Pianists will make sweet music for Bungay church

Victoria Leggett The sweet symphonies of world-renowned pianists will fill the air in a Suffolk town during a mini series of concerts.Peter Katin and Roman Rudnytsky, both international concert musicians, will each perform at the 961-year-old Holy Trinity Church in Bungay.

Victoria Leggett

The sweet symphonies of world-renowned pianists will fill the air in a Suffolk town during a mini series of concerts.

Peter Katin and Roman Rudnytsky, both international concert musicians, will each perform at the 961-year-old Holy Trinity Church in Bungay.

Mr Rudnytsky, who was born in New York, will play on Sunday, September 28, while Mr Katin, who studied at the Royal Academy of Music, will follow four weeks later on October 26.

The series, which will see about 150 music lovers pack into the church for each performance, has been organised by Nina Vinogradova Biek, herself a respected concert pianist, and Rev Ian Byrne, who has been vicar of Holy Trinity since 2006.

Mrs Vinogradova Biek, originally from Russia, began the concerts eight years ago and decided to rope in some fellow musicians. She said: “I phoned some friends and said 'you have to help me with this'.”

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Since then a plethora of well-known pianists, including John Lenehan, Anthony Goldstone and Allan Schiller, have all sat behind a grand piano in the centre of the church for the twice-yearly shows.

The concerts are held to raise money for Holy Trinity, whose tower is the oldest building in the town, and it is hoped they will raise around £1,300 per performance to help it cover mammoth maintenance costs.

Rev Byrne, who spent 30 years in the army before joining the clergy, said: “Every year we have an inspection with the church architects. Our last inspection told us we have got £25,000 worth of maintenance to do over the next five years.”

But it does not end there. The vicar, whose family are all keen musicians, said: “Once we have got a building up to standard, we have got to plan for £10,000 a year to keep it weather proof. On top of that, each parish is required to pay towards its parish share which goes to the diocese. Our parish share for this year is £21,000.”

Mrs Vinogradova Biek, who began planning the shows a year-and-a-half ago, said the pianists were willing to play for a small fee because they knew the money was for a good cause. She said: “It is probably 10pc of what they usually earn but they quite like the idea of making money for someone else.”

The concerts draw an audience from all over Norfolk and Suffolk who return year after year. Mrs Vinogradova Biek said: “It's an old fashioned thing. It's not noisy, it's classy - and they love it. After the second one, they say 'what are we gong to do for a year now?'.”

This year's shows will include Chopin's Polonaise-Fantasie and Brahms's Rhapsody in G minor.

t Both concerts begin at 3pm and tickets are £10. They can be booked by calling 01986 896416 or 01986 893607. A limited number of combined lunch and concert tickets are available for £25. Lunch is at the Earsham Street Café and can be booked by calling 01986 893103.