Loughborough Endowed Schools hit all the right notes on Thursday 24th September, when they became the first in the Midlands to receive All-Steinway School status.
They are one of only 13 independent schools in the UK and 175 establishments worldwide to hold the accolade, which will see them working in partnership with Steinway & Sons, makers of the world’s finest pianos.
Achieving it is part of the Loughborough Endowed Schools Foundation’s ambition to become a centre for musical excellence in the region, and has been made possible thanks to the enthusiasm and generosity of pupils, former pupils, parents, grandparents and friends of the schools, whose fundraising efforts in support of the campaign included a week-long Practice-a-thon.
The Foundation, which comprises Loughborough Grammar School, Loughborough High School, Fairfield Preparatory School and Our Lady’s Convent School, made a major commitment to music education with the establishment of the impressive, purpose-built LES Music School in 2006.
It will now provide pupils and staff with 23 of the highest calibre pianos on which to learn, teach, practise and perform.
Steinway & Sons has been crafting pianos for over 160 years. With each grand piano taking nearly a year to create, they are renowned for their unsurpassed quality, superior sound and responsive touch. Two Model B and two Model AS grand pianos were carefully selected by staff who visited the Steinway factory in Hamburg to hand pick them. The remaining 19 are a selection of Steinway, Boston and Essex uprights.
To celebrate their arrival, staff commissioned a special piece of music for 23 pianos. Pupils performed ‘Camera Obscura’, written by British composer Matthew Forbes, in the recital hall in the presence of invited guests. Internationally-renowned concert pianist and former Loughborough High School pupil, Angela Brownridge, also took part, performing Debussy’s Prélude from ‘Pour le Piano’.
Richard West, Director of Music at Loughborough Endowed Schools, said it was an honour to become one of only a handful of schools in the UK to offer its pupils exclusive use of the instruments.
“By becoming an All-Steinway School, we are demonstrating a tangible and unswerving commitment to nurturing the musical development of our current and future pupils, and achieving our ambitious aim of becoming a nationally-recognised centre of musical excellence. It also gives us access to a range of extraordinary benefits, including regular access to Steinway Hall in London, enabling our pupils to perform high profile recitals.”