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Bright Young Things

PUBLISHED: 16:01 22 August 2011 | UPDATED: 19:53 20 February 2013

Bright Young Things

Bright Young Things

Sebastian Black, a pupil at Ipswich School, is an outstanding pianist. Aged only 15, his compositions have already been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and played in the Royal Albert Hall

How did you become interested inmusic?


My parents listen to classical music,and I started playing piano at the age ofthree because of my older sister. Itaught myself from little books.


Do you play an instrument?


Ive completed all the grades for oboeand piano, and am now workingtowards a piano diploma.


How did you become interested incomposing?


As a child, I listened to lots of classicalmusic, and read about composers. Bythe age of seven or eight, I liked theshapes music made on the page, andthen became interested in the sounds. Iwanted to experiment for myself. I havethe opportunity to compose and conductat school, for the annual concert atSnape, and at our Musical Soiree.


What have been your most specialachievements to date?


Jesus College, Cambridge,commissioned a piece from me whichwas played at a concert in June in theCollege chapel. It was called Five LorcaSettings: for soprano, baritone andsmall orchestra. I set to music fivepoems by the Spanish poet FedericoGarca Lorca.Last year I was one of three winners inthe BBC Proms Inspire YoungComposers competition. Mycomposition, Post-Scriptum, wasconstructed out of blocks of ideas usingextended techniques such as droppingbouncy balls into the piano, andstrumming and plucking the strings. Itwas played at the Royal College ofMusic, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3.The prize for this competition was towrite a short piece for clarinet andelectronics. This was premiered at theRoyal Albert Hall by Jordan Black,principal clarinet in the National YouthOrchestra.The world premiere of my composition,Dunwich Chant was played at IpswichSchools Spring Concert at SnapeMaltings in April 2010. I played thepiano solo, with the schools symphonyorchestra conducted by Mr Leach,director of music at Ipswich School.Whilst composing Dunwich Chant, Ithought specifically about Burbankwith a Baedeker: Bleistein with aCigar, a poem by TS Eliot.I am an Aldeburgh Young Musician.This scheme gives me an insight intohow professional musicians work, andthe opportunity to try out ideas oninstrumentalists.


Any other interests at school?


I enjoy languages, history and English,and particularly, the music in thecommunity activities where we giveconcerts to primary schools and carehomes. Its useful performanceexperience.


Any hobbies or sports you enjoy?


I enjoy reading poetry, and listening toorchestras around the world. I also likegoing on the school chapel tours. ThisOctober we are going to Hamburg.


Do you envisage a career in music?


Yes! I would like to continue composingand conducting, as well as playing thepiano.



What the expert saysAndrew Leach, director of music atIpswich School is great fan ofSebastians talents and said: Sebastianis a fine pianist with a special affinityfor music of the 20th and 21st centuries.He also plays first oboe in the IpswichSchool Symphony Orchestra, whichgives him first-hand experience oforchestral textures and discipline. Hiscomposition talents are phenomenal and I have commissioned him to write apiece which I will play as part of mypiano recital at this SeptembersIpswich School Festival of Music.For more information about theFestival taking place at the school fromSeptember 21-27, see www.ipswich.suffolk.sch.uk/music

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