Noah Zhou (2008-2019)

Piano Performance, Royal Academy of Music

I would never have been able to attend St Paul’s School if it were not for the generous bursary I was awarded. I was fortunate enough to have been able to spend a total of eleven years at the school and what really struck me from my time at St Paul’s was just how many opportunities the students were given, across all fields, to discover what they truly wanted to do. Over my time there, I engaged in a wide variety of sports, including fencing, rowing, squash, and even played top team rugby for four years. In the classroom, I was taught to logically analyse what was in front of me and not just to blindly regurgitate information from the exam syllabus. The enthusiasm displayed by teachers of all subjects was infectious, breeding a culture of not only wanting to work hard to attain brilliance, but also of enjoying each step of the process; I believe this is right for a place filled with so many brilliant and inquisitive minds.

As I struggled to find an identity for myself as a teenager, it was the unwavering support of the music department that finally inspired me to try my hand at taking piano beyond a hobby. Fast forward a couple of years from that decision, I look forward to making my Southbank Royal Festival Hall concerto debut in April 2021, and I couldn’t be more thankful to those who supported me at St Paul’s. Paulines have a habit of traversing an incredibly diverse range of paths, often with remarkable achievements. In light of this, I strongly believe that financial difficulty should not be a limiting factor in any student’s potential, and cannot emphasise enough just how grateful I am for the support I have received over the years.