Twenty-two year-old Paul Murray has had to face up to a number of serious challenges in the last year. After contracting multiple sclerosis only 12 months ago, undergoing four major brain surgery procedures, Paul has overcome the odds stacked against him to continue to play the piano in a unique manner.
Because the illness paralysed him down one side, Paul, a fourth-year music student at the University of Aberdeen, has learned to overcome his condition and play the piano with just his left hand.
He even recently played to the Duchess of Cornwall during her visit the university’s education and music departments.
Paul has adapted piano scores for his left hand and performed Chopin’s Ballade No 1 in G minor for the Royal, who is known as the Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland.
Speaking to the Press Association of his experiences, Paul said that his multiple sclerosis “lasted about three months and I lost complete faith in performing”.
“However, I managed to get back and I’m taking lessons again at quite a high level, hoping to go on to finish my music studies in London,” he added.
“The Duchess had heard about my story and was interested in the whole left-hand aspect. I think she is a big music fan and wished me luck beforehand and congratulated me after.”
It was quite an appropriate visit, as the Duchess was visiting the university to learn about how student teachers are revolutionising the way education is delivered to children with learning difficulties and disabilities.
As well as sitting in on a conducting class, Camilla was treated to the first ever Scottish performance of Paul Mealor’s Wherever You Are adapted for male voices.
The composer is a professor at the university and wrote the song for the Military Wives Choir, which went on to claim the biggest first-week sales since 2006.