TIMELESS music celebrated a Bognor Regis school’s two decades of celebrating the classics.
The international Botticelli Quartet performed the special concert to mark the Regis School of Music’s 20th anniversary.
Last Saturday’s occasion attracted an audience some 100-strong to listen to Mozart’s Piano Quartet No 1, Four Seasons in Buenos Aires by Piazzolla and J Brahms’ Piano Quartet no 1 Op 25. Cellist Olivier Merger, Martyna Jatkauskaite on piano, Evgenia Vinogradska on viola and violinist Ori Wissner-Levy delighted the listeners with their interpretation of the composers’ work during one of only two concerts in this country.
School of music principal Sasha Levtov said the event summed up the role of the classical music hub.
“To see the musicians create music in front of your eyes is a timeless experience. Everyone is breathing in the same tempo as the musicians and is sharing the same emotions is extremely important,” he said.
He and his wife, Nina, opened the Sudley Road premises as an extension of their established work teaching classical music. They had been hiring various premises but the former church became available and they were able to take it on thanks to an American trust which had orchestral links with the couple.
Well-known broadcaster Richard Baker packed out the hall for its opening event and town centre resident Mr Levtov, 66, planted a tree which is still going strong. “At the beginning, there was just myself and Nina,” he said.
“But we now have eight teachers, including two for piano, two for guitar and one for violin and one for woodwind.
“The building is pretty much used full to its capacity now. It is a lot of hard work but it is very worthwhile.”
They have 55 junior students and about 12 adult students who benefit from the one-to-one tuition in the school’s three main rooms. Regular concerts by professional musicians also form an essential part of the school’s timetable.
The reputation and voluntary hard work of Mr and Mrs Levtov, 63, has put Bognor Regis firmly on the concert trail for some of the world’s best classicial musicians. They can go from playing in an internationally famous venue to the more intimate surroundings of the school to inspire the next generation of classical music players.
Mr Levtov said: “For chamber music and classical guitar, this building is an absolutely ideal environment.
“The concerts are an opportunity for the students to see musicians play to a very high standard as well as giving them quality time in a different environment with their families.”
He viewed that as more important in 2016 than it was in 1996 when the school opened. The spread of the internet and devices such as mp3 players meant individuals could be more isolated than before.
As well as the school of music’s teaching work, the building is also used for three festivals, end of term concerts and an annual fundraiser for Save the Children. This year’s is on October 14 and is set to raise another £500 as it has for some 30 years since the couple started them. Other organisations also use the school.
Among them are the Bognor Regis Concert Band, West Sussex Guitar Club and a recorder group. Three exam boards also use it. The U3A and the Workers’ Education Association meet there as well. The Friends of the Regis School of Music provide invaluable help and support from the town council complement the tuition fees to pay the school’s bills.