6 March 2020

Our fifth annual Intermediate Solo Competition showcased the talents of 13 of the School’s intermediate musical talents, the criteria for entry being grades 6 to 8, but excluding those who had actually taken their grade 8 examination. The competition was of a very high standard throughout, and we were delighted to welcome our adjudicator, Mrs Aimée Jamison, who is the Director of Music at Headington School in Oxford.

In the first half we heard three pianists, a double bassist, a trumpeter and two woodwind players. First to play was Hugo Payton (piano) with Chopin’s melancholic Nocturne in G minor, this followed by Lachlan Keene (trumpet) who played Neruda’s Eb Concerto, with sparkling virtuosity. Ethan Chui (clarinet) played the sombre first movement of Brahms’s Eb Clarinet Sonata.

Josef O’Connor (bassoon) stepped up next with Elgar’s Romance which he played with romantic character. Aidan Chan played us Debussy’s Petit Negre which he communicated with crisp clarity, whilst Daniel Zhang played his double bass solo in Blues for Ray, entirely pizzicato, by the American, Turezky.

It was a pleasure to hear Ivan Tang (piano) in a stylish performance of a Handel Gigue and, to end the first half, Oscar Scannell (drums) with Malakian’s Toxicity.

After the interval we heard performances by Alex Lawrence (piano) in a Scriabin Prelude, Laurence Peverall (trumpet) in two short pieces by Hummel and Robin Collins in a beautiful Glière Prelude. The final two performances were from Andreas Lo (violin) with Bloch’s Vidui followed by Oliver Glover (cello) in Fauré’s very beautiful Après un Rêve.

Difficult though it was to separate such fine performances, that was precisely the unenviable task that faced our adjudicator. After some very thoughtful and encouraging comments she was able to place the three performances that she felt were the most successful this evening. 1st place and the winner’s cup went to first year drummer, Oscar Scannell, for his lovely playing of Kodaly, 2nd place to pianist, Aidan Chan and 3rd to bassoonist, Josef O’Connor.

This was a competition of high quality and all the competitors and their fabulous accompanists, Lynette Stulting, Mariette Pringle and Chris Fletcher-Cambell, deserve our warmest congratulation. We also thanked Mrs Jamison for an outstanding adjudication.

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