15 October 2020

Our sixth 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, Mr Richard Stafford, who is the Director of Music at Ardingly College in Sussex. Overall, we heard five pianists, four woodwind and four string players.

First to play was Bentley Cook (piano) with Scarlatti’s dance-like Sonata in D, followed by Luc Tucker (bassoon) who played Pierné’s Solo de Concert, with impressive virtuosity. Joshua Price (piano) played Chopin’s Prelude in B minor Op28 No 6 with musical feeling.

Daniel Zhang (double bass) stepped up next with Tulacek’s Chant d’Amour which he played with sonorous character and an effective vibrato. Boco To played us Veracini’s Violin Sonata in E minor which he communicated with crisp clarity, whilst Aluinn McDonald returned us to the world of Chopin with the same Prelude in B minor that Joshua Price had played earlier.

It was a pleasure to hear Rupert Mathieson (clarinet) in a cantabile performance of a Schumann’s Romance Op 94 No,1 followed by Kajan Sivakumar’s piano performance of Chopin’s Polonaise in G minor. A change of character came with Tom McGonnell (oboe) in Pan from Benjamin Britten’s Six Metamorphoses after Ovid.

We were treated to performances of two cello works by Gabriel Fauré. First was Reuben McLusky with Après un Rêve, followed by Thomas Wilson in the well-known Elégie. Finally, we heard Josef O’Connor (bassoon) in Weber’s Bassoon Concerto and Laurence Peverall (piano) in Hindemith’s Prelude from Ludus Tonalis.

Our adjudicator, Mr Stafford, identified the two key elements that he used to select the leading performances – commitment to the work chosen and an ability to project a personal performance of it. After some very thoughtful and encouraging comments he was able to place the three performances that he felt were the most successful this evening. 1st place and the winner’s cup went to Laurence Peverall (Hindemith), 2nd place to bassoonist, Josef O’Connor (Weber) and 3rd to cellist, Thomas Wilson.

This was a competition of high quality and all the competitors and their accompanists, Lynette Stulting and Mariette Pringle deserve our warmest congratulation. We also thanked Mr Stafford for an outstanding adjudication.

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