1 February 2021

Our first concert of 2021 was compiled and streamed, comprising some 15 solo performances that had been recorded at home by a wide range of pupils from Lower School to the Upper Sixth. We were delighted that the pupils were willing to share their playing in this period of remote learning and the concert witnessed some outstanding performances from some of our leading musicians across a range of solo instruments. The concert also gave some opportunities for several fifth year GCSE musicians to air their solo pieces in recordings which may support the performing assessment for their qualification.

The concert started with some outstanding cello playing from fifth year music scholar, Oliver Simpson, in a stylish performance of a Gigue by JS Bach, delivered from memory. This same piece appeared later in the programme, played by a third year scholar, Yubo Gao, also with a great musicality. Other solo cello performance came from Sammy Jarvis – a Bourrée, this time by JS Bach – and Reuben McLusky in Minsky’s The Train Whistle.

Our woodwind players were represented, first, by clarinettists, Jamie Kilroy – Finzi’s Forlana from Five Bagatelles – and second year pupil, Nathan Wan, in a Lullaby by Carl Maria von Weber. Flautist, Julien Rohart, gave a lovely performance of the third movement of CPE Bach’s Sonata in A minor for solo flute.

We heard two outstanding violin performances this evening, the first from Timmy Wong with the Sicilienne by Paradis, musically and tunefully played. Ashwin Tennant dazzled us with a virtuosic unaccompanied study – Etude No 2 for Solo Violin by Gavaniés, full of advanced violin techniques.

Our pianists excelled themselves in this concert with a range of repertoire, including Debussy’s Arabesque No 2 (Luc Tucker), JS Bach’s Italian Concerto (Daniel Zhang), Burgmuller’s Agitato (Jimmy Ip), Khachaturian’s Etude No 5 (Jamie Robson), Melartin’s Barcarole (Josef O’Connor) and finally Chopin’s Nocturne in C sharp minor (Laurence Peverall).

We are so grateful to all the musicians who took the trouble to record themselves and share their performances with us, to the teachers who encouraged them and to Mr Nick Lloyd from the Amey Theatre Tech Team who so brilliantly edited the performances to create such a superb 50 minutes of music making.

One of the silver linings of lockdown is that we can listen again to these performances and to share them with friends and family at any time across the world. The concert is available on Youtube.

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