Yuanfan Yang’s performance under the arches of All Saints Church in Hove was a joyful treat for the ears.

The piano was beautifully framed under an arch of the 19th century church as the 26-year-old performed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Sonata in C major, Bela Bartok’s Piano Sonata, Sergei Rachmaninov’s Variations on Theme of Corelli Op and finally his own piece titled Waves.

It was the perfect setting for the performance, which is one of the many in Brighton Festival’s music programme, with the melodies reverberating around the wide open space and cocooning the audience in warm sound.

I was completely entranced and felt instantly calmed the moment Yuanfan’s fingers touched the piano.

He took us through the first three pieces with brief breaks in between which were greeted with loud applause from a packed audience.

Yuanfan finished with his own piece Waves, which was completed in 2011 and was inspired by the open sea, blue waters, changing tides, surging waves and endless sky.

The Argus: Yuanfan Yang performing at All Saints Church in HoveYuanfan Yang performing at All Saints Church in Hove (Image: The Argus)

I felt all of these as he played.

He began calmly before building dramatically, replicating the swelling waves and sudden change in the sea, although at moments I was reminded of the drama of the jaws theme tune.

For the Encore, Yuanfan took song requests and styles from the audience for him to then create a new piece of music on the spot.

It was incredible to watch as the pianist created a piece inspired by ‘I do like to be by the seaside’ in a jazz style, as well as a rendition of ‘Non, je ne regrette rien’ – even though he didn’t know the song.

Yuanfan studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London and among his many wins at piano competitions was last year’s Casagrande International Piano Competition.

He also won the keyboard category during the 2021 BBC Young Musician of the Year competition.

It was a wonderful afternoon and class act Yuanfan delighted.

Walking out of the church streams of people could be heard remarking how amazing the performance was, and I heartily agree.