Fife pianist set for Scottish debut

Laura Newey performed at the Royal Albert Hall.
Laura Newey performed at the Royal Albert Hall.

A teenage pianist and composer from Arncroach is set to make her first professional appearance in Scotland less than a month after performing at the Royal Albert Hall.

The concert marked another high point for Laura Newey (17), who was last year selected as the recipient of the prestigious Mackenzie Johnston Award, celebrating the best young musicians in Scotland.

On April 11 Laura will return to the Kingdom to perform at St Andrews.

“I have not done much music up here because it has been so focused down south,” she explained.

“It is also great to have a big concert where I get to play all my favourites pieces.

“I will have my family and friends there – my mum, dad and brother will be there.

“That is exciting.”

Laura received her first tuition in St Andrews, where she learned from respected teacher Anne Turner, who she describes as being crucial to her development.

At this time Laura learned both piano and violin.

At just six years old she became the youngest member of the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain and performed solos on both instruments at the Royal Festival Hall aged nine.

Since then Laura has spent time at various music schools around Britain.

“I went to music school for both instruments but was quite torn,” she said.

“They were equal in terms of the time I spent on them and how good I was. But I chose piano.

“I guess what I liked about the piano over the violin is that it is like a whole orchestra.

“On violin you play just one line – you need other instruments to paint the whole picture.

“On piano you can play music that is so complex and interesting and you can do it by yourself.

“It’s like being a conductor.”

While at Chetham’s School of Music of Manchester Laura spent around three or four hours per day practicing, altough she admits that finding the balance between school and piano practice has been challenging.

She said: “It has been difficult.

“I was doing four A levels in the autumn term of this year but things came to a crisis point when I didn’t have enough hours in the day.

“I dropped an A level and that meant I could do more piano practice.

“But it has been a balancing act.”

Laura is hoping to have a year off once this school year finishes, giving her the time to try new things with her music, including composing, and wants to study music at university.

While Laura has collected a series of accolades and performed at some of the most iconic venues in the UK, she ranks her performance at the Royal Albert Hall’s Elgar Room as one of her finest.

“It was very daunting,” she admits.

“It was amazing to get offered the chance.

“But when I got to the hall I found a very friendly and warm atmopshere.

“It was one of my better performances.

“It was certainly my most nerve wracking but also enjoyable concerts.”

It might have added to Laura’s pre-performance nerves had she known that she would be playing on a piano that once belonged to Elton John.

She said: “That was bizarre.

“I didn’t know until I turned up on the day.

“I had been warned in advance that it was going to be a bright red piano. Apparently some people have been thrown off by it in the past.

“But I didn’t realise it was Elton’s piano.”

Laura will be performing at the St Leonards Music School Auditorium on April 11, at 7.30pm.