The keys to success: Junior Conservatoire of Music student wins first prize in Beethoven Society of Europe’s junior piano competition
A Junior Conservatoire Music student has won first prize in a prestigious European piano competition.
Oliver Hak, 12, took the top spot in the Beethoven Society of Europe’s Junior Intercollegiate Piano Competition in London, after impressing the judging panel with his performance of Beethoven’s Sonata No 4 op.7.
The annual competition, held at the City Literary Institute, is open to students at UK music conservatoires and specialist music schools, which are invited to nominate a pianist to represent them.
Oliver, who joined the Junior Conservatoire Music in 2018, is taught by Marianna Abrahamyan, an internationally recognised, award-winning pianist and collaborative artist. As well as her teaching role in the Junior Conservatoire, Marianna is also studying on the Doctor of Performing Arts (DPerf) programme at RCS.
The Beethoven Piano Society of Europe is an international forum for professional and amateur pianists, teachers, musicologists and music lovers. It aims to promote the authentic interpretation of all of Beethoven’s music for or involving piano, orchestral, chamber or vocal genres.
Francis Cummings, Head of the Junior Conservatoire Music, said: “Huge congratulations to Oliver on winning first prize at such a prestigious competition that showcases some of the most promising young pianists across the UK.
“Oliver came to us as a complete beginner just five years ago and his progress in such a relatively short space of time has been remarkable, a testament to his hard work and to the dedication and skill of his teacher, Marianna Abrahamyan; we are thrilled for them both!
“Oliver is a talented pianist with a very bright future and it’s a pleasure to have him as part of our Junior Conservatoire.”
Here, Oliver, from Glasgow – who is a Transitions student at RCS and also an ABRSM (The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) scholar – shares his thoughts on winning and offers an insight into his Junior Conservatoire studies.
How does it feel to win first prize at the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe Junior Intercollegiate Piano Competition?
I was not expecting to win, as I thought all the other candidates also played very well. But I’m delighted.
What inspired you to start playing the piano?
I started to play the piano at almost eight. I was always interested in music, I really enjoyed singing when I was young. One day, I drew a paper model of a keyboard and pretended to play music. Shortly after, my parents noticed my new interest and bought me my first piano.
When did you join the Junior Conservatoire?
I joined the Junior Conservatoire at the age of eight in 2018.
What inspired you to apply?
I was self-taught at the very beginning for a few months. My parents noticed my enthusiasm and commitment towards music and decided to look for a music school. We found out about RCS and realised it would be the perfect place for me to learn about music.
What do you enjoy most about your studies?
The school has a great atmosphere for learning. I have made many friends who share the same love and passion for music as I do. I enjoy attending various stimulating classes, as well as student concerts and ensembles, as they have built up my confidence and given me a lot of opportunities to learn from others and to work as a group. The teachers are very professional and extremely helpful. It is a wonderful place for young musicians.
How long have you been working with your teacher Marianna Abrahamyan?
I have been taught by Marianna since 2018 when I just joined pre-juniors. She is my first piano teacher. I still remember the first book we worked on called Piano Time 1. It was just like yesterday and I can’t believe that I have made such great progress over the past few years. She is a wonderful teacher. I wouldn’t have been able to reach where I am now without her help and support.
Would you like to pursue music in the future?
Yes. I want to be a pianist and conductor when I grow up.
Interested in studying at the Junior Conservatoire?
For more than fifty years, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Junior Conservatoire has encouraged thousands of young people to fulfil their artistic potential, develop essential life skills and explore a world of possibilities within the arts and far beyond.
Junior Conservatoire students are nurtured and empowered to be the best they can be in a vibrant, happy and encouraging environment where supporting young people is at the heart of everything we do. Students access specialist training across the performing and production arts from world-class teachers and visiting artists.
Students join us each week during the academic year and, as well as developing their artistic skills, they also meet other young people who share their passion for the arts, have fun and make friends for life.
Visit the Junior Conservatoire webpage for information on programmes, teaching staff, auditions and open days.
Not ready for the Junior Conservatoire? We offer a range of short courses and summer schools for all ages and stages across music, dance, drama, production and film.
Visit Short Courses for more information.