6 November 2020

We were treated to some absolutely outstanding performances from seven of Abingdon’s post grade 8 musicians. The adjudicator, Richard Poyser, Director of Music at d’Overbroeck’s, described the standard this year as stratospheric. Most of the performances were given from memory.

Our pianists included music scholars, Daniel Zhang (Zaidel-Rudolph’s Virtuoso 1), Boco To (Brahms’ Romanze Op 118) and Scott Yap (Liszt’s Un Sospiro).

We also had the pleasure of hearing the fine cello playing of scholars, Oliver Simpson (Chopin’s Introduction and Polonaise Brillante) and Yubo Gao (Fauré’s enchanting Après un Rêve).

Our woodwind, too, was impressively represented by Oliver Glover’s virtuosity in the second movement of Martinu’s Oboe Concerto and by Josef O’Connor’s exciting and nimbly played soprano saxophone in and arrangement of JS Bach’s Flute Sonata in Eb, 1st and 2nd movements.

In his adjudication Mr Poyser gave some generous compliments to all the performers and found some interesting points of development for them to consider, not least the invitation to “embody the gesture” inherent in many of the pieces.

We were kept guessing until the end as Mr Poyser found it difficult to separate any of these quite superb performances. In the end, though, 3rd place went to Daniel Zhang, 2nd to Oliver Glover and 1st prize and the cup to Oliver Simpson.

Our thanks must go to all the performers, their teachers, our superb accompanist, Lynette Stulting, and to our excellent adjudicator for a wonderful evening of amazing music making. We are truly fortunate to have performers of this standard at Abingdon School.

In the absence of a visiting audience we are immensely grateful to the Amey Theatre technical team who were able to film, live-stream and make the playing available to a wider audience.

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