First Tebb winner returns for 10th anniversary competition

Thursday 24 May 2018

David Franklin (GSAL10), the first ever winner of the Robert Tebb Piano Competition, came back to school to present the prize in its 10th anniversary year.

David, who won the inaugural competition as a Y12 student in 2009, handed over the coveted award to the youngest-ever winner, 12-year-old Yuan Xu, telling him how watching the competition had brought back all the nerves and excitement of his own day.

Both winners had the distinction of playing for Dame Fanny Waterman, founder of the The Leeds International Piano Competition. She was the adjudicator on the day that David won and was in the audience to hear Yuan play – a treat for her 98th birthday!

David, who studied political science and international relations at the University of Birmingham on leaving school, continues to play piano. At university, he was president of JabSoc , the Jazz and Blues Society, running regular jam sessions in the students’ union bar and events for students across Birmingham.

Now working for Virgin Trains (West Coast) in Birmingham he is involved with Virgin Rocks, an annual charity gig by a band composed entirely of Virgin Trains HQ staff, which has raised over £3,000 for mental health charities in the last two years.

The Robert Tebb Piano Competition takes place annually at GSAL and this year was a special birthday edition of the competition.

The adjudicator, concert pianist Cecilia Xi, listened to 11 finalists, who played a wide range of repertoire from jazz to classical. Yuan’s winning programme featured the contrasting Mozart’s Sonata in Bᵇ 1st movement K333 and Gershwin’s Prelude for Piano no 1.

Each year the winner receives £300 and a cup, thanks to the generosity of Mr Robert Tebb, alumnus of Leeds Grammar School. The cup had been awarded to Robert in recognition of 25 years’ service to the Leeds Piano Competition.

The Tebb competition was introduced during GSAL’s first academic year following the merger in 2008 of Leeds Grammar School and Leeds Girls’ High School.

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