Fri, May 10, 2024 4:12 PM

Piano maestro awarded key grant


William Woodworth

Sixteen-year-old pianist and piano teacher Sophia Jones from Blenheim is the recipient of this year’s Queen Elizabeth II Music Award.

Sophia has been recognised for her efforts and achievements as both a pianist and piano teacher after being nominated by her sister Kimberly, who was a co-winner of the QEII Award in 2014,

Kimberly said in her nomination that Sophia was hard-working and dedicated to excellence in everything she did.

“She is responsible and goal oriented and is already looking at working towards her both her ATCL teaching and performance exams", Kimberly said in the submission.

The $400 Sophia has been awarded as part of the grant will be going to a new piano, something she has already started saving up for.

At the ceremony on Friday afternoon, Sophia was very grateful to Kimberly for supporting her musical aims.

"Thank you to my family for coming today, and to Kimberly for teaching, encouraging and mentoring me", she said.

"I'm continuing to work hard towards my next ATCL diploma exams for both teaching and performing while teach more students and continue practising my own skills".

Mayor Nadine Taylor congratulated Sophia at today’s ceremony at Council Chambers and acknowledged her achievements, saying the accolade was well deserved.

“It’s wonderful to be able to celebrate one of Marlborough’s talented young people,” Mayor Taylor said.

“It’s clear that musical talent most definitely runs in the family".

In November 2023, Sophia sat her Grade 8 Trinity Piano exam and passed with distinction.

The examiner noted that Sophia’s performance was assured and that she transitioned smoothly between the pieces – which varied from classical through to ragtime.

The examiner further noted that Sophia had an ability to move confidently between the different styles and she showed a well-developed and convincing level of personal commitment, Mayor Taylor said.

The QEII Music Award was established in 1963 following a visit to New Zealand by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Set up with contributions from local councils throughout the region, today the Kaikōura and Marlborough district councils administer the award to assist with ongoing music training for the brightest young talent.

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