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Students from Selwyn College, Cambridge may not be particularly acknowledged for gaining double firsts in music. Ian Tindale was one of the exceptions last year, when his double first set him up for what promises to be a brilliant career in the classical music field.
The tall, bespectacled figure of Ian has become a familiar figure at the Compton organ console in St Bride's Church, Fleet Street, the spiritual home of journalists worldwide, where his organ playing, particularly in the voluntary at the conclusion of the Sunday Eucharist, has been greatly admired and enthusiastically applauded.
Exceptional organist though he is, Ian takes a particular interest in piano accompaniment, and it is here where his ambitions, for the moment, lie. He is a postgraduate student at the Royal College of Music (RCM), where he is in the second year on the Master of Performance (MPerf) course in Piano Accompaniment. He is an RCM Scholar supported by the Kendall-Taylor Award. He currently studies with John Blakely and Simon Lepper.
At Cambridge University, together with that double first, he received the Tony Bland Prize for academic achievement and the Williamson Prize for performance from Selwyn College, where he was also Organ Scholar.
Alongside his studies in Cambridge, he was répétiteur for Cambridge University Opera Society, Cambridge Handel Opera Group, and the Music Society Chorus. In summer 2012, Ian was a répétiteur with British Youth Opera on their production of Smetana's The Bartered Bride. Since starting at the RCM, he has won prizes in the major song competitions, including the second prize for accompaniment in the Brooks/Van der Pump English Song Competition and the Violette Szabo GC Memorial Prize for Accompaniment. Outside of the RCM, Ian performs regularly as a pianist with singers and instrumentalists, as well as with chamber ensembles and orchestras.
In July this year, his career improved even further when he successfully completed the examinations for the Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists (FRCO). He has been studying organ with William Whitehead, together with his studies in piano accompaniment at the Royal College of Music (RCM). ' I passed the Associateship exams back in 2010, so I am very pleased to have completed the next and final stage of RCO examinations,' he told me.
In September he was the joint winner of the Gerald Moore Award, a biennial competition for piano accompanists of song repertoire, with entrants from the major conservatoires across the country.
For his fifteen-minute programme he chose to perform The Estuary by Michael Head, two songs from Schumann's Liederkreis Op.24 and DuParc's Phydilé with Bradley Travis, a bass-baritone from Opera School at the RCM. 'They are all,' reports Ian, 'slightly less mainstream repertoire, and we have performed them together a lot as a duo and they show off our partnership well.'