The Raymond Banning Scholarship

Wiktoria Cwik recipient of the Raymond Banning Schoarship

Since my late husband the Pianist and Trinity College of Music Professor Raymond Banning passed away on December 2nd 2012 from a form of Young Onset Dementia which cut his life and career tragically short, I have kept his name and work alive in the form of donated Festival cups and even a class in the Bedfordshire Music Festival with a set piece which I choose each year and a trophy awarded for beauty of touch and tone.

Earlier this year I decided that I should also continue Raymond’s legacy by awarding a Raymond Banning Scholarship (in the form of free tuition and mentoring) to a talented student under 18  who may not otherwise be able to have lessons with me. The idea stemmed from Raymond’s strong belief that classical music should be available to everyone who wished to study it. Whilst I am sadly not in a position to offer this to more than one person I felt that as Raymond had been lucky via outside help himself which enabled him to study the piano I should, in his honour find a talented snd deserving young student  to offer similar opportunities to.

On the eve of the 4th anniversary of Raymond’s untimely death I am delighted to announce that I have this week awarded the Raymond Banning Scholarship to Wiktoria Cwik, a talented young 15 year old pianist whose teacher asked me to hear last week with a view to me taking over her teaching.

Wiktoria has now had her first full lesson with me, she is extremely talented, dedicated and a serious and hard working student, I am delighted to offer her this opportunity and I look forward to working with her and to helping Wiktoria achieve her pianistic goals.

Here is a little background on Wiktoria in her own words:

My name is Wiktoria Cwik, I am 15 years old. I was born in Poland and moved here to England when I was 6. I am normally quiet, and a little bit shy, but this does not stop me from performing. But of course I am kind and respectful. I have been involved in the performing arts in the past year and I am really pushing me out of my comfort zone which of course is a good thing as I will become more confident. I have also picked Drama as one of my GCSE options. I have not picked Music but I will be doing the Music A-Levels. I have performed on the piano many times before. My old teacher would organise concerts from time to time and I would play pieces such as Turkish March (Mozart), Fur Elise ( Beethoven), Moonlight Sonata (Movement 1 and 2 by Beethoven) and others. I would also play many times for my school in open evenings and competitions. My recent event is on the 5th December which is the Talent Show. I am performing a piece called Simple and Clean (Kyle Landry arr.) I have also done my Grade 5 exam recently with a Distinction! I was so happy when I found out. I just lost most on my marks on the music theory as I was preparing answers to grade 5 answers but I was asked some from the previous grades. When I started out piano, I was taught the basics by a voluntary teacher. I managed to compose a piece and I played it in a Polish Music Event. Unfortunately a week before the event I fractured my right arm during Physical Education. But this did not stop me from performing and with a fractured arm I managed to play my composition perfectly on a Grand Piano. I was not willing to give up so easily. I also listen to music nearly 24/7.
My inspiration to play the piano was actually quite crazy. It happened when I was in year 6 but I was properly taught in year 7. I was inspired by a series of video games under the name “Final Fantasy”. The music in these series is absolutely stunning and professional, of course they were written by highly respected Japanese composers such as Nobuo Uematsu. My playlist is basically most of the Final Fantasy soundtrack.Not only that but the games had beautiful stories and music just fit in perfectly. The music is beautiful and emotive and I could not stop listening to it. Most of the songs are also very famous around the world. One day I realised that I am capable of learning how to play a piano. My mum was very supportive and wanted to help me in any way she could. I started off self teaching myself online, then I got a voluntary teacher, then a Polish teacher, Cara and now You 🙂
My dream would be to be a composer in the Square Enix Company (The creators of these games.) However, to be able to need one you must be extremely talented as they do not take music so lightly and are very ambitious. This means I would have to learn Japanese but of course I have the ability to do that. I strongly believe this dream is achievable if I work hard enough. If it does not come to be, then being a Composer and A Concert Pianist would also be amazing.
Being awarded with The Raymond Banning Award means so much to me. I am truly,truly greatful. Now I know that I have the potential to fulfill my dreams and achieve my goals. I honestly achieved more than I thought I would. And The Raymond Banning Award will make this possible as I will be taught professionaly and with great care. I know I will be happy being taught here and I will now work my hardest.
Thank You!!


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