Teaching staff

The Kent International Piano Courses are fortunate to be able to employ highly qualified and experienced tutors to guide and support participants.

 

KIPC 2019 Tutorial Team

 

Ruth Gerald - Principal Tutor

Ji Liu - Head of Performance

David Sams - Senior Tutor

Stephen Dandridge - Senior Tutor

Sue Greenham - Head of Intermediate Course 

Lora Dimitrova - Senior Tutor

Marcus Andrews - Head of External Relations

Nancy Litten - Tutor 

Seta Tanyel - Tutor

Tau Wey - Tutor, Head of Keyboard Studies, Sevenoaks School

Andrew Haigh - Tutor

David Williams - Tutor, Head of Piano, Tonbridge School

You-Chiung Lin - Accompanist and Administrator

Sophie Methuen-Turner - Head of Pastoral Care

 

Ruth Gerald, Senior Tutor

Ruth was Head of Keyboard Studies at the Royal College of Music and previously Head of Keyboard at the Birmingham School of Music. Educated in Australia, she gained a Bachelor of Music degree from Adelaide University and continued with post-graduate studies at the Royal College of Music where she was a gold medallist. Her career has always pursued a very wide path, solo recitals, concertos, chamber music, accompanying, adjudicating, examining and teaching. Alongside her work as a British and International Federation of Festivals Adjudicator, she has given master-classes and seminars in UK and abroad and is actively involved in many aspects of the work of ABRSM. 

 

Ruth Harte, President

Whilst a Scholar and student of Vivian Langrish at the Royal Academy of Music, Ruth Harte played at the Proms and began broadcasting. Her very active concert career grew from her performances at the Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room, not only solo but in numerous chamber music and Lieder recitals in which she particularly delights.

 

Tours in the UK, Europe, Canada, the Far East, Australia and New Zealand, which she has visited six times, have also included master classes, lecturing, adjudicating, teaching, broadcasts, and recording. She has also travelled worldwide on the faculty of the American International Workshops.

 

For many years she was involved in Kent County Council’s“ Arts and Music” series, organising and participating in recitals for both professional and talented young musicians.

 

Examining and moderating for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music have given her a real understanding of their work “from both sides of the table!” as well as much enjoyment.

 

Elected Warden of the Private Teachers Section of the Incorporated Society of Musicians in 1992-93, her own teaching practice is central to her musical life. Many of her students have become distinguished musicians.

 

David Sams, Senior Tutor

David Sams studied with Walter Onslow in his early years, this followed with studies with Richard Meyrick and then onto the Guildhall School of Music where he studied with Professor Cecil Belcher. Later he went to Rhodesia where his studies took him to the Rhodesian College of Music in Bulawayo and then onto the Rhodesian Academy in Salisbury. On his return to England he studied the Leschetizky Viennese technique with Tanya Polunin who guided him to the Silver Medal of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama for coming the highest in the United Kingdom out of all musical instruments in his Diploma of Licentiate with Honours. He also achieved highly in the London College of Music Diploma with Honours.

 

Further studies with Professor Esterhazy of the Moscow Conservatoire followed. He has lectured on the different styles of piano playing at Kent University, on piano technique and other musical styles. He has performed extensively, having a parallel career in Rock Music where he has had considerable success. He is an active musician and teacher, now having been asked by the Princes Trust to do benefit concerts for them raising over £2,500 in December 2007. Further concerts followed for the Charity W.A.Y. and the Maths Music Academy raising £2,300 in March 2009. He then played for the Princes Trust, raising a further £2,000 for them in March 2010 and in December 2010 he put on a concert for  a special event raising over £3,000 for friend and colleague Gareth Bucket. 

 

He teaches for the Kent Music Academy, Kent Music and privately, specialising in advanced technique and performance with a large pupil base many of whom have gone onto Chethams, Royal College of Music , Trinity College of Music, Royal Academy of Music and many other musical institutions.

 

Stephen Dandridge, Senior Tutor

 

Stephen began piano lessons at the age of nine and went on to study piano at the Trinity College of Music with Joseph Weingarten, himself a pupil of Dohnanyi and Kodaly. Stephen graduated in 1986 having won several prizes for solo playing and accompanying and has since given numerous recitals and concerto performances in the Southeast. Stephen is currently a member of staff at Tonbridge School , Kent Music Academy and Ashford School where he is head of keyboard studies. Stephen is also Chairman of the Kent Piano Festival.

 

Sue Greenham

Sue Greenham has been teaching piano for more years than she cares to think about. As well as organising and taking part in many informal concerts and charity concerts, she is co-founder and chairman of Maidstone Music Festival, an annual adjudicative music festival which takes place in Invicta Grammar School, Maidstone at the end of November. She lives and works in Maidstone, with her family and an assortment of cats.

 

Lora Dimitrova

Lora was born in Sofia, Bulgaria and began piano studies at the age of seven. From 1981 to 1987 she studied at the Bulgarian State Conservatory under Konstantin Ganev and Julia Ganev and was awarded the conservatory’s Premier Prix.

