Arts / Music

Young Pianist of the North

"The sponsorship from the Gillian Dickinson Trust has allowed the organisers to focus on developing new exciting and mutually enriching collaborations."

A destination completely unknown to classical pianists in the past, by the end of November 2013 Newcastle, as well as the Young Pianist of the North competition, now in its seventh year and supported by the Gillian Dickinson Trust as its main sponsor since 2009, had greeted nearly 200 young talented pianists, their teachers and parents from 30 countries and five continents, with about a fifth of them from the North East.  

In 2013 YPN’s educational programme, the central aspect of the event, celebrated a prominent nationwide recognition when it was selected as the winner of the prestigious Music Teachers’ award in the Best Music Initiative category. Each year the funding from the Trust enables YPN to bring to the region the world-class pedagogical expertise, offer an international platform to the local children and provide educational opportunities of the highest caliber to everyone in the local community. YPN master classes and individual sessions with the members of the Jury, held on the doorstep of the local residents, have gained a worldwide reputation, attracting young pianists and piano teachers from as far as the USA, China, Indonesia and Australia, not to mention European countries.

The sponsorship from the Gillian Dickinson Trust has allowed the organisers to focus on developing new exciting and mutually enriching collaborations. Partnerships with the Wiener Urtext Edition, Kawai UK and NEMT Trust have brought benefits and unique opportunities to the participants of the competition: hundreds of free copies of the best editions of sheet music, the rare chance to play on a concert grand piano, generous awards for the local pianists. Encouraged by YPN, the local children have won international competitions abroad and have been awarded places in the country’s leading music schools. Annually, postgraduates from the University of Newcastle gain valuable work experience, coordinating the event. In 2013 YPN commissioned a student to create a photo gallery, and another group of students produced a documentary about YPN as their course work. Their work, and names, will receive international exposure via the YPN website.

While an ongoing national debate discusses the role, attitudes and mission of philanthropists in the today’s society, in YPN’s experience, the Trustees of the Gillian Dickinson Trust not only know but have already implemented all the right answers in their everyday work. The Trust’s presence has been supportive but never intrusive, getting the balance, so sensitive and important especially in the arts, just right, and it has been YPN’s privilege and luck to be amongst the projects funded by the Trust.