Top pianist helps Leeds homeless

A world-famous pianist has teamed up with students to tinkle the ivories at a Leeds homeless charity.

Internationally-acclaimed concert pianist Benjamin Frith, alongside members of The Yorkshire String Quartet, and music students from the University of Leeds have been giving two days of performances and workshops at St George's Crypt.

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Yesterday and today, musicians have been playing at the Crypt's Assisi caf, followed by workshops in the afternoon.

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Organised by the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition, the performances are part of an outreach programme at the Crypt, which helps the homeless and destitute in Leeds.

Mr Frith has won a string competitions including the gold medal in the 1989 Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition, and at the age of just 14, the first prize in the British National Concerto Competition.

He is also a pupil of Dame Fanny Waterman, the chairman and Artistic Director of the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition.

Dame Fanny was at the Crypt for her charge's performance yesterday.

She said: "St George's Crypt is a wonderful charity for the homeless and deserves the greatest of support from the community. The Leeds

International Pianoforte Competition feels very grateful that through their outreach programme of young musicians from the University of Leeds, lead by the international pianist Benjamin Frith, is helping to alleviate some of the hardships affecting so many people of all ages who are worthy of services provided at St George's Crypt."

Yesterday's morning performance also included an appearance from violinist Richard Smith, and cellist Ben Eckersley.

Martin Patterson, Fundraising and PR Director said, "Our partnership with the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition is really inspiring."

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