Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

Keiko Abe and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet awarded RNCM fellowships

10:59, 28th November 2017

The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) has awarded fellowships to marimba virtuoso Keiko Abe and pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet.

Abe, a Yamaha artist who turned 80 earlier this year, was presented with the accolade on 23 November following a lunchtime concert with RNCM percussion students, while Bavouzet, an international chair in piano at the conservatoire, received his on 27 November prior to a public masterclass.

RNCM principal Professor Linda Merrick described both musicians as ‘an inspiration to our students’.

Born in Tokyo in 1937, Abe began playing the marimba aged 12 after hearing an American missionary group playing the first marimba ever brought to Japan. After gaining a degree in music education and playing popular music as part of a marimba trio, she entered the world of contemporary classical music in 1962, playing mallet percussion with the NHK Orchestra.

In 1963, the Yamaha Corporation selected Abe to assist in the design of new instruments. She has been closely associated with Yamaha ever since, and their inaugural signature series of keyboard percussion mallets bears her name.

Bavouzet enjoys an eminent career as a solo recitalist and recording artist, and regularly works with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors. He is also artistic director of the Lofoten Piano Festival in Norway.

Fellowship of the RNCM is conferred upon distinguished musicians who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in professional practice, pedagogy and/or artistic leadership. Other recipients include Placido Domingo, Dame Joan Sutherland, Dame Janet Baker and Sir Mark Elder.

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