RBC alumna reaps dividends from Ballet Piano Placement Scheme


MMus and Advanced Postgraduate Diploma Professional Performance (APD) graduate Yen Lee has been appointed as a full-time ballet pianist at Elmhurst Ballet School in Edgbaston, Birmingham.

Yen was introduced to ballet piano through a placement scheme, which aims to inspire students to experience the working life of a professional ballet pianist.

Through the Ballet Piano Placement Scheme, which is celebrating its fifth cohort of budding ballet pianists this year, Yen was able to observe classes, receive valuable mentoring from Elmhurst's established ballet pianists, and have the opportunity to play for classes and rehearsals to hone her skill.

After graduating, Yen worked as a cover pianist at Elmhurst and has now been awarded a full-time position.

RBC Interim Vice-Principal (Learning and Teaching) Luan Shaw and Senior Lecturer in Piano Katharine Lam said: “It has been a privilege to see how our ballet piano collaboration with Elmhurst has developed since its inception in 2017. For many RBC pianists, who are training at an advanced and intensive level in performance, ballet piano is an exciting but hitherto, unknown world. 

“It has been wonderful to observe our students and graduates growing in confidence and benefitting from the skilled mentoring and professional experience available in a learning environment such as Elmhurst. The large majority of participants selected for the placement scheme to date have progressed to fulfilling employment opportunities in the field.”

Yen Lee said: “I was lucky to join the RBC/Elmhurst Ballet Piano Placement Scheme and to have had this valuable chance to explore the ballet field. Before this, I never thought I would be part of the ballet world. Thanks to the mentoring sessions and observations, they helped me build up the ability to play for ballet classes. I’ve also learned a lot from other pianists who always share their professional experiences and ideas with me.

“I’m delighted to have been offered a full-time position, and would like to thank RBC and the Ballet Piano Placement Scheme for developing my career. I’ll continue my efforts to keeping learning and look forward to enjoying my life in the school.”

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