Redmaids’ High School, Westbury Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol BS9 3AW



John Byrne was born in Wigan, Lancashire, and received his early training with local teachers. At the age of 17, he began to study privately with Marjorie Clementi and the following year continued his studies with her at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, winning a major scholarship and gaining the Graduate and Performer’s Diplomas. Further study then followed with Ruth Harte at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he was awarded the Recital Diploma and won all the major scholarships and prizes open to him, including the Academy’s most prestigious award for pianists – the MacFarren Gold Medal. 

In 1981, he won the English Speaking Union Fellowship which enabled him to study in the United States with Menahem Pressler of the Beaux Arts Trio. He has also worked in Paris with Vlado Perlemuter and was awarded a British Council scholarship for two years postgraduate study with Vera Gournastaeva at the renowned Tchaikovsky State Conservatoire in Moscow. Around this time, he was also awarded scholarships by the Governments of France, Italy, Germany, Hungary and Poland (Chopin Fellowship). In England, he was a finalist for the National Piano Competition and amongst other awards, has won the Grover-Bennett, Ludgate and Craxton Memorial Scholarships, the Leslie England Prize and a major Leverhulme Award. He has performed as soloist and recitalist in most parts of the United Kingdom and has also given concerts in the USA, Western Europe and Russia.

John Byrne’s many prize-winning pupils have established him as one of the leading piano teachers of his generation and given him an international profile. Early in his career, he taught in Moscow and at Indiana University in the USA. In this country, he was on the faculty of the Purcell School from 1997 to 1999 and was Professor of Piano at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama from 1993 to 1999. He was appointed Professor at the Royal College of Music in 1996 and has been Head of Keyboard at Wells Cathedral School since 2000.

In addition to his work at the Royal College of Music and Wells Cathedral School, he is also a diploma examiner for the ABRSM, sits on competition juries and gives masterclasses – most recently in Shanghai, Dublin, Hong Kong and Singapore. He was a regular adjudicator for the BBC Young Musician Competition from 1998 to 2006 and has served as external examiner to all the major British conservatoires. He lectured on the Art of Teaching at both the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Royal College of Music in London and has also served as a mentor on the ABRSM’s professional development course for piano teachers in the UK, Singapore and Hong Kong.

  1. Teachers, parents and performers are advised to read the Festival Rules and Instrumental Rules carefully.

  2. All classes are own choice.

  3. All time limits must be strictly adhered to, otherwise the performer may be penalised. See Festival Rule 7.

  4. All music for the Official Accompanist must be submitted to the Instrumental Section Secretary by 1 March of the Festival Year. See Festival Rules 13-14.

  5. Copies of all music performed must be provided for the Adjudicator. See Festival Rule 15.

  6. Substitutions for duet and ensemble classes will be at the discretion of the Instrumental Section Secretary.

  7. Only one piece may be played in a class.

  8. A performer may only enter a class once unless otherwise stated. However, a performer may enter with a different partner or group. See Festival Rule 8.

  9. Performers should not have passed any exams higher than the grade of class entered unless with a different instrument and piece of music. See Festival Rule 9.

  10. Performers may enter classes non-competitively. Prior notification to the Instrumental Section Secretary must be given. Prior to the start of the class, performers should inform the Adjudicator's Steward. The Adjudicator will only make comments and no trophy will be awarded.

1 Back Stoke Lane
Briar Cottage

[t] 07718 797273