St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh.