Two of our hard-working musicians have won through to the final rounds of some prestigious music competitions. Elliot Cundy (Block 3) recently competed in the first round of the Royal Academy of Music’s Junior Department Piano Competition. Elliot performed Chopin’s virtuosic Fantasie Impromptu and was placed in the top three and goes on to compete in the final in a few weeks’ time. This is particularly impressive given that the piano is Elliot’s second instrument after double bass! We wish him every success for the final and our congratulations for his success so far.
Block 4 student Shoshana Yugin Power has won through to the final round of the Winchester Concerto Competition with three other competitors. Shoshana (pictured above at the competition) performed on the flute and was the youngest of all the competitors. It is particularly pleasing that she is through to the next round as she was actually successful in 2021 but the final event was cancelled due to the pandemic. Well done to Shoshana for returning and earning her place in the final again.
Shoshana also won the Under 14 category in the Petersfield Festival Young Composer Competition with her piece Elemental Elements which she composed for flute and piano. It is a piece inspired by the chemical elements and reflects Shoshana’s fascination with science as well as modern musical techniques. The completion was judged by the composer Jonathan Willcocks who also happens to be a former Director of Music at Bedales. We are glad he had the chance to see that creativity is very much alive at Bedales and well done again to Shoshana for making the most of this opportunity.
Congratulations and heartfelt thanks to all the students who performed so brilliantly at the St Cecilia Concert this week and who entertained a large audience of enthusiastic parents and guests who were clearly thrilled by what they heard. Highlights of the evening included a well-polished performance by the full orchestra of 45 musicians playing music by Vaughan-Williams and Shostakovich and some of our advanced performers gave solo performances: Shoshana Yugin-Power (flute) and Elliot Cundy (double bass) both gave impressive virtuosic performances of music by modern English composers expertly accompanied by Hiroko Banks. Joel Edgeworth (piano) then gave us his take on the jazz standard Polka Dots and Moonbeams accompanied by Monty Bland on the double bass, both performers working together to recreate this wonderful song in their own style.
The orchestral sections then gave performances which included a highly enjoyable rendition of Purcell’s Funeral Music for Queen Mary by spacing the brass and percussion throughout the theatre and used the side galleries to create antiphonal effects which the audience thoroughly enjoyed. The percussion ensemble introduced us to the world of minimalism in a complicated piece Short on Time written for the occasion by our percussion teacher Simon Whittaker which required deep concentration from all! The string quartet which comprised Lila Levingston, Samantha Dale, Saya Pulverer and Tiger Braun-White gave one of the most impressive performances at Bedales in recent years in their rendition of O Frederik, O Frederik, a folk tune arranged by the Danish String Quartet. This piece is hugely energetic and complicated but utterly captivating and they delivered it with poise and precision; a real treat!
The evening was then rounded off with some precise and vibrant playing from the jazz band with the brilliant Mabel Watson singing Gershwin’s S’Wonderful and the choir of 48 singers finished the evening with several pieces including an up-tempo version of Irving Berlin’s Blue Skies and a gospel version of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge over Troubled Water. A particular thanks to Joanne Greenwood, Amanda Brewer and the ushers for helping the event run smoothly and to Neil Hornsby and Will Lithgow for masterminding the complicated stage changes.
Music Exhibitioners’ Concerts, 1 & 2 December: Next week, our music exhibitioners will show off their progress in two concerts of solo and duet items in the Lupton Hall. We have put on a extra evening as we have so many performers who want to perform (a good problem to have!) and you can book tickets for the 1 December performance here and the 2 December performance here.
On Wednesday night, Bedales musicians embarked on their annual Cecilia Concert, which this year took place in the Lupton Hall. It was a night of uplifting and challenging choral and instrumental music, covering a multitude of musical styles ranging from Renaissance to modern jazz, showcasing the sheer volume of talent at Bedales.
The concert commenced with the Orchestra boldly and sensitively performing the first movement of Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony (pictured above during rehearsals), which was conducted brilliantly by the Director of Music, Doug McIlwraith.
This was followed by the Student Orchestra, directed by Sampson Keung and Mary Wang, who demonstrated impressive leadership and conducting skills. Weeks of rehearsals and hard work paid off when they performed Elgar’s famous Chanson de Matin and Chanson de Nuit with much conviction and energy.