Find out what life is really like at Durham University

ArtsEventsMusicStudent experience

Composing a piece for the Steinway concert

In April 2022, I was honoured to have my original composition played on 28 new Steinway pianos by 56 pianists at the Steinway launch concert, which celebrated the amazing event of Durham University officially becoming the nation’s largest All-Steinway School.

The Competition

When scrolling through Facebook I saw a competition advertised on the Music Durham page giving a student composer the opportunity to compose a piece especially for the 28 new Steinway pianos arriving in Durham, which would be performed at the Steinway launch concert. Excited about this unmissable opportunity to compose a piece for so many pianos, I was quick to apply!

Just before the Easter vacation, I received an email telling me that I had been selected to compose the piece for the launch event! I was absolutely ecstatic to hear this news; it truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compose music to be played on this number of world-class pianos.

Composition Process

I was given over the Easter vacation to complete the composition, so after hearing that I was chosen to compose the piece, I was quick to begin sketching ideas for the composition!

In order to create a celebratory atmosphere to fit such an exciting moment for the university, as well as to showcase the outstanding sound of the Steinways, I decided to write a piece inspired by a sunrise. The piece started with four solo pianos playing melodies that evoked birdsong before more and more pianos were slowly added to the texture. The piece gradually grew in intensity as more and more pianists start playing to reflect the sun rising. The piece ended with the pianists playing the melody in unison creating a huge sound, representing the sun having fully risen.

My piece played by many talented pianists at the concert

The Steinway Concert!

On 27th April 2022, it was time to hear my composition premiered at the Mount Oswald Hub! It was an absolutely amazing event to attend, hearing music performed by so many talented pianists.

 As a composer, it is fairly rare to hear your music being performed by musicians, so it was surreal hearing my composition being played and the immense sound that this quantity of pianos produced; it was a truly unforgettable moment in my composing career, and I will be forever thankful for being given this opportunity!

Discover more

About studying music at Durham here

The Steinway project and Durham here

Download our latest prospectus and college guide here.

Follow our students on Instagram YouTube and TikTok

Liberty Richardson


I'm a second year at Hatfield College studying Music. I'm greatly involved with music at the university as Events Manager of Durham University Flute Choir and the Publicity Officer of DUFAMS. I also get involved in Durham Student Theatre, working behind the scenes in roles such as Assistant Producer, Composer and Foley Artist.


Related posts
CareersStudent experience

Working while studying 

DepartmentsEventsStudent experience

International Women in Engineering Day

Durham CityEventsStudent experience

Jubilee weekend

Durham CityEventsInternationalStudent experience

A right royal do