Piano prodigy picked for Barking folk festival slot

Iqra Zaman is a keen pianist

Iqra Zaman is a keen pianist - Credit: Archant

A talented self-taught pianist has been commissioned to compose the official theme for the borough’s anniversary celebrations.

Iqra Zaman caught the eye of Carole Pluckrose, the artistic director of The Boathouse, while playing on the public piano in Barking Town Square.

The 16-year-old, who attends Eastbury Comprehensive School, then earned her very first paid commission after impressing Carl Blackburn, the former chief executive of Barking and Dagenham Council for Voluntary Service.

“Ever since I was six years old, I’ve always been drawn towards piano music,” Iqra, who lives in Barking, said.

“It wasn’t until late 2013 that I discovered that I could teach myself how to play beautiful music on pianos and create my own compositions.

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“I realised that I didn’t have to play tunes in my head, I could do it live, feeling the keys of ivory white and charcoal black through my fingers and letting my emotions seep into the music.”

Carl said: “People think that only rich patrons commission pieces of art or music but as an ordinary person I hope to demonstrate that this opportunity to support and commission young talent is actually open to everyone.”

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Iqra will play her new composition at Barking folk festival next weekend.

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