Ashley’s Music Story
Ashley’s is an inspiring story from someone who did not have the benefit of starting an instrument young, or who had lots of funds to support his musical education.
He started playing a battery-operated ‘stocking filler’ keyboard at the age of 10 and learnt to play himself, mainly by ear. This gave him the opportunity to explore and play the music he came across and liked. While staying at a local Hilton Hotel Ashley he tried the piano out there and ended up playing in front of an impromptu crowd, which initiated the idea of studying the piano more seriously. From about 12 years old Ashley then had piano lessons; for 6 months at school near Winchester but then it was quickly suggested that he applied to learn at the Royal College of Music Junior department. His acceptance meant making an incredibly early morning journey every Saturday from Winchester to London to be at the Royal College of Music for 8am where he studied piano and composition.
At the age of 14, Ashley continued his studies, moving to the Purcell School on a full scholarship. Being surrounded by like- minded people, in an extremely hard-working but liberal and creative environment was wonderful, and one in which he flourished.
Following the Purcell school, Ashley headed to the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, in order to study with the Head of Keyboard, Ronan O’Hora. After completing his undergraduate studies in Performing, Ashley undertook a Masters degree, and is currently completing a PhD. A fantastic experience outside the Guildhall School has been to study with the legendary pianist and pedagogue, Eliso Virsaladze. For this, Ashley travels to Florence every 6-8 weeks for an intense week of lessons, where pieces are pulled apart and put back together again in a Soviet-style class format, with each student taking their lesson before their peers.
Ashley has won a number of national and international awards along the way, including at the Leeds, Hamamatsu (Japan), and Birmingham International Piano Competitions, the Royal Over-Seas League Competition, the Concours European de Piano (France) and the coveted Gold Medal from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.
In 2013, Ashley won the Worshipful Company of Musicians’ highest award, The Prince’s Prize, and was chosen as a ‘Rising Star’ by the European Concert Hall Organisation (ECHO).
Ashley’s performing career has taken him throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, North America an Australia and he has performed in prestigious venues including the Carnegie Hall (New York), Musikverein (Vienna), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), the Philharmonic halls of Cologne, Paris, Luxembourg, and Warsaw, the Bozar (Brussels), the Royal Festival, Barbican and Wigmore Halls (London), the Laeiszhalle (Hamburg), the Megaron (Athens), Konzerthaus Dortmund, the Gulbenkian Auditorium (Lisbon) and the Konserthus (Stockholm).