Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

13-Year-Old Wows Albert Hall; 'The Audience Went Wild- They Just Loved It'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

13-Year-Old Wows Albert Hall; 'The Audience Went Wild- They Just Loved It'

Article excerpt

Byline: LUKE LEITCH

A SCHOOLBOY piano prodigy from Essex was back in the classroom today after a triumphant debut at the Royal Albert Hall.

Benjamin Grosvenor, who began playing when he was six, conquered Britain's grandest hall with a flawless performance of Chopin's Piano Concerto No2 alongside the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra last night.

The 13-year-old is one of the youngest soloists to play there.

Today he confessed he was pleased, saying: "The Chopin concerto is one of the hardest pieces I've played so far, but I think it went very well. I'd performed it twice before before and I think this was the best of the three."

He said he was not nervous at all, adding: "I prefer playing in big halls - it is more exciting. There were about 2,000 tickets sold so there were a lot of people there. But when I'm playing I just focus on that."

Speaking at Westcliff High School for Boys in Southend, Benjamin added that receiving a standing ovation "made me feel good".

Evening Standard critic Nick Kimberley hailed his performance, saying: "Grosvenor is not your average 13-year-old... Signs are that he is already his own man, or boy at least.

"An emphasis on youth was entirely appropriate for this United Nations 60th birthday concert, in aid of the One World Trust, and it was good to see Grosvenor not in a penguin suit but in a T-shirt, albeit a quietly modish one. It was soon clear that he has firm ideas about rubato, that slight tautening or relaxation of tempo that makes Chopin's music breathe.

"If some phrases lacked definition, others he shaped to his own design, while avoiding the mistake some more mature players make of losing forward momentum. Grosvenor's delicacy was refreshing, his sense of rhythm supple. He professes an enthusiasm for jazz pianist Art Tatum: an unusual choice for a modern teenager, but it suggests an attentive ear. …

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