Some years ago, a talented cello student (who also happened to be studying for a degree in philosophy) became a member of Westminster Libraries and began borrowing books and scores from what was then ‘The Central Music Library’.
After several years of playing chamber music with various ensembles in London (and a change of name on our part) he started publishing his own arrangements for string ensembles. Would Westminster Music Library like to have some for the collection? You bet we would, particularly as popular classics arranged for string quartet (crowd pleasing works by Mozart, Schubert, Elgar, Joplin and the like) go down very well at weddings, christenings, bar mitzvahs and anywhere else a string quartet might be called upon to perform.
Fast forward to 2012, when someone who had studied piano at the Kaliningrad College of Music in Russia (qualifying as a teacher and performer and also teaching at The Shostakovich Music School) and had gone on to study law in Moscow, just happened to be ‘passing by’ Westminster Music Library. Having not played piano for twenty years she was delighted to discover that not only did we have a keyboard, she could use it for free, and we also had rather a lot of piano music.
The rest, as they say, is history. Nicolas noticed Liliya who was practicing piano in the library, they chatted, swapped details and before you know it, they are duet-ting together on a regular basis. Nicolas is now a full-time arranger and publishes under the name Galloway Music, and Liliya specialises in teaching music to young children as well as performing with chamber music groups.
And our story doesn’t end there; in 2014 they asked us if we would be interested in them holding a recital in the Music Library, the programme to comprise music arranged for cello and piano by Nicolas himself. How could we refuse?
A few months later, a packed Westminster Music Library was treated to an evening of music spanning Henry Purcell to Scott Joplin, played by two brilliant musicians who (we like to take the credit here) would probably never have met had it not been for a chance meeting in the library.
“Let me thank you and your colleagues for giving us the opportunity to play our concert. The library has significantly changed my life. I started practicing there, I met Nicolas, we started playing duets and we have since performed in several concerts together. Thanks a lot!”
It definitely beats Facebook….