Eighteen-year-old Toby Hession is from Peterborough, and studies piano with the acclaimed Japanese virtuoso Masayuki Tayama, and composition with the award-winning Dr. Gavin Wayte. Toby first joined Chetham’s School of Music in 2010, and is now in his final year.
As a pianist, Toby has won several notable competitions, including in 2012 First Prize in the 18-and-under Open Class at the National Finals of the EPTA UK Piano Competition; in 2013 and 2014, he won first and second prizes (respectively) in the Chetham’s / Yamaha UK Piano Competition. Toby was also a two-time winner of the Peterborough Young Musician of the Year Competition. He was awarded the Sheila Mossman Memorial Prize for achieving the National Highest Mark in his ABRSM Grade VIII Piano, and has participated in master-classes with Stephen Hough, Libor Novacek, and Tom and Jonathan Scott. He has performed at venues nationwide, including St. Martin in the Fields (Trafalgar Square), St. James’ Piccadilly (London), and the Royal Northern College of Music.
Composition plays an equally important part in Toby’s musical life. He has twice been a highly commended prize-winner in the BBC Inspire: Young Composers Competition, most recently in 2014 for his piece ‘Invictus’ for Tenor and Piano, written in memory of Nelson Mandela. He won first prize in his category in the 2012 EPTA UK Composition Competition; his ‘Paraphrase on the National Anthem of Sri Lanka’ was performed in Westminster Abbey in March 2013 at the Commonwealth Observance Day Service, ahead of a musical outreach trip to Sri Lanka. More recently, in 2014, his ‘paraphrase’ on Bizet’s ‘Carmen,’ entitled ‘The Carmen Denominator,’ was work-shopped by leading composers and members of the Manchester Camerata at the RNCM, conducted by Clark Rundell. Toby’s most recent works include a Piano Concerto, and he is currently working on a challenging Prelude and Fugue for Orchestra.
Toby’s musical journey began as a Chorister at Peterborough Cathedral where he sang daily for nearly six years. During that time, he took part in several BBC Radio 3 broadcasts, the Christmas 2008 Christmas Service broadcasts on BBC 1, a tour of Holland, and two commercial CD recordings. In 2009, Toby reached the final of the BBC Chorister of the Year Competition, and sang solo to a packed St. Paul’s Cathedral on BBC R2. Singing has remained a major passion for Toby, and he partakes actively in vocal activities in and out of school. An ex-trumpeter too, Toby has experience taking part in many other genres of music. In 2013, he was Musical Director on a sell-out production of ‘Les Miserables’ with Peterborough’s award-winning Youth Theatre Company, and the following year produced a successful re-orchestration of Bernstein’s ‘West Side Story.’ He has played keyboards as a band member on many other musicals including ‘Into the Woods,’ and ‘High School Musical – the Musical.’
In the long term, Toby’s ambition is to become a successful conductor, having discovered his passion for the practice through his own compositions. Earlier in 2015 he was fortunate enough to receive the opportunity to produce the orchestration for and conduct the UK Premiere of an Australian Musical by Mathew Frank and Dean Bryant entitled ‘The Silver Donkey,’ adapted from a novel by Sonya Hartnett, which ran at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester.
From October 2015, Toby hopes to be studying Music at Clare College, Cambridge; that is, if he can tear himself away from the Snooker World Championships during his study leave! He is interested in modern history, politics and current affairs, but also enjoys spending time with his canine pal at home.