Many hands make light work: RNCM eye world record with 16 Manchester musicians set to play SAME piano

By Eve Commander

Many hands make light work according to an ancient proverb that Manchester’s most prestigious music college is taking rather literally.

While the piano is usually an instrument played by a solo performer the Royal Northern College of Music will attempt to break the world record for the most musicians to play the instrument simultaneously.

Students from the college will perform a five minute work for 32 hands by postgraduate composer Tom Harrold.

They are aiming to beat the current world record set by 15 musicians in Vallouise, France on June 13 2004. 

Talking ahead of the big day Tom said: ‘I am really excited to be attempting to break this world record.

“The sound of 16 people playing a single piano at one time should be really intriguing, and I am really looking forward to (hopefully) breaking a world record!”

The ambitious attempt is all in aid of Your RNCM, the College’s £3million campaign to transform its 40-year-old concert hall into a state-of-the-art venue and will be sponsored and witnessed by International Piano – a magazine devoted to players and fans of piano music.

The piece they will play is called Ticcatoccatina and the name emulates the mechanical, clock-like music which interlocks, overlaps and layers throughout the work.

Rehearsals for the attempt have been going well yet, when the RNCM approached Tom with the idea for the record attempt before Christmas, he was a little worried to say the least. 

“Initially, I was terrified by the idea!” he said.

“As well as the sheer physicality of having sixteen people crammed around one piano it was a daunting challenge to write a piece of music that not only fits the very specific Guinness World Record brief but was enjoyable for an audience to listen to for six minutes.” 

The World Record attempt takes place on Thursday at 7.15pm in the Carole Nash Recital Room.

For more details see the RNCM website.

Image courtesy of Gene Hunt, with thanks

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