Brentwood School is to team up with renowned piano makers, Steinway.
The move will see pupils perform on the US manufacturer’s instruments, have regular masterclasses with Steinway artists, and the opportunity to perform in the recital space at London’s Steinway Hall.
Brentwood, meanwhile, will become an accredited All-Steinway School.
The partnership got underway last month with a tour of the Steinway factory in Hamburg, where the school’s director of music, Florian Cooper, was joined by five pupils to choose 11 hand-crafted pianos.
“We had a truly magnificent day, which far exceeded my expectations and will live long in our memories,” said Cooper.
“[The pupils] showed maturity, musical talent and academic prowess throughout the day. Everyone they came into contact with remarked on not just their immense performances on the piano, but on their nuanced and astute critique of the instruments and thoughtful questions.
“It was amazing to see just how much attention and craft is involved with the making of these instruments, which each take a year to make and are still largely built by hand, using original techniques and built my professionals with many years of specialised experience.”
“What was most remarkable,” added Cooper, “was that the children had a huge say in the decision-making process, and were guided expertly into assessing which instruments best suited the needs of the different spaces and requirements we have at school.
The music scholars were encouraged to rank the pianos according to different criteria: touch and ease to play; tone colour and suitability to performance space, and range of tonal colours available and to what extent they suited different repertoire.
The new instruments will be unveiled at a special concert in the school’s Wessex auditorium next month.