Meeting Madalina: 12 Things we needed to know...

We've met Madalina Rusu before. She's visited us at Keys twice to lead workshops and perform recitals, and both have been fun and memorable occasions. We are all delighted that she's agreed to join us full time from next term, and so we decided we needed to get to know her a bit better. We asked our youngest musicians what they really needed to know...

Where did you grow up? Harry, 8

In Constanta, which is a city on the Black Sea coast in Romania. I moved to the UK in 2004 when I got a scholarship to study piano at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

How old were you when you started playing the piano? Anya, 6

Seven and a half, just before my eighth birthday. My teacher was quite tough! She told me my hands were too small so I could never become a concert pianist. I got really upset and kept going to the lessons because I wanted to show her that I would.

Who or what inspired you to learn to play? Lauren and Grace, 9 and Daniel, 6

I used to go to the opera every Friday with my mum and that instilled the passion for music that I have. I don't actually remember specifically one person, but I wanted to become a pianist since I was really young after I heard the piano played at operas and concerts.

What was the first piece you performed? Kent, 7

Sonatina in A minor by Kuhlau. I think I was about 9. I don't think I remember it...but maybe I should try.....

What kind of things you do as a professional pianist? Teddy, 7

I do lots of performances in concerts, on cruise ships, recitals and a lot of teaching. Choosing the right pieces for the right concerts is an important job too. Of course then I have to practice, practice, practice for many hours!

What is your favourite piece to perform? Lily, Sophia, Holly, Eden, Esme and Max.

Ohh my favourite to perform? Definitely Rachmaninoff... I've so many favourite pieces! I loved performing his First Piano Concerto, yes, that was my favourite ever. I LOVED playing that piece. Even before I knew all the notes I loved playing it!

Do you play any other instruments? Peyton, 7

Well I started learning the guitar when I was about twelve, but failed miserably and gave up because my wrist were hurting with the weird position. I was far too engrossed with the piano so decided to stick with that and not damage my wrists.

What’s your best joke? Oliver, 6

Whats the difference between a piano and a fish?

You can tune a piano but you can't tun-a fish.

What’s your favourite food and why? Sienna, 7

Oh that's so tough! I love avocado on toast with smoked salmon on top. That's my favourite breakfast that I would order on holiday. Its healthy and its really delicious.

When you play on cruises, do you dress up fancy? Yes!

What’s the food like? Its very nice!

And are you scared because you know about the titanic? Elliott, 11

Sometimes! You do think about it, especially when there's a storm. You do wonder if today's the last day... and it makes me grateful for the things I have.

Do you have a pet and do you play for it? Joshuah, 4

No, I don't, but I did have a cat when I was in Romania. His name was Pufulet which means 'Fluffy'. (In photo)

He used to get on the piano every time I practiced so he wouldn't let me play for him!

Can you teach me? Rose, 10

We all learn from and teach each other from our own experiences, and everybody at Keys will play for everyone else. So when the time arises yes I will teach you!

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