Alexandra Peel (Gold Award Winner)

AY : Where are you from Alexandra?

AP : I’m from a little village called Steep, near Petersfield in Hampshire.

AY: When did you first start playing the violin and why did you start?

AP: First picked up the violin when I was six years old and I just fell in love with its sound. It was my mother’s favourite instrument and so when I was little I would to listen to recordings of the great violinists all the time!

AY: What do you enjoy the most in your music studies?

AP: I love the fact that it never gets boring - there are always new avenues to discover, whether it be looking at a piece from a different perspective, or discovering a new work.

AY: Could you please tell us three way of how you make your practice more fun and efficient for yourself?

AP: If I ever feel stuck with a phrase or passage, I try changing my phrasing and switching the crescendos and diminuendos, forte’s and piano’s, that I had originally decided on. I find it keeps it interesting, and helps me to see what, (in some cases) not to do, and in others something that works surprisingly well!

Setting goals for what I want to achieve that day makes sure I keep my practice efficient - I find it helps me stay focused and provides a sense of achievement when I accomplish them!

If I’m struggling to connect with a piece, I imagine characters I’ve seen from a book or movie and relate the music to their story. Researching the period of time when the piece was written or the life of the composer is also vital for me to be able to put the music into context.

AY: Do you play in a chamber music group or orchestra and if yes, please tell us about your favourite moments playing in the group.

AP: I’m lucky enough to play in quite a few ensembles and orchestras at school and it’s always such a rewarding experience. My favourite moments from playing with my piano quintet is when all the lengthy discussions about exactly what we want to do with the music and the rehearsals pay off - when you know a piece so well that you can focus completely on making beautiful music and having fun with your friends!

AY: As a student at Purcell School, what has been your highlights during your time at the school and what is your goal after graduating?

AP: There have been too many highlights to count!! But I think one of the best parts about the place is being constantly surrounded by so many incredibly talented people and working with such inspirational teachers. After graduating, I hope to carry on studying music at a conservatoire and keep performing which I love!

AY: Did you find your experience at the 2nd New Talent British International Youth Music Competition a beneficial one? If yes, please tell us why.

AP: My experience at the competition was brilliant - the atmosphere was very supportive and it’s a great platform to not only perform, but also to hear lots of other talented competitors play from all around the world. I would recommend it to everyone!

Alexandra Peel performing for the competition

AY: Is there anything coming up in the coming months that makes you excited? Please tell us about it!

AP: I am very excited to play the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra conducted by David Murphy later this month. The concerto is one of my all time favourites and I can’t wait to perform it with such a wonderful orchestra.

AY: What advice do you have for young musicians who have just started learning an instrument?

AP: Believe you can and you will! (With lots of practice!) Playing an instrument can be really challenging at times, but it is also the most rewarding experience. Listen to recordings or watch YouTube videos of your favourite musicians to keep you inspired!

Thank you Alexandra!