15 March 2019

Our fourth annual Intermediate Solo Competition showcased the talents of ten 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 Tom Neal, who is the new Director of Music at New College School in Oxford.

In the first half we heard two pianists, a violinist and three woodwind players. First to play was Timmy Chiu (violin) with Debski’s dreamily atmospheric Cantabile, followed by Nick Raptakis (piano) who played Rachmaninov’s Moment Musicale from memory. Matthew Hoult (clarinet) then played the slow movement of Poulenc’s Clarinet Sonata.

Josef O’Connor (piano) stepped up next with Khachaturian’s Sonatina, which he played with humour and a sparkling virtuosity. The next two performances were given by Ollie Martin (flute) with two movements from Jardanyi’s Sonatina and Scott Yap (oboe) with a challenging contrapuntal G minor Sonata movement by J S Bach.

After the interval we heard performances by Oliver Breach (violin) in Kodaly’s Källai Kettös, Oliver Glover (oboe) in Costa’s virtuosic Cavatine, Joe Bradley in Hindemith’s Praeludium from Ludus Tonalis and Ollie Northwood (clarinet) in Fauré’s 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 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 violinist, Oliver Breach, for his lovely playing of Kodaly, 2nd place to clarinettist, Matthew Hoult and 3rd to pianist, Nicholas Raptakis.

This was a competition of high quality and all the competitors and their fabulous accompanists, Lynette Stulting, Mariette Pringle and Elizabeth Drew, deserve our warmest congratulation. We thank Mr Neal for an absolutely super adjudication.

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