THOMAS HARRIS OS MS OE
Our foundation has been set up in the memory of Thomas Harris. Tom's musical life began aged three when he started piano lessons with Kevin Smith, then head of Keyboard at Eton College. At the age of twelve he won first prize in all classes entered at the Hastings Musical Festival, for piano, bassoon, recorders and flute, as well as being awarded the EPTA (European Piano Teachers' Association) Cup for the Most Promising Pianist of Any Age. This achievement was repeated the following year.
Before attending Eton as a Music Scholar, Tom had, by the age of thirteen, achieved Distinction in all his instrumental and singing examinations at Grade 8, as well as the ATCL Diploma on the piano, normally awarded at the end of the first year of undergraduate study at a Music Conservatoire. By fifteen he had also achieved ATCL for flute, Dip ABRSM for bassoon, LTCL for recorder and Fellowship of Trinity College London (FTCL) for piano, an accolade usually gained only at postgraduate level.
In 2010 Tom performed at the Cadogan Hall, playing Balakirev's Islamey, notably regarded as one of the most difficult pieces of the piano repertoire, to a standing ovation. He was then invited to play at Sadler's Wells Theatre performing Chopin and Rachmaninov in a concert alongside Principals of the Royal Ballet Company. He was subsequently awarded an Apprenticeship to the Worshipful Company of Musicians and in the same year gave a solo recital for the Concordia Foundation at St James' Piccadilly, returning the following year. During his time at Eton, Tom sang in the College Chapel Choir, played in the Eton School Orchestra, Senior Concert Band, Senior Flute Group, Wind Quintet, Wind Octet and in the Recorder Consort. He also won the Advanced Woodwind and Singing Competitions, as well as the Junior and Senior Piano Competitions, together with an Academic Scholarship.
In his final year at Eton, he was awarded the School Music Prize, in addition to achieving the highest mark of all candidates in the Pre-U examination for Music (the updated version of A level), and performed Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No 3, renowned to be one of the most difficult in the musical repertoire. More recently he played Beethoven's C minor Piano Concerto in Chelsea Town Hall with the KPO, with whom he also performed Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto in June 2015, under the baton of Mark Fitz-Gerald. Having completed his first year reading Music at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, Tom then went directly to the third year at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, in order to study with Professor Joan Havill to concentrate on his performance skills.
Founder, Chairwoman & Trustee - Mrs Judy Harris, MA (Cantab)
Director of Music & Trustee - Mr Kevin Smith, MA (Oxon), Hon GSM, Dip RCM, Dip ESA, FRSA, FISM, FTCL, FLCM, LRAM, LGSM, ARCM, AMusTCL, PMEPTA, PGCertEd
Treasurer & Trustee - Mrs Sue Avery
Dr Nick Avery (Senior Trustee)
Robert Binyon, MA (Oxon)
Sir Jeremy Stuart-Smith, MA (Cantab)
Professor Alberto Portugheis
The Foundation’s logo is inspired by the Firebird, or L’Oiseau de feu. The original orchestral score, written by Igor Stravinsky for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, was performed in Paris in 1910. It is based on the Russian Legend of a bird whose profoundly spiritual nature through its feathers, offered both beauty and protection. The ballet, score and composer were amongst Thomas’ favourites: the legend itself encapsulates the spirit and soul of his own musicality.