Head of Department – Cathy Riley
Cathy graduated from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, with a MMus in Performance with
first class honours. A grant from the NZ Arts council enabled her to continue with post graduate
studies at the Royal College of Music with Kendall Taylor and Peter Wallfisch. She has performed
as both soloist and chamber musician and given numerous recitals and chamber music concerts in
the UK and in Europe. She has also recorded the complete works for violin and piano by Grieg with
American violinist, Christopher Collins Lee. Cathy joined CYM’s piano staff in 1989, and was
appointed Head of Piano in 1998. She also teaches piano at Godolphin and Latymer School for
Girls and has for many years been a principle tutor on the EPTA Piano Teacher’s Course. In
addition she is an examiner for the Dublin Institute of Technology’s music school.
The piano department currently consists of 12 tutors and approximately 90 first and second study
piano students. Our students range in age from 8 to 18 years and from elementary to diploma levels.
Apart from their individual lessons there are frequent opportunities for all students to perform in our
lunch time piano classes as well as CYM’s student lunch time concerts throughout the year. In
addition students preparing towards grade 8 and diploma exams are offered a complete recital run
through. Masterclasses and workshops from visiting artists are also arranged from time to time.
Tuition in jazz piano is available with our three specialist jazz tutors and there is also the
opportunity to prepare towards jazz exams. A small number of jazz piano students are invited to
participate in CYM’s jazz ensembles. Other events are arranged too: we recently had a visit from
professional jazz bass player, and Guildhall graduate, Dermot McNeill, who gave a full day’s
workshop on improvisation and performance skills for all our jazz piano students. !
The opportunity to participate in chamber groups with other instrumental students is offered to our
advanced piano students. CYM’s piano chamber ensembles have enjoyed successes in the North
London and Croydon Music Festivals and are frequent finalists in the National Music for Youth
Festival, twice winning the MFY’s national chamber award. They have also appeared at the South
Bank Centre and Kings Place. In addition groups consisting of piano students from Guildhall and
CYM have twice given performances of multi piano works for the City of London Festival. !
Further ensemble provision for piano students includes the junior and senior Folk Ensembles and
our annual Piano Duet Day, which takes place on the Annual Concert Day in the Spring term, and is
available to all levels.