26 November 2020

The Junior Solo Instrumental Competition presented 11 performances in front of our visiting adjudicator, Sean Fitzpatrick, who, since the start of 2020, has been the Director of Music at Abingdon Prep School. The School’s lockdown from late March prevented last year’s competition, usually held in the summer term, from taking place.

There were some really impressive performances from a range of instruments, including woodwind, strings and piano. The age range of performers was from the First to the Fifth Year and included both seasoned players and those less experienced. Lower School included first year pupils, Liam Sadler, Irfan Sampurno, Jonathan Watcham (pianists) and Harrison Wong (cello). Second year pupils were represented most ably by Elliot Liddle and Samuel Price (both pianists).

The middle school performers included third years, Falkie Brocklebank (bassoon), James Clark (piano) and Aluinn McDonald (violin), together with fourth year and fifth year performers, Jamie Kilroy and David Hrushovski, respectively (both clarinettists).

In his adjudication, Mr Fizpatrick referred to matters of phrasing, rhythm, dynamics, articulation and presentation to bring the performances to life – and to that indescribable element that gives a musical performance a uniquely special something.

We learned that there was very little to separate some really lovely performances from such a wide variety of instruments. In the end, David Hrushovski was rewarded with the cup for some very beautiful clarinet playing in Tartini’s Concertino. Second place went to James Clark for Mike Cornick’s Film Noir and third place to Samuel Price for Nevada’s Starry Dome from Piano Meditation.

Mr Fitzpatrick was really encouraging about all of the performances with helpful suggestions for moving to the next level and lots of things for the performers to think about. He was very complimentary about the high standard throughout the performances.

Our thanks must go to Mr Fitzpatrick, to all the teachers who helped prepare the boys, to our accompanist, Lynette Stulting, and of course to the boys, themselves, for a lovely programme in this competition, which, now in its sixth year, has maintained the excellent standard of past events.

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