A classical education for Bute primary pupils

Stephen Baron from Piano Music Theatre introduces pupils at St Andrew's Primary to the music of Joseph Haydn.
Stephen Baron from Piano Music Theatre introduces pupils at St Andrew's Primary to the music of Joseph Haydn.

PUPILS at St Andrew’s Primary School in Rothesay enjoyed an introduction to the life and music of the Austrian composer Joseph Haydn this week courtesy of the touring Piano Music Theatre company.

St Andrew’s Primary was the first stop for the company’s founder, Stephen Baron, on a whistle-stop tour of Argyll and Bute primary schools.

Stephen, a professional pianist, composer and piano teacher, has spent the last 15 years presenting one-man classical piano music shows at schools across the country, attempting to break down the perceived barriers between children and classical music using dance, drama, percussion and singing.

“I’ve never visited Bute before,” he told The Buteman, “but I have been to Argyll in the past – mostly because I like the hills!”

Wednesday’s show, A Celebration of Haydn, continues into early September, and tells the story of an innovative composer who bucked the trend of many classical musicians of the past by living a long life – he died aged 77 – and enjoying both riches and fame while doing so.

The show spelled out the five letters of the composer’s surname by relating each letter to an aspect of his music or his life – H for happiness, A for animals, Y for years, D for dancing and N for nothing (the last referring to the sudden silences which he introduced as a humorous addition to many of his compositions).

On leaving St Andrew’s, Stephen continued his tour with a visit to North Bute Primary in Port Bannatyne on Wednesday afternoon; his Argyll and Bute odyssey continues with visits to Kilmodan, Tighnabruaich and Kilmartin primaries, as well as a trip to schools on Islay.