17 May 2021

Our fifth and final concert platform of the academic year was streamed to audiences from the box office and made available on the school’s website. It was good, to see a range of pupils so keen to participate from Lower School to the Upper Sixth. This was also a final solo outing for some outstanding senior musicians who we thank for their inspiring performances over several years.

Of the 21 performances, no less than nine of them were given by pianists. Old hands included Ben Shaw (a Chopin Nocturne), Nick Raptakis (a Beethoven sonata), Laurence Peverall (Schumann) Charles Geday (a different Chopin Nocturne) and Daniel Zhang (Vallier’s striking Toccatina). We also welcomed – Howard Chung (Beethoven), Yubo Gao (Chaminade), Archie Lok (Crosland) and Elliot Liddle (Yiruma’s evocatively named The River Flows in You).

Our young wind players included clarinettists, Nathan Wan (James Rae) and Jamie Kilroy (Weber) and oboist, Josh Price (Cimarosa). No brass players this time, but we were treated to a fantastic display of electric rock guitar virtuosity by Aluinn McDonald in Megadeth’s ominous sounding Tornado of Souls and George Blumfield (drum kit) in Paul Simon’s Fifty Ways to Leave your Lover.

Thanks to the wonders of technology, it was terrific to hear a string ensemble performance, the cellist in Hong Kong joining two violinists based on Abingdon soil. Aidan Chan joined Jamie Robson and Peter Leeson in Tartini’s Trio Sonata No 1.

String soloists, too, were much in evidence. Violinists, Wyatt Ip (Mussorgsky’s Gopak), Oliver Smith (Elgar’s Chanson de Nuit), Nicholas Raptakis (Ten Have’s Allegro Brillant) and Ashwin Tennant (Paganini’s virtuosic Caprice No 24). Reuben McLusky (cello) (Mendelssohn Song Without Words) – and the final word went to Oliver Simpson (cello) with Popper’s Polonaise de Concert.

Just days before we had heard of Oliver’s success in winning the final of the Berkshire string competition and being declared Berkshire Young Musician of the Year, a fitting success for this exceptional cellist and an achievement of which the whole Abingdon community feels so proud.

The concert can be found here.

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