Parent information

CSYM Duo Piano Commission Project
July 2009-July 2010


To commission a collection of two-piano pieces composed by eight notable and established British composers, to be written for and publicly premiered by CSYM piano students at intermediate to advanced levels of study.


Although quality duet repertoire (two at one piano) can be identified at all levels of difficulty, most two-piano music is composed for late intermediate to very advanced levels. Piano pedagogues agree that two piano repertoire expands as technique and experience progress. With the exception of arrangements of previously composed works, and Bartok's few pieces in Mikrokosmos Book II, there is very little to no quality two-piano music of elementary or intermediate standard by professional composers.

Why Two Pianos?


THE COMPOSERS Many great works piano works of the past were composed with specific performers in mind (Chopin, Schumann, et al). Likewise, noted UK composers will be asked to compose a work for two-pianos at a level of difficulty appropriate to its intended performer, i.e. those CSYM students performing Suzuki Piano Repertoire in Books 3 and beyond at the time of this proposal.

The following UK composers have already been contacted to establish their interest in the project and to agree to the general cost of commissioning a two-piano work, including: Michael Zev Gordon, Tarik O 'Regan, and Gary Carpenter, Colin Matthews, Rachel Stott, Martin Butler and Phil Cashian. The pieces will range in length according to difficulty from 1-3 minutes, with one advanced piece at 4 minutes.

A DVD of a recent duet performance will be sent to each composer by the students concerned, with the permission of the parents, to gain some insight into the level of performing ability of each team and personalities involved.

THE PERFORMERS The commissioned pieces will be performed when ready, with possible performances dates including the CSYM Group Concerts December 2009 and March 2010. We also aim for the completed cycle to create a focal point for the CSYM 4-day Summer School July 2010.

We also aim to invite the composers to attend the "premieres" of their works and meet the performers. This is so much more powerful as a musical experience than playing a piece of music by someone distant, and probably no longer alive.

THE AUDIENCE Motivating children through the environment is a fundamental aim of Suzuki education. Through this project, CSYM students at earlier levels of study will gain an awareness of contemporary music at an age when they do not carry musical 'prejudices'. Younger children are powerfully motivated by children just a bit more advanced and slightly older than themselves. By observing the composition project in process, by attending the concerts and perhaps meeting the composers themselves, the younger students will aspire towards studying the new piano duos themselves in the near future.

Improvisation and composition are recurring themes in the CSYM piano & musicianship curriculum. Students at all ages and stages are encouraged to invent music, and are naturally influenced by what they hear, along with the music and personalities of the composers/performers with whom they make contact.

With Creativity and Composition as central themes of the culminating summer workshop, even the youngest students will be encouraged to invent and write their own music through the effects of the Piano-Duo Commission Project model. We hope that at the workshop a C.D. will be made of the performance of all the pieces. It might be possible to interest a publisher to publish the collection.

In this way, besides reaching a wider audience through audience attendance at the planned and proposed West Road concerts, the pieces will fill an educational/performance gap in what is now currently available.

Betty & Stephen Power