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ATCL Diploma for skilful King’s Ely pianist

A young musician at King’s Ely has achieved her Associate of Trinity College London (ATCL) Diploma in piano.


The ATCL is equivalent in standard to the first-year recital of an undergraduate degree, but King’s Ely Sixth Form student, Sayuri Okunushi, has earned hers, aged just 18.

Trinity Performance Diplomas are the organisation’s most advanced performance awards. They follow on from grade and certificate exams, taking musicians up to a professional standard of performance and musical understanding.

Sayuri, who is from Tokyo, has been playing the piano since she was three years old. She joined King’s Ely’s International Year 11 programme in 2021, and is now studying A-Levels in Music, Mathematics, and Textiles.

Sayuri, who is in Year 13, said: “I love playing the piano! I enjoy challenging pieces the most, and I also love playing four hands duet, because I can collaborate with other people, which is fascinating. My most memorable performance on the piano since joining King’s Ely is playing my favourite Mozart piano concerto in Ely Cathedral.”

Sayuri also plays the cello, and this summer she sat her Grade 7 examination. Like several King’s Ely students, Sayuri attends the prestigious Royal College of Music Junior Department every Saturday to help further enhance her skills on the piano.

Sayuri said: “The Music Department at King’s Ely is one of the most important and enjoyable departments in school for me. The department was a key factor for my family and I choosing King’s Ely as a school. I came from Japan to not only learn English, but to also study real music in the UK. I am involved in lots of music activities at school, such as piano trio, orchestra, and string orchestra. Lots of students at King’s Ely are involved in these activities. I also study A-Level Music. I am planning to study music at a conservatoire or university. I have played the piano for 15 years, but it has mostly been about the performance, so I would like to study music much more deeply, such as its history and theory.”

King’s Ely is renowned for its holistic approach to education, and this is reflected in the school’s outstanding Visual and Performing Arts provision. Music, Drama and Theatre, Fine Art, Fashion and Textiles, Photography, and Dance are each embedded in the culture of King’s Ely, with countless opportunities for pupils of all abilities and aspirations.