 

She has won major prizes in several international piano competitions. Notable amongst these were the International Competition for Young Pianist Virtuosos (Czechoslovakia) and the Bach International Piano Competition (Leipzig) and second prize in the “Maria Callas”International Piano Competition (Athens). In 1989 Lora won a scholarship to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. There she was awarded a Premier Prix and the Sheriff’s Prize for performance. Lora had her Barbican debut in 1989 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto. In 1993 she gave her Royal Festival Hall debut with the London Concert Orchestra in a performance of Grieg’s Piano Concerto.

 

Lora is also much in demand as a chamber musician and in March 1995 won the International Parkhouse Award for Ensembles, playing with the violinist Hanna Weinmeister. In 1994 Sir Georg Solti decided to sponsor and present outstanding young musicians at the Wigmore Hall. Lora was one of the two musicians that he chose to present in the first of these concerts in 1995. Lora has appeared at festivals in Salzburg and Dresden, performing Bartok’s 3rd Piano Concerto to critical acclaim with the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Georg Solti.

 

Lora is a founding member and leader of the Quattro Group. A quartet uniquely made up of four pianists – www.quattropiano.com She combines and arranges classical, jazz and pop music for the group which performs in large scale popular shows in Europe. They have recorded their first CD for Hey-You Classics label.

 

In 1998 Lora established the Sospiro Piano Centre in Biggin Hill, a private school dedicated to piano excellence.

 

Marcus Andrews, Tutor, Head of External Relations
Marcus Andrews studied with Yvonne Dinwiddy, Simon Young and Neal Larrabee. He is a graduate of Trinity College of Music (now Trinity Laban) and the University of Connecticut where he was a scholar, and is winner of the Jaques Samuel Pianos TCM Prize, Harold Clarke Prize, Trinity Keyboard Silver Medal and TWIYCA Accompanist Prize. He has also benefitted form bursaries to take part in masterclasses at Dartington International Summer School and was invited to take part in the Fondazione Culturale Wilhelm Kempff Beethoven Masterclasses with John O'Conor.

 

Marcus has had an extensive career as a soloist, chamber musician and accompanist and has broadcast and recorded in the UK and Finland. He is in demand as an accompanist and choral accompanist across all the London conservatoires and also maintains a busy teaching career, with posts at Highgate School, City of London School for Girls Walthamstow Hall School and his own private studio.

 

Marcus took part in the Kent International Piano Courses as a teenager and has been honoured to return as a tutor and see his own students participate. He recently moved to Tunbridge Wells with his wife and two sons.

 

Tau Wey, Tutor

Tau Wey enjoys performing unusual yet captivating music. His eclectic repertoire is as likely to include fugues as folk music, sonatas as songs, and rondos as rags. The music he plays branches out into myriad directions, making connections to the sound worlds that people inhabit.

 

Born in Taiwan, Tau subsequently lived in Germany and then in England. After reading music at Cambridge, he studied with Yonty Solomon and Douglas Finch at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and with Jacob Lateiner at Mannes College of Music in New York. He was awarded First Prize in the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe Competition. In recent years he has furthered his study of piano technique and the Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement Method with Alan Fraser.

 

He has performed at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall and the Aldeburgh Festival of Music and Arts. He gave his London recital debut at Blackheath Halls in 2006, and his overseas debut at the Music Forum in Taipei, Taiwan in 2007.

He has performed concertos with the Lambeth Orchestra, Bromley Youth Symphony Orchestra, Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra, Cambridge University Musical Society Orchestra and the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra, Taiwan.

 

Tau is Head of Keyboard at Sevenoaks School, as well as teaching at Eltham College and at the Kent International Piano Course. Tau loves challenging students with unconventional artistic concepts and the performance of daring pieces of contemporary music. At Sevenoaks School he directs the annual Piano Showcase concert, which has included provocative works by composers Stephen Montague, Terry Riley, John Cage, Eric Satie, and Gyorgy Ligeti. 

 

Andrew Haigh

Andrew Haigh made his debut at the age of 11 performing with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall. At 13 he was a prize-winner at the BBC International Mozart Competition. He started his studies with Ronald Smith, and on being awarded a full scholarship to the Royal College of Music at 15, he then studied with Cyril Smith and Albert Ferber. He has performed extensively as soloist and recitalist in the UK and Europe, being an invited soloist at the Herbert von Karajan Festival in Berlin. He has performed with the London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia, New Symphony, London Festival and all the BBC orchestras, with conductors Sir Simon Rattle, Vernon Handley, Sir John Pritchard, Alun Francis and Arthur Davison. He has also performed with most major regional orchestras.

 

After winning the National Piano Competition and the Royal Overseas League Competition, he was presented to the Queen and invited to play at St James’, Palace. Andrew has worked as an adjudicator at Chethams School, the Royal College of Music and the London International Piano Competition. He has also been a regular full-time tutor at the North London Piano School’s summer courses. His teaching career began in 1978 when he was invited to teach at what is now Kent Music Academy and was appointed head of piano in 1986 a post he held until 2007.

 

David Williams, Tutor

 

Davis Williams is the head of piano at Tonbridge School. 


