By Annia Grey, 6.2
Having studied the German late Romantic and Modernist movements outside of our exam curriculum, we have left the 6.2 bridging course feeling enriched by this introduction to some extremely poignant and beautiful works.
As Doug commented when talking about Strauss’ final trio and duet in Der Rosenkavalier, it has been a true ‘palette cleanse’ studying these composers, especially following the rather heavy curricular garlic bread of Wagner’s Ring Cycle.
We were collectively moved by the gorgeous quintet in his Die Meistersinger and were left feeling surprised that Wagner could produce something so lyrical, cantabile and moving, having been exposed to his denser works as part of our Pre-U course. This was a highlight for me, Johnny and Bella.
For those whose interests lie more in more instrumental works, a favourite arose in the shape of Mahler’s 8th Symphony and Stravinski’s Firebird for Sampson, Jamie and Mary. The gradual build-up of the instrumentation in the Firebird made for an epic finale for a ballet.
By Tom Batty, 6.1
After a term’s worth of rehearsals, the long-awaited Spring Concert took place on Wednesday. An exciting programme full of a wide variety of styles laid ahead of us and finally it was ready to begin.
The concert opened with a raucuous and flamboyant piece: Rossini’s overture from The Thieving Magpie. The catchy melodies and high energy was perfect to open the concert, and with the equally fun conducting from Bedales Prep, Dunhurst’s Director of Music, Ben Harlan, the stage was set for a very enjoyable concert full of pieces to please.
The orchestra followed with the two most popular pieces from Grieg’s Peer Gynt suites: Morning and In the Hall of the Mountain King. Morning showed off the warm strings’ and delicate winds’ evident practice, resulting in a truly beautiful piece played with the beauty it deserves. There wasn’t long to wait before everyone was on the edge of their seats again as they listened to the ever increasing tension and drama of In the Hall of the Mountain King, conducted by 6.2 student and Music Don Sampson Keung.
By Miranda Robertson, Block 3
On 9 October, the renowned conductor and choirmaster Ralph Allwood came to Bedales for a very musical day. Ralph was for many years the Director of Music at Eton College and he now conducts the Choir of Queen’s College Cambridge and the Chapel Choir of Trinity Laban College.
Ralph has recently written a book all about how to sight-sing. All of the singers in the school were given a copy, and all morning we were coached by Ralph. It was a really good workshop and we all improved greatly. A few of us also had lunch with Ralph and Doug, where we were very fortunate to be given lots of advice about singing and the music industry.
After lunch, the Chamber Choir came together and we sang lots of different pieces we had been working on in choir. Ralph coached us and by the end we sounded like a different choir! A thoroughly enjoyable day – thank you to Doug for organising and Ralph for giving up his time.
By Minna Hall, 6.1
A different and inspiring night was had by four Bedales contemporary musicians as we performed at the Women in Business Awards in Windsor on 30 September.
The Women in Business Awards celebrates the tremendous work leading ladies have done to achieve their goals and to inspire other women to follow their own ambitions. The overriding message from the keynote speakers was that you can accomplish your goals if you work hard and put your mind to it.
We were invited to perform music to add to the ambience of the evening. Safi Kazim once again blew the audience away with her outstanding originals. Mabel Watson and Lila Levingston also impressed the crowd with their beautifully sung covers, and I accompanied them all!
We all thoroughly enjoyed our evening and it was interesting to meet such pioneering women who wanted to share their experiences with other successful – and aspiring – professionals. A big thank you to Tamsin Napier-Munn, Host and Manager of the Women in Business Awards, for inviting us to play at such a thought-provoking event, and we hope to be invited back next year!
Tamsin added: “The Women in Business Awards is one of the highlights of the year in the Thames Valley and the South, celebrating, encouraging and inspiring business women in the region who have had the courage to step up and be recognised for their achievements. This year, we were delighted to have four talented performers from Bedales sing and play for us, helping us create a wonderful atmosphere. A huge thank you to Mabel, Minna, Safi and Lila, for your professionalism and commitment to the evening. You are inspiring, hugely talented young women; thank you for sharing your talent with us.”
By Doug Mcilwraith, Director of Music
Congratulations to Bedales students for excellent performances in their recent music exams. After attending the Chetham School of Music’s summer piano course for advanced help on piano techniques – including an introduction to music for prepared piano – 6.2 student Mary Wang was awarded a Distinction in Grade 8 piano. The following students passed with Merit: Juliet Solomon-Solymar (Block 3, Grade 4 oboe); Beatrice Lingham (Block 4, grade 6 piano); Jamie Loudon (Block 4, Grade 2 percussion); Leela Walton (Block 4, Grade 6 violin); and Annia Grey (Block 5, Grade 5 violin). Harry Hetherington (Block 3) and Imogen Wright (Block 3) both achieved strong passes in Grade 5 oboe and Grade 3 trumpet respectively.
We now have several of our advanced musicians who take extra lessons in London on Saturdays at the country’s top music conservatoires. Jake Lacey (6.1) and Lila Levingston (Block 5) attend the Trinity Laban Conservatoire, Tiger Braun-White (Block 5) attends the Royal Academy of Music and Kai MacRae (6.1) attends the National Youth Jazz Orchestra junior course. All of these institutions demand the absolute very best from their students and we congratulate our students for winning places to study and take part in their programmes.
Bedales now has four students playing in the County Youth Orchestra: Mary Wang and Sampson Keung (6.2) play percussion and Sampson is section principal, George Harlan (Block 5) plays horn and Monty Bland (Block 5) joins this year on double bass. They are working on some of the greatest ever works for orchestra: Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony, which changed the course of music history, and Mahler’s 5th Symphony.
It is so important for all of us to compare what we do at Bedales to what others do in other communities and we congratulate our musical ambassadors for striving to work with the best young musicians in the south of England and ensuring that Bedales is very much on the musical map.
By Neil Hornsby, Head of Contemporary Music
Photos by Sashia Monnier, Block 4
This Thursday saw the first big musical event of the year with Merry Evening in the Lupton Hall, a night of original songs, pop covers, classical music and magic! A wide range of great performances from budding rock stars in Block 3 to a rousing finale by The Upstanding Gents, our dynamic band of sixth form rockers. There were ten debuts out of 24 performances, roared on by an extremely enthusiastic audience. A memorable evening for all involved got what promises to be a great year for music at Bedales off to an exciting start!