Alena has been teaching piano to people of all ages and abilities for more than a decade now. She is very proud that many of students achieved the highest marks in their piano exams and they have won trophies and medals in various piano competitions and festivals. Alena believes that everyone can learn to play the piano and find a new pleasure and contentment from playing for the rest of their lives.
Alena was born in a small village in the Czech Republic and already as a child, she has been playing and singing at different concerts and winning numerous piano competitions. At the age of 14, she was one of the few piano candidates to be accepted to study at the Prague Conservatoire. Alena was taught by a renowned pianist, Professor Frantisek Maxian, who inspired immensely in her expressive style of performing and teaching. He had an indescribable but very effective teaching power to make one capture classical music with the whole body and senses. Alena had the privilege to also study under distinguished Czech pianists and professors such as Michael Rezek and Milan Langer who introduced her to different piano techniques and the extraordinary world of tone colours. She graduated with the highest diploma grade, performing (amongst other pieces) Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin. This was a rather unorthodox piece of music which broke the boundaries of the classically orientated Conservatoire. Since attending the Conservatoire, she has been playing the world’s best classical repertoire such as Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Scarlatti, Dvorak, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, and others.
Alena also performed at piano concerts and recitals. As a solo pianist, she played at the most famous concert halls in Prague, such as Rudolfinum and Palfy Palace, as well as the Czech classical radio station. She also performed with orchestras, choirs and as an accompanist to solo players and opera singers. One of her biggest passions was to be part of two chamber music ensembles with which she travelled and performed all over the Czech Republic. One was a Piano Trio formed by herself and the other, a Baroque Octet.
During her years at the Conservatoire, Alena not only perfected her performance skills but also acquired fundamental knowledge of child psychology and the various techniques of piano teaching. She started teaching privately 14 years ago and since then she has become a devoted and enthusiastic piano teacher, teaching children of different age groups as well as adults. For the past 5 years, she has been teaching at the Windsor Piano School in Berkshire.
Alena’s teaching approach is to identify each student’s musical abilities and needs and,
subsequently, establish the balance between fun and the hard work of learning to play the piano. She follows the Russian tradition of piano schools, as well as using modern teaching approaches. She believes that every student is unique and deserves an individual approach to find their own way of playing this beautiful instrument.
Originally from Bath, Claire Williams studied piano, harpsichord, fortepiano and clavichord at the Royal College of Music in London. She graduated with a BMus (Hons) and two diplomas to her name, having won a clutch of prizes and awards along the way.
She subsequently completed a Master’s degree at Trinity College of Music, studying harpsichord and chamber organ with James Johnstone. Claire frequently performs with a wide range of ensembles in the UK and abroad, in venues ranging from the intimacy of the Handel & Hendrix Museum in London, to the expansive Royal Albert Hall, and everything in between. She has appeared in many major festivals, including Manchester, Bath, and Chelsea Festivals, East Cork Early Music Festival, Spitalfields Music, London Handel Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival, and Latitude. She is a regular artist at Dartington International Summer School, being much in demand as an accompanist and chamber music coach.
Claire has taught the piano for more than 25 years: in schools and music centres, for various music services, and privately. She has taught children of all ages, from beginners to diploma level, and enjoys teaching all levels and abilities. Her approach is to treat each student as an individual, responding to their needs and adapting her teaching style to suit them, rather than the other way round. Above all, she is able to inspire her students into giving their very best, whatever level they are at. Claire is very much looking forward to joining the team at Richmond Piano School!
Melissa was classically trained at the University of Kent and she also studied privately at the Royal College of Music under Professor Gordon Fergus-Thompson who highly influenced her by his love of the French Impressionists, particularly the works of Debussy. Melissa, however, has specialised in performance of a wide variety of styles ranging from the Baroque to the Post Romantic era, such as Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Rachmaninov. She has recorded and produced her own album, collaborated with other musicians and has also done interdisciplinary work.
Melissa has won at various competitions such as the Oxford Music Festival and generally loves to perform and use all her experience in teaching. She has been teaching piano to all ages, from beginners to advanced learners for 4 years now. Her approach to teaching focuses heavily on the pupil’s needs by providing tailored lessons to suit each and every pupil's individual goals. She follows the examination board requirements as well as using a wide range of other methods and materials within her lessons to achieve general musicianship.
Her aim as a teacher is to instil confidence in her pupils by making lessons as informative and enjoyable as possible, so that her pupils leave lessons feeling inspired and motivated. She is very excited to begin her new position at the Richmond Piano School.
Flynn Sturgeon is a pianist, accompanist and musical director from Canterbury, Kent. He read music at Royal Holloway, University of London, studying piano under Eleanor Hodgkinson and Mary Dullea, and graduated in 2019 with a first class degree. Flynn works regularly with a variety of companies in both musical theatre and classical circles, and is a sought after piano accompanist for auditions, rehearsals and performances. Flynn currently holds positions as a musical director of the London Gay Men’s Dance Company, and a singing teacher with Stagecoach Performing Arts Twickenham. He also works regularly with companies including the London Oriana Choir and London Musical Theatre Orchestra, amongst others. Flynn is very passionate about youth music education and is excited to work with the Richmond Piano School.
Quotes from Adjucator’s comments at festivals, competitions and exams:
“Yes, bravo Nicole, this was all rather elegant.” – the winner of Gold medal at the Marlow
Festival of Music and Drama
“This was really something for someone of such limited years!” – the winner of Silver medal
at Marlow Festival of Music and Drama
“This performance really captured the atmosphere of this music.” overall winner of LVS
Ascot Music Festival
“You play musically and have a real sense of line – where the music is going and this very
enjoyable to listen to.” – the winner of the Windsor Piano Festival
“A beautifully prepared exam – well done”- grate 2 student, achieved distinction