30 Janaury 2019

This year’s Chamber Music Workshop gave a tantalising taste of the very exciting work that is going on behind the scenes in the music department at the moment. The photographs give an ample idea of the wide range of music-making that is being prepared for the national Pro Corda Festival of Chamber Music of which the qualifying round takes place next week. It also gives a glimpse of what we can expect at the Annual Chamber Music Concert on Wednesday 27 February (don’t miss it!).

Each year we look to our Head of Strings, Mariette Pringle to put together an afternoon timetable of chamber music coaching, usually given to our ensembles by a team of visiting professional musicians. This year, with our new additions to the string department of Dr Lewis and Mr Crehan, we turned to our own staff, including Mrs Findlay (cello), Miss Drew (clarinet) and Miss Stulting (Head of Piano) to provide this teaching. The work was hugely enhanced by the school’s provision last term of a beautiful new suite of larger rooms for ensemble coaching on the east side of the Arts Centre.

Our musicians were able to work with groups of strings, woodwind, brass and pianists from all levels of the school. They included a cello ensemble playing Argentinian tangos, a clarinet ensemble playing Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, a very exciting senior quartet playing Shostakovich and another of top musicians playing Dvorak’s truly symphonic Piano Quartet.

It was fantastic to see the detail of work, the concentration of the musicians and the progress that was being achieved throughout the afternoon in quality time slots of a length not usually afforded to this ensemble work – and it will be very interesting to see the products of it later in the term.

Our thanks must go to all the teachers, to the pupils and, indeed, to the sports staff for their forbearance in releasing one or two musicians for this very important and valuable work.

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