’There’s really no way to get lessons here… I knew what I had to do: either I find money to go to Europe and find a teacher who is going to ground me and teach me, or I just figure it out myself. And of course, I picked the cheaper option!’

David Ralak is a largely self-taught violinist, described as ‘the only professional violinist in Kenya’. In this interview with British pianist Cordelia Williams, Ralak shares his experiences of developing his violin playing in a country where the opportunities to do so are scarce.

Williams was granted a Royal Philharmonic Society Enterprise Award to spend six months from early 2021 in Nairobi, coaching a number of young pianists and musicians and learning about the challenges they face in pursuing classical music to a professional level. She worked with a local music charity Ghetto Classics and Kenyan camera crew to create a film On Being A Pianist in Kenya, focusing on the aspirations of young Kenyan musicians determined to further their classical music studies.

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