The Suzuki Stars

Helen Brunner teaching

The Suzuki method has always been a philosophy close to my heart, ever since I started learning violin at three. I did not continue past the age of eight, and it has been one of my biggest regrets. Now I can fully enjoy and appreciate the talent of young children who play their instruments with the love and instinct as Suzuki encourages. My 13 year old sister began learning Suzuki violin ten years ago, and I can honestly say is one of the most wonderful musicians now, she is a true inspiration to me.

I recently went to see a lovely concert in Notting Hill of young Suzuki violinists. They are the ‘London Gold Group’, a team of players taught by the amazing Helen Brunner, a woman who needs little introduction in the world of Suzuki. She introduced the method to the UK. Later this year the Gold Group go on tour and this concert was fundraising for that cause.

With delicious canapes and wine from Sally Clarke of Clarkes the evening got off to a great start. The programme was made up of solo and ensemble pieces by a variety of well known composers: Bach, Vivaldi, Elgar and Kreisler, amongst others. It never ceases to amaze me how children so young can just stride up onto the stage and play their hearts out, with no sheet music to rely on, and seemingly no nerves either. I particularly loved the solo performances by Marnie Breadin and Gabriel Rumney who both really captivated the audience. I also enjoyed the ensemble pieces, led by the enthusiastic smiling Helen on one side of the stage, these group moments bought the venue, St Peter’s Church, to life.

All Helen’s pupils clamboured up onstage for the finale – a medley of the simpler Suzuki pieces: Allegro, Go tell Aunt Rhody, Lightly Row, and of course Twinkle. As the audience left the church we were invited to donate to the envelopes hung by ribbons above the entrance: each one had a different expense on the front (eg. Fare for Ferry travel, music folders), a lovely personalised idea I thought.

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