Pianist scales up with London scholarship

Former Dunedin pianist Modi Deng is headed for London to study performance at the Royal Academy of Music. PHOTO: JOHN LEWIS

Modi Deng is not one to limit her challenges.

She revels in challenging her limits, and now that the 23-year-old Dunedin pianist has completed her master’s of music at the University of Auckland, she is looking much further afield for her next endeavours.

Miss Deng recently accepted a scholarship to study piano with some of Europe’s top pianists, at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

For the next 12 months, she will study for a professional diploma in piano performance, and hopes to go on to study for an advanced diploma.

She said she hoped the Covid-19 pandemic would have settled down enough for her to travel to the United Kingdom for the start of the semester in September.

“Some of the master classes are online, but everything else is going ahead as planned at this stage.”

London was the kind of city where many doors could be opened for performers, and she dreamed of being “discovered” and invited to play piano concertos with some of the country’s major orchestras.

“That would be amazing, but the idea is to broaden my horizons, immerse myself in the musical scene and learn and absorb as much as I can.”

Miss Deng was back in Dunedin on Monday to visit her former school, Columba College, where she gave a performance for pupils.

She said she hoped her performance would inspire the next generation of musicians at the school to pursue music.

A former dux of the school, she first came to the public’s attention in year 9, when she played a piano solo with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra.

Since then, she has gone on to perform with New Zealand’s top symphony orchestras, recorded music for RNZ Concert and Sounz Centre for New Zealand Music, and won the 2018 National Concerto Competition.