An Afternoon with Isata Kanneh-Mason
07 October 2022
A performance and masterclass for senior school students from pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason
On the afternoon of her exceptional solo recital at Saffron Hall we were delighted that Isata was able to take the time to present the latest of our ‘an afternoon with’ series of events for secondary schools. These events are a relaxed opportunity for secondary school students to hear live performance from world class musicians and their own peers, and to dig a bit deeper into repertoire and performance techniques through Q and A and discussion with the visiting musicians.
Isata opened the event by performing a varied selection of pieces – including a Scherzo by Clara Schumann, Debussy’s Serenade for a Doll, and Mozart’s variations on a theme which has become a very famous nursery rhyme. This was followed by a fascinating question and answer session facilitated by Katie from Saffron Hall. Students questions covered a huge amount of ground including stories from Isata’s musical family and tips on practice and preparing for performance as well as revealing the top tunes she listens to when not playing and how she felt when performing alongside Elton John. In the words of one student ‘it is nice to realise that talented people are also real humans – quite comforting!’.
We then heard from two talented pianists from Saffron Walden County High School - Noah, and Annie - who each played a short piece and had a mini masterclass with Isata. Both played amazingly well to start with but it was great to witness how working on small details can transform a performance. Annie said ‘I learnt a lot about how to make modulations stand out, and handle tempo changes in the music’.
After a final performance from Isata, this ‘afternoon with’ event drew to a close with the audience of Year 9 and GCSE students from Saffron Walden County High, Helena Romanes School and Castle Manor, leaving excited and inspired.