After the Royal College of Music, he went into teaching first at a prep school in Hampshire and then to Tonbridge where his piano job was in tandem as chapel organist. He the became the school’s first and only Precentor, directing the chapel choir and ended his long relationship with chapel music by taking the fine singers of the choir on tour of his mother’s homeland Barbados. To signal the hoped for end of his organ playing career he gave a recital at St Paul’s Cathedral London; it proved not to be the end……

 

Piano playing has remained at the top of his priorities and concerts with other instrumentalists have taken him to the USA, the Caribbean, Paris, Lucerne, Frankfurt, many English venues as well as the Opera House in Cape Town South Africa, where he was asked to celebrate the anniversary of A.E.Houseman’s A Shropshire Lad and their musical setting.

 

Ji Liu, Head of Performance

As a soloist, Mr. Ji Liu has appeared at major venues and festivals internationally including London's Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Wigmore Hall, Barbican Centre, St. John's Smith Square and etc; the St. George's Hall and the new Liverpool Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool; Birmingham's Town Hall, Sage Gateshead in Newcastle; Old Vic Theatre and Colston Hall in Bristol; RoyalConcert hall in Nottingham; Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; Auditorium du Louvre and Salle Cortot in Paris, Carnegie Hall in New York, Rachmaninoff Hall at Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, Salle Garnier Opéra de Monte-Carlo; Théâtre de Champ Fleuri in La Réunion; Shanghai Oriental Art Centre, Shanghai Concert Hall and the Grand Theatre in Shanghai; Suzhou Culture and Arts Center; Kumho Arts Hall in Seoul; the Henley Festival in the UK; the Stavanger Chamber Music Festival in Norway, Verbier Festival and Gstaad Festival in Switzerland, Tongyeong International Music Festival in South Korea; The 3rd Krasnoyarsk International Music Festival of the Asia-Pacific region in Russia and etc.

 

Last season, Mr. Ji Liu has played Schumann and Beethoven Piano Concertos with the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Dorking Halls and the Royal Festival Hall in London; and Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.2 with Mr. Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic at the sold-out Royal Albert Hall. Ji Liu was also the soloist who opened the 2015/2016 season for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and its new Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

 

In 2016, Ji Liu has made his warm welcome-back to the Royal Festival Hall playing Mozart Piano Concerto K.467 with the Mozart Festival Orchestra. Also, Mr. Ji Liu embarked a 5-city UK recital tour celebrating the new release of his Pure Chopin album.

 

As a hugely creative artist, Mr. Ji Liu has a rare and immense capability of playing music from Bach's Goldberg Variations to Ligeti Piano Etudes to his own transcription of Skyfall. His piano playing always embraces distinctive quality of devotion, originality, purity and authenticity. Mr. Ji Liu's passion for new music has led him collaborating with some of the greatest composers of our time. In 2016, he played the World Premiere of Ludovico Einaudi’s new piano concerto with Maestro Damian Iorio and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

 

Mr. Ji Liu was born in China. He started his early musical education at the age of 3. Whilst still only 13, he won an international competition to perform a recital at New York's famed Carnegie Hall. That concert proved to be a major turning point in his career. Mr. Ji Liu initially studied piano and conducting at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, after which he studied under Dmitri Bashkirov at the Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia in Madrid. In 2007, Ji Liu was awarded a full scholarship to continue his Bachelor of Music focusing on Piano Performance with Prof. Christopher Elton and Composition with Ruth Byrchmore at the Royal Academy of Music in London. In 2013, he graduated his Master of Music with both a Distinction and a DipRAM for his extraordinary Final Recital from the Royal Academy of Music.

 

In his spare time, Mr. Ji Liu is enthusiastic about fashion, fine watches and visual arts. He likes sharp suits and unique shoes. Ji believes that classical music is for everyone, and one of his dreams is to make classical music more accessible and popular to a much wider audience.

 

Mary Methuen, Courses Director

Mary Methuen is a concert pianist of many years' standing, who has given solo recitals in major venues in London, France and elsewhere. She is also regularly asked to accompany soloists.

Mary studied at the Royal Academy of Music under Professors Joan Last and Ruth Harte, and was trained in piano accompaniment by the celebrated Professor Geoffrey Pratley. Whilst studying she accompanied the soprano Lesley Garrett and worked alongside the now famous Sir Simon Rattle.

Now an international examiner for the ABRSM, Mary tours the Far East every summer, whilst maintaining a strong private teaching practice. She teaches the piano at  Sevenoaks School and Tonbridge School, where she also trains students in aural techniques.  Previously she taught at Kent Centre for Young Instrumentalists, a specialist music school for gifted children. 

Mary has been Director of the Kent International Piano Courses for 30 years, over that time attracting internationally famous artists as Masterclass guests and performers, such as Moura Lympany, Cecile Ousset, John Lill, Noriko Ogawa, Cristina Ortiz and Artur Pizarro.

Her late father, a priest and her late brother a Dean, Mary also occasionally plays the organ. Her daughter is an actor and her husband an education consultant. 

Ten years ago Mary was nominated onto the Women of Kent list, for women who have given exceptional service to the county. 

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Kent International Piano Courses is a not for profit organisation

Director: Mary Methuen