3 November 2021

We were treated to some outstanding performances from 11 of Abingdon’s post grade 8 musicians. We were honoured to have as adjudicator Anthony Williams, the Head of Instrumental Studies at Radley College. Anthony is an immensely experienced examiner – he was able to draw on that experience in order to meet the challenge of choosing a winner in this exceptionally strong field of competitors.

Our pianists included senior musicians, James Deng (Bach: Prelude and Fugue in F sharp minor), Thomas Zhang (Burgmuller: Two Studies – The Pearls and Velocity), Daniel Zhang (Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata – movements 2 and 3), Boco To (Chopin: Grande Valse Brillante), Yubo Gao (Schubert: Impromptu in Ab) and Laurence Peverall (Rachmaninov: Prelude in C sharp minor).

We also had the pleasure of hearing some fine violin playing from third year music scholar, Ryan Ng (Bach Solo Sonata No 2 – Andante and Allegro). Unfortunately, we were denied the opportunity to hear cellist, Oliver Simpson, because he was last year’s winner – and thus ineligible to compete this year.

Our woodwind was impressively represented by flautist, Julien Rohart (Mozart: Flute Concerto in D), oboist, Oliver Glover (Poulenc: Oboe Sonata – 1st movement) and bassoonists, Louis de Chazal and Josef O’Connor. New 1st Year pupil, Louis played Bourdeau: Premier Solo de Basson, whilst lower sixth pupil, Josef, chose Weber: Bassoon Concerto in F – 3rd Movement.

In his adjudication Mr Williams gave some fascinating insights into how to understand the character of a piece and project an individual performance, reminding the performers that the written music is merely a map which they should use as a starting point to find their own interpretation. As well as some generous compliments he found some interesting points of development for each of them to consider.

Mr Williams awarded joint 3rd place to Boco To and Yubo Gao, 2nd place to Oliver Glover and 1st place and the cup to Laurence Peverall for his Rachmaninov. We thanked the performers, our accompanist and our excellent adjudicator for a wonderful evening of music making. We are truly fortunate to have performers of this standard at Abingdon School.

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