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Alexandra Balog: ‘It was a watershed moment’

Philanthropy News - Posted on 06.06.2019

A final-year Master’s student reflects on her journey to the Academy, and the impact her scholarship had on her.

I don’t come from a musical family – I started playing the piano quite late, when I was about eight. It almost happened by accident, when we were given a piano by somebody who was planning to throw it away. I spent the next few years being taught by a local teacher, which I wouldn’t describe as rigorous training, but it helped me discover my passion for music.

When the time came to look at conservatoires, the Academy was top of my list. I felt so welcomed during the auditions process, and together with the world-class reputation the Academy has, I knew it was the right place for me. I find the teaching here unique because creativity is really encouraged, rather than just focusing on playing all the notes correctly. It took me a long time to build my confidence, which is really integral to being able to give a good performance. I look back and feel proud of the journey I have had here, and how much I have gained along the way.

Receiving my scholarship was a watershed moment that allowed me to continue my studies. I come from Hungary and find London very expensive – I started the course without being completely sure I had the finances to be able to finish it. Before I got my scholarship I thought I would have to work to make ends meet, which would have had an impact on my musical development.  Coming to the Academy and getting this level of training is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so compromising on that for financial reasons is a really hard choice. When I was told I had been given a scholarship and the issue went away, I felt such a sense of relief.

I am now in the final year of my Master’s, and I dream of travelling the world and performing. After I graduate I plan to focus on building a reputation as a solo performer – but I love chamber music, too, so I’d like to make that part of my career. I am so grateful for the support that has made all this possible.

(Image credit: Tamás Schild)

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