SWINDON’S Paul Turner is a renowned concert pianist who has played in some of the most prestigious venues in the world, including the Buenos Aires Teatro de Colon, the Purcell Rooms and the Wigmore Hall, but his first famous foray was at the Royal Albert Hall when he was 14 years old – playing the trumpet.

Today the trumpet has been put aside in favour of a grand piano.

Paul doesn’t come from a family of professional musicians although his mum sang in local choirs and both parents played the piano. He became interested in the local bands, choirs and concerts including SALOS and the Kentwood Choir and competed in the Swindon Music Festival.

“It took ten years before I won a class. I learned the hard way, the long haul,’’ said Paul, who is now the official accompanist for the festival, which takes place in March each year.

The experienced recitalist is an honours graduate from the Royal Academy of Music and won the Arts Hero Award in Pride of Swindon and now plays all over the world, but he says one of the highlights, one of the biggest venues and the most daunting was in Argentina.

“Buenos Aires Teatro de Colon is the biggest grand theatre in the world and I was just a bit nervous,’’ he said. “All those layers of balconies. It was a wonderful thing to have done and the first time going to Argentina was all new and exciting but when there are only two of you on stage with the light on you it is terrifying.’’

Paul is founder and musical director of the Swindon Recital Series and this month he will be limbering up for a two-concert Beethoven marathon with Julian Metager on cello.

“We are playing the five sonatas and three sets of variations in the order when they were composed to get a sense of Beethoven’s musical development and mental state,’’ said Paul. “It is a feat of concentration, I started working for this marathon last year.’’