Students experience life in the West End with Matilda

Note: This article refers to Leeds College of Music (LCoM), the former name of Leeds Conservatoire

By Lydia Baldwin


Two student guitarists experience life in the West End, observing multi-award winning, Matilda, from the orchestral pit

This month, students Oliver Barry, BA (Hons) Music (Jazz), and Kevin Fuccillo, BA (Hons) Music (Film Music), travelled to London to for this exciting opportunity provided through LCoM's engagement with alumnus, Pete Walton, who now works in London as a professional guitarist and composer. 

Oliver commented, "I learned lots by observing the band - small things like how to go about learning the music and what to expect in different situations.

My favourite part was being able to follow the music and observe how the band worked together. Most of them have been working in that show from its beginning in 2011, so they know the music really well. They also seemed to be having a good time despite playing the music easily over 1000 times before." 

"It's also helped me understand the opportunities open in this sector. Pete advised on how I could be hired not just on guitar, but potentially on keys or bass depending on the gig. Pete explained how he had played keys in the past and that versatility is great for employability.

Also, with the Royal Shakespeare company, Pete mentioned another potential sit-in opportunity later on in the year for a new show that is starting up!"

Since leaving Leeds College of Music, where he studied jazz and classical guitar, Pete Walton has built up a diverse professional career involving engagements from opera and ballet at the Royal Opera House to jazz at Ronnie Scotts, hit West End shows, and TV and film sessions. Pete has an impressive roster of collaborations having worked with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and toured with artists as diverse as Hayley Westenra and Michael Ball. As a composer, Pete’s music has been used on media outlets around the world as well as BBC 1 and Channel 4 in the UK.

Pete is currently playing in Matilda: The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre and has also held the guitar chair in the West End musicals: Sweet Charity (Theatre Royal Haymarket); Lord of the Rings (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane)and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (London Palladium) to only name a few.

By Lydia Baldwin

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