David Dolan, an internationally renowned concert pianist and teacher at the School, played a 60th birthday concert at the Menuhin Hall last night. David is one of a few musicians in the world who has revived the art of classical improvisation, which was a normal part of classical music performance for musicians up until the early years of the twentieth century. When world-class violinist Yehudi Menuhin heard David play in Paris over 25 years ago, he paid tribute to David’s talent saying he: “is giving new life to classical music.” Menuhin invited David to play and teach pupils at his school. On taking up the offer, David has taught pupils at the Yehudi Menuhin School ever since returning to the school several times a year.
Acclaimed American soprano Claron McFadden also joined David on stage. Earlier in the day the Yehudi Menuhin School’s pupils enjoyed lessons in classical improvisation. Some of them also had the opportunity to appear on stage with David in his evening performance.
David said visiting the school and playing on stage was a very special way to mark his birthday: “I have been coming to the Yehudi Menuhin School for over 25 years and wherever I go in the world I always think of the Yehudi Menuhin School as my ‘sanctuary’. I chose to live in England because of the school’s founder.
“He asked me to promise that I would teach at the school for as long as I have to legs to stand up. I am here to fulfil that promise but for me personally it is also a great source of energy and a privilege to be part of this school and its community.”