Music for the 5000

A pianist who can play three and half million notes from memory sounds like the right man to be part of a week of music and theatre, enjoyed by more than 5000 children from Portsmouth Primary and Secondary Schools.

On Monday 14 November, over the course of a week, Warren Mailley-Smith, the International pianist who recently performed all of Chopin's work from memory, a total of three and half million notes, took his musical group Quintessential to 16 local schools.

Thousands of children enjoyed a masterclass, with professional musicians showing off the range and sound of the flute, trumpet, violin and of course the piano. Warren Mailley-Smith even ripped open the back of his precious piano so the children could watch it work from the inside.

As part of Portsmouth Music Hub's Live Music Portsmouth campaign, which aims to inspire children and young people to enjoy a range of contemporary and classical sounds, children heard songs from Mary Poppins, the theme tune from the Indiana Jones movies, plus the classical sound of Purcell and the rag time hits of Scott-Joplin.

In the same week nationally renowned Image Musical Theatre performed an interactive version of Beauty and the Beast. The company toured local schools and hundreds of Primary aged children rehearsed with the actors, learned songs and gave a final performance of the hit musical.

Sue Beckett, CEO of Portsmouth Music Hub said: "This week thousands of children have had their cultural lives enriched by the expertise and enthusiasm of some of the best professional musicians and performers in the country. Our aim is to engage children's imaginations, and we hope that with a spark of inspiration a child will go on to enjoy a lifetime of music, theatre and culture."