Pianist Alicia admits to nerves as she prepares for solo stint in Hitchin concert this weekend

Local pianist Alicia Chaffey is the soloist with Hitchin Symphony Orchestra

Local pianist Alicia Chaffey is the soloist with Hitchin Symphony Orchestra - Credit: Archant

Gifted pianist Alicia Chaffey is thrilled, but nervous, to be in the spotlight in front of a home town audience on Saturday.

It will be the first time she has performed in Hitchin with an orchestra, and she said: “I feel very excited to perform in my home town, It’s quite special. However, it does add a little more pressure.

“There will be a lot of people I know in the audience, including a large number of my own piano students. It would be wonderful if my students felt inspired by my performance – that would be my biggest wish.”

The former Hitchin Girls’ School student, who is quick to pay tribute to the support she has received from the town during her musical education, started learning to play the piano when she was just four.

Her studies since have included stints with the Royal College of Music’s junior department, a music degree in London and work with the acclaimed Gabriele Baldocci at the capital’s Trinity Laban Conservatoire, which is still continuing.

For Alicia, music is in the genes. Father Neil teaches music and manages concert artists and mother Rosemary –who died of leukaemia when she was just eight – was a professional violist, playing for several top orchestras.

Speaking about her mother, Alicia said: “There is something inside me that knows she is here, willing me on. Sometimes when I perform, it almost feels like she is there in the audience listening.”

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The Hitchin Symphony Orchestra concert opens with a suite from John McCabe, honouring the former HSO president who died earlier this year.

Alicia said: “As well as being a great friend of the conductor Paul Rooke and my father, he was most importantly the orchestra’s president from 1984 until his death.”

Also included in the St Mary’s Church concert is Beethoven’s Concerto No. 4, with Alicia as soloist, as well as Beethoven’s Symphony no. 4 which will close the show.

Tickets are £14 for adults and £12 concessions. Call 01462 458614 or visit the Hitchin Initiative office in Churchyard to reserve.